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With ancient temples, outstanding beaches, and incredible wildlife, Sri Lanka is an ideal getaway for travellers seeking adventure on their next holiday.

Home to six cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sri Lanka’s long history is ever-present. In the centre, Kandy holds one of Buddhism’s holiest sites, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Nearby, the ancient city of Sigiriya and its towering rock fortress provide panoramic views of Sri Lanka’s green interior. To the south, visit coastal Galle to see the remnants of Portuguese colonialism.

Sri Lanka’s awesome biodiversity is another major reason to visit. A huge variety of plants and animals are protected in its 26 national parks, with elephants a big draw. It’s best to see them in the wild on a safari, where you can also spot other amazing animals, including leopards, water buffalo and monkeys.

As an island nation, Sri Lanka is blessed with a long, sandy coastline. Whether you want a luxurious resort with sea views, a good beach party or a quiet stretch of palm-lined water to yourself, there’s plenty of choice for a beach holiday. For the best beaches, head south to the resorts of Kalutara, Weligama and Mirissa.

Holidaying with the family? There are plenty of resorts catering to travellers of all ages along Sri Lanka’s coast. Meanwhile, there are wildlife attractions aplenty in Yala National Park, and tons of colourful temples and sacred sites to spark young imaginations.

Then there’s the food. An explosion of flavours, Sri Lanka’s rich cuisine is, without doubt, one of its biggest draws. Whether it's fragrant curries made with ginger and coconut milk, hoppers dipped in chilli, a delicious seafood stew from Jaffna, or any one of the nation’s sweet rice desserts, Sri Lanka is an epic feast waiting to be tasted.

For family holidays

Abundant wildlife and beaches make Sri Lanka a great destination for families with kids of any age. Galle is a good base for exploring historical sites and venturing inland for wildlife experiences. Wijaya Beach, meanwhile, just south of Galle, has hotels, calm waters and a sandy beach, plus relaxed restaurants serving crowd-pleasers such as pizza.

Further along the south coast, Weligama Bay is packed with hotels, and a great spot for surf lessons. Short stays in Yala National Park are possible for wildlife adventures.

For all-inclusive holidays

While Sri Lanka isn’t known for its all-inclusive beach resorts, there are a few dotted around the coastline. Look at the west coast of Sri Lanka, particularly near Kalutara. You’ll find more on the south coast around Galle.

For safari-style accommodation, head to Yala National Park. Lodges, such as Uga Chena Huts, Wild Coast Tented Lodge and Cinnamon Wild, offer a mix of wildlife experiences and cultural excursions.

For the great outdoors

Immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s wildlife and natural beauty at Yala National Park and Udawalawe National Park, two of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Both have a range of accommodation types, with hotels, luxury resorts, lodges, tented camps and hostels on offer.

For something a little different, try Jetwing Vil Uyana, a conservation eco-resort built in the middle of a wetland area – just watch out for those crocs!

For beach holidays

Sri Lanka has beach stays for almost any kind of sunseeker, whether you’re after a deserted fringe of white sand, a resort buzzing with restaurants and bars or the chance to hit the surf.

Many of Sri Lanka’s most popular beach resorts are clustered around the southwest coast. Kalutara, Weligama and Mirissa are three popular resort areas with a range of hotels and amenities.

Tangalle Beach is famed for its turquoise waters, and a clutch of three-star hotels and bungalows along the coast make it a good choice for a budget beach holiday in Sri Lanka.

For luxury holidays

Several luxurious resorts cater for isolated stays and adults-only experiences. Many are situated along Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, including the adults-only Sandhya boutique hotel at Ahangama and the five-star Tangalle Amanwella resort. You'll also find secluded all-inclusive hotels such as the Lanka Princess and Jetwing Saman Villas near Bentota.

Travel Information

Language

Sinhala, Tamil

Currency

Sri Lankan rupee

Average flight time(from London)

10 hrs 46 mins

Sri Lanka holiday FAQs

Is it safe to go to Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is generally safe to visit, but the situation is subject to change. Always consult the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and your insurance provider before travelling.

Do I need to have a visa to go to Sri Lanka?

Yes, if you are travelling on a British passport, you need a visa to visit Sri Lanka. Apply online in advance for an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Visa applications can be made on arrival, but it’s advisable to do it in advance to avoid delays.

What vaccinations do I need to go to Sri Lanka?

You may need a Yellow Fever certificate to enter. Consider a tetanus booster and vaccinations for Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and cholera. Find out more on the NHS website before you travel.

Are there any local customs I need to be aware of?

Sri Lanka is a very conservative country. When visiting religious sites or temples, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Same-sex relationships are criminalised by the Sri Lankan state but the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is not aware of any prosecutions.

Do I have to pay any tourist taxes?

There is no tax for entering Sri Lanka. Small tourist taxes may be added to bills relating to excursions, travel or tours. Travellers can get VAT refunds on purchases over LKR 50,000 (around £130). The purchase must have been made with an official store where you see the ‘Tax Free’ shopping logo.

What is the best way to travel around Sri Lanka?

Buses and trains connect most major towns and cities and are regularly used by travellers. However, both can be slow and unreliable. The other option is to hire a car and driver, which can prove affordable if you’re planning to travel a lot in a short time. Driving yourself isn’t advised. Buses, mini buses, taxis and rickshaws are ubiquitous in cities and towns.

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