India's neighbour is much more than a sunny beach destination (although both can be found in a country which boasts 833 miles of coastline). It pays to step away from the sand to find other highlights: the Portuguese and Dutch colonial heritage which shapes the south-westerly city of Galle; the serenity of Kandy, with its vast Buddhist temple; the swirl of the capital Colombo; the British yesterday of Nuwara Eliya, a hill station framed by tea plantations. Despite a difficult recent past, Sri Lanka’s future beckons.
Must see: I climbed Sigiriya – a 660ft (200m) stand-alone monolith almost at the heart of Sri Lanka – on a blazing day. It was tough going, but the route up, sometimes along rusty stairs hammered into the rock, took me past frescoes which date back to the fifth century – and delivered me to a flat-top summit which once hosted a royal palace. Truly amazing.