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


  • 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?


Monthly Weather in Sigiriya

Best Hotels in Sigiriya

  • EKHO Sigiriya Sigiriya 20 rooms from £40

    Trekking  -  Hike up Pidurangala Rock in the early morning or evening for superb views of Sigiriya & beyond — visibility is limited at dusk!
    Active Holiday  -  Clamber up Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Rock, go cycling or enjoy safaris in nearby Kaudulla or Minneriya National Parks
    Safari  -  Safaris in Kadulla or Minneriya National Parks offer sightings of elephants, peacocks and tropical birds
    Sights nearby  -  The big draw is enormous Sigiriya Rock: one of Sri Lanka's most famous cultural hotspots
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A tranquil boutique base for Sigiriya Rock explorations. Reminiscent of the island's old rest houses, classic red-tiled rooms feature wood-and-cane furniture and an elegant cream palette. Ideal for couples, friends and families eager to appreciate great Sri Lankan fare and heritage style. See More

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  • Kumbukgaha Villa Sigiriya 7 rooms from £66

    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.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenParkingNo pets

    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. See More

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  • Vil Uyana Sigiriya 30 rooms from £226

    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.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels

    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. See More

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  • Water Garden Sigiriya Sigiriya 30 rooms from £275

    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
    Hotel Entertainment  -  Don't leave with out on of the traditional massages from the spa
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    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. See More

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