Before you book a holiday villa or Hotel in Sri Lanka you might want to check out what each of the locations offers for travellers to see and do. Do you like sunning yourself on a beach or is looking around museums more up your street? How about secreting yourself away amongst the tea plantations in Hill Country. Or maybe you’re in search of some buzzing nightlife. Read on to find out more about some of the most popular destinations for Sri Lanka holidays.
Shop til you drop in the vibrant capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fashion, arts and crafts, spices or gems, Colombo has it all. You can also check out the exciting nightlife which includes many sophisticated bars and nightclubs. Perhaps you like museums and culture; check out the National Museum which houses a fascinating collection of artefacts from Sri Lanka’s past. A large number of Buddhist and Hindu temples are dotted around Colombo with one of the most popular being Gangaramaya Temple which features an eclectic fusion of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture – as well as a resident elephant.
The historic town of Kandy is perhaps best known as the gateway to Hill Country; the mountains, forests and tea plantations stretching westwards from Kandy across the centre of Sri Lanka. As the historic home of the ancient kings, Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it’s not only the second largest city in Sri Lanka but also a sacred Buddhist site and place of pilgrimage. As such, the biggest highlight of Kandy is the Temple of the Tooth Relic (which houses the sacred tooth of the Buddha). Surrounding the temple is a spectacular artificial lake built by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe between 1803 and 1807.
On the southwest coast of Sri Lanka just a stone’s throw from Colombo lies the town of Galle. The historic ‘Galle Fort’ area, also known as the ‘Old Town’, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fort itself was first built in 1558 by the Portuguese then heavily fortified by the Dutch in the 17th Century. The cobbled streets of Galle Fort feature some attractive examples of Dutch and Portuguese Colonial architecture including churches, homes and historic hotels. Art-lovers will be delighted by the creative atmosphere and vast array of art galleries and craft exhibitions, not to mention Sri Lankan gemstones crafted by artisans into beautiful items of jewellery. Galle National Museum is located in the oldest Dutch Colonial building in Galle Fort which dates back to 1656. The famous beaches of Unawatuna are just a short distance away from Galle.
Also known as ‘City of Light’ and ‘Little England’ the town of Nuwara Eliya is ideally placed for anyone searching for a cooler climate and outdoor attractions. As the most important location for tea production in the country, the subtropical highland climate is ideal for growing tea. Tourists can gain an insight into the methods and processes of tea production on a factory tour or simply sit back and enjoy a cup of freshly-made tea as they admire the stunning scenery. It’s also the perfect spot for hiking, cricket and golf. During April you can watch horse racing.
This sacred city is yet another of Sri Lanka’s eight spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites; famed for its ancient ruins which are well-preserved to the present day. It’s one of the oldest continually-habituated cities in the world and was the ancient capital of Sri Lanka from the 4th Century to the 11th Century. The ruins consist of bell-shaped ‘dagobas’, monastic buildings and ‘pokunas’ (large tanks of water for bathing rituals or drinking water).
If you’re looking for a holiday in Sri Lanka on the country’s unspoilt east coast, Trincomalee is one of the most popular spots. The famous resort town has been attracting travellers for years due to its natural charms including the spectacular beaches. Trincomalee Harbour is thought to be the second largest natural harbour in the world, protected by two headlands and surrounded by picturesque beaches. Whilst the stunning beaches are a major attraction, whale watching is also very popular, as well as scuba diving and fishing. The Kanniya Hot Springs are worth a visit, as well as the Koneswaram Temple, a classical-Medieval Hindu temple and place of pilgrimage.