From world-famous tea plantations to national parks made for safaris, Sri Lanka has plenty to tempt you away from the beach.
Poised above the equator, south-east of the subcontinent, Sri Lanka is often described as ‘India lite’. And it offers the perfect introduction to this part of the world. There’s enough of a culture difference to make you feel like you’re somewhere properly exotic, and yet everything is so easy. The food is fantastic, English is widely spoken, and the island’s bijoux size means you can fit a lot into a small amount of time.
The main tourist zone runs along the south-west coast of the island, from Negombo to Galle. Here, football pitch-sized swathes of sand are washed by the Indian Ocean and pinned down by skyscraper palms. In parts, rivers and lagoons run in to the sea, providing the ideal conditions for watersports like kayaking and paddle boarding.
Elsewhere, more than 2,000 years of history have left their mark on Sri Lanka. An island that’s smaller than Scotland, it packs an astonishing amount into its borders. One minute you can be sipping a cup of traditional brew at a tea plantation, the next wandering around a vast ancient city or intricate temple.