The Teardrop of India awaits with its tea fields, its cave-cut temples and palaces, its enrapturing Buddhist shrines, paradisiacal beaches, and mist-gathering highlands. Whether you come in search of adventure or culture, relaxation or food, there's sure to be something that fits. On the west coast, rolling surf swells caress the reefs of Hikkaduwa and Weligama, where hammocks swing next to reggae-echoing bamboo bars. In the mountains behind, sacred pilgrimage sites crown the gnarled top of Adam's Peak, while elephants and buffalo and sambar deer stalk the rainforests below. All the while, Colombo buzzes with coconut vendors and curry wallahs, parties continue in the bars of Arugam, and whales splash in the waters around Mirissa. Cheap flights to Sri Lanka are your ticket to this magical land, taking you straight to the Bandaranaike International Airport in the capital.
Don't miss Sigiriya. On a bluff in the Central Province, it's a legendary royal acropolis that dates back more than 1,500 years.
A UNESCO site with layer upon layer of history, Galle mixes boutique art galleries with colonial mansions in the midst of a 17th-century fort.
The surf's up and the vibes are good in Arugam Bay. In season from July to September, this wave-splattered town has beaches and bumping bars.