A country like Sri Lanka deserves your full attention so you can admire its tropical beaches, temples, ancient fortresses, national parks, and tea plantations to full effect. But if you don’t know where to start with putting together your own itinerary, choose a tailor-made break via a multi-centre holiday with transfers and hotels included.
As Sri Lanka is a quarter of the size of the UK – smaller than Scotland in fact – you can take in all that it has to offer without too much travelling. Plus if you want to take in both Sri Lanka and the honeymooner’s paradise islands that are the Maldives, you can do that with a multi-centre holiday too. You’ll spend a week visiting the best of Sri Lanka’s ancient temples, tea plantations and stunning beaches, before visiting the stunning Maldives, where you can sample some of the best scuba diving conditions in the world.
Three days of discovery
If beaches are your main priority but you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity that awaits in Sri Lanka, start your multi-centre holiday with a three-day tour of the beautiful island. You’ll be put up in a 4* hotel near the airport for an afternoon of R&R before starting your cultural adventures.
First you’ll take in the lofty heights of the 200-metre-high Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dominates the otherwise low-lying forest landscape. It features detailed frescoes carved into rock on the way up and impressive panoramic views at the summit, as well as the remains of the fortress, palace and city.
After visiting Dambulla Cave Temple – a set of 80 caves full of huge statues and elaborate paintings – you’ll head to Kandy. Here, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses a casket containing Buddha’s tooth. Also in Kandy are Sri Lanka’s 60-hectare Royal Botanical Gardens, including an orchid house and spice garden.
You’ll have the morning of day four to explore them before heading to one of Sri Lanka’s biggest attractions – Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. You’ll be able to feed baby elephants and take photos as they bathe in the river before being transferred to your beach hotel for 11 nights of sun and relaxation or to explore further at your leisure.
An 11-day break
If three days doesn’t seem enough to take in all that Sri Lanka has to offer, or you want more planned out for you, opt for a week-long tour before you hit the beach.
After your afternoon to get adjusted, the week of exploration starts and takes in all that you can enjoy on a three day tour plus much more. You’ll still get to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Temple, the Royal Botanical Gardens and Temple of the Tooth. On top of this, you’ll head to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which used to be the capital of Sri Lanka and take a 4×4 safari through Minneriya National Park to see elephants in their natural habitat at the largest meeting of Asian elephants in the world.
This longer tour also gives you the opportunity to be immersed into Sri Lanka’s culture through a cookery programme, cultural show and a visit to a tea plantation to watch the goods being made and enjoy a mug of Ceylon tea for yourself. After all this excitement, you get to just spend the second week chilling on a beach at the hotel of your choice.
Sound like your cup of tea? Have a look at our travel guide for more information on this exotic destination and to book your next travel adventure.