Sri Lanka's diversity is as impressive underwater as it is on land, with impeccable diving and snorkelling just off shores that are lined with beautiful beaches. Beyond the parks and sand, you'll find intriguing cultural regions dense with sacred sanctuaries and ancient settlements, and temperate mountain plantations within easy reach of bustling historic ports.
Where to travel in Sri Lanka
You’ll fly into Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. This multi-cultural hub is the island’s most urban area, and worth pausing in to enjoy good food, interesting architecture and Sri Lanka’s best shopping. From here, most first-time visitors head north, to an area known as Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle’, which contains five of the island's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Its sixth is on the way there - the sacred city of Kandy, founded in the 14th century and still thriving in its beautiful temperate mountain setting. The seventh is far to the south - Galle, a bustling coastal fortress where you can stay in boutique hotels that date from Colonial times. In between lies Tea Country, a high-altitude region of lush plantations and stately planters’ houses, many now restored as elegant accommodation for visitors.
The rest of the island is packed with National Parks, nature reserves and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Yala NP is famous for its leopard population, and Uda Walawe is considered to be the premier place to observe Asian elephants on the Asian sub-continent.