Step into the Hill Country uplands, and you will feel as if you have entered a magical place enveloped by verdant greenery, and bathed in cooling Springtime weather.
Adventurous villa travellers will revel in exploring the scenic hikes and trails that this picturesque region is known for. Do not miss out on the overnight climb to the soaring summit of Adam’s Peak, for it promises to be an unforgettable experience.
An excellent way to take in the sights of this beautiful region is to embark on a rambling train ride. Starting off from Nuwara Eliya, the ride makes its way uphill, passing by verdant mountain ranges, emerald tea plantations and waterfalls in aqua hues, before making a stop at Ella.
Things to do in The Hill Country
Horton Plains National Park sits on the edge of the Hill Country in between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale. The protected area, covered by cloud forest and montane grasslands, is home to a myriad of flora and fauna, many which are endemic to the region.
Villa travellers eager for an exploratory walk among the trails within the park should arrive early, as the best times to visit the park falls between 6 A.M. and 10 A.M. On clear days, visitors will set sight of a picturesque landscape of greenery, jagged outlines of mountains, as well as tea plantation villages sitting in the valleys below.
Arm yourself with essentials such as long pants and a sweater (the mornings and evenings can be rather chilly), as well as a hat for the bright and sunny afternoons.
The vast open parkland of Uda Walawe National Park is situated in the south of the Hill Country, with the towering, dark hills of Horton Plains offering a scenic backdrop. It is home to a significant population of elephants and other wildlife species, such as buffaloes, langur monkeys, spotted deer and crocodiles. Apart from exploring the park on foot, visitors may embark on a safari by hopping on a jeep or boat.
Uda Walawe also contains a range of fascinating tourist destinations. The Elephant Transit Home, an orphanage for baby elephants rescued from the wild, is one of the main tourist sites. Visitors can also look forward to discovering an array of nature attractions, such as meandering rivers, lush waterfalls, limestone caves and hot water springs.
Hakgala Botanic Gardens, Nuwara Eliya
A trip to Nuwara Eliya is not complete without a visit to the charming Hakgala Botanic Gardens, known for its array of vibrant, blooming orchids and roses.
Villa travellers who wander through its beautiful grounds will set sight on a diverse array of flora. The entire site is separated into a series of well-structured miniature gardens, grouped according to different horticulture techniques used.
The best times to visit the botanic gardens is between mid-March till the end of April.
Sita Temple, Nuwara Eliya
A beautiful temple, brightly coloured and adorned with intricate carvings sits beside a clear, flowing stream.
Known as the Sita Temple, this site is believed to mark the spot that Sita, the heroine from the Indian epic Ramayana, was held captive by King Ravana.
Saman Devale, Ratnapura
The Maha Saman Devale sits atop a small hill, and occupies a spot in a spacious plot of land containing expansive courtyards. Grand in size and setting, this shrine is an architectural beauty designed in traditional Kandyan style. It is an important place of worship for Buddhists, and draws hordes of devotees and tourists to its site.
Things to do in The Hill Country
Take a hike up Adam’s Peak
Sitting in the southern area of the scenic Hill Country, the towering Adam’s Peak draws crowds of determined tourists and pilgrims keen on hiking up to reach its soaring summit.
Hikers start off their ascent in the wee hours of the morning, so as to reach the peak in time to catch the stunning views of the sunrise. Travellers should bring along additional clothing to keep warm in the cold, dark hours of the early morning.
The relatively challenging climb may take between two to four hours, depending on one’s level of fitness, as well as the size of the crowds striving to reach the peak. Hikers who have arrived at the summit will savour the fruits of their labour – the magical sight of the sunrise, as well as sweeping views of the picturesque surroundings.
Visit the Pedro Tea Factory, Nuwara Eliya
Tea lovers will enjoy a visit to Pedro Tea Factory, situated a few kilometres to the east of Nuwara Eliya. Visitors can participate in a guided tour within the factory, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide providing detailed explanations about tea processing machinery from the nineteenth century.
The half-an-hour tour ends with a tea tasting session. Do take time for a leisurely stroll to explore the picturesque tea plantation surrounding the factory after the session.
Embark on a scenic train ride from Kandy to Ella, Nuwara Eliya
Grab a seat close by the window, and glance out into the yonder as the train ambles along, transporting you into the refreshing coolness and picturesque greenery of the scenic Hill Country.
The ride starts off from Kandy, and takes about six or seven hours to arrive at serene and tranquil Ella. It is regarded as one of the most captivating train journeys in the world, and is well-recommended for villa travellers with a love for nature and the outdoors.
Related: A Magical Train Ride: Kandy to Ella
Take a hike up Single Tree Hill, Nuwara Eliya
Embark on a short hike up to Single Tree Hill, into the Shantipura village located amidst the Kikiliyamana mountain range. Inhale the crisp and cool air, and enjoy the scenic sights of your surroundings. Once you have reached the peak, you will be rewarded with sweeping vistas of Nuwara Eliya town and its environs.
White Water Rafting, Kitulgala
If you are an adrenaline junkie, an exhilarating white water rafting excursion in Kitulgala is sure to float your boat!
Hold on tight as you cruise along rugged waters down the Kelani River, and enjoy the thrill of covering five major rapids and four minor rapids during the course. Rest assured that you will be left in the hands of experienced guides who deftly navigate the boat through the river.
All visitors will be given briefings on safety measures and rafting techniques, before they hop on the boat for a wet and wild ride!
Where to eat in The Hill Country
Channa offers an extensive menu that includes a diversity of Asian dishes, Sri Lankan curries and Western fare. The restaurant boasts a cosy setting, as well as prompt and friendly service.
Tusker Restaurant, Negombo
Tusker Restaurant dishes up a fine selection of popular seafood dishes, such as the tuna steak, seafood platter and mullet fish, as well as Western mains, Sri Lankan fare and desserts. The contemporary design and warm lighting lend a cosy and inviting vibe to the restaurant.
Serendib Restaurant, Negombo
Villa travellers searching for a restaurant offering a cosy, romantic ambience and lovely views will be charmed by Serendib Restaurant. The eatery sits close to the shore, with spacious interiors and breezy dining areas.
Diners will find an array of Western mains on the menu, and be pleased by the friendly and amiable service provided by the staff.
Grand Indian, Nuwara Eliya
Satisfy your craving for Indian food by making at stop by Grand Indian, and be delighted by the selection of rich and tasty North Indian dishes available. Extremely popular among diners, Grand Indian is filled with bustling crowds of diners daily. Be prepared to wait for a seat, or to order take outs from this well-liked restaurant.
Hill Club Restaurant, Nuwara Eliya
A meal at Hill Club Restaurant is a fine and fancy experience. Diners are expected to dress up (there are a selection of jackets and ties on hand for male customers) for a meal in a classy, colonial-style setting. To match up with formal dress code, the wait staff are immaculately attired, donning starched jackets and white gloves.
Guests can expect to feast on a variety of traditional English multi-course meals and local Sri Lankan fare at the restaurant.
Coffee Bar, Nuwara Eliya
Coffee Bar has received glowing reviews from visitors charmed by its excellent beverages, decadent cakes, delectable pastries and delightful service. The eatery boasts a cosy ambience, and is situated in a pretty and picturesque setting amidst well-manicured gardens.
Best bars in The Hill Country
Rodeo Pub, Negombo
Expats and travellers flock towards the lively and bustling Rodeo Pub. This popular nightspot captivates guests with an extensive selection of cocktails, great music and friendly service. Hungry pub-goers are spoilt for choice, and can satiate their hunger from a variety of Western mains and Asian fare.
Lake View Pub, Nuwara Eliya
Adorned with dark timber, wood paneled walls and quirky barrel bar stools, Lake View Pub charms visitors into thinking that they have stepped into an English pub.
Take a seat by one of the windows in the upper storey room overlooking the scenic lake. It is difficult not to be delighted with the cosy, inviting vibes of the pub, as well as the excellent service offered by the staff.
Accommodations in The Hill Country
Villa Brockenhurst, Kandy
Villa Brockenhurst, a well-maintained colonial house, sits in a pretty garden, and welcomes guests into its dreamy and comforting landscape. Step into the four bedroom abode, and you will undoubtedly be charmed by its warm and homey interiors.
The Rosyth Estate House, Kegalle
Quiet and serene, the Rosyth Estate House is nestled away amidst Sri Lanka’s picturesque Hill Country, and boasts sweeping views of the lush, green plantations and dense forestry. The dining area is an excellent spot to feast on this beautiful sight, for the floor to ceiling windows draw your eyes out to gaze at the emerald greenery.
Upon stepping into the villa, guests will feel as if they have been transported back in time. This recently-refurbished estate was built in the 1920s, and contains traditional design elements and furnishings. Ornaments, Sri Lankan art pieces and indoor plants help to add bright pops of colours throughout the villa.
Casa Heliconia, Negombo
Casa Heliconia draws villa travellers with promises of a restful retreat amidst the picturesque greenery of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country.
Guests will reside in an enchanting, two bedroom abode beautifully shrouded with tropical greenery, and tastefully decorated with ornate furnishings. A myriad of oriental ornaments, striking paintings and statues add a quirky and charming vibe to the villa.
Take a look at our villas in the Hill Country region!