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Boats lined up in a row on a beach in Sri Lanka

Compare the best Sri Lanka holidays

A beautiful island situated in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka boasts world-class beaches and spectacular scenery. A warm Sri Lankan welcome awaits visitors who will undoubtedly relish exploring the tea plantations, waterfalls and temples of this beautiful country.

Why go?

Mysterious ancient temples, outstanding beaches, superb scenery and an abundance of wildlife make beautiful Sri Lanka the perfect getaway for everyone...

The best way to explore the island is from the comfort of an all-inclusive hotel or resort complex. Tours can then be easily arranged to discover the numerous treasures found across Sri Lanka. Many visitors come to the island for a holistic experience and Ayurvedic spas and treatments are very popular.

Tea plantations are economically important for Sri Lankans and are generally found around the stunning hill stations of the island. Wildlife is also a major attraction in Sri Lanka and holiday makers can visit the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela or enjoy a safari experience at Yala National Park.

Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, is found on the west coast of the island. The city has a number of museums as well as offering a great opportunity to search the stalls and markets for the local handicrafts for which Sri Lanka is famous. Colombo is a great place to discover the culinary treats of the country, including sumptuous curries and delicious fresh seafood.

The country's cultural capital is Kandy. Located in the very centre of the island, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The biggest attraction is the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, which houses one of the Buddha's teeth. The fortified city of Galle is also worth a visit to discover the island's colonial history.

A second UNESCO site can be found at Polonnaruwa, where many ancient ruins can be explored. Yet another UNESCO site is the Sigirya Rock Fortres in central Sri Lanka, where visitors can view ancient rock paintings.

The best beaches on the island are considered to be along the south-west coast and this is where most visitors take their Sri Lanka holidays. The resorts of Beruwela, Bentota and Negombo are thought to be among the very best.

When to go?

Make sure you visit Sri Lanka at the right time of year to catch the best of the tropical weather and avoid monsoon season...

Sri Lankan weather is tropical and so temperatures remain warm all year round. There are, however, two monsoons, one from May to August in the south and one from October to January in the north. Deciding when to go on your holidays in Sri Lanka will obviously depend on which area you choose, but December to March is ideal for those headed to the beaches of the south west.

What's on?

If you want your Asian adventure to coincide with some of the island's top festivals and events, here are some to look out for...

Singhalese and Tamil New Years; April: As with many New Year celebrations in Asia, the Singhalese and Tamil New Years are both around mid-April.

Esala Peraher; Kandy; August: This is the most important of the Buddhist full-moon festivals and one of Sri Lanka's biggest celebrations. Street processions with dancing and elephants delight locals and visitors alike.

The Electric Peacock Festival; Colombo; December: This is an annual live music festival which is aimed at a younger crowd and features modern dance music from Sri Lanka and beyond.

What to do?

From visiting tea plantations to going on safari, Sri Lanka has numerous adventures awaiting you. Find out what there is to do on your getaway...

Relaxing: There's nothing more relaxing than putting your feet up with a cuppa - so why not spend a day exploring the humble cup of tea's origins? At Pedro Tea Estate, you will be able to wander around the plantation and learn all about how the tea leaf makes it into your cup.

Active types: Magical holiday memories will be made by taking a dawn or dusk safari at Yala National Park. Keep your eyes peeled as, if you're lucky, you could spot leopards, elephants, sloth bears and buffalo.

Romance: A dreamy tropical paradise awaits you at Mirissa Beach, where long sweeping sands and gently lapping waves make this the perfect holiday hideaway for loved-up couples. If you fancy moving away from your beach towel, pay a visit to one of the nearby restaurants to enjoy a taste of local fresh seafood.

Grown-up families: Book a tour around the majestic rainforest of Sinharaja. Teeming with wildlife, you will be able to spot numerous indigenous trees, birds, reptiles and butterflies.

Shopping: Make your way to the island's capital, Colombo, and treat yourself to souvenirs from the local markets and shopping malls.
Nightlife: Bars, discos and casinos can be found in towns and cities such as Hikkaduwa, Colombo.