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Luxury Sri Lanka Holidays

Bijou island with a big personality

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the perfect place for those who want more than just a fly-and-flop holiday. Ancient fortresses, Buddhist temples, tea plantations, wildlife reserves  there's a lot to see on this teardrop-shaped island.

That's not to say the beaches aren't worth talking about. The coastline here is long and sandy, and the beautiful beaches tend to come backed by palm groves and the odd luxury hotel. The beach at Bentota is one of the best, with golden sands and first-class sunset views. At its southern end, you'll often see the famous stilt fishermen, who perch on precarious poles in the shallows to reel in their catch.

Venture away from the coast and you'll find lush rainforest and hills carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations (the leaves for your morning cuppa are likely to have been picked here). The mountains are best explored by rail  old-fashioned trains chug through them, stopping off at quiet hill towns along the way.

Sri Lanka has an incredibly rich history, which is on show in its ancient kingdoms and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Head to Anuradhapura and you'll find centuries-old temples and stupas, visit Kandy for impressive colonial architecture, or spend a day exploring the walled old town of Galle. Sigiriya, an ancient fortress city sat on top of a rocky outcrop, is worth a visit too.

Incredible wildlife is another feather in Sri Lanka's cap. Explore one of the country's nature reserves or national parks and you might spot elusive leopards, cheeky monkeys and herds of graceful elephants. The birdlife is also pretty exotic  keep your eyes peeled for endemic species like red-rumped swallows and orange-billed babblers.

Karen Knight

I would recommend adding a private tour to the beginning or end of your stay. There's so much to see in Sri Lanka, but transfers can be quite long from the beach hotels. Private tours are a great way to see the highlights and you'll see so much local life as you drive through villages en route. 

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Destinations in Sri Lanka
Bentota
The south-western town of Bentota rolls out one of the longest gold-sand beaches in Sri Lanka – and then pairs it with some of the most luxurious hotels in the country.
Galle
Galle is a harbour city and one-time colonial outpost with a fortified old town richly decorated with museums, temples, churches and lighthouses. Golden beaches roll out along its coastline, too.

Hambantota
Hambantota is an up-and-coming port town on the south coast that puts down roots between the beach-lined Bay of Bengal and a tapestry of national parks.
Tangalle

This south-coast resort boasts a glorious coastline, with caramel-coloured sands stretching out between palm groves and the waters of the Indian Ocean.

Trincomalee

The coast just north of Trincomalee lines up golden sands, tropical mangroves, colourful corals, and – between May and October – waters speckled with blue whales. 

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Flight Information

Flights from the UK take approximately 10 hours 30 minutes.

When to go

Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons – one in the south-west between May and September, and one in the north-east between October and January. Galle and Bentota are in the south-west, and the most popular time to visit is between December and March for hot, sunny weather and an average temperature of 30°C.

Visa Information

UK citizens will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can apply for a 30-day tourist visa online before you travel.

Tipping

Tipping is common in Sri Lanka. You should aim to tip 100 rupees at restaurants, and the same again per day for hotel maids and porters. It’s not necessary to tip taxi drivers, although you could round up the fare to the nearest 50 rupees if paying cash.

Introduction to languages

The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. English is widely spoken too. 

Health

No vaccines are required or recommended for travel to Sri Lanka, however all routine immunisations need to be up to date. For full details, please contact your GP. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Our pick of top hotels in Sri Lanka
Every one of our hotels is handpicked and personally visited by our team

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Sri Lanka, Tangalle

Shangri-La's Hambantota Resort & Spa

Sri Lanka, Hambantota

The Fortress

Sri Lanka, Galle

Uga Jungle Beach

Sri Lanka, Trincomalee

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Sri Lanka, Bentota
View all hotels in Sri Lanka

Suggested Tours in Sri Lanka

See more of Sri Lanka all at once with one of our private tours. Find all tours here:

Classic Ceylon - 8 day suggested trip
At a glance
  • Admire the Temple of the Tooth
  • Head out into the tea hills near Kandy
  • Meet rescued elephants in Pinnawala
  • See the Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Cultural Kandy and Tea - 4 day suggested trip
At a glance
  • Visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
  • Explore Kandy town and bazaar
  • Enjoy Sri Lanka’s famous spice garden
  • Learn the process of tea making
World Heritage Tour - 4 day suggested trip
At a glance
  • Enjoy wonderful animal encounters
  • Visit the cultural town of Kandy
  • Get stuck into local cuisine
  • Explore the best of Sri Lanka’s World Heritage Sites
View Sri Lanka tours here
Multi-centre suggestion

Sri Lanka & the Maldives


At a glance
  • Meet rescued elephants
  • Tour the Ceylon tea plantations
  • Step into Kandy's temples and gardens
  • Spend a week relaxing in the Maldives
13 days from £2099 per person

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