Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Pettitts Travel UK 01892 515966

Hill Country Holidays

Set in the heart of the island, Sri Lanka’s hill country is an area of misty peaks, picturesque tea plantations and pretty colonial era towns. The region can be reached from Sri Lanka’s southern coast, however, it is the historic city of Kandy, known as the capital of the Highlands, which most travellers pass through on their way to the hills. Kandy has a long and distinguished history. It was the seat of the venerated Kandyan kings and the kingdom they ruled over resisted Portuguese, Dutch and British occupation for centuries. Today it has retained its position as a major cultural and commercial centre and also remains an important place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Additionally, Kandy is home to Peradeniya, one of Asia’s finest botanical gardens, as well as the Udawattakele Forest Reserve which was once used as a pleasure garden by the Kandyan kings. From Kandy routes south head to hill country – slowly ascending through forest, passing rural communities, vegetable farms abundant with leeks, beetroot, carrot and cabbage, metal-roofed tea factories towering over the surrounding plantations and Victorian bungalows framed by well-tended gardens. Many of these estate bungalows have been converted into charming hotels with access to scenic walking trails offering spectacular views and excellent birdwatching, including the famed Horton Plains National Park which is affectionately known as the ‘roof of the island’. Twisting roads also snake down to the coast with popular beach towns and national parks such as Yala, Bundela and Udawalawe all within a day’s drive.

Holiday Ideas for Hill Country

A Journey through Ceylon

18 days from
£4895 to £5990 per person


Sri Lanka - A Tropical Jewel

14 days from
£2970 to £3560 per person


Sri Lanka: A Summer Family Adventure

14 days from
£3100 to £3720 per person


Wild Sri Lanka

15 days from
£3800 to £4560 per person


When to visit Hill-Country

Best Times
Good Times

Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, with a topography distinct to the rest of the island, has a climate very different to the nation’s lowland and coastal areas. The immediately noticeable change is in the temperature and particularly the fluctuation between day and night. Due to the higher elevations, temperatures are always 5 to 10°C below those in lowland areas however at nightfall, especially over the winter months, temperatures can tumble, and it is not unlikely for them to even dip to single digits. Generally, the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s Hill Country is between December and early May. The higher you go it will be chilly in December and January however days will still be pleasant and the risk of rainfall lower. March, April and May are also excellent times to visit. Coastal areas and the south can become very humid at this time of year and the dryer air and cooler temperatures of the hills provides welcome respite. From May to September monsoon rains arrive, although it is worth noting that rainfall, although occasionally heavy, is never constant. Kandy’s famous Esala Perahera festival also takes place at this time of year. The high hills, especially around Nuwara Eliya, are affectionately known as ‘Little England’ so, whenever you visit, you should always be prepared for possible showers and misty mornings.

What is a Tailor-Made Holiday?

We create a holiday tailored to your specific requirements, including:

  • When you go
  • Duration
  • Time spent in each place
  • How much you want to spend

We offer our experience and knowledge to help create your perfect, tailor-made itinerary

What to do in Hill Country

Sri Lanka’s Hill Country with its rolling tea estates, charming small hotels, beautiful and scenic walking trails, pretty towns and important religious complexes, offers something completely different to the rest of the island. The main entry point to the region is Kandy, an historically important city that links the hill country with both Colombo and the famous archaeological sites of the Cultural Triangle. Kandy is best known as the home of the ‘Temple of Tooth’, the preeminent Buddhist religious complex in Sri Lanka which houses a relic of Buddha’s tooth within opulent surroundings. Kandy is also famous for the magnificent botanical gardens at Peradeniya. Originally laid out at pleasure gardens for the Sinhala kings, then converted into a botanical garden by the British, the gardens have a collection of over 4000 plant species and is considered one of the finest horticultural gardens in Asia. Leaving Kandy, head to the hills either by road or scenic railway both offering spectacular panoramic views. Most visitors to this region will stay on, or close to, a tea estate, residing in a luxurious planter’s bungalow many of which date back a century. Here days are spent on the estate, undertaking scenic walks, learning about the tea making process or visiting local towns such as historic Nuwara Eliya. For the more adventurous, a visit can be made to the high elevations of Horton Plains National Park for scenic hikes or, alternatively, sections of the newly created Pekoe Trail, a long-distance circular walking route, can be undertaken.

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