Sri Lanka Yala National Park leopard
Sri Lanka Yala bee eater
Sri Lanka Yala National Park scenery

Southeast Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park is the country’s most visited wilderness reserve. Home to leopards, elephants and crocodiles, the park’s trails can get crowded during the high season.

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

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...
  • 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

Our recommended places

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. What really sets it apart from the other resorts along the coast are the nearby attractions, including turtle-watching at Rekawa and the rock temples of Mulkirigala – both a half-day trip away.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, a thriving centre of commerce and religion. Today, visitors can explore the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Sacred Quadrangle and a number of temples. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Udawalawe

Udawalawe

Sri Lanka’s finest national park is home to herds of elephants, wild buffalo, crocodiles and leopards. The park’s light vegetation makes it easier to spot the animals, with the 200 Asian elephants that call the Udawalawe home the main attraction.

Colombo

Colombo

Cosmopolitan Colombo is more than just the gateway to Sri Lanka. Here, you can learn about Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic history, with churches, mosques and temples all in a line, street food with influences from around the world, and shopping in a mix of ancient markets and huge malls in Pettah.

Haputale

Haputale

The hillside town of Haputale is a little-visited stop on the train route into tea country from Kandy to Ella. Surrounded by tea plantations, this is the perfect place for a hike through Sri Lanka’s countryside away from the crowds. Take a side-trip to Diyaluma Waterfall to see the country’s second-highest waterfall, complete with three sets of pools to soak in.

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. Make sure to take a walk on the ramparts of the fort, with views out over the ocean.

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. The golden-roofed temple is actually part of the Royal Palace complex, which includes several museums and temples. Look out for the annual perahera festival, when the tooth is paraded around the city by 65 decorated elephants.

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. Take to the water on Watawanna Lake to see elephants swimming, crocodiles hunting and birdlife up close.

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. The many watering holes provide shelter for elephants, deer, sloth bears and elusive leopards.

Trincomalee

Trincomalee

The port city of Trincomalee is best-known as a gateway to the beaches and resorts on Sri Lanka’s east coast. However, it’s worth lingering to see the town’s Hindu temples and for whale watching between March and August.

Jaffna

Jaffna

Intriguing Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s far north offers an insight into the country’s Tamil culture. For several decades, Jaffna and its surrounding regions were at the centre of Sri Lanka’s civil war between the Tamil north and Sinhalese south. Today, Jaffna is a strikingly cosmopolitan city emerging from its troubled past.

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