The enchanting island of Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich and storied heritage, and warm hospitality. This tear-shaped jewel is an increasingly popular destination for travellers seeking a unique and diverse experience.

Sri Lanka boasts a wide range of attractions, from pristine beaches along its coastline to lush tea plantations in the central highlands. Explore the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to uncover the country's fascinating history, or visit the revered Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. The island's biodiversity is a treat for nature enthusiasts, with lush rainforests, and wildlife-filled national parks home to elephants, monkeys, leopards and exotic flora.

Whether you're an adventure seeker, a culture lover, or simply looking for relaxation, Sri Lanka offers a captivating experience that's bound to leave you with lasting memories. Check out our incredible villas in Sri Lanka and embark on an unforgettable journey in this unique island nation.

Why Visit

  • The country is incredibly diverse for its relatively small size - mountains, beaches, forests, lakes and frenetic cities mean there are never-ending things to see and do.
  • Savour the flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine, famous for its aromatic curries and spicy delicacies.
  • Get out and engage with the friendly locals, and immerse yourself in their vibrant festivals and traditions.


Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked apartments and villas in Sri Lanka have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique but are also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Where to stay in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Why visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a captivating destination for a multitude of reasons. The country's rich cultural heritage is reflected in its temples, festivals, and warm, welcoming people. Sri Lankan cuisine is a sensory delight with its aromatic curries and tantalizing spices. Plus, it's an affordable destination that provides excellent value for your travel budget.

Sinhala and Tamil New Year takes place in April and is celebrated with great enthusiasm, this marks the beginning of the traditional new year in Sri Lanka. It's a time for family gatherings, traditional games, and enjoying festive food.

The Festival of Lights - Deepavali (or Diwali) - is celebrated by the Tamil community in Sri Lanka during October and November. Homes and temples are illuminated, and families come together to share traditional sweets.

Whether you're exploring ancient ruins, embracing local traditions, or simply basking in the sun on its beautiful shores, Sri Lanka promises an unforgettable experience.

Food and Drink in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine is a mouthwatering blend of flavours and spices. You're sure to want to try the array of aromatic curries made with fresh catches like fish, crab, prawns, and cuttlefish, often accompanied by rice or roti (flatbread). Sri Lanka's tropical climate also yields an abundance of fruits such as mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and jackfruit, which are enjoyed fresh or in desserts.

Hoppers, a unique pancake-like dish, and kottu roti, a stir-fried favourite, are also must-tries. For a refreshing drink, sip on king coconut water or sample Ceylon tea, renowned worldwide. A tea ceremony is an unmissable experience.

Street food vendors and local eateries offer the best opportunities to try authentic Sri Lankan dishes. Be prepared for a delightful culinary journey that's sure to leave your taste buds craving more.

Things to do in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a land of diverse experiences. Explore the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to uncover its rich history. Visit Kandy to witness the sacred Temple of the Tooth and the stunning Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Embark on thrilling wildlife safaris in Yala or Udawalawe National Parks to spot leopards and elephants.

Don't miss the mesmerising train journey through the tea plantations of Ella. For a spiritual experience, climb the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. And if you seek relaxation, soak in the sun on the pristine beaches or partake in yoga and meditation retreats. There's something for everyone in Sri Lanka.

A leopard in Yala National Park

Why it's perfect for families

  • Good for babies: Sri Lanka offers a serene atmosphere and warm hospitality. The country's tropical climate is gentle where you can enjoy tranquil beaches, safe strolls, and create beautiful memories with your little ones.

  • Good for kids: Sri Lanka offers a dynamic blend of culture and nature. Kids can engage in wildlife safaris, explore ancient temples, enjoy the beach, and experience elephant encounters. The cuisine is adaptable to children's tastes, and the friendly locals make them feel welcome.

  • Good for teens: Sri Lanka presents thrilling adventures like surfing, hiking, and wildlife encounters. Teens can immerse in the island's rich history, explore vibrant markets, and taste diverse street foods. The country's scenic landscapes and water sports provide exciting opportunities for teenage exploration.

Top tips

  • Respect local customs - Sri Lanka is a culturally diverse country with strong traditions and customs. When visiting religious sites, dress modestly and remove your shoes. It's polite to ask for permission before taking photos of people.
  • Pack for diverse weather. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, but weather can vary greatly depending on the region and time of year. Be prepared for both hot and humid conditions along the coast and cooler temperatures in the central highlands. Don't forget rain gear, especially if you're visiting during the monsoon season!
  • Use local transportation - Sri Lanka offers an extensive network of affordable and convenient transportation options, such as buses and trains. Embrace the opportunity to travel like a local and hop in a tuk-tuk to get about quickly and easily.

What Oliver loves

Often referred to as the "Gem Island," Sri Lanka is renowned for its gem-rich soil, including precious stones like sapphires, rubies, and rare varieties of garnets. You can explore gem mines, visit jewellery shops, and even try your hand at gemstone hunting.

Towns and Cities to see in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's towns and cities offer a glimpse into the heart of its culture and history. Ella, a small hill town, provides stunning views and is a hub for trekkers and nature lovers. Nuwara Eliya, known as "Little England," boasts colonial architecture and lush tea plantations.

Dambulla is famous for its cave temples filled with ancient art. Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa house impressive archaeological sites showcasing the island's ancient past. The picturesque fishing village of Mirissa is perfect for whale watching and beach relaxation, while Sigiriya's ancient rock fortress is a marvel of engineering and history.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

Take the time to travel to the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka and visit the city of Jaffna, a not-so-hidden gem that is famous for its Dutch colonial fort. Dating back to the 17th century, this imposing structure that offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding string of islands that stretch all the way to India!

As the capital and largest city of Sri Lanka, Colombo serves as the country's economic and cultural hub. This vibrant city offers a mix of modern and colonial influences. You can explore the historic Fort area, visit the bustling Pettah market, and admire colonial architecture. Don't miss the serene Viharamahadevi Park and the National Museum for a deeper understanding of Sri Lanka's history.

Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, Kandy is renowned for its lush, picturesque surroundings. It's home to the sacred Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which houses a tooth relic of Buddha. The city's cool climate, serene Kandy Lake, and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens are major attractions. Kandy also hosts the impressive Kandy Esala Perahera, one of Asia's grandest cultural processions.

Situated along the southwestern coast, Galle is a historic coastal city known for its beautifully preserved Dutch fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the charming cobblestone streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes. The city offers a unique blend of colonial and modern influences. The Galle Fort is a testament to its rich history, and the coastal views are simply breathtaking.

Getting there and around


Flights from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka are readily available, providing a range of options for travellers. The main international airport in Sri Lanka is Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo and flight time is roughly 10-11 hours.

By Car

Renting a car is a convenient way to explore Sri Lanka, especially if you want to travel to more remote areas. The road network is generally well-maintained, and driving is on the left side of the road. Be prepared for varying road conditions, heavy traffic in cities, and sometimes erratic driving behaviour. Hiring a driver is a popular option for those who prefer not to drive themselves, as it allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery.

By Public Transport

Public transport in Sri Lanka is extensive and affordable. Buses are the primary mode of intercity travel, and the network covers most of the country. Trains are a scenic way to traverse the country, with routes through picturesque landscapes like the Hill Country. Trains and buses can be crowded, so it's advisable to book tickets in advance for popular routes. Trishaws (tuk-tuks) are a common mode of local transport in cities and towns.

By Bike

Cycling is a fantastic way to explore Sri Lanka, particularly in the rural and scenic areas. While traffic can be chaotic in cities, many regions offer peaceful, bike-friendly roads. You can bring your own bike or rent one locally. Make sure to carry safety equipment, stay hydrated, and be prepared for hilly terrain in some areas, such as the aptly named Hill Country.

By Foot

Exploring Sri Lanka on foot is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture and environment. Cities and towns are pedestrian-friendly, and you can stroll through bustling markets, historic sites, and scenic parks. For trekking enthusiasts, there are numerous hiking trails through national parks and the Hill Country.

Top tips

  • Learn some basic phrases. While English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, learning a few basic Sinhala or Tamil phrases can go a long way in enhancing your travel experience. Locals appreciate the effort, and it can help you communicate more effectively, especially in rural or less touristy regions.
  • Stay informed about timetables when using public transportation like buses or trains. It's essential to check timetables and schedules in advance, as they may not always run on strict timelines.