While it may be impossible to cover all of the paradise isle’s best tourist hotspots during a short stay, there are highlight regions no trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without. Here are some vibrant travel hubs to pencil into your travel itinerary.
As the island’s bustling capital, Colombo is the first point of contact travellers have with Sri Lanka upon landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport and rightly so. Those who secure a base at Jetwing Colombo Seven thereafter can not only experience the best shopping in the island but also tour some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Home to the National Museum, the Galle Face Green and Independence Square, the top retail hotspots in Colombo include the country’s largest malls and department stores. Shop till you drop at the Colombo City Centre, Majestic City or Crescat Boulevard and hunt for bargains in the Pettah Markets to get a true sense of the city’s retail attractions.
Considered the capital of the southern coastline, the heritage city known as Galle is not only home to some of the finest beaches but also the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel and the iconic Dutch Galle Fort. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are not the only reason to head down to this pristine beach paradise as the wining and dining opportunities, as well as the water sports facilities among the must-do things in Sri Lanka. Ideal for day trips from Colombo, you can travel to Galle via the Southern Expressway and reach the city within an hour.
Often described as the spiritual heart of Sri Lanka, a short stay on the island is not an excuse travellers can use to avoid the lush hill capital of Kandy. Home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic and countless other ancient temples of Buddhist and Hindu origin, those with a reservation at the Jetwing Kandy Gallery can also explore the many tea factories of this hill country. Hiking expeditions in Hanthane and picnics at the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens are just some of the best things to do during a stay in Kandy.
With its misty atmosphere and high elevation, it should come as no surprise that Nuwara Eliya, the home base of Jetwing St.Andrews is dubbed “Little England” by travellers. Surrounded by tea plantations and towering mountain ranges, Nuwara Eliya’s cool climate and the Horton Plains National Park are good enough reasons to include a day or two in this mountainous heartland laden with golf courses and stunning waterfalls and other must-see things in Sri Lanka.
A stay at the luxurious Jetwing Vil Uyana is not the only reason why a trip to Sigiriya is a must for all tourists heading to Sri Lanka as the city is where the country’s most visited UNESCO World Heritage Site is found. The majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress has often been called King Kashyapa’s Palace in the Clouds and remains an architectural and engineering marvel that baffles archaeologists to this day. Built in the 5th Century B.C. the ancient rock fortress and its breathtaking frescoes are not all that’s up for grabs for those who vacation in this heart of the Cultural Triangle. Dambulla and Anuradhapura are also within close range of Sigiriya and offer tourists the chance to witness the ruins of ancient monasteries, temples, palace compounds and other must-visit places in Sri Lanka.
Located in the mysterious northern reaches of Sri Lanka, Jaffna is another must-experience destination for first-timers on a short stopover on the island. A guestroom at Jetwing Jaffna, the area’s first luxury hotel, will allow visitors to explore the beauty of this war-ravaged region that has in recent years become a beach holiday hub and a cultural epicentre for Hindu devotees.