Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms date back over 2,500 years, giving its wildlife, waterfalls, ruins and reams of tea plantations an aura of enlightenment. As an island nation, the country benefits from a wonderful feeling of remoteness, making it easy to lose yourself amidst the tropical rainforests, immaculate white-sand beaches and age-old towns. The southern Hill Country is home to Ella, with its rumbling Ravana Falls and the 1,300-metre-high cliff or Ella’s Rock - reachable via a scenic two-hour trek along a tea-house-laden railway track. Some of Sri Lanka’s best beaches can be found in Tangalla, Kalpitiya and Hikkaduwa, with some offering water sports, dolphin and whale watching, and snorkeling. For safari adventures, the country boasts a wealth of stunning national parks. Yala is the best spot for leopards, while Udawalawe and Wasgamuwa are home to parades of wild elephants. If you’re in search of ancient ruins, head for the sites of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to discover architectural gems such as huge dagobas (dome-shaped structures containing relics). Sri Lanka offers a wide range of beach hotels, and mountain top villas surrounded by tea plantations. There’s also a variety of apartments, B&Bs and independent homestays available.
The 12 best places to stay in Sri Lanka: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests