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Sri Lanka for families

Sri Lanka is a remarkable island in the Indian Ocean that boasts a fascinating and varied heritage, areas of outstanding natural beauty and vibrant cities. The nation is a real melting pot of cultures, with Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity all being important religions, while western influences have been blended with traditional Sri Lankan culture to create somewhere truly unique.

To get the best out of a family holiday to Sri Lanka you need to travel to different parts of the country, as this will allow you to experience its stunning coastline, amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites, unspoilt nature reserves and bustling capital of Colombo.

Children are bound to be enthralled by Sri Lanka's temples and ruins as well as the tales of its fascinating past, while teenagers will relish the opportunity to have a go at a few adventurous activities during their stay.

Top family-friendly attractions in Sri Lanka

There are many wonderful attractions in Sri Lanka but one of the best for families has to be the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This facility was set up by the Sri Lankan government in the 1970s to care for orphaned elephants and has since expanded to become a breeding centre.

The herd of over 80 elephants take a daily walk from their enclosures to the nearby river, where you can watch these majestic animals bathing and playing in the water. At the orphanage itself you will have the opportunity to feed some of the younger elephants and get incredibly close to these amazing creatures.

Another outstanding wildlife attraction that children and parents will love is the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery on the south coast - which is easy to reach from many of Sri Lanka's stunning beach resorts. The highlight of a visit here is having the opportunity to release some of the baby turtles into the ocean.

You can't leave Sri Lanka without visiting at least one of its eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. The breathtaking Sigiriya rock fortress is certainly somewhere that will capture your children's imaginations. This once-great palace was carved out of a rock that towers over the forest, with its entrance designed to resemble a lion's head, although sadly all that remains today are two huge paws. The climb is quite tough but more than worth it and as you walk higher you'll spot groups of monkeys on the edge of the rock.

Activities for the whole family

In addition to its amazing attractions, Sri Lanka is great for an active family holiday, as there are so many things to try. White water rafting down one of its rivers is a brilliant choice if you've got teenagers who are keen for some thrills and spills, while kayaking is a gentler option if you've got younger children with you.

Another must-do on a family holiday in Sri Lanka is taking a wildlife safari in one of its national parks. Yala National Park on the south coast is one of the most famous - and accessible - nature reserves in the country. If you take a safari tour here you may encounter leopards, Sri Lankan sloth bears, toque macaque monkeys, elephants, water buffaloes, flamingos, pelicans and saltwater crocodiles, among many other exotic creatures.

Relax and unwind at the beach

Sri Lanka is home to some of the world's most picturesque beaches and many of the resort towns around the south coast boast numerous family hotels that are the perfect places to unwind at the end of an escorted tour of the country.

Unawatuna Beach is a glorious crescent of white sand that's fringed by palm trees and is regularly named among the most beautiful beaches on the planet. The shore is protected by a reef, which means the water is always calm and great for swimming and snorkelling - ideal for families with younger children.

Weligama is another amazing coastal spot to visit on a family holiday in Sri Lanka, not only because of its natural beauty, but also because this is where you'll find Sri Lanka's stilt fishermen who have developed a unique way of landing their catch - it's incredible to watch.

Family holidays in Sri Lanka Browse all

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Jetwing Beach

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