14 Things to do in Nuwara Eliya, Srilanka

Nuwara Eliya is a popular hill station in Srilanka. Nuwara Eliya literally translates to New light. Being a hill station, it offers cool weather, great views and has numberous attractions to keep visitors engaged. During my first trip I had a short visit and during our last trip, we spent a night in Nuwara Eliya. In this post, I am explaining various attractions around Nuwara Eliya that you can explore when in Nuwara Eliya. Plan to spend at least 1 night, 2 days in Nuwara Eliya while visiting Srilanka, more if you can afford a longer trip.
Keeping your base at Nuwara Eliya, you can explore the following. I’ve a quick reference table below and a more detailed review
#
Attraction
Distance from Nuwara Eliya city
Time to spend
Entry fee per person
Timings
1
12 kms
2 hours

8.30 AM till 5 PM
2
Lover’s Leap waterfall
8 kms
2 hours


3
Horton Plains
30 kms
Almost full day
Refer notes
20 USD
6 AM to 6 PM
4
Seetha Eliya
4-7 kms
30 mins
Free

5
Victoria Park
1-2 kms
1 hour
300 LKR

6
Damro tea factory
15 kms
30 mins
Free
60 LKR for milk tea
7
StoreField Tea Factory
45 kms
30 mins
Free

8
Pedro Tea Factory
7 kms
30 mins


9
Hakgala botanical garden
5 kms
1 hour/full day
12 USD/ 1500 LKR

10
Caravan Park
1-2 kms
1 night/24 hours
65 USD onwards per couple per night

11
Bomburella
Waterfall
14 kms



12
St Clairs Waterfall
27 kms

Free

13
Gregory lake
0 kms

200 LKR
Watersports available
1 Drive to top of Pidurathalagala- Srilanka’s highest peak
Pidurathalagala is Srilanka's highest peak, controlled by army, located some 10 kms from Nuwara Eliya city centre, can be accessed only in a vehicle (No trekking/cycling/motorbike). Offers great views of valley, if the sky is clear. Read my visit experience to Pidurathalagala here. Recommended if you have a vehicle, love peaks and scenic views.

2. Lover’s Leap waterfall
Lover's Leap waterfall is between Pidurathalagala and Pedro tea factory- can be viewed from distance if in hurry but trekking closer will take a few hours. Decide based on your time and interest.

3. Day trip to Horton Plains
Horton Plains National Parks makes a full day trip from Nuwara Eliya- About 2 hours non stop ride, 4 hours to walk the 8 kms trail, 2 hours back to Nuwara Eliya. You can club a visit to Seetha Amman temple, New Zealand Farm and Hakgala botanical garden on the way to Horton Plains national park

Check my Horton Plains visit experience here, FAQs here

4. Visit Seetha Amman temple
Seetha Eliya is where Ravan kept Seetha (Ram's wife as per Ramayana epic) hostage. This place is now maintained as a small temple, worth a short visit or stopover enroute to horton plains Check photos and details here
5. Victoria Park
A nice park inside Nuwara Eliya town. Good for a quick stroll/relaxed walk

6,7,8 Visit Tea factories
There’re several tea factories in Nuwara Eliya and on the way to Nuwara Eliya. You should definitely visit one or two of them. Damro is the popular one- they have signage all along the highway advising remaining distance and encouraging you to stop by. There’re a few more tea factories in and around. Pedro tea factory in Nuwara Eliya – our homestay host said it is not worth. We had visited Damro and Storefield tea factory enroute to Nuwara Eliya. There was one more - Bluefield-which we skipped. There’re few tea factory+ hotels as well- you can spend a night with view of tea plantations, but such stays are relatively expensive at around 100-150 USD per night or more.
9. Hakgala Botanical Garden
LKR 1500 entry fee for foreign nationals, popular botanical garden, enroute to Horton Plains. Good for relaxed family time, but may be skipped if on tight schedule or on budget.

10. Stay in a caravan
Check this post for details- for about 100 USD, you can spend a night in a parked caravan next to gregory lake. Will be a unique experience

11, 12 Bomburella and St Clair's waterfalls
There're numerous waterfalls around Nuwara Eliya- you will spot a few while reaching here and there're few more if you can drive a few kms. Worth post monsoon season and if you love waterfalls. There're some hotels near the falls with falls view- if you are interested.
13. Explore Gregory Lake
Gregory lake is a large lake at the centre of Nuwara Eliya. You can go for a walk on its banks, or try some boat ride/jetski ride or have some nice food at the restaurants located on its banks. An entry fee of 200 LKR per person was collected to enter lake premises.

14. Enjoy dining in lake facing restaurants
Bonus: There're many restaurants next to Gregory lake that offer outdoor seating- you can relax and enjoy your food with Gregory lake view. Indian Summers is one such restaurant that we visited.

Below is how these places are situated around Nuwara Eliya. Link to map here

If you ask me for an itinerary, below is what I would suggest:
Visit tea factories on your way to Nuwara Eliya

On day 01, you can visit Seetha Eliya, Hakgala, Horton Plains and return by evening

On day 02, visit Piduruthalagala, Gregory lake and few waterfalls as per interest.

Hope this helps in your Srilanka trip planning. Don't miss to check other related posts- how much time to spend in Colombo * Managing veg food during Srilanka tour * Exploring Srilanka on public transportation and more

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