Sri Lanka is on many a travellers’ radar, but it might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a family holiday. And that is a crying shame! Sri Lanka is a beautiful and diverse country that offers something for the whole family. Here are our picks for the best activities and accommodation in Sri Lanka with kids.
How old should your kids be to visit Sri Lanka?
For older children, Sri Lanka offers plenty to see and do. Besides the fun activities and breath-taking scenery, your kids will be spoiled rotten by the locals. Like many Asian countries, Sri Lankans are very affectionate towards children. This also works as a great ice breaker between parents and locals.
That being said, Sri Lanka is not the easiest destination for parents travelling with babies. Basic necessities like disposable diapers and car seats might be hard to come by. It’s also worth noting that much of the country is not accessible for strollers.
Things to Do in Sri Lanka with Kids
First things first: Sri Lanka doesn’t have traditional “kiddie” attractions like amusement parks. But this doesn’t mean the country is not a great destination for kids – far from it. Instead of artificial playgrounds, kids get to experience authentic local culture and broaden their minds. Here are some fun ideas for things to Do in Sri Lanka with kids.
Sri Lanka is, of course, a great beach destination. Most of the most popular and beautiful beaches are nestled along the southern and western coastlines.
Unawatuna Beach is a great option for families as the beach is protected by a reef and sits within a short 20-minute drive of Galle Fort. Check out our guide to the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
Galle Fort is a UNESCO protected fort originally built by the Portuguese way back in 1588.
Strolling along the cobble stone lanes and circling the ancient fort walls will make your kids feel like they’ve stumbled into a Disney movie.
The compact size of the fort also means you and your family can easily make you way around on foot. Read more about visiting Galle Fort.
Sri Lankan railroad lines are credited as some of the most beautiful on the planet and hopping on a train here will offer unforgettable thrills for the whole family.
The train ride between Kandy and Ella is said to be the most beautiful in Sri Lanka, if not the world. To get the best possible experience, book seats in one of the observation carts which have a full-sized window at the back of the cart. Read more about train travel in Sri Lanka.
Elephant Transit Home
Seeing elephants is on many a travellers’ bucket list while visiting Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the visit can take a heart-breaking turn if you visit an “orphanage” where elephants are chained and mistreated.
At Elephant Transit Home, elephants are allowed to roam freely and all efforts go into the rehabilitation and well being of the animals.
Kids and parents get to ooh and aah over baby elephants, while still knowing they are being looked after and being rehabilitated for the wild. Trust us – this will be one of the high lights of your trip to Sri Lanka with kids.
Where to Stay in Sri Lanka with Kids
Staying in a private villa is a great option when travelling to Sri Lanka with kids. Staying in a villa means there’s plenty of space for the kids to run and play, everyone gets their own bedroom and you have access to a full kitchen whenever you need it.
Here are a some of our favourite family-friendly villas in Sri Lanka.
Claughton House is an amazing five-bedroom villa which offers access to a private beach in Dickwella. The villa has a private swimming pool and the kids will love the ping pong table. Claughton House comes staffed with housekeepers, chef and security guards, offering the perfect setting for a relaxed family holiday.
Location: Dickwella, Sri Lanka
Price: From USD $1,200 / night
Ambassador’s House allows you and the family to wake up in the heart of historic Galle Fort. The five-bedroom villa dates back to the 18th century and offers a private pool and impeccable service with a team of housekeepers, security guard and chef ready to spoil the whole family rotten. The villa is well-equipped for families and features a high chair, baby cot, car seat and stair gate, as well as offering books, games and a playpen for the little ones.