Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sigirya

If you fancy getting your cardio in while checking out a UNESCO world heritage site, this is the one for you. Sigiriya Rock Fortress – otherwise known as Lion’s Rock – is one of the most dramatic sights in Sri Lanka. A near vertical rock face soars out of the jungle, rising to a flat-topped summit home to the ruins of an ancient civilisation. We told you it was dramatic!

But to get to the top – and take in the ancient site and 360 degree sights – you’ll have to work for it. On this tour you’ll walk a series of incredibly steep stairs along the sheer walls to reach the top; it’ll take around 45 minutes on the way up if you have a reasonable amount of fitness. The views on the way up are beautiful, as are the murals and carvings you’ll pass.

You might be a tad sweaty at the top, but it’ll be more than worth it. Once at the summit you’ll be able to explore the heart of the ancient kingdom of Kassapa. And if ancient civilisations don’t interest you, the mesmerising vistas across the jungle scrub and mist-topped forests surely will.

Back down (a mere 30 minutes this time) you can check out the base of the rock, which is ringed by a moat and home to some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. You’ll also get a better overview of the murals of which British archaeologist and author John Still once said: “The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery... the largest picture in the world perhaps.”

Highlights

  • Climb the soaring ancient-site topped giant rock

  • Enjoy uninterrupted 360 degree views from the top

Rebecca
Travel Designer
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I will never forget the moment that we came across a huge herd of 50 elephants in Minneriya National Park. They ran for cover when there was a sudden downpour, and I got soaked but didn’t care! I love Sri Lanka for its diversity, great food, culture, wildlife and history – and it’s still very much undeveloped.

Trips that include this experience