Sri Lanka holidays

Discovering Sri Lanka’s wild places and culture beyond the tourist hotspots

Stunning landscapes, exotic wildlife and ancient treasures, Sri Lanka combines its tapestry of beauty with vibrant culture and unique places to stay.

Best known for its tropical palm fringed beaches, age-old cities and tea covered hills Sri Lanka is often overlooked as a wildlife destination, but for us it’s the diversity of natural wonders and abundant variety of species - both on land and in the water - that makes us love it so much.

Sri Lanka is a nature lovers’ paradise and the excellent road network means you can combine a number of wildly different experiences in a single trip. You could search for endangered leopard in Yala National Park, make a boat safari to observe giant blue whale, or hike through the virgin rainforests of Sinharaja to spot rare birds and butterflies. By early evening marvel at elephants swimming in the lake at Gal Oya, or make a vigil on the beach to spy marine turtles as they lay their eggs. 



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For families, Sri Lanka really comes into its own. It’s a relatively small country making it possible to pack in a variety of different experiences and places without spending half your holiday time in the car. Sometimes referred to as being ‘India-light’ Sri Lanka is the perfect introduction to holidays in the region.

You can track leopard in the jungle, clamber to hill forts, cycle through rice paddies, hike to remote waterfalls and learn to bathe an elephant.  Then, you can explore friendly villages, visit ancient temples and relax on a beach. The easy-going island culture and a fantastic choice of family friendly lodges and boutique hotels means a holiday in Sri Lanka works for children and families of all ages.

Weather conditions are near perfect during the Christmas and Easter school holidays but we love the summer months too when an occasional shower freshens and cools things down.

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Sri Lanka's top experiences

Sri Lanka wildlife

Leopards, elephants and whales

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Sri Lanka's top experiences

The best of Sri Lanka off the beaten track

Gently exploring Sri Lanka's hills and wild places in style

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Best time to go to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s tropical climate means it’s generally warm and sunny somewhere on the island each month, making it a year-round destination.

The best time to visit depends on where you want to go and what you want to see and do in Sri Lanka. The weather is fairly complicated for such a small island as it is dictated by two monsoon seasons. Rainfall patterns are also becoming increasingly unpredictable, but it helps to know which side of the island to focus on in a given month. It’s unusual for rain anywhere to last all day, with downpours tending to be heavy but short.

In short, the best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country is from December to March which is also an ideal time for whale watching, while the best weather on the east coast is from April/May to September.

More on Sri Lanka's weather

The north and east of the island (including the Cultural Triangle) represent the Dry Zone, where apart from high rainfall in November and December, conditions remain fairly arid throughout the year.  The western slopes of the central highlands are wettest.

During the summer school holidays of July and August the few late afternoon or evening heavy showers are usually welcome to settle the dust and keep everywhere fresh and green. It’s also a popular time for local holiday makers especially around the time of the Kandy Perahera festival that celebrates the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha with music, singing and dancing on the full moon 'poya' day. 

In October and November the weather across much of the island is characterised by thunderstorms and heavy showers, with the sea too rough to swim so it's generally best to avoid this time if possible. However, it can often be drier around the Cultural Triangle and by mid December more sunny days, especially on the southwest beaches start to become the norm. 

Temperatures are fairly constant so that midday temperatures hover around 30C and peak in April before the seasonal rains. In the hill country, where altitudes reach around 2000m above sea level, daytime temperatures are about 10C or so cooler; it can be very chilly at night, with early morning mists disappearing during the day. Ocean breezes moderate temperatures on Sri Lanka's beautiful beaches. 

Surrounded by the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is blessed with a spectacular coastline.

There are many stunning beaches to choose from around the whole island making it easy to add a few days rest and relaxation at the end of your tour.

Being within easy reach of Colombo, the beaches of Sri Lanka’s southwest coast tend to be the most developed but there are still a few thin slivers of quiet palm-fringed sands worth heading to. The calm seas and safe swimming conditions from November to April make them ideal for a variety of water sports from snorkelling to water-skiing beneath cornflower blue skies make the perfect antidote to the European winter.

The south coast is linked by gorgeous beaches and rugged promontories dotted with atmospheric colonial-era villas and chic coastal retreats. Infinity pools seem to merge into the waves and you need never dine without a view of the ocean; fresh seafood and beach barbeques are a highlight. Mirissa is also known for its whale watching opportunities, from December to April, on board your own private catamaran.

If you like the idea of staying somewhere still relatively undiscovered, Sri Lanka’s east coast is unquestionably beautiful. Breezy ocean facing rooms overlook miles of the near-deserted champagne coloured shore, the view broken only by the occasional brightly coloured canoe resting on the sand between fishing trips. From May to September a reef ensures calm swimming conditions and the weather here is perfect while the monsoon hits the south and west coasts). From April to November sightings of blue whale and dolphin are almost guaranteed.

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Top areas to visit in Sri Lanka

Tea Country

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Top areas to visit in Sri Lanka

Gal Oya

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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.


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