The Best of Sri Lanka
With more than 800 miles of coastline overlooking the azure ocean, breathtaking nature and a rich cultural history, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.
Nestled to the south of India in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka exemplifies the traditional picture of an island paradise. But there is much more to this former British colony than unspoilt coastlines and tropical weather. The island squeezes more than 3,000 years of cultural history, 15 national parks, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and much more into its 25,000 square miles.
Before You Go
Sri Lanka is rated one of the safest places in the world to visit. However, as is the case everywhere, travellers should always be alert and are strongly advised to purchase low cost travel insurance prior to departure for a stress-free visit.
You will also need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Short stay visas are available online.
As Sri Lanka is a tropical island, you should consider the monsoon seasons before you book. The southwest monsoon from June to October affects the more well-known beach resorts in the south west region. The northeast monsoon from October to December affects the northern and eastern areas.
Aside from the official monsoons, there is always the possibility of rain even outside these dates on a tropical island!
The vast majority of Sri Lanka’s coastline is dedicated to pristine beaches, providing holidaymakers with a year-round choice of waterskiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, whale watching or just lazing in the sand.
The southern and western beach resorts, such as Bentota, Unawatuna and Weligama Bay are perhaps the best known and are famed for their spectacular surfing facilities and boutique hotels.
However, travellers looking to explore further from the beaten track can find unspoilt and lesser known tropical hideaways in areas to the north east, including Nilaveli and Uppavelli. This side of the island is doubly attractive for visitors during the southwest monsoon season (June to October) as it avoids most of the severe weather that can affect the southern and western resorts.
Almost every trip to Sri Lanka starts at its sprawling metropolitan capital, Colombo. The city has enough variety in its various districts to offer a comprehensive introduction to Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage, and when finished there, the rest of the island is easily explored by car or train.
Perhaps the most famous of its ancient cities is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. This was Sri Lanka’s third capital (from around 400BC to 1000AD) and is one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists.
No visit is complete without exploring the unique temples and of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital. Once a thriving city, the restored remains are now scattered throughout peaceful parks to the north and west of the new city.
Even more famous than its ancient cities is Sri Lanka’s long history of supplying tea and spices to the western world. Today, the past meets the present at working tea plantations and spice gardens.
Sri Lanka is a mecca for nature-lovers. Its 15 national parks boast more flora and fauna in one small island than most of us would see in a lifetime.
Take an early morning safari to observe lions, elephants and buffalo, ride the waves on a whale watching trip or see how many of the 433 bird species you can spot!
Visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has so much to offer, it would be impossible to take it all in in a single visit. You will fall in love with the tropical island paradise and you will want to visit again and again!