Lonely Planet recently named Sri Lanka as the Best Travel Destination for 2019 and for good reason. Below are some of the highlights that make this tropical island such an alluring place to visit.

Wilpattu | Image Credit : Gihan Jayaweera, Leopard at Wilpattu National Park, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Coasts

Blessed with sun-kissed shores, Sri Lanka has an abundance of beaches that are perfect for a lazy getaway. Be you staying at Colombo hotels or resorts on the south, west or east coasts, these beaches can be easily accessed and offer great opportunities for water sports too.

The Shopping

The commercial capital Colombo is ideal for some retail therapy. The Dutch Hospital shopping area within a 10 minute walk from The Kingsbury Colombo is one such highlight as is the newly opened Colombo City Centre mall. Also worth visiting is the colourful Pettah street market area with bargains galore.

The Mountains

Make your way inland and soon you will be surrounded by mist-shrouded mountains draped in emerald tea bushes. The stunning natural backdrops are perfect for exploration and visits to charming towns full of old world charm.

The Culture

Sri Lanka is steeped in history and UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Kandy offer fascinating insights into a time kings ruled the land.

The Wildlife

From stealthy leopards to majestic elephants, the island is also home to exotic wildlife which can be seen in their natural habitats. Wildlife safaris at national parks the likes of Yala, Minneriya, Udawalawe and Wilpattu are not to be missed.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+