Overview

Floating just off the southern coast of India, Sri Lanka is a country of diverse beauty, nicknamed the pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Discover hundreds of cultural sights (including eight World Heritage sites), an abundance of wildlife, colonial architecture, cascading waterfalls, golden beaches, misty mountain tops, enchanting valleys, lush tea plantations, tropical rain forests and charming hospitality from the locals. Whether relaxing on beautiful beaches or discovering the island's colourful heritage, Sri Lanka offers incredible choices that deliver the perfect holiday.

Highlights

Sri Lanka is about more than just sunshine and beaches. Explore the island and discover lush tea plantations, ancient forts, Buddhist temples and beautiful scenery throughout the journey.

Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites

At an altitude of 500m, Kandy is the cultural centre of Sri Lanka and was the capital of the last Singhalese kingdom - now one of the country's eight World Heritage Sites. A relaxed hill station, it is dominated by its lake and the Temple of the Tooth which houses Sri Lanka's most sacred relic - The Tooth of Lord Buddha. Continue from Kandy to Ella by train - the most famous stretch of train travel in Sri Lanka and one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Travel past tea plantations, mountains and waterfalls and snack on freshly cut pineapple or homemade curry purchased from the sellers who board the train during stops.

Famous mask carvings

Visit Ambalangoda, on Sri Lanka's West Coast, - famous as the centre of the island's mask carvers. Two mask museums stand opposite one another at the northern end of town. The larger is the Ariyapala and Sons Mask Museum, which has fascinating displays explaining the meanings and traditions behind the masks. The shop above has a huge selection of masks and woodcarvings and a workshop with carvers working on their latest creations.

Stilt fishermen

Mirissa Beach is a secluded crescent shaped beach where time and cares simply drift away in the breeze. Further along the coast, towards the town of Matara, is the quaint fishing village of Polhena. Not only is this a great area to relax or snorkel, but also to witness Sri Lanka's traditional stilt fishermen gather their days catch.

When to visit

Sri Lanka's position close to the equator means that temperatures remain fairly consistent throughout the year, between 25°C and 30°C in the coastal and lowland regions and 14°C and 20°C during the day in the highest parts of the island. The main south west monsoon brings rain to the west, south west and hill country from April to June, while the less severe north east monsoon hits the east coast from November to March. However, it's important to remember that even during Sri Lanka's rainy season, it's not usually wet all day, instead rain falls in short sharp bursts.