The journey to Nuwara Eliya is dubbed to be one of the most scenic and breath-taking routes in Sri Lanka, whether travelling by air, rail or road. The city is located approximately 5 hours from Bandaranaike International Airport (by road). Sea planes land at the nearby Lake Gregory while the closest rail station is known as Nanu Oya.
Nuwara Eliya was first declared as a town in 1828 by the British colonists during their occupation of the country, where they converted the entire area, to resemble their homes and life back in England. The occupants cultivated the land for fresh vegetables, fruits and coffee, until a disease destroyed the coffee crops. It was only in 1867, that tea was grown in Sri Lanka, by the Father of Tea; James Taylor. Since then, Nuwara Eliya has become the hub of Ceylon tea.
The roads to and around Nuwara Eliya are cluttered with little road side stalls selling fresh vegetables and fruits, usually grown in the vendor’s garden. There are several tea centres offering the weary several types and flavours of Ceylon tea.
Things to do in the Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya offers its travellers and explorers a range of things of do. Climb mountains, embark on an enriching, flavourful tea tasting tour or soak up the luxuries in a colonial bungalow.
- Gregory Lake – Encompassing an area of 91.2 ha, the lake was built by Governor William Gregory during the British era. It’s a popular spot for water sports.
- Victoria Park – A public park located next to the famed Post Office, believed to have been named so to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
- St. Clair’s Falls – Commonly referred to as Little Niagara of Sri Lanka, St. Clair’s Falls cascades down a rocky outcrop of 80m.
- Horton Plains – Designated as a protected reserve and a national park, Horton Plains is most popular for the trek to World’s End.
- Tea Factory – Visit a tea factory and learn the process of how tea is plucked, dried, and produced before being packed and sold.
Best time to visit the Nuwara Eliya
A cold climate should be expected throughout the year due to its high elevation. The best time to visit Nuwara Eliya is between the months of February to April, where the temperature drops to approximately 12 degrees Celsius and the highest is around 31 degrees Celsius. October to December brings about the highest level of rainfall to the town.
Popular events in the Nuwara Eliya
There are a number of events, some traditional and others with a colonial-influence, that take place in Nuwara Eliya, during the peak season.
- Horse Races – A series of horse racing competitions that occur throughout the month of April. The main event is known as the Governor’s Cup.
- Golf Tournament – Hosted by the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, partake or enjoy a series of golf tournaments held during the year.
- Flower Show – First brought around by the British, the Flower Show invites local florists to display their collection of the vibrant flowers during the blossoming month of April.