Think to yourself what you’re looking for in a holiday. Is it a cultural experience you’re after? Delicious food? Lush stretches of nature? A safari? White sand beaches and clear blue water? Look no further than Sri Lanka!
From UNESCO World Heritage sites, rolling hills of tea plantations, wild elephants and lazy surf towns, this small island has everything you’re looking for. So get off the beaten path with our ultimate guide to sun, culture and adventure in Sri Lanka.
Located just north of the capital city of Colombo is the small seaside village, Negombo. Ideally situated near the airport, this is a natural jumping off point if you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of a big city. Experience Negombo’s rich history and culture while strolling along the shore. Don’t forget to visit the fish market to feast on fresh seafood.
Visit Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura
Further north, explore the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Anuradhapura. There, you’ll witness ancient Buddhist temples, religious ceremonies, and have a chance to visit the sacred Bo-tree, one of the oldest trees in the world.
Eat With Your Hands
From spicy curries and dosa (a rolled chickpea crepe) to kotthu roti (chopped flatbread mixed with vegetables, egg and meat) and breakfast hoppers (a chickpea crepe bowl with egg, perfect for dipping into curries). Don’t be afraid to eat with your hands and try everything. Be careful though, Sri Lankan cuisine can be SPICY!
No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress rising high from the surrounding countryside.
Climb up to see the Lion’s Paw, and take the steep climb up to the top for one of the most stunning views in the country.
Climb Adam’s Peak
If you’re feeling adventurous, climb up to Adam’s peak for sunrise or sunset. This heart-pounding climb takes about 3 hours to climb up and 2 hours to climb down (it’s actually the climb down that’s particularly strenuous). Join hundreds of pilgrims and travellers to see Adam’s footprint (or Buddha’s, depending on your beliefs). Midway up, pick up a spindle of thread and lace it along the railing for good luck.
Take an Epic Journey by Train
Travel by train from Kandy to the hillside town of Ella. This is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, passing through rolling hills and tea plantations. Have more energy to burn? Rent a bike and cycle your way around Ella on smaller paths you’d never see in a car.
Go on a Safari
Sri Lanka has many national parks and sanctuaries where you can spot native animals in the wild. See wild elephants in Udawalawe and jaguars and waterfowl in Yala.
Visit the Dutch Fort in Galle
Discover the European influences the Dutch had on Sri Lanka in Galle. Visit a trendy cafe, explore the old town and don’t forget to take a photo in front of the lighthouse for the ‘gram.
Sri Lanka has become famous for its pristine beaches – and there are many to choose from! Visit Mirissa for it’s stunning coastline, insta-worthy views and trendy beachside cafe’s.
Or for something a bit more remote and away from the crowds, head to Hiriketiya Beach just 30 minutes east of Mirissa, perfect for it’s hippie atmosphere and gentle surf.
Try a Better Beach Holiday
If you’re looking for a bit of a splurge, why not try Saman Villas in Bentota. Located an hour south of Negombo along a gorgeous stretch of beach. Stay in a private villa with your own pool and personal concierge ready to book your spa appointments and dining.
For a special experience you’ll never forget, have a private dinner right on the beach and listen to the waves lap on the shore as you enjoy a meal that was curated just for you.
There’s so much more to see and discover in Sri Lanka. Talk to one of our Expert Travellers to help get you started. Call us anytime at 1 877 967 5302, or stop by your local Flight Centre store.