Sri Lanka’s palm-fringed southern coast is the most traditional and atmospheric corner of the island. Although development has gathered pace here in recent years, it’s still a predominantly rural region, most of whose inhabitants earn a living from coconut cultivation, rice farming and in-shore fishing.

Galle, the island’s fourth city, is the main hub and deserves at least a day or two to explore its charismatic 17th fort, jutting into the bay beyond Sri Lanka’s most famous cricket ground. Behind the citadel’s belt of red laterite bastions is hidden an enclave of UNESCO-listed, colonial-era villas and whitewashed churches, little changed in centuries save for a clutch of pretty boutique hotels, designer shops and cafés.

Further along the coast lie some of our favourite hideaways in Asia, where you can soak up the languid tropical weather, marvel at the sublime coastal landscapes and take in some of the exuberant Sinhalese festivals for which this predominantly Buddhist region is renowned.

Weather on Sri Lanka’s South Coast

The wettest period along the south coast is between May and September. For sun worshippers and beach lovers, the best months are February and March.

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