Summer Love in Sri Lanka
Spot leopards on safari, pick tea leaves in the hill country and enjoy a few days of quality time on palm fringed beaches. Including stays in Wilpattu National Park, Hill Country, the Cultural Triangle and on the beach on the East Coast, this is the perfect Sri Lanka itinerary for couples looking for adventure with a side of romance.
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Day 1: Fly to Sri Lanka
Depart from the UK on an overnight flight to Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. The direct flight takes roughly ten and three quarter hours.
Day 2: Colombo calling
Good afternoon and welcome to Sri Lanka! After a long flight you'll be pleased to find your luggage collected and your driver waiting to meet you in Colombo airport arrivals.
Hop in the car to be privately transferred to your hotel. We can recommend a handful of boutique boltholes in the heart of the city, or a leafy suburban retreat. Spend your afternoon and evening exploring the colourful and multicultural centre and enjoying your first Sri Lankan curry.
Day 3: Colombo – Wilpattu National Park
After a leisurely breakfast, your driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you around three and a half hours north to Wilpattu National Park.
You'll be there in time for lunch and a lazy afternoon before you have the chance to experience your first afternoon game drive.
Day 4: Wilpattu National Park
Wake up bright and early this morning for a sunrise game drive. This is optimal wildlife spotting time so prep your camera and look out for elephants, leopards, sloth bears and buffalo creeping out in the dawn light.
Afterwards, head back to your tent and while away an afternoon in the sun before heading out for an evening game drive. The falling darkness will make this drive even more exciting so wrap up under your blanket with your partner for some really thrilling wildlife spots.
Day 5: Wilpattu National Park – Hill Country
This morning, after an early morning's game drive and breakfast back in camp, you will be met by your driver and transferred from Wilpattu to the hill country.
Enjoy the breath-taking views along the four and a half hour journey past wild bush land and lush green tea plantations.
Days 6 - 7: Hill Country
Wake up in the Sri Lanka of your imagination, rolling green hills bursting with tea leaves, and small colonial towns with sweet smelling sticky air. Spend the next two days of your trip immersing yourself in authentic rural life by trying your hand at tea leaf picking - alongside lots of tea drinking of course - cycling to the local waterfalls, and exploring the charming hillside city of Kandy.
The last city of the ancient kings, Kandy is a beautiful city surrounding a large lake. When paying a visit a trip to Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) is a must; here you'll find the relic which is said to be of the tooth of the Buddha alongside, a beautiful white building and impressively ornate shrines. The Botanic Gardens are also a must visit for their wide variety of sweet smelling plantlife.
- Nuwara Eliya
Day 8: Hill Country to Cultural Triangle
Today you will be transferred approximately four hours from your hotel in the hill country to the east tip of the cultural triangle.
En route, stop to visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Dambulla Cave Temple. This fascinating and ornate temple is actually built underneath and into the overhanging cliff and walking around it makes for a superbly surreal experience.
Day 9: Polonnaruwa
A day of cultural exploration today, with a visit to Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of Sri Lanka's ancient kingdoms.
Dating back to 993, this is an incredibly fascinating example of the history that makes Sri Lanka so varied and unique. Take time to explore each of the four sections of this site and listen carefully as your guide brings the relic to life with tales of ancient battles and historic worship. You'll also want your camera handy to get some photographs of the astonishing and incredibly well preserved rock carvings.
- Minneriya National Park Anuradhapura
Day 10: Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Perhaps the most famous landmark on Sri Lanka's landscape is Sigiriya Rock Fortress, otherwise known as Lion Rock. Built on top of a huge boulder this is an awe inspiring architectural triumph, and somewhat of a historical mystery.
The view from the top is also absolutely magnificent. So get your walking shoes on and remember, as you race each other up that last step to reach the summit, it will all be absolutely worth it. Sit, drink in the view and savour every minute of this special moment together.
Day 11: Hill Country – East Coast Beaches
Say goodbye to the historic north this morning and hop into a private transfer car for a leisurely three hour drive down to the beachy East Coast.
Settle into your hotel, unpack and then head to the beach for dinner, just as sunset falls.
Day 12 - 15: East Coast Beaches
Sri Lanka's East Coast has, until recently, remained firmly under the traveller radar. But no more. With a recent boom in boutique hotels openings, the east is beginning to emerge from shadows as the more laid back, rustic beach spot for those in the know.
So after a busy last week, spend the next few days relaxing and enjoying the beautiful palm fringed coastline; spend your time between stretches of golden sand, rocky inlets and mazes of lagoons. Perhaps take a boat out onto the water for a morning of whale watching.
Day 16: East Coast Beaches – Colombo
This afternoon you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred privately 30 minutes to Batticoloa airport.
From here you will take an hour long domestic flight back to Colombo, in time for a final Sri Lankan dinner.
Day 17: Colombo - UK
Try as you might to think of entrepreneurial ways to make a living from a beach in Sri Lanka, the real world is calling and it's time to head home. With a quick transfer to the airport, leave with a heavy heart but enough memories to keep you smiling all the way home.
Frances is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.