f you are a tea lover you cannot miss out on the beautiful city of Nuwara Eliya. Natural waterfalls, beautiful gardens, misty weather and the friendly people makes the city a paradise for both tea and nature lovers. It is famous among locals as a destination to spend family vacations and honeymoon.
It is in the hill country, 1,868m above the sea level. The city has more than just the views to offer to the travelers and to make the process easier we have listed 12 things we believe to be essential to do if you come to Nuwara Eliya. Naturally many things that are in the following list would mainly revolve around tea.
1. The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel is not some nature attraction, but a place worthy to stop by while you are in Nuwara Eliya. This old colonial style hotel was built in 1828 boasting the architecture of the Elizabethan Era. originally it was not a hotel but a holiday home for Sir Edward Barnes, Governor of Ceylon(1824 – 1831)
Currently it is one of the important landmarks in Nuwara Eliya, situated at the very centre of the city. If possible try to stay at The Grand Hotel while you are in the city or else you can visit the place for lunch or dinner to try the delectable Sri Lankan cuisine. You can also try high quality Ceylon Tea with some delicious snacks.
2. Exploring The Gregory Lake
Gregory Lake is one of the places in Nuwara Eliya where you will find several fun activities to be done at the same place. There are several ways to enjoy the scenic beauty of the large lake in the city.
Strolling around the lake with your friends or family or partner. Rent a duck boat or just another paddling boat and paddle for an hour or so in the lake. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to enjoy the lake.
If you are coming with your family, the children will enjoy horseback riding and adults also can try this. If you want to work out and still enjoy the scenery around you we suggest going cycling. Other than that you can buy a ticket for a complete day and enjoy the complete day at the same place or even visit again in the evening after you have spent the complete morning by the
3. Visit Strawberry Farm
To everyone who loves fresh produce we suggest you visit atleast one strawberry farm while you are in Nuwara Eliya. There are two main farms in the area; Jagro Simply Strawberries and Ramya.
Visitors can take a look at the farms, explore them, pick fresh strawberries or otherwise fresh produce will be neatly packaged in their shops. Farms sell delicious strawberry products like strawberry jam and related ones. They will be your mementos for this trip. Jagro has an amazing dessert menu that will blow your mind away, so definitely try it. Cafes offer milk shakes and drinks made from strawberries. The location itself is not hard to be found since it is a 20 minute drive away from the city.
4. Lover’s Leap Waterfall
Yes, on the way to Nuwara Eliya and around travelers can find many waterfalls and streams, but Lover’s Leap Waterfall is a place you cannot miss out on! It is a short drive away from the city centre, near Pedro Tea Factory.
The story behind the name of the waterfall is a tragedy of lovers, however the sight of the waterfall is truly mesmerizing. Visit during the rainy season and it will be really nice. It is one of the easily accessible spots for a waterfall, because there are even better waterfalls but the trip itself will not be so simple. If you have the time in hand, do visit them.
5. Visit Mlesna Tea Castle, St. Claire
Mlesna Tea castle, more similar to a fortress built during colonial times is somewhere travelers can visit and spend the evening trying some high quality cup of Ceylon tea. The place is about 30 – 40 minutes drive from Nuwara Eliya. On the way you will pass by a few waterfalls and small streams where you can choose to stop and take a small look at it.
Inside this giant tea house there are products made of tea, a variety of nice tea and gifts that you can choose to buy to give yourself or to others. You can also make this your last stop during the holidays at Nuwara Eliya, to take a look at the tea museum inside the Mlesna Tea Castle.
6. Hakgala Botanical Gardens
Anyone who arrives in Nuwara Eliya will visit Hakgala Gardens to see the beautifully manicured garden grounds. It is located 1 km away from Seetha Amman Temple and is the second largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka.
You can spend about 1-3 hours strolling through the garden grounds. It is adjacent to the Hakgala Nature Reserve where there are plenty of natural flora and fauna. As the weather is cold and humid in general, some of the plants and flora cultivated in the gardens can rarely be seen in the other parts of the country. The gardens can be crowded many times a week because of Hakgala being a major attraction point even to the locals.
7. Seetha Amman Temple
Seetha and Rama’s tale is very famous among Sri Lankans as a folk story and part of the country’s ancient history. Seetha Eliya in Nuwara Eliya is one of the places where King Ravana kept the beautiful Seetha hidden from Lord Rama.
Seetha Amman Kovil/ Temple is popular among both Hindus, other locals and tourists. It is believed the kovil is built on where Seetha was last kept captive and it is also special how the place is dedicated to Seetha. There are some prints on the nearby rock which is believed to be left by the great Hanumaan when he came to rescue Seetha from king Ravana. The temple is on the road side, easily accessible for the travelers.
8. Horton Plains National Park
Hill Country is known for their beautiful views full of lush greenery and soothing weather conditions. Nuwara Eliya can be considered as one of the most attractive cities to both tourists and locals in this way and there is more to it than tea and waterfalls.
Horton Plains National Park, about 29 km away from Nuwara Eliya full of montane grassland and cloud forest. This massive park has significance as a watershed to Sri lanka, where many famous rivers and streams begin from this area. Also it boasts of biodiversity and endemic animal species in the region.
The Park offers some spectacular views to nature beyond and below hills. There are several trails inside the park that will lead up to different peaks. You can choose to hike as you like, however the most famous peak is known as “World’s End”. Since Nuwara Eliya quickly becomes misty, to enjoy a better view, begin your hike early and expect rainfall at any time.
9. Tread on tea trails
There are several large tea plantations in the area. You will see ladies plucking tea leaves into their huge baskets that are being carried with them. Rather than just passing by these greenery we suggest taking walks in these. There are tea trails that lead up to hills as well as to descend the hills.
While you are at it one can observe how tea is being plucked, the efforts that go into delicious Ceylon Tea. These are open areas without restricted access and the trees will help you when strolling through the tea plantations. This will be relaxing and enjoyable more than you had expected it to be.
10. Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church is an Anglican church built during the mid- 19th century, consecrated in 1852. The construction was done for seven years, The Church has since expanded into a large area. The original church is the western end of the current church. Captain Nelson had designed the church as the original architecture.
In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited the church during their visit to Sri Lanka. After attending the service the church was gifted with a blue carpet and a stained glass in remembrance. The historical value of the Holy Trinity Church and its atmosphere of a colonial period built classic English church will pique your interest.
11. Stay at Little England Cottages
Little England by Celeste is one of the best places you can stay while you are spending the holidays in Nuwara Eliya. The property is a short distance away from the town and not so far from the other major attractions in Nuwara Eliya. It gives out the impression of a classic English neighborhood in an old estate.
These are a set of luxury cottages with stylish interiors, great service and safety. It can be your much needed get away from the busy and hustling streets. It is surrounded by tea plantations and a forest of eucalyptus. The front gardens are well maintained which will tempt you to try your afternoon tea at the gardens.
12. Moon Plains
If you like Horton Plains, you will surely enjoy Moon Plains too. The place itself is beautiful. It has many views to offer and the hike will be very enjoyable. Nature lovers would adore the wild life and nature around you. Reach the peak and take a sweeping look around where you will be left excited. Make sure to go in the morning because Nuwara Eliya gets misty and clouds begin to cover the hills.
However, look out for the jeep rides because there might be some selfish drivers taking up too much time blocking other’s path. The area itself is pretty good for going on foot, so tourists can avoid the hassle of paying more money for the jeep drivers.