Photo of Sigiriya

About Sigiriya

Perched high atop a rocky plateau standing 200m above tangled jungle is Sigiriya, an ancient palace and monastery. Complete with fortifications, beautiful archaic frescoes, fountains and arguably the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, the rock fortress was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Sri Lanka's most iconic and important national monument. A truly mesmerising site in a truly enchanting location. Our collection of the best places to stay in Sigiriya has something for everyone from chic boutiques to budget properties.

Formed by the magma of an extinct volcano, Sigiriya was used as a monastery in the 3rd century BCE; by the 5th century CE, she was turned into a royal palace. Standing stark against a backdrop of jungle and sky, the plateau is a complex maze of ruined shrines, fortifications and alleyways. Scattered throughout are beautiful stroke paintings and frescoes. At the entrance stands large stone lion claws, originally part of a larger lion-statue that has sadly been lost to time, a feature that explains the origin of the name "Sigiriya", which derives itself from "Sihagri", meaning lion rock.

Sweeping beneath the feet of the "lion rock" are some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world: lilypad-covered moats, mist-crested jungle, ponds and ancient fountains. It makes for a delightful place to explore because the gardens sweep on seemingly forever. Be sure to check out the Mirror Wall, once a wall so shiny the king could see his face in it, and now covered head-to-toe in ancient graffiti, alluding to the fact that Sigiriya has been a tourist honeytrap for at least 1000 years, particularly after it was abandoned in the 14th century.

What not to miss

  • Explore the depths of the jungle by foot on a guided tour.
  • Walk aimlessly around the gorgeous manicured gardens.
  • Head to the top of the plateau and drink in the commanding views.
  • Walk amongst the fortifications, fountains and frescoes atop Sigiriya.
  • Marvel at the ancient graffiti on the Mirror Wall!

Sigiriya is a fascinating UNESCO Site. An iconic Sri Lankan heritage monument, it is rightly nicknamed the "eighth wonder of the world" by locals. Browse through our collection of the best places to stay in Sigiriya to start planning your trip.

The best places to stay in Sigiriya

Resort

  • Water Garden Sigiriya: seamlessly blending traditional sensibilities with chic style, this beautiful luxury resort offers private and intimate villas, a two-storey restaurant boasting a great variety of international cuisine, all set on ancient paddy fields. Divine.

Rural hideaway

  • Vil Uyana: set on stilts in luxury thatched cabanas above a man-made grassy lake, this hotel offers huge rooms, large windows and enormous decks ideal for birdwatching. There is a tranquil library, large infinity pool and a pampering spa.

Value chic

  • Kumbukgaha Villa: great value for money, this chic little property offers pretty private villas and bungalows with whitewashed walls, local artefacts and open-air luxurious bathrooms.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • Fly to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, get a train to Habarana - 15km away from Sigiriya - from where you can get a taxi or bus.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
  • Go between December and April to miss the monsoon season and when the temperature ranges between 24 and 31 degrees.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Sigiriya

  • Kumbukgaha Villa 7 rooms from £66

    Sigiriya

    A chic small hotel set in a secluded rural spot near the Minneriya National Park. Private villas and bungalows are cleanly designed with high beamed ceilings, white-washed walls and traditional Asian artefacts. The open-air bathrooms add to the luxurious feel. A charming stay.

    Local exploring  -  Surrounded by historic places of interest and areas of natural beauty to be explored.
    Hideaway  -  A beautiful area to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
    Great walks  -  Find scenic walking trails starting straight from the property running through villages and the surrounding countryside.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Sigiriya World Hertitage Site, Pidurangala rock temple and the historic Dambulla cave temple.
    Check prices
  • Vil Uyana 30 rooms from £226

    Sigiriya

    Luxury thatched cabanas set on stilts over a man made lake filled with nature. Huge rooms, large windows and decks overlooking the wetlands - perfect for birdwatching. Peaceful library, large infinity pool, and spa. A unique retreat in natural surroundings.

    Back to Nature  -  Independent water huts on stilts over a man made lake in the wetland wildlife reserve.
    Birdwatching  -  This region is known as a haven for bird watchers with over 120 recorded species visable from your porch!
    Sights nearby  -  The resort lies under the shadow of the World Heritage Site of Sigiriya or "Lion Mountain".
    Great walks  -  Explore the reed beds and paddy fields of this man made wetland reserve.
    Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
    Check prices
  • Water Garden Sigiriya 30 rooms from £275

    Sigiriya

    A peaceful resort scattered around the ancient paddy fields overlooking Sigiriya. The private villas offer intimate secluded spaces with chic interiors and private terraces. The two story restaurant serves phenomenal international cuisine in a picturesque setting. A luxury tribute to tradition.

    Total relaxation  -  The design pays hommage to the ancient belief in the healing power of water and there's fabulous massages too
    Honeymoons  -  As romantic as it can get with princely villas, plunge pools, private terraces, and gourmet organic cuisine
    Sights nearby  -  The ruined rock fortress of Sigiriya, is only a twenty minute drive away and can be seen from the hotel
    Wildlife Area  -  The property is filled with monkeys, peacocks, birds and lizards
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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