cities & towns
The legacies of colonial Colombo’s garden roots are still very much intact along its often-shady boulevards. Fort is a compelling place thanks to ongoing restoration of its landmark colonial architecture, while Pettah brims with markets and rampant commerce. Even traffic-clogged Galle Rd is getting spiffier with glossy new hotel complexes.
Colombo’s cosmopolitan side supports ever-more stylish eateries, galleries and shops. Surprises abound: with a little exploration you’ll find great local food, characterful shops and tiny, convivial cafes. Meanwhile, a building boom like no other is transforming the city’s skyline.
Welcome to everyone’s favourite hill-country village, and the place to ease off the travel accelerator with a few leisurely days resting in your choice of some of the country’s best guesthouses. The views through Ella Gap are stunning, and on a clear night you can even spy the subtle glow of the Great Basses lighthouse on Sri Lanka’s south coast. Don’t be too laid-back though; definitely make time for easygoing walks through tea plantations to temples, waterfalls and viewpoints. After building up a hiking-inspired appetite, look forward to Sri Lanka’s best home-cooked food and a reviving cuppa.
Often referred to as ‘Little England’, this genteel highland community does have a rose-tinted, vaguely British-country-village feel to it, with its colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens. Indeed, Nuwara Eliya was once was the favoured cool-climate escape for the hard-working and hard-drinking English and Scottish pioneers of Sri Lanka’s tea industry.