Jaffna is the main city in the North of Sri Lanka. This is the capital of the Tamil territory. If you are reading this article, you look for tourist places to visit in Jaffna during your stay. In this article we will offer some ideas of tourist places close to Jaffna. 

Surroundings of Jaffna

Jaffna is on a peninsula surrounded by Tamil villages and many kilometers of beautiful coast. The people are nice and proud of their origins. They live in beautiful coastal towns splashed with fishing boats, nets and kids using their rods. In the interior, the visitor will find temples, smiles and a very authentic lifestyle. Don’t stay only in the city if you can get a vehicle just take a look around.   

Kadurugoda Viharaya

This archaeological settlement is known as Kantharodai in Tamil and Kadurugoda in Sinhala, Kadurugoda Viharaya is located in a rural area 13 kilometers outside of Jaffna. The place has 20 small curious stupas dating back to the year 0, in which it is believed that 60 Tamil Buddhist monks who reached Nirvana were buried after being poisoned. The place is quite small and is not ready for visits. Even so, the site is very interesting and beautiful. 

They have found some Roman coins and Ancient Chinese Dynasties objects. There was a nearby port that had commercial purposes many centuries ago. The Kadurugoda stupas have a halo of mystery too as they say that within them there could be a hidden treasure. 

Keerimalai Sacred Water Spring

Keerimalai is undoubtedly one of the favorite attractions of the local Sri Lankan population when traveling to Jaffna and that you can also visit during your experience in the north of ancient Ceylon. This is an excellent stop if you plan to arrive at Point Pedro. 

Among the many attractions in the area, Keerimalai Beach stands out with its exuberant local life and the hot springs that you will find adjoining the ocean. This area, 20 kilometers north of the center of Jaffna, is only a few kilometers from Jaffna airport, so it is very likely that it will quickly become one of the most developed tourist favorite locations.

The islands of Jaffna

Jaffna is surrounded by very interesting islands. Those islands are not tourist at all. You can find though some accomodation but it is very needed to know where you go and to have a booking upfront. The islands of Jaffna are authentic territories where to find a unique vibe. The historic isolation from the rest of Sri Lanka, the specific culture and the proximity with India make those pieces of land something special for philanthropists.


Velanai is the island of Kayts. We drove along a paved road from Jaffna that crossed the waters in a straight line as a bridge. Velenai is the closest island to Jaffna and it is different enough to catch the real vibe of this Tamil island territory. We were in the middle of the political crisis of 2022 in the country and we struggled to find petrol for our tuk-tuk. But fortunately, in front of the last closed gas station, and old off duty taxi driver offered to sell two liters in order to make it back to the city. 

On this island, the first point of interest is the photogenic Chaddy Beach. The beach is accessible by a secondary road following the signs, crossing thick palm groves. 

Delft island

This small Delft Island to the west of Jaffna of 50 square kilometers in size, presents some amazing landscapes. It is located 40 kilometers from Jaffna and you must take a boat in the port of Kurikadduwan to get there. The Dutch name is Delft but the name of the island in the local language is Neduntheevu. The island is visitable on a tour of between 4 or 5 hours.

Nainativu Island

Another spectacular island next to Delft, it is increasingly tourist but also little spoiled by international tourist routes. It is a popular place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus. This fact makes it one of the most famous islands in Sri Lanka and one of the main attractions to visit when traveling to Jaffna. To get there, you will have to take a ferry from Kurikadduwan port in Jaffna. On the island of Nainativu, the Hindu temple of the Sri Naga Pooshani Amman Kovil and the Buddhist temple of Nagadipa Purana Vihara stand out.


The island of Punkudutivu is about 30 far from Jaffna and very close to Kayts. Punkudutivu is famous to be the last stop before reaching Nainativu or Delft by boat. The pier is in Kurikaduwan, in the west of the island. Middleburgh got its name during the Dutch occupation. The island has several villages where travelers can figure out about the real lifestyle of Northern Sri Lankans. The majority of the population is made up of Tamils ​​of Hindu obedience, and a few Catholics. The famous Hindu temple Kannaki Ambal is the main attraction. The island experienced serious abuses by members of the Sri Lankan Navy during the civil war.


Mandaitivu is a small island off the coast of Sri Lanka. The majority of the population is from Tamil minority, on the Jaffna peninsula in the north of the country. The connexion to the mainland is by an embankment or causeway. The island is unfortunately famous for the massacre  of ethnic Tamils. 33 civilian fishermen were attacked, tortured and murdered by Sri Lankan Navy personnel in the island. The Navy established bases on the Inland in 2011. Nowadays there is not much to visit there. 


Analativu is a tiny small island off the coast of Sri Lanka. It is Tamil minority related as many other territories in the Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. There are a number of Hindu temples and some churches on the island. Since it does not have a land connection to the mainland it is only accesable by a ferry service.


Karaitivu is an island where you can get there by road. So, it can be a good option to start or to finish a round trip on the islands from Jaffna. It has the crystal blue water and white sand of Casuarina Beach, and some small temples and an iconic old lighthouse. 

Where to stay close to Jaffna

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