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Sri Lanka

Kalutara Holidays

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Kalutara plans? No problem.

Just over 40 kilometres away from Colombo, bustling Kalutara is the first town you’ll reach south of the capital that retains a recognisably separate identity. It’s one of the largest settlements on Sri Lanka’s west coast, and yet the long stretch of beach to the north remains remarkably unspoilt, dotted with a string of upmarket hotels. Sitting next to the broad estuary of the Kalu Ganga – or Black River – from which it takes its name, Kalutara was formerly an important spice-trading centre, controlled at various times by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Nowadays, it’s more famous as the source of the island’s finest mangosteens – a delicious tropical fruit reminiscent of banana or peach. You can try them on your Kalutara holiday at the vibrant local food market.

Less than an hour’s drive from Colombo Airport, Kalutara has the best of both worlds. While the city is perfectly set up for a relaxing beach break, it also benefits from having multiple attractions on the doorstep. Whether you’re planning to go sightseeing or try watersports, a holiday to Kalutara ticks all the boxes.

You can take a gentle boat ride down the Black River which flows calmly through the centre of Kalutara lined with mangrove marshes. On the cultural side, Kalutara Temple is not to be missed and neither is Richmond Castle, a grandly named Edwardian mansion. Built by the son of a local planter, it’s a lavish confection of stained glass and statues, set in extensive grounds. If you want a change from your hotel restaurants, there’s plenty of choice in town. Hop between the bars and restaurants in the town and soak up the local character, or check out your other options on the beach.  

Best time to go

Beaches

Things to do

Day trips

Best time to visit Kalutara

Temperatures average between 28°C and 30°C in Kalutara all year round, and you can be confident the sea will always be warm, averaging around 28C. But January to March is the best time to go on holiday to Kalutara. It’s dry, sunny and not too humid. The sea is lovely and calm, too.

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April is often the hottest month, while May and June see the southwest monsoon – the gentler of Sri Lanka’s two monsoons – when rain showers tend to be short and sharp. July to September is the inter-monsoon period, which means it can get very hot – but it’s a quieter time of year to visit, if you can stand the heat. In October and November, Kalutara sees the northeast monsoon but, after the rains pass, the countryside looks particularly green and lush – so December is a good time to go if you’re planning to do lots of rainforest walks and hikes.

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Show Less

Beaches

The main attraction of Kalutara holidays must be the glorious beaches – and their popularity is reflected by the number of hotels which have picked this prime spot close to the ocean. One of the main plus points is mouth of the Kalu River, which flows into the sea. You can try your hand at watersports both in the river and from the beach.

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Show Less

If you fancy a change of scene, Bentota Beach is just 20 kilometres south – this place has a beautiful lagoon behind its stretch of sand. The calm waters are perfect for jet-skiing, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing. Bentota also has a river flowing into the sea, and travelling upstream along the Bentota Ganga is a popular excursion. You’re likely to see lots of colourful birds and possibly even a crocodile.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do in Kalutara

Beyond its blonde beaches, Kalutara has plenty more to offer. A boat trip up the island’s fourth largest river should definitely be on your to-do list. Cruising along the Black River, you’ll have a unique view of Kalutara, along with lots of endemic birds and wildlife.

Show More
Show Less

A boat trip to visit Richmond Castle is also worth doing. Built in 1896, this grand structure has lovely gardens, which you can stroll around while admiring the two-storey building, which boasts 99 doors and 34 windows. Walk through the mansion where you’ll see antiques and furniture collected throughout the years. There are lots of Grecian statues to be spotted in the gardens, too.

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Show Less

The best of southwest Sri Lanka

On your Kalutara holiday, make sure you take advantage of the many day trips available, helping you see the best of the island. You can take a half-day trip to Galle Fort, for instance. Lying 80 kilometres south, this historic fortress was built in the late 1500s by the Portuguese, later fortified by the Dutch, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along the ramparts and take in the panoramic views of the Dutch fort, harbor and clear waters below. In Galle itself, you’ll also find small boutiques and museums, plus modern bistros and bars to watch the world go by.

Show More
Show Less

Another must-visit is Handunugoda Tea Estate – the only coastal tea plantation in Sri Lanka. It produces a white tea completely untouched by human hands. The process of tea plucking follows an ancient Chinese Ritual, where the finest of teas were cut by girls who never touched the tea with their bare skin, and the resulting produce was offered up as a tribute to the Emperor.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit Kalutara

Temperatures average between 28°C and 30°C in Kalutara all year round, and you can be confident the sea will always be warm, averaging around 28C. But January to March is the best time to go on holiday to Kalutara. It’s dry, sunny and not too humid. The sea is lovely and calm, too.

Show More
Show Less

April is often the hottest month, while May and June see the southwest monsoon – the gentler of Sri Lanka’s two monsoons – when rain showers tend to be short and sharp. July to September is the inter-monsoon period, which means it can get very hot – but it’s a quieter time of year to visit, if you can stand the heat. In October and November, Kalutara sees the northeast monsoon but, after the rains pass, the countryside looks particularly green and lush – so December is a good time to go if you’re planning to do lots of rainforest walks and hikes.

Show More
Show Less

Beaches

Beaches

The main attraction of Kalutara holidays must be the glorious beaches – and their popularity is reflected by the number of hotels which have picked this prime spot close to the ocean. One of the main plus points is mouth of the Kalu River, which flows into the sea. You can try your hand at watersports both in the river and from the beach.

Show More
Show Less

If you fancy a change of scene, Bentota Beach is just 20 kilometres south – this place has a beautiful lagoon behind its stretch of sand. The calm waters are perfect for jet-skiing, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing. Bentota also has a river flowing into the sea, and travelling upstream along the Bentota Ganga is a popular excursion. You’re likely to see lots of colourful birds and possibly even a crocodile.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do

Things to do in Kalutara

Beyond its blonde beaches, Kalutara has plenty more to offer. A boat trip up the island’s fourth largest river should definitely be on your to-do list. Cruising along the Black River, you’ll have a unique view of Kalutara, along with lots of endemic birds and wildlife.

Show More
Show Less

A boat trip to visit Richmond Castle is also worth doing. Built in 1896, this grand structure has lovely gardens, which you can stroll around while admiring the two-storey building, which boasts 99 doors and 34 windows. Walk through the mansion where you’ll see antiques and furniture collected throughout the years. There are lots of Grecian statues to be spotted in the gardens, too.

Show More
Show Less

Day trips

The best of southwest Sri Lanka

On your Kalutara holiday, make sure you take advantage of the many day trips available, helping you see the best of the island. You can take a half-day trip to Galle Fort, for instance. Lying 80 kilometres south, this historic fortress was built in the late 1500s by the Portuguese, later fortified by the Dutch, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along the ramparts and take in the panoramic views of the Dutch fort, harbor and clear waters below. In Galle itself, you’ll also find small boutiques and museums, plus modern bistros and bars to watch the world go by.

Show More
Show Less

Another must-visit is Handunugoda Tea Estate – the only coastal tea plantation in Sri Lanka. It produces a white tea completely untouched by human hands. The process of tea plucking follows an ancient Chinese Ritual, where the finest of teas were cut by girls who never touched the tea with their bare skin, and the resulting produce was offered up as a tribute to the Emperor.

Show More
Show Less

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Knowledge

Between them, our travel advisors can boast almost 800 years of holiday expertise.

Ease

Our tailor made packages make it easy for you to discover more of the world.

Value

Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

Trust

Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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