From stylish city boltholes to surf shacks and mountain retreats, B&Bs in Sri Lanka are as varied and appealing as the landscapes. You might favour an ecofriendly spot near Yala National Park, a hilltop guesthouse in Ella or one of the many comfortable places to stay in Colombo – though if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed, it’s a decent cup of Ceylon tea. Quench your thirst at one of these top bed and breakfasts in Sri Lanka, bookable on Culture Trip.
Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas is warm and welcoming, thanks to a sunshine yellow reception, smiling staff and a garden strewn with hammocks. Rustic cabanas have outdoor living spaces and wood-panelled bedrooms, while deluxe doubles come with balconies and garden views. The B&B is a short walk from the baked golden sands just south of central Bentota. Don’t miss a visit to the Induruwa Sea Turtle Conservation Centre, a five-minute drive south along the coast.
The budget-friendly Beach Wave Hotel sits right on the sand in Arugam Bay and features 10 soundproofed two-storey huts and an oceanfront restaurant. It may be hard to venture far from the beach bar, thanks to the many hammocks and beanbags under twinkling fairy lights. However, a bottle of Lion beer will feel all the more rewarding after a surf lesson (beginner-friendly Baby Point is a short walk away) or yoga class.
With a selection of standard rooms, jungle cabanas and sky-skimming treehouses, the family-run RiverSide Cabana is ideal for budget travellers looking for an ecofriendly escape. The Tissa Temple, Yatala Museum and Yatala Dalada Wehera are all within walking distance. Here for the wildlife? The accommodation sits roughly halfway between Yala and Bundala National Parks (known for their leopards and birdlife, respectively) – your host can arrange reasonably priced safaris.
You get great value for money at Oasis Bay, where clean, minimalist rooms come with private terraces or balconies, and you’re likely to receive a free iced tea upon arrival. The candlelit seating area in the garden is ideal for meeting fellow travellers after a day spent riding the waves at Arugam Bay. At breakfast, make sure you try the popular smoothie bowls. Aching after all that surfing? Book a herbal oil massage at the ayurvedic centre next door.
For a fuss-free stay with five-star views, look no further than Ella Hilltop Guest House. While the rooms are a little dated, they’re clean, comfortable and come with mosquito nets. Breakfasts here are particularly memorable – the restaurant has wraparound windows showcasing epic mountain scenery. For more beautiful visuals, hike up Little Adam’s Peak (not to be confused with the main pilgrimage site), or take your camera to the Nine Arch Bridge to snap a classic Sri Lankan railway scene.
The basic double and family rooms at Paraiso Guest House in Ella each feature a balcony or terrace; the newest rooms are flooded with light, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Owner Dhana is exceptionally accommodating, making breakfasts that are so varied and generous that you may end up skipping lunch. However, if you fancy a spot of ceylon tea, take a tuk-tuk to Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory or Kinellan Tea Factory and Tea Centre to learn more about the precious local leaf.
The Cinnamon Gardens neighbourhood is one of the more gentrified places to stay in Colombo, and Black Cat, a hip cafe and hotel inside a 1920s colonial house, fits right in. Five simple white rooms are spruced up with vintage prints and modern four-poster beds, while the breakfast menu features the usual suspects of flat whites and avo toast. However, the cinnamon apple and bacon pancakes are truly original. The National Museum and Number 11 (once home to renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa) are less than 10 minutes away by tuk-tuk.
With a handful of comfy double rooms overlooking a private garden pool, Jack’s Bed and Breakfast prioritises simplicity and comfort over fussy frills and extras. Gracious British hosts Jacky and Jim have lived in Sri Lanka for more than a decade, but they haven’t forgotten how to make a proper full English breakfast. There’s an excellent Sri Lankan cooking school next door, and Unawatuna Beach and Galle Dutch Fort are a short drive away.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.