How to explore Sri Lanka: 3 inspiring itineraries

Sri Lanka is a wondrous place to explore. But with so much to see and do, mapping out the perfect itinerary can be tricky. So, hand the planning reigns to us. Our experts are here to get to know you and design a tailor-made adventure you’ll love. Whether you’re seeking romance, serenity and spa treatments or an unforgettable family holiday, here are three well-paced itineraries that unveil different sides to this teardrop isle.

If you seek romantic retreats

With a medley of boutique hotels, this trip sets the stage for a romantic whirlwind in Sri Lanka. Kick off the magic at Water Garden Sigiriya, a collection of swish chalets set among rice paddies and lily ponds, framed by a show-stopping view of Sigiriya Rock. In between seeing the sights of the Cultural Triangle, spot peacocks by the infinity pool, spice things up with a cooking class or soothe your well-walked muscles with a couples’ massage in the spa.

Next, we’ll whisk you to the sacred city of Kandy. Kings Pavillion is the city’s best-kept secret, shrouded in jungle yet just a 10-minute drive from the lively hub. There’s an old-worldly feel to the place, with local artwork adorning the walls and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine served up in the alfresco restaurant. When you’re done exploring the fragrant markets and the famed Temple of the Tooth, freshen up with a twilight dip in the pool, watching the city glitter below.

After a jungle and urban stay, the beach is calling. Jetwing Saman Villas, a temple-inspired hideaway perched on surf-swept rocks, is a favourite with honeymooners. Aside from the dreamy setting, we’re smitten with the chic suites (particularly those with private pools) and Instagram-worthy dining set-ups, where you can enjoy dinner à deux by the oceans edge or on the starlit pool pavilion.

Round off your island explorations with two-nights in cosmopolitan Colombo, where you can zip around the city in a tuk-tuk and discover serene lakeside temples. Stay at Uga Residence, a 19th-century mansion that was once a resting post for Maharajas and governors. Nowadays, this trendy boutique hotel welcomes all with plush suites and decadent dining in Rare, one of the city’s most sought-after restaurants – which is a stylish spot for your final supper in Sri Lanka.

If you seek a healing holiday

While Sri Lanka is renowned for its stunning beaches and wildlife-rich parks, travellers also flock here to experience the transformative spa resorts. Here, the harmony of Ayurveda, yoga and nourishing cuisine intertwines with the soul-stirring landscapes. Start your wellbeing journey at Jetwing Vil Uyana (which aptly translates to ‘garden of lakes’), a rustic haven set within a nature reserve teeming with wildlife. We recommend three nights here to embrace wellness in all forms, from warm stone massages to more invigorating pursuits – conquering the heights of Sigiriya Rock will invigorate your body and soul.

Go off-grid for the next three nights at Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, a holistic bolthole hidden in mist-covered mountains. The wellness packages they offer address everything from stress to sleeplessness and each healthy dish in the elevated restaurant is a sensory delight. Opt for a Mountain View Chalet and be greeted each morning by chirping birds and breathtaking vistas from your four-poster bed.

Continuing with the jungle-esque vibes, Glenross Living is a former colonial planter’s bungalow cocooned in the clouds with beautifully designed suites and all-about-the-view villas. Your three nights here can be spent exploring rubber and cinnamon plantations, relishing spice-laden cuisine and mastering the martial art of Angampora – an empowering practice that fosters strength and self-awareness.

Wrap up your soulful sojourn at Haritha Villas + Spa, a romantic eyrie nestled in the hills above Hikkaduwa. Enjoy four blissful days here, waking up to private pool dips, savouring sunset cocktails from your butler and embarking on ocean adventures, from witnessing stilt fishermen to surfing and whale watching.

If you seek family fun

Sri Lanka is a dream destination for thrill-seeking families, enchanting kids with its sun-kissed shores, captivating wildlife and rich history that unravels tales of ancient kingdoms and intriguing myths. This expertly crafted itinerary begins with beach bliss on the southwest coast. You’ll stay at Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa, a family-friendly sanctuary with a huge swimming pool, kids’ club and boredom-busting activities like river safaris and watersports.

You’ll be raring to go after four nights relaxing by the sea, and for the next part of your trip, you’ll be chauffeured around the island by your private driver-guide. Begin with a stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort, a lakeside retreat close to the wildlife wonders of Bundala and Yala National Park. After days out on game drives spotting monkeys, leopards and crocodiles, refuel with seafood specialities in the rooftop restaurant.

You’ll then travel to the cooler climes of Hill Country to Hide Ella Hotel & Resort, a visually stunning hotel dramatically perched on a slope within the Ella Gap. Take leisurely walks through tea plantations and capture family moments worth framing from the scenic viewpoints. Then continue north to Sigiriya, where you’ll be awestruck by the sight of Sigiriya Rock towering behind the infinity pool at Aliya Resort & Spa. Amid relaxation, make time for a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park for up-close elephant encounters – a fabulous way to cap off your Sri Lankan experience.


This is just a taste of what we can offer in Sri Lanka. Whether you’re seeking a beach escape or a bespoke Sri Lanka tour, get in touch and our experts will create the right Sri Lanka holiday for you.

This feature was updated on 4th March 2024. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.

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