Sri Lanka

Ancient civilisation and endless beaches

Contributors
Vidya Balachander Robin McKelvie

New edition!

Undiscovered Sri Lanka

Getting off the tourist trail in Sri Lanka

If measured by size alone, Sri Lanka would be a middleweight – the planet’s 25th largest island, roughly equal to Tasmania, and significantly smaller than Ireland and Hokkaido. On a map the country appears as a modest dot below the vastness of its northern neighbour India.

But measured by cultural heritage, natural diversity and physical beauty, Sri Lanka is a global heavyweight, which might explain the country’s meteoric rise to prominence as a travel hotspot in recent years.

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From ancient ruins to a vibrant and welcoming contemporary culture; from lazy afternoons on glorious beaches to hikes through the rolling hills of tea country and wild elephant spotting in untouched national parks; this is a destination that truly has it all.

Despite having its hard-won stability rocked by the tragic events of Easter 2019, Sri Lanka's tourism infrastructure is developing in leaps and bounds. Hospitality is warm and abundant, transport is convenient, and accommodation — particularly in the independent boutique sector — is world-class.

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14 days

Complete Sri Lanka

Ancient temples and endless beaches
Colombo (1 days) Polonnaruwa (3) Kandy (2) Haputale (2) Udawalawe (1) Tangalle (3) Colombo (2)
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13 days

Southern Sri Lanka experience

Tea, treks and Tangalle’s beaches
Galle (3 days) Haputale (3) Yala National Park (2) Tangalle (4) Colombo (1)
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17 days

Nature and wildlife explorer

The best of rural Sri Lanka
Colombo (2 days) Paramakanda Rock temple (3) Polonnaruwa (2) Knuckles Mountain Range (2) Gal Oya National Park (3) Yala National Park (2) Galle (3)
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14 days

Undiscovered Sri Lanka

Explore the hidden northeast
Colombo (2 days) Jaffna (3) Trincomalee (4) Wilpattu National Park (2) Paramakanda Rock temple (2)
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14 days

Slow travel Sri Lanka

Culture, countryside and beaches
Colombo (2 days) Polonnaruwa (3) Kandy (3) Galle (6)
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  • Tangalle

    Tangalle

    Laidback Tangalle in Sri Lanka’s south is one of the region’s more relaxed beach destinations, combining simple guesthouses and some upmarket hotels...
  • Yala National Park

    Yala National Park

    Southeast Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park is the country’s most visited wilderness reserve...
  • Polonnaruwa

    Polonnaruwa

    Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, a thriving centre of commerce and religion...
  • Udawalawe

    Udawalawe

    Sri Lanka’s finest national park is home to herds of elephants, wild buffalo, crocodiles and leopards...
  • Colombo

    Colombo

    Cosmopolitan Colombo is more than just the gateway to Sri Lanka...
  • Haputale

    Haputale

    The hillside town of Haputale is a little-visited stop on the train route into tea country from Kandy to Ella...
  • Knuckles Mountain Range

    Knuckles Mountain Range

    The Knuckles Mountain Range – also known as the Dumbara Mountain Range – is home to 34 peaks and offers plenty of treks for hikers to explore, with waterfalls, tiny villages and elusive mountain animals part of the experience...
  • Galle

    Galle

    The historic fort town of Galle is best explored on foot, allowing you to take in its grandiose colonial buildings, ancient temples and mosques and many quirky side streets...
  • Kandy

    Kandy

    Central Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites, being home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – a tooth from Buddha himself...
  • Gal Oya National Park

    Gal Oya National Park

    Gal Oya is the most untouched of all of Sri Lanka’s national parks and is the only one where you can take a boat safari...
  • Wilpattu National Park

    Wilpattu National Park

    Wilpattu translates as ‘natural lakes’ in Sinhala and ‘10 lakes’ in Tamil, so it’s no surprise what the main attraction is in this national park...
  • Trincomalee

    Trincomalee

    The port city of Trincomalee is best-known as a gateway to the beaches and resorts on Sri Lanka’s east coast...
  • Pasikudah Bay

    ...
  • Jaffna

    Jaffna

    Intriguing Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s far north offers an insight into the country’s Tamil culture...
  • Anuradhapura

    ...
  • Mihintale

    ...
  • Paramakanda Rock temple

    ...
  • Ella

    ...
  • Dambulla

    ...

Where to go in Sri Lanka

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