Known as "the pearl of the Indian Ocean" - the jungle-clad island of Sri Lanka has an abundance of natural beauty. Discover everything from the mesmerising green hills and sparkling waterfalls of the hill country to idyllic beaches across the west and east coasts.
Sri Lanka is an island country situated just above the equator in the Indian Ocean. It lies just 40 miles off the southeast coast of India, which has allowed the country to be exposed to many cultural influences over thousands of years.
The main airport of Sri Lanka is Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). It is located 30km north of Colombo.
A typical flight time from London to Colombo is 10.5 hours. We have holidays with direct flights from London. You can also fly indirectly from other UK regional airports. Call us for other flying options.
Sri Lanka is affected by two separate monsoon seasons, which means there will always be somewhere on the island which has glorious weather! The west, southwest coast and hill country are affected by the monsoon season between April – September, the wettest periods being from April to June.
The east coast is affected by the monsoon season between November and March, the wettest months being November and December. The whole island has a chance of being affected by heavy rainfall in October and November.
So, the best time to visit the West Coast, Southwest Coast and Hill Country is between December – March. Whereas the best weather conditions in the east can be experienced from April to September. Our best time to visit guide can help you decide when is best to visit Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan cuisine is influenced by South Indian food but definitely has its own distinct flavour. Rice and curry is a popular dish, incredible aromas are crafted from various spices, including chilli powder, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, fenugreek seeds and cloves. As it is a tropical island, coconuts and fish are an immensely important part of Sri Lankan dishes. You’ll find variations of coconut in almost everything, from creamy curries to pol toffee.
Toddy is a traditional Sri Lankan beverage, known as “Ra” by locals. This mild drink is made from the sap of coconut flowers found on palm trees and is made up of 4% alcohol. Toddy is very popular and has a sweet coconut flavour. The most popular Sri Lankan liquor is Arrack, which is distilled from palm syrup and has a higher percentage of alcohol (usually ranging from 40 - 60%). This versatile drink can be mixed with a fizzy mixer, used in a cocktail or enjoyed neat. Larger is also popular, although finding it on draught is rare and it’s usually sold in large bottles.
Sri Lankan dance and music play a pivotal role in the country’s culture and have a long history. The Kandyan dance stems from the ancient city of Kandy and has earned its crown as the national dance of Sri Lanka. The performance of a Kandyan dance usually narrates tales from The Ramayana (an ancient epic poem) and is performed to the rhythm of Geta Beraya drums. Dancers embody a variety of animals through their movements, such as elephants and peacocks. They also wear stunning costumes made up of silver regalia and majestic headwear.
Pahatha Rata Natum is a ritualistic dance, traditionally performed to appease evil spirits in a bid to banish sickness. Dancers wear vibrant costumes and masks which depict different characters (birds, reptiles, demons etc.)
The national sport of Sri Lanka is officially volleyball, however, cricket remains the country’s favourite sport. Rugby is also popular, alongside football, tennis and athletics. The Sri Lankan national cricket team has gained praise around the world for their outstanding performances at major events.
Colombo is the country’s capital and offers an amazing shopping experience. Visit Paradise Road to browse a variety of handicrafts, antiques, textiles, hand-painted ceramics and so much more. While you’re here, don’t miss Barefoot’s flagship store – this brand is iconic for showcasing Sri Lankan creativity and design. Here you’ll find bohemian-style clothing, sculptures, cloth-bound books and home décor. In the southwest, Galle Fort is iconic for its vibrant cultural and historical roots. Here you’ll find an array of trendy shops, boutiques, markets and specialist tea stores. Towards the north, Dambulla is the perfect place to find a unique and thoughtful gift. Whimsical hand-crafted jewellery, rare gemstones and traditional rock paintings can be found here.