The 'Hill Country' or 'Up Country' are terms broadly used to describe the mountainous regions of the centre of Sri Lanka. Covered with tea plantations and National Parks, this vast expanse is home to some of the most unique and historic accommodation in the country and the cool climate provides a beautiful contrast with the often scorching coastline.
The old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya is now a favourite retreat for locals looking to escape the heat of the lowlands. It's misty and rainy much of the year – but provides a strange and atmospheric step back into colonial history.
Here you'll find a number of historical tea planter's bungalows to stay in amidst working plantations, making your experience here all the more special. A walk, a drive or a train journey through the incomparable scenery around Haputale, Ella and Bandarawela is a must.
If you're the adventurous type, you can climb 'Adam's Peak, the revered mountain which flings out a mystical shadow at dawn and has inspired all the major religions to claim it as their own. The overnight climb is an unforgettable adventure.
The region around Haputale, Bandarawella and Ella is colloquially known in Sri Lanka as the 'health triangle' due to the lovely fresh air found here. There are lovely walks around here and as it is located on the very southern edge of the hills: when the cloud breaks you often peak through to incredible views down to the plains below and even the sea 60km away as the crow flies.
A little further down the hill towards the south, you will find incredible wildlife and very few people at picturesque Belihul Oya.
In the lower hills, Kithugalla is carving out a reputation as the adventure capital of Sri Lanka. Previously best known as the location for the film, ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, Kithugalla’s main draw is now white river rafting. The birding and walking in this area is also excellent.
Finally, the Sinharaja rainforest is one of Asia’s most important protected areas. A wonderful place for walking, casual observers will marvel at the diversity of reptile and bird life easily spotted with the help of enthusiastic guides. No nature enthusiast can possibly miss this completely unique opportunity to see many rare and endemic species.
Popular Sri Lanka Holiday Ideas:
Essential Sri Lanka with East Coast (May to Sept)
The east coast has calm seas and the island's best weather from May-September, making this is a good option for a summer holiday.
Boutique Sri Lanka
Our flagship itinerary for curious first-timers. This holiday includes alternative perspectives on the highlights and characterful hotels.
In Depth Sri Lanka
For those with more time to spare, this 3-weeker is our ultimate island tour. Distinctive experiences and tucked away gems (as always).
Compact Sri Lanka
This neat holiday itinerary has been carefully balanced to show you the beauty and diversity of Sri Lanka but with limited overland journeys.