Sri Lanka Holidays
Romantically christened the "teardrop of India", Sri Lanka was named Lonely Planet's top destination for 2019. Full of surprises, the island has history spanning 3,000 event-filled years, nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an unbelievably diverse culture. Spectacularly set amongst lush, green and picturesque mountains lined with tea plantations and alongside golden, sandy beaches, Sri Lanka would appear to have it all.
As far as beaches go, Sri Lanka has lots to shout about, from undeveloped shores and romantic hideaways to fun sociable hubs, family-friendly sands, endless watersports and surfing hotspots.
Heritage also reigns supreme, with dozens of impressive cities, sacred sites and ancient monuments, particularly in the Cultural Triangle, which stretches between the great Sinhalese capitals of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy, whilst also encompassing Sigiriya and Dambulla. Colombo, the dynamic capital is well worth getting to know, with its colonial architecture, photogenic temples, sizzling street stalls, bustling markets and vibrant atmosphere.
Sri Lanka’s wild side can be experienced at its many national parks. Yala and Wilpattu are top havens for leopards, Uda Walawe is a prime location for elephants and, at little known Gal Oya, boat safaris take you in search of swimming elephants. Sinharaja is Sri Lanka’s only remaining primeval rainforest and for a truly outstanding sight, don’t miss the annual Elephant Gathering (August-September), when wild elephants hang out in Minneriya National Park.
In the ocean, whale and dolphin sightings are possible from November to April in Mirissa and Kalpitya, or from March to April in Trincomalee. Sea turtles can also be seen year round in Kosgoda or Rekawa.
In the cool central highlands, the landscape of lush green tea plantations carpeting the hills is mesmerising. At its heart is Nuwara Eliya, where the tea pickers’ colourful saris dot the hills, restored colonial-era bungalows evoke a bygone era and a cuppa has never tasted so good.
Indian Ocean gems such as the Maldives combine perfectly with Sri Lanka, otherwise stop en route in the Middle East for a taste of Arabia.
- Gorgeous beaches & growing surf scene
- Treasure trove of culture
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- National parks & safari experiences
- Warm, smiling people
- Colonial-era tea plantations