ExploreJaffna with Your Family

The city of Jaffna offers a uniquely different experience to what you may have already enjoyed in the south and west of Sri Lanka. Explore the diverse landscapes of the region, the rich culture and turbulent past of the northern most city of the island. Here’s a list of things to do when you visit the city with your family.

❂ Useful Tips:

  • Tuk-tuks are the most convenient way to get around the city.
  • Keep in mind that it can get quite hot in Jaffna, so come prepared with water and snacks for the kids when you go sightseeing.

A Culture Trip in the North

Jaffna is home to a unique culture that stems from the Hindu religion. This is the reason you will be able to see many kovils, temples, and other monuments, some of which are shrouded in mythical tales. Sites that should be on your list of places to visit include the spectacular Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, the Nagapushani Amman Kovil, Nagadipa Purana Viharaya and the Keerimalai Hot Springs. Many of these monuments date back even before the period of the Jaffna Kingdom, which was established in the 13th century.

Island Hopping

While the city center of Jaffna is an eclectic mix of all things unique to the north of Sri Lanka, the neighbouring islands of the city also showcase a different aspect of Sri Lankan lifestyle. The villages, palm trees, ancient temples and untouched beaches that can be found on the islands of Velanai, Delft and Nagadipa are certainly charming and captivating. Definitely consider visiting them during your family holiday in Jaffna.

European Influence

As it is located right next to the Palk Strait that divides India and Sri Lanka, the European colonisers, who arrived on the island in the 16th century, understood the strategic importance of Jaffna in protecting their trade monopoly. As a result, they proceeded to strengthen the city with a Vauban-style fort and also constructed churches and other administrative buildings. These constructions offer a stark contrast to the traditional Dravidian influenced architecture of pre-colonial Jaffna.

Culinary Delights Await

A trip to Jaffna is not complete if you don’t treat your palette to the flavourful, spicy and unique cuisine the region is famous for. Many local eateries, such as the Green Grass Restaurant and Cosy Restaurant, are popular for serving some of the best Jaffna prawn and crab curries. Some of the curries might be too spicy for kids, so it is best to ask your server for some non-spicy recommendations as well. Make sure you visit the bustling Jaffna Market located in the heart of the town and sample the interesting and delicious snacks, sweets and fruits that fill the compact stalls. When the heat of the day gets overwhelming, head over to the popular Rio Ice Cream Parlour and choose from a wide range of flavours and sundaes.