Heavenly Hill Country

The laid-back capital of the Hill Country, Kandy offers visitors an abundance of history, culture, forested hills and a touch of urban energy. The surrounding countryside is lush and green, ideal for leisurely walks from the town or evening strolls around Kandy Lake set at the base of the hills. Discover the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, enjoy a round at the popular Victoria Golf Course or while en route to Kandy, visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and observe these magnificent creatures being fed and bathed. One of the area’s highlights has to be Esala Perahera, held over 10 days leading up to the full moon between July and August, this grand festival with elegant costumes, dressed elephants and traditional dancers is an unforgettable experience.

Blessed with breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery, Nuwara Eliya has maintained much of its colonial hill station charm. From the hedges, rose gardens and red-roofed bungalows, to the old post office, racecourse and 18-hole golf course, it is easy to see the town’s likeness to a British village. With the Botanical Garden, Victoria Park and rolling tea plantations dotted with ladies picking tea in colourful saris, there are plenty of ways for visitors to make the most of the landscape.

Enjoy a wonderful excursion to Horton Plains, the region’s only national park and the highest plateau in Sri Lanka. A paradise for nature enthusiasts and hikers, the plains offer serene panoramic beauty and are also home to leopards, sambars and purple-faced langurs. Witness the mighty sheer drop at World’s End, which provides breathtaking views of the southern plains. Early morning visits are essential to see the wildlife and view World’s End before the mists descend.

Forming the shape of a clenched fist, the aptly named Knuckles Mountain Range is another scenic wonderland. Unique for its geographical character, the range possesses a paradisiacal quality with the mountain peaks, crystal clear and perennial waterways, cloud forests and exquisite flora and fauna. Rising up from the southwest edge of the Hill Country, the soaring summit of Adam’s Peak makes for a striking natural landmark. This lofty peak has sparked the imaginations of travellers for centuries and is one of the country’s most celebrated places of pilgrimage. Ascent is best done at nightfall, allowing visitors to reach the top in time for dawn when the morning rays light up the holy mountain, treating you to the extraordinary view and a glimpse of the peak’s enigmatic shadow.

Go trekking or mountain biking in the jungles of Kitulgala, where sheer hills covered in dense forests and woodland make way to the swift waters of river Kelani Ganga. Adventure enthusiasts can also experience the thrill of white water rafting.