From formidable historic forts and vibrant Hindu temples to sacred Buddhist sites and busy markets, these are some of the top tourist attractions to see and things to do in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Situated in the northernmost end of the country, Jaffna is the capital of the Northern Province. As it is a little off the marked road, visitors in Sri Lanka sometimes miss it, and have only opened its doors to visitors in 2009 at the end of the war; it stays as unique as it has ever been. The Northern Province of Sri Lanka is inhabited by the Tamil community and is predominantly Hindu. If you’ve been to India, especially the South, you’ll find the influence from the subcontinent – from food to architecture, and also what people are wearing. Jaffna is a must-visit city when you plan a holiday in Sri Lanka.
Here’s is a Quick List of the Best Things to do in Jaffna:
- Stroll Through Jaffna’s Hustle-Bustle City Center
- Cycling in Jaffna
- Elephant Pass War Memorial
- Fish Shopping in Jaffna
- Eat Jaffna Mangoes
- Enjoy the Coastal Stretch and Beach
Best things to do in Jaffna #1 – Stroll Through Jaffna’s Hustle-Bustle City Center
If you have a vacant afternoon, we surely suggest wandering around the streets of Jaffna and, dare we suggest it, getting a little lost. Jaffna’s city center is truly gorgeous-towering palm trees, colorful Hindu temples, lively local markets, pleasant laneways, and, of course, welcoming smiles from surprised residents. The best way to see all this is on foot, through the middle of town.
Begin at the bus station in Jaffna, go west, and follow your nose. And when you’re finished, get a tuk-tuk to Mangos-the best restaurant in town!
Best things to do in Jaffna #2 – Cycling in Jaffna
A Jaffna Cycling trip can take you to Jaffna’s big attractions such as Jaffna Fort, Library, Subramaniam Park, Coastal Village, Old Park, Rio Ice Cream, Nallur Temple, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. James Church, Buddhist Pagoda, a statue of the last King of Jaffna Dynasty, Last King’s Building, Jaffna Market, Arc of the last King’s Palace, and Archeological Museum. Every and every attraction will be clarified to the visitors, and plenty of time will be spent relaxing and taking photos.
This cycle trip is about 18 km but may be condensed based on the activity level and criteria of the individual. If you want, we would take you to the Catholic Church to buy Jaffna wine, fruit cordials developed by Catholic nuns, and even Palmyrah items made by village people.
Things to do in Jaffna #3 – Discover Elephant Pass War Memorial
Elephant Pass is a stretch of land that links the mainland to the Jaffna Peninsula. The majority of tourists can reach Jaffna through the Elephant Pass and travel past the Elephant Pass War Memorial. The large tank, which is a famous monument of the land, is there to remember the war and all the combat that had taken place in this area. If you’re interested in the past of the civil war, pause here on your way to Jaffna.
Best things to do in Jaffna #4 – Fish Shopping in Jaffna
There are a variety of small-scale fish markets around Jaffna, and the one on Beach Road is simple to get to and quite relaxed. Fish markets in Jaffna begin at 7 a.m. and a decent variety of exotic fish and the usual catch of the day; you can buy and taste such fresh fishes.
The whole market consisted of just around 100 guys, starting to trickle in and out, making it peaceful and quiet compared to many of the world’s largest city fish markets!
Best things to do in Jaffna #5 – Eat the mangoes of Jaffna
Among all the things to do in Jaffna, often lying back and eating a few mangoes and just watching other people is one of the most satisfying. The Jaffna region is well established in Sri Lanka for its mango supply and deliciousness. In Colombo’s Pettah Market, several of the vendors would also inform you they have “Jaffna Mangoes!”
Things to do in Jaffna #6 – Enjoy the Coastal Stretch and Beach
It doesn’t cost you a fortune to walk and chill on this coastline. Even though Jaffna is the busiest spot, you’ll find yourself lost at Kankesanthurai Beach. You’re going to be at peace with the crystal clear water seas. There’s even a special Keerimalai pond popular for this location. It’s like your usual swimming pool, except it’s like a traditional age-old pond with warm, safe water.
Best things to do in Jaffna #7 – Explore the churches on the beachside
While Jaffna is famous for many temples, there are few Catholic churches on the beach. Create a list to attend the Church of St. John and Our Lady of Refuge and St. Mary and John the Baptist Church. The Catholic cemetery of Jaffna, which is a sign of the fight that was fought to restore stability to the valley. It’s located off the beach lane.