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Sri Lanka: Multifaceted and Steeped in History

Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for a beach, nature and culture holiday in one. The island truly has everything the heart desires: beautiful beaches, mountains, national parks and cultural highlights from multiple cultures, catering to the most demanding of holidaymakers’ needs and wants.

Sri Lanka, the Spice Island. The island’s history as a spice trading centre dates back to the sixteenth century. Before gaining independence in 1948, it was occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. All of these nations left their marks, adding to the delightful multicultural mix of this Buddhist country.

Quick facts Colombo

Flight time

10:00 h

Distance

8150 km

Time difference

+ 4.5 hours CET
Ø Temperature in January
31 °C

Exchange rate

CHF
1.00
=
LKR
not available
Airport transfer & car rental

Language

Sinhala, Tamil

A cup of cappuccino costs around

CHF 2.85

Swimming temple

The capital Colombo (which, nota bene, is not the legislative seat) is located on the west coast of the island. The city’s landmarks include the twin towers of the World Trade Center –the second-highest building in Southeast Asia- and the Beira Lake in the city centre. Situated on an island in the lake is the Seema Malaka temple, which is a part of the Gangaramaya Temple.

Buddha’s canine tooth

Colombo frequently serves as a gateway for touring the country. Culture aficionados will love travelling to the inland - to Kandy, for instance, situated in Sri Lanka’s Central Province at 1600 feet (500 m) above sea level. Kandy is home to Sri Dalada Maligawa (“Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic”), which is said to house the canine tooth relic of Buddha. Not far from there is Dambulla, situated in the Matale District, that features the largest Buddhist cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Dambulla is also a departure point for trips to Sigiriya, arguably Sri Lanka’s most well-known landmark. Visitors to the “Lion Rock” can admire the ruins of a fortress and, below, the remains of the “Lion Gate” (giant paws carved from rock) as well as impressive frescoes.

Nuwara Eliya is also located in the Central Province. Founded in the nineteenth century as a cool sanctuary for British civil servants, the town’s present-day attractions include a motorcycle and a Formula Three racetrack as well as a golf course. Galle, on the southwestern tip of the island, also offers plenty of western culture. The Galle Fort in the Bay of Galle is the largest remaining European fortress in South Asia.

A wealth of beaches

Yala National Park is an absolute must for nature lovers! Covering an area of nearly 1000 square kilometres, the park boasts the highest density of leopards in the world. With an endless slew of beaches to choose from, beach holiday lovers won’t be short-changed in Sri Lanka either. The island country’s most popular beach resorts include: Mirissa, Nilaveli Beach (near the port city of Trincomalee), Negombo and Bentota. Arugam Bay is one of the world’s best surfing spots and Hikkaduwa a diver’s/snorkeler’s paradise thanks to its coral reef. What is more: Sri Lanka is an ideal place to combine a culture and beach holiday with Ayurvedic treatments, available in many places throughout the country.

Swiss citizens can enter Sri Lanka with an ETA visa. The ETA visa application form can be conveniently completed online. So, what more to say than to wish you happy travels!

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