Discover the astonishing heritage of Sri Lanka
Discover the fabulous diverse scenery of exotic Sri Lanka on this spectacular journey through the country's cultural heritage. During this south Asian adventure we explore Sri Lanka's many glorious attractions, from its charming coastal cities to its mountain temple retreats, and from its ancient royal palaces to its magnificent Buddhist monuments.
Meet your group and Tour Manager at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo, which enjoys a great location overlooking the ocean. The rest of your day is free to settle in.
We take a sightseeing tour of Colombo, Sri Lanka's largest city and its capital, this morning. Here, the old blends effortlessly with the new: there are beautiful temples and open green spaces amongst the grand Colonial architecture and towering skyscrapers. We visit the city's main sights, including the fascinating Colombo Museum, housed in a magnificent building, Ganagrama Temple and Independence Square. This afternoon, we travel by rail to Kandy, in central Sri Lanka. Our train journey takes us through some truly beautiful landscapes, including dense woodlands and valleys of lush green vegetation as we climb into the hills. We spend the next two nights at the Cinnamon Citadel Hotel in Kandy.
This morning we take a visit to Kandy's botanical gardens. Previously reserved exclusively for royalty, these beautiful gardens are Sri Lanka's largest and most impressive. This is followed by lunch and a guided tour of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On our tour, we discover the Temple of the Tooth Relic, said to be the home of Buddha's teeth, as well as the city's market square. Here local food sellers and craftspeople ply their trade.
On Day 4 we drive to Dambulla, where we visit the UNESCO-listed Dambulla Cave Temples. These are a mangnificent series of 5 cave temples dating back to the 1st century BC, and all concealed by a vast overhanging rock. Each cave is brimming with detailed frescoes and beautiful carvings, and the largest features 150 statues of Buddha.
We visit Sigiriya, or the 'Lion's Rock Fortress', one of Sri Lanka's most awe-inspiring sights, on Day 5. A steep climb to the top takes you past well-preserved frescoes, and is rewarded with stunning views. For the less energetic, at lower levels you can discover the ruins of the royal palace and the elegant gardens. In the afternoon, we visit Polonnaruwa, whose ancient centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, we explore the incredible rock shrines, mighty monuments, and vast dome-shaped stupas that line the streets.
Today we travel by coach and rail to reach Nanu Oya, the last part of our route and being widely regarded as one of the world's most scenic railway journeys. From the train, we admire the splendid panoramas as we pass through plains of paddy fields lined with palm trees. Climbing into the mountains, the train navigates a series of slopes before crossing the stunning Mahaweli Valley.
On arrival, we transfer to nearby Nuwara Eliya, known locally as 'Little England' and set against a backdrop of soaring mountains, verdant valleys, and mighty waterfalls. We spend the next two nights at the iconic Grand Hotel, a landmark of the town set in an Elizabethan-style mansion with beautiful gardens.
On Day 7 we visit a tea plantation and factory in Ramboda, followed by high tea at our hotel.
Today we travel by coach to Ella, where we have free time before continuing to Tissamaharama.
Early on Day 9 we visit Yala National Park, the largest park of its kind in Sri Lanka that features a wonderfully diverse landscape, including monsoon forests, dusty planes, and marine wetlands. Here we take a game drive, pursuing elephants, leopards and wild boar among many other rare species. To increase our chances of spotting these animals, we take a second game drive this afternoon.
On Day 10 we drive to the coastal town of Beruwela, an idyllic coastal town, where we spend three nights. Along the way, we stop in Galle for a guided walking tour. Boasting a gorgeous natural harbour, a labyrinth of quaint narrow streets, and a delightfully preserved, UNESCO protected, fortress area, Galle has much to recommend it. On our tour, we explore the white-washed houses and grand religious buildings that jut out on the peninsula.
On Day 11 and 12 you are free to relax in Beruwela, famed for its white sandy beaches. On Day 12, you may wish to join the optional whale watching trip from Mirissa Harbour. This stretch of coastline offers the highest concentration of blue whales in the world, and is also a great place to track the sperm whale. Alternatively, you could visit a nearby turtle hatchery to participate in their baby turtle release program, enjoy an excursion to a nearby cinnamon plantation, or participate in a cooking demonstration at a local restaurant (all payable locally).
We transfer to Negambo on Day 13. A city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, we stay at the 4-Star Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, set between Negombo Lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Tonight there's a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour experiences.
Make your way to the airport for your flight back home.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to Bandaranaike Airport, approximately 20 miles from your base in Colombo. Our recommended departure airport is the Bandaranaike airport, approximately 26 miles from your final base in Colombo.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; this is where you will meet your Tour Manager.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Discover the astonishing heritage of Sri Lanka