Let's get one thing out of the way: It ain't cheap to visit the Lion Rock. It costs about $35 CAD to access the site, and yes, it is a lot of work climbing that mountain.
But does that mean you should skip it? Absolutely not!
There's a reason it's a World Heritage Site. The walk leading to the mountain is beautiful and full of striking colours, and I can't even begin to imagine how people lived up there or how the original path was carved! The frescoes are, for the most part, super well preserved and vivid. It's pretty amazing to think that they're over a thousand years old!
The view from the top is definitely beautiful, but more than anything, it's the feeling you get once you're up there. There's a magic to it. When we were there, there were swarms of dragonflies buzzing around, fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky, and a see of green as far as the eye could see.
We spent around four hours there, and easily could have spent more time, but our driver was after us to get going as we had a few other things planned for the day. It's best to go early in the morning as well so that you beat the heat (as much as is possible in Sri Lanka) for the climb.