While soft-sand beaches and lowland jungles may be the first images that leap to mind when you imagine Sri Lanka, this tropical isle is endowed with a mountainous interior that is every bit as scenic as the coast, blessed by pleasantly cool temperatures that rarely tip 21ºC.

Rising at dawn is the best way to see this region of Sri Lanka burst into life, as the rising sun spills across lush and sweeping amphitheaters of green, and views stretch to the horizon, undimmed by early mists and the clouds that roll in mid-morning, obscuring famous vistas.

Tea pickers near Haputale in Sri Lanka's Hill Country © Ella Tuul and Bruno Morandi / Getty Images

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