Sri Lanka

After years of civil war Sri Lanka is booming. As the country has opened up, it has slowly unveiled its vast repertoire of cultural and natural riches to the world. From buzzing cities to palm-fringed beaches, tea plantations to Buddhist temples. It is quite astonishing quite how much this relatively tiny island packs in. The time to go is now, as the secret won’t keep for long!

One of Sri Lanka’s most iconic features is its coastline, which stretches for over 1,600 kilometers and boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. From the golden sands of Unawatuna and Mirissa to the surfing mecca of Arugam Bay, there’s a beach for every type of traveller to enjoy.

Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage is equally captivating, with ancient cities, temples, and archaeological sites scattered throughout the island. The UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura offer glimpses into Sri Lanka’s rich history and architectural wonders.

Whether you prefer being a short tuk-tuk ride from the action, or simply want to get away from it all – we’ve got you covered. We can even arrange revitalising health retreats at traditional Ayuverda resorts.

Plan an amazing escape to Sri Lanka with Blank Canvas.You’ll get a bespoke itinerary personalised just for you by one of our Sri Lankan travel experts.

  • History and Culture

    No less than 181 monarchs have ruled Sri Lanka, leaving the countryside dotted with ancient ruins and a myriad of temples of pagodas – some dating back 2000 years. The most famous is the fortress atop Sigiriya Rock, located in the heart of the ‘Cultural Triangle.’ Dating back to 477 AD, the UNESCO protected fortress serves as an enlightening example of ancient ingenuity and urban planning.

    Haven’t yet had your fill of history and culture yet? Head to Galle. The highlight is the UNESCO protected old fort. Here you’ll find the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. Its cobbled streets, lined with an array of fabulous bars and eateries, have an almost fairy-tale feel to them. There’s also a range of beautiful craft boutiques and one-off shops, making Galle the best place to do all your souvenir shopping.

  • Nature and wildlife

    Animal lovers should head south and west in Sri Lanka for a chance see elephants and leopards in the wild. In fact. Sri Lanka is one of the only places it is possible to do so outside of Africa! You can also see sperm whales, playful dolphins and blue whales along Sri Lanka’s coastline.

    And while you’re spotting incredible wildlife in one of the island’s 22 National Parks, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. Take your pick from high-end lodges and mobile camps at Yala National Park, to small guesthouses and characterful safari lodgings at Udawalawe.

  • Food and drink

    Make sure you factor in plenty of time for culinary treats during your trip to Sri Lanka, as there are countless delicious dishes to try.

    Highlights include the moreish street food of kottu roti, banana-leaf baked Lamprais, dhal curry, egg hoppers with sambal and of course, the freshly caught seafood. It’s foodie heaven.

  • Adventure and experiences

    With its world-class temples and fantastic examples of both colonial and ancient architecture, history buffs should make a beeline for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second city and cultural beating heart. Kandy is home to the wonderfully preserved ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’ (colloquially known as ‘the Temple of the Tooth’) – the most sacred Buddhist site in the country.

    From Kandy, head south to Ella on one of the great train journeys found anywhere on the planet. While taking 7 hours to complete a journey no longer than 50 miles may sound like the stuff of nightmares, the train to Ella is anything but. You’ll traverse canyons, wind your way around verdant mountains and catch a glimpse of local people going about their days. This journey should be on every culture-lovers bucket list!

    Ella, with its beautiful rugged landscape, lends itself well to trekking enthusiasts. Plus, you can visit one of Sri Lanka’s famous tea plantations from here. The island is the world’s largest producer of the stuff, with a staggering 1 million people employed in the industry.

    And finally, no rundown of Sri Lanka would be complete without mention of its staggeringly beautiful coastline. There’s a whopping 830 miles of it, so sun-worshippers are spoilt for choice! Picture powdery soft, coffee-coloured sand and azure blue waters, framed by dense clusters of impossibly tall palm trees – and you’ll have the ‘classic’ Sri Lankan beach. Your Insta-feed will thank you for visiting!

    In short: Sri Lanka packs a mighty punch. But don’t take our word for it – go and see for yourself!

Flag of Sri Lanka
  • Capital city: Kotte & Colombo
  • Language: Sinhala, Tamil
  • Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
  • Time Difference: UTC + 5.5 Hours
  • Flight Time: 10h30 to Colombo from London Heathrow
  • Visa: E-Visa before Travel
  • Peak Season: December to April

Did you know?

Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman to the highest office in the land.

Sri Lanka Climate Guide