Perched at the northern tip of Sri Lanka, the laid-back town of Jaffna offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city of Colombo. After being closed off to visitors during the 26-year civil war, Jaffna has recently seen the emergence of a small but growing hospitality industry. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for luxury, Jaffna has a variety of accommodation options. While some hotels may appear corporate and similar on the surface, there are hidden gems to be discovered in charming heritage houses.
For food lovers, Jaffna is famous for its seafood delicacies sourced from the nearby saltwater lagoon. Don’t miss the ever-popular Jaffna Crab Curry. The town is also rich in history, with attractions such as the star-shaped Portuguese and Dutch-era Fort, the beautifully rebuilt Jaffna Public Library, the red-and-white Nallur Kandaswamy temple, and the striking St Mary’s Cathedral. Keerimalai Hot Springs and Kankesanthurai Beach are just a short drive away.
Take a leisurely stroll along the causeway that connects Jaffna to nearby islands and enjoy the sight of fishermen wading in the shallows and birds flying overhead. You can also take a ferry to visit the sacred sites of Nagadipa and the former Dutch settlement on Delft Island, where wild ponies roam free.
While there may be limited options for bars and restaurants, this means that Jaffna’s evenings are peaceful and quiet. By staying at one of the best places in Jaffna, you can immerse yourself in the local culture without the crowds. With relatively fewer tourists, this northern city offers a truly unique and off-the-beaten-track experience.
For city style
Jetwing Jaffna is the ultimate choice for a stylish stay in town. This sleek and centrally located modern hotel offers contemporary rooms with traditional touches and impressive city views. Indulge in local delicacies at the hotel restaurant and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the panoramic rooftop bar.
For a boutique stay
If you prefer a more intimate setting, Thambu Illam is a recently renovated heritage home nestled in a leafy residential area. With only four ensuite bedrooms, this hidden gem ensures a relaxed atmosphere and ample privacy. The friendly staff is always available to assist, making your stay feel like a true retreat.
For an apartment or villa
If you’re looking for the comfort of an apartment or a private villa, we recommend visiting our online partner booking.com for a wide selection of options.
The easiest way to reach Jaffna is by train from Colombo or Anuradhapura. We advise booking your train tickets a few days in advance from the train station, as reserved seats can sell out quickly. You can find the latest train times here.
Jaffna is a year-round destination, but temperatures peak in April and May, making for a hot and humid stay. The monsoon season usually occurs from October to December. The high season, from May to September, tends to be busy, so we recommend booking early to secure your preferred accommodations.
Still not sure?
If you need further assistance, feel free to browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Jaffna. Alternatively, you can expand your search to include all our Sri Lanka recommendations. For personalized advice, don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly staff members.