• Luxury Sri Lanka Holidays
  • Overview

    Prominent mountain peaks, encircled by rainforests, rise from a coastline of white beaches. Verdant tea plantations and temperate hill stations offer a fresh escape from the tropical climate of the coast. There are timeless ruins, eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, all manner of birds, six thousand wild elephants, water buffaloes, sloth bears, monkeys and the world’s highest concentration of leopards. Little wonder that pre-eminent explorer Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the finest island in the world. This topographical and natural diversity is complemented by a people who are welcoming, foods which are flavoursome, transportation which is easy, and distances that are short. This jewel of an Indian Ocean island, no bigger than the island of Ireland, is quite simply irresistible.

    On arrival be greeted by a sultry breeze, vivid flowers as colourful as passing saris, scents of exotic fruits and spices, the verdant beauty of the landscape, the mystery of countless ancient temples, the smiling, orange-clad, benevolence of Buddhist monks, the frenzied buzz of a tuk-tuk, a devotion to cricket, and vibrant red-pillar boxes punctuating a frenetic streetscape. And when ready to explore beyond the lowlands’ palm-fringed beaches and surf, escape to the serene, cool, stillness of the interior’s mist-shrouded hill country.

    Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle comprises Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya and Dambulla. Sigiriya is Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near vertical granite walls soar above the canopy of the rainforest to the ruins of an almost impregnable ancient fortified palace. Having scaled vertiginous staircases attached to sheer rock walls, the rewards are unforgettable: spellbinding views of mist-wrapped forests, water gardens and cave shrines. Twenty kilometres distant from Sigiriya, Dambulla’s Royal Rock Temple contains significant and evocative religious art: hundreds of frescoes, shrines, and Buddha statues glow gold in the darkness.

    Dating back more than two thousand years Anuradhapura is the island’s first capital, and was established around the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi, considered the oldest, human-planted, tree in the world. The archaeological site of Polonnaruwa is rich with ancient temples, tombs, and a large rock carving of a sitting Buddha.

    Close to Polonnaruwa, Minneriya Sanctuary attracts the world’s largest gathering of Asiatic elephants. They come to graze on rich grasses between August and October. Less transient wildlife includes sambar four-eyed deer, water buffaloes and crocodiles. Cormorants, painted storks and herons also gather in large numbers. There are numerous national parks in which to spot leopards, sloth bears and wild elephants. Kumana is the most important and popular bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka with more than one hundred and fifty species.

    Kandy is home to the one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines, the Temple of the Tooth, which is within the Royal Botanical Gardens. This former capital city is the gateway to Sri Lanka’s tea country. Present capital, Colombo, is a vibrant city with beautifully restored colonial buildings, fine museum and bazaar, and myriad chances to indulge in delicious street food or more formal gastronomy.

    Sri Lankan cuisine has been shaped by ingredients and cultural influences from neighbouring countries mixed with the traditions of the country's varied ethnic groups. There’s a vivid array of flavours and styles: sweet caramelized onion, bitter melon, spicy coconut, and the heat of curry tamed by mild rice, and palm sugar sweetened desserts.

    When to visit

    Sri Lanka has consistent year-round warmth and plenty of sunshine, although downpours of varying strength can occur at any time. Temperatures range from 21 degrees centigrade at their lowest to 32 degrees at their highest. The lowlands and coastal areas are significantly warmer than the hill country.

    The southwest coast is best visited from November through to April, before the monsoon season begins there. The east and north is less humid from May through to September, when the monsoon season there has ended.

    Year-round the hill country is cooler, although we would avoid the unpredictable, but usually heavy, rainfall here, during October and November.

  • What to do?
  • Hotels
 

Prominent mountain peaks, encircled by rainforests, rise from a coastline of white beaches. Verdant tea plantations and temperate hill stations offer a fresh escape from the tropical climate of the coast. There are timeless ruins, eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, all manner of birds, six thousand wild elephants, water buffaloes, sloth bears, monkeys and the world’s highest concentration of leopards. Little wonder that pre-eminent explorer Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the finest island in the world. This topographical and natural diversity is complemented by a people who are welcoming, foods which are flavoursome, transportation which is easy, and distances that are short. This jewel of an Indian Ocean island, no bigger than the island of Ireland, is quite simply irresistible.

On arrival be greeted by a sultry breeze, vivid flowers as colourful as passing saris, scents of exotic fruits and spices, the verdant beauty of the landscape, the mystery of countless ancient temples, the smiling, orange-clad, benevolence of Buddhist monks, the frenzied buzz of a tuk-tuk, a devotion to cricket, and vibrant red-pillar boxes punctuating a frenetic streetscape. And when ready to explore beyond the lowlands’ palm-fringed beaches and surf, escape to the serene, cool, stillness of the interior’s mist-shrouded hill country.

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle comprises Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya and Dambulla. Sigiriya is Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near vertical granite walls soar above the canopy of the rainforest to the ruins of an almost impregnable ancient fortified palace. Having scaled vertiginous staircases attached to sheer rock walls, the rewards are unforgettable: spellbinding views of mist-wrapped forests, water gardens and cave shrines. Twenty kilometres distant from Sigiriya, Dambulla’s Royal Rock Temple contains significant and evocative religious art: hundreds of frescoes, shrines, and Buddha statues glow gold in the darkness.

Dating back more than two thousand years Anuradhapura is the island’s first capital, and was established around the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi, considered the oldest, human-planted, tree in the world. The archaeological site of Polonnaruwa is rich with ancient temples, tombs, and a large rock carving of a sitting Buddha.

Close to Polonnaruwa, Minneriya Sanctuary attracts the world’s largest gathering of Asiatic elephants. They come to graze on rich grasses between August and October. Less transient wildlife includes sambar four-eyed deer, water buffaloes and crocodiles. Cormorants, painted storks and herons also gather in large numbers. There are numerous national parks in which to spot leopards, sloth bears and wild elephants. Kumana is the most important and popular bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka with more than one hundred and fifty species.

Kandy is home to the one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines, the Temple of the Tooth, which is within the Royal Botanical Gardens. This former capital city is the gateway to Sri Lanka’s tea country. Present capital, Colombo, is a vibrant city with beautifully restored colonial buildings, fine museum and bazaar, and myriad chances to indulge in delicious street food or more formal gastronomy.

Sri Lankan cuisine has been shaped by ingredients and cultural influences from neighbouring countries mixed with the traditions of the country's varied ethnic groups. There’s a vivid array of flavours and styles: sweet caramelized onion, bitter melon, spicy coconut, and the heat of curry tamed by mild rice, and palm sugar sweetened desserts.

When to visit

Sri Lanka has consistent year-round warmth and plenty of sunshine, although downpours of varying strength can occur at any time. Temperatures range from 21 degrees centigrade at their lowest to 32 degrees at their highest. The lowlands and coastal areas are significantly warmer than the hill country.

The southwest coast is best visited from November through to April, before the monsoon season begins there. The east and north is less humid from May through to September, when the monsoon season there has ended.

Year-round the hill country is cooler, although we would avoid the unpredictable, but usually heavy, rainfall here, during October and November.

Featured hotels

Avani Kalutara Resort

4 Star

Informal luxury and an island castaway feeling await at Avani Kalutara, a resort nestled amid palm trees and surrounded by water on three sides. In an exceptional location where the Kalu River and Indian Ocean meet.

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Featured hotels

Avani Kalutara Resort

4 Star

Informal luxury and an island castaway feeling await at Avani Kalutara, a resort nestled amid palm trees and surrounded by water on three sides. In an exceptional location where the Kalu River and Indian Ocean meet.

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