Sri Lanka offers stunning natural scenery and unbelievably beautiful beaches. But there’s more to the island nation than lush jungles, elephant sanctuaries and white sandy beaches. Beneath the surface, Sri Lanka has a thriving design scene that’s just waiting to be discovered. Please enjoy our stylish guide to Sri Lanka – featuring the coolest art and design we found on our trip.

Innovative Architecture

Visiting Sri Lanka is every architecture junkies dream. Galle Fort is of course one of the best preserved colonial structures you’ll find anywhere in Asia – the sturdy fort walls even protected Galle from the 2004 tsunami. But there’s exiting new architecture to explore as well.

You don’t have to settle for just admiring grand architecture from the outside – you can actually live in it. Some of your best bets are the amazing villas designed by the renowned Geoffrey Bawa – Claughton House in particular is stunning. There is also a wave of eco-friendly design that’s happening on the island. Walatta House is an incredibly stylish example of the trend.

Luckily, it’s not a case of paving a paradise to put up a parking lot (or a cutting-edge designer villa). Many old colonial homes have been lovingly restored to retain the architectural integrity of the property while also injecting some modern comfort. A prime example of this is the stunning Ambassador’s House which was originally built in the 18th century and still welcomes guests in to experience Galle Fort in style.

One of our latest crushes is The Boat House, a divinely styled four-bedroom villa designed by interior designer Fiona Miles. And that beachfront location doesn’t exactly hurt, either…

Instagram-Worthy Cafes

The spicy local fare is fabulous – but a funky guide to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be complete without a shortlist of stylish international eateries and coffee shops. When it comes to chic cafes, Colombo in particular has a thriving coffee scene and offers plenty of stylish cafes where you get to enjoy great design along with your caffeine fix.

Venues like Café Kumbuk are bringing modern style into the crowded streets of the capital city – and also attracting more than a few Instagrammers in the process!

Sri Lanka’s cool coffee scene is not limited just to the capital. Located in Weligama, Ceylon Sliders is part café, part hotel, part shop and 100% photogenic. We dare you not to photograph your coffee before taking a sip.

Beach essentials from our shop #ceylonsliders A post shared by Ceylon Sliders (@ceylonsliders) on

Inspiring Art Galleries

Though you might associate Sri Lanka with ancient ruins and artefacts found in local museums (the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum in Koggala is fantastic), the country also boasts a thriving contemporary art scene and offers inspiring art galleries.

Located in Colombo, the Thertha Red Dot Art Gallery is run by an international artists’ collective and showcases some of the most interesting new art in the country. The gallery displays work from local and international artists alike.

Also located in Colombo, Art Way Gallery is housed in a grand colonial manor and offers a vibrant mix of traditional and modern art. Founded by local artists in 2009, the gallery also hosts workshops and strives to foster creativity in the local community. Art Way Gallery has also displayed Sri Lankan art in international exhibitions.

Fabulous Fashion

Strolling through any market in Sri Lanka, it’s easy to see that the country offers great inspiration for fashion designers. The colourful textiles and vibrant prints which adorn traditional markets are seeing a new renaissance thanks to innovative young designers. You can shop their one of a kind fashions locally in Sri Lanka.

Amilani Perera is one of the designers using local prints and textiles to create beautiful contemporary fashion that speaks to an international audience. For Sri Lankan high-street fashion, check out local brand Avirate’s flagship store in Colombo.

Lucky for local fashionistas, Sri Lanka also boasts its own fashion week. Colombo Fashion Week is an annual event and draws not only local designers but also attracts artisans from neighbouring countries, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

To help get you inspired, here’s a taste of the fabulous fashions of Colombo Fashion Week 2017:

We hope our stylish guide to Sri Lanka has helped inspire you to plan a trip yourself!

Let us do the ground work for you and help you plan the perfect itinerary for a Sri Lankan adventure. Contact our team – tell us exactly what you want, including preferred dates, number of guests and budget and we’ll put an itinerary together for you.

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