Sri Lanka’s Instagram Hotspots
Sri Lanka is home to some of South Asia’s most captivating photo-shoot locations. The stunning landscapes, vibrant culture and colourful history combine to create unique settings found nowhere else in the world. Our pick of the best will ensure you take home that perfect shot as well as memories to last a lifetime.
Red Mosque – Colombo
The striking red and white, candy-striped Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, known locally as the Red Mosque, has been an iconic landmark of Colombo for more than a century. Surrounded by the markets of the bustling Pettah district, the mosque offers an oasis of calm in the heart of the city. It’s free to visit and photography is permitted outside of prayer rooms.
Insider tip: Dress respectfully; robes are available to cover up should you need them.
Tri Lanka – Koggala Lake
On the banks of Koggala Lake near Galle you will find our next location. The perfectly positioned palm alongside this boutique hotel’s infinity pool creates one of the most Instagrammable spots on the island. The entire property offers photo opportunities galore with award-winning architecture backed by lush jungle and sparkling vistas over the lake’s shimmering waters.
Insider tip: Tri Lanka is open to non-residents with lunch or dinner bookings.
Galle Fort Lighthouse – Galle
European colonial influences are clear to see everywhere you look within this incredibly well-preserved walled citadel. The picturesque lighthouse has been standing watch over historic Galle Fort since 1939 and today makes for a beautiful backdrop to any photo.
Insider tip: The fort’s walls block much of the sea breeze, so avoid the midday sun.
Dalawella Turtle Lagoon/Frog Rock/Rope Swing
Dalawella Beach, just south of Unawatuna, offers not one, but three opportunities for that outstanding click. Between November and May the shallow lagoon in front of Wijaya Beach Restaurant is frequented by green sea turtles. The crystal clear water allows for photography both above and below the surface, though care should be taken not to disturb the turtles in their grazing. Frog Rock, named after its resemblance to a resting bullfrog, sits at one end of the bay and is perfectly situated for a totally tropical shot of its palm fringed sunset silhouette.
All good beaches should have a rope swing and Dalawella is no exception. Just around the corner from Frog Rock, the swing offers another opportunity to snap that standout shot and has become a firm favourite with travellers and locals alike.
Insider tip: The rope swing is located on land owned by a local family who sometimes ask for a couple of hundred rupees in return for your photo-shoot.
Japanese Peace Pagoda – Unawatuna
Gifted to Sri Lanka as a token of peace and goodwill from Japanese Buddhist monks, the Peace Pagoda has an almost otherworldly appearance. Situated high on a headland looking towards the city of Galle, this is the spot from which to take in a mind-blowing tropical sunset.
Insider tip: Shawls and sarongs are available to borrow for respectful viewing of the pagoda.
Coconut Tree Hill – Mirissa
The southern end of Mirissa Bay offers the perfect vantage point from which to gaze back along the town’s sweeping golden sands. The swaying palms and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean create a beautiful backdrop to any Insta shoot.
Insider tip: It can be busy here at sunset, try visiting at sunrise for a more intimate experience.
Udawalawe National Park – Udawalawe
Lesser known that the famous Yala and Wilpattu national parks, Udawalawe offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the 250 elephants that call this place home.
Insider tip: The elephants are most active around dawn and dusk. However, the park is quieter during the day and still offers many elephant-spotting opportunities.
Nine Arch Bridge – Ella
Another icon of Sri Lanka, the Nine Arch Bridge can be found just outside the popular mountain village of Ella. Built in 1921 the bridge spans a picturesque jungle-filled valley. Here you can tick-off a number of shots including a walk along the railway track, capturing the charming trains crossing the bridge and of course, the spectacular bridge itself.
Insider tip: Check the rail schedule before visiting if you want to see a train pass over the bridge as the highland services are fairly infrequent.
Little Adam’s Peak – Ella
Quieter and less of a commitment than the infamous Adam’s Peak, Little Adam’s Peak can be climbed in under an hour. The summit offers incredible views towards Ella Rock and through the Ella Gap mountain pass. On a clear day you can see the shimmering Indian Ocean of Sri Lanka’s south coast in the distance.
Insider tip: Look out for the colourful tea pickers working in the plantations surrounding the peak.
Royal Botanical Gardens – Kandy
Near the highland city of Kandy, the Royal Botanical Gardens are home to more than 4000 species of plants. The palm-lined avenues are a must see, creating a living frame for your photographs. The Victorian ironwork of the orchid house’s roof is equally impressive as is the giant fig tree planted over 100 years ago.
Insider tip: The entrance fee is Rs.1500 for foreigners. Locals and children receive a discount.
Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue – Kandy
This towering 88ft high Buddha statue gazes serenely out over the city from its elevated hillside position. Take a shot from the steps leading up towards the statue or turn around for a panoramic view of the landscape below.
Insider tip: The statue is part of a temple complex so dress respectfully.
Pidurangala Rock – Sigiriya
Pidurangala is a rocky outcrop situated a couple of kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The summit offers the opportunity to capture the entire magnificence of the Sigiriya site and its dominating position over this ancient landscape.
Insider tip: The trek up Pidurangala takes about 30 minutes to reach the top; the pathway is rocky and uneven so trainers or walking boots are advised.
This is just a small selection of some of Sri Lanka’s awe-inspiring photo-shoot locations. These and many more are awaiting you on this magical island. If you would like to visit any of the highlights mentioned above or need help arranging a tour, check out Sri Lankan travel specialists Red Dot Tours, who can create a bespoke holiday package tailored to your specific requirements.