Marvel at magnificent temples, see the World Heritage Rock Fortress at Sigiriya, search for elephants and other wild animals at Yala National Park, discover the fascinating caves at Dambulla and explore the ruined cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.
Our Highlights of Sri Lanka tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Wander through this UNESCO ancient kingdom
Visit this 1st century BC Dambulla Rock Temple
See these lovable Asian elephants at the Udawale Elephant Orphange
Tour the multi-religious city of Sri Lanka's capital
Our Highlights of Sri Lanka Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
In the cooler climes of Sri Lanka's Central Highlands, tour a tea factory and plantation to learn all about the cultivation and production of the refreshing tea grown in the area.
Tour the wonderful conservation project at Kosgada, where a specialist turtle hatchery works tirelessly to protect Sri Lanka's native sea turtle species, and meet its residents.
In the island's cultural capital, Kandy, enjoy a fun and fascinating cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
This tour is suitable for those who have a reasonable amount of time to travel and are interested in seeing the main cities and scenic areas of Sri Lanka. This tour incorporates travelling on land throughout which will give you beautiful scenes of the Sri Lankan countryside.
Fly overnight to Colombo. On arrival you will be met by your expert tour guide and transferred to your hotel in the coastal town of Negombo, a short drive from Colombo.
This morning travel to Sigiriya, home to the 5th-century UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock Fortress, 'Lion Rock'. Built by King Kassapa as the centre of his short-lived kingdom, pass between a pair of colossal lion’s paws and climb to the top for panoramic views. Explore the surrounding gardens as well as admiring the world-renowned Heavenly Maidens frescoes.
Visit the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa, another UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. The capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 12th-century, it is a well-preserved city of stupas, frescoes and statues. While here, explore the Gal Viharaya, a magnificent group of rock temples and the Vatadage, an ancient structure with elaborate stone carvings. Return to Sigiriya.
Drive to celebrated Anuradhapura. The city's greatest treasures are its dagobas; domes enshrining sacred relics. The most notable is the Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba, dating back to the 2nd-century BC, which you will visit today along with the Thuparamaya, said to contain the collarbone of Buddha. Discover the city's most renowned relic, the 2,250-year-old sacred Bo Tree. Emperor Asoka's daughter brought to Anuradhapura a branch of this tree, under which Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment.
After breakfast, travel to Dambulla where you will tour the Rock Temple. Dating back to the 1st-century BC, the temple is made up of five cave sanctuaries where you'll find some of Sri Lanka's most important Buddha images. Visit a spice garden in Matale where you can see cinnamon, cardamom, pepper creepers and other spice trees growing and watch a cooking demonstration. Continue through majestic hill country to the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka's cultural hub.
This morning, visit the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Later, visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world. Stolen at Buddha's funeral, the tooth was smuggled into Sri Lanka hidden in the hair of a princess who fled from India. Explore the remains of the Royal Palace, now a museum. This evening you will watch a colourful cultural dance performance.
Drive to Nuwara Eliya, the 'Little England' of Sri Lanka. Situated at 2,000m above sea level, Nuwara Eliya is the main hill station of Sri Lanka and is known for its excellent tea production due to the cool climate which creates tea with a unique flavour. Visit a tea plantation and tea factory en route. This afternoon enjoy high tea at the Grand Hotel.
Travel to the Elephant Transit Home located near Udawalawe National Park, where abandoned baby elephants are cared for before they are released into the park. Continue to Yala, Sri Lanka's premiere national park.
Enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris around the park. It is home to elephants, deer and the elusive leopards, of which one of the world's largest populations can be found.
Drive to the Hummanaya Blow Hole, the second largest of its kind in the world. After lunch, continue to Dikwella Wewurukannala Temple, dominated by an image of a seated Buddha that is over 48 metres high. Continue the drive along the coastline towards Galle. Stop along the way at Weligama where you may see the unique stilt fishermen, an old tradition practised by around 500 fishing families in the region.
Explore the Southern capital city of Galle, Sri Lanka's finest colonial treasure, and once the greatest port in Ceylon. See the lighthouse, the Old Town and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Dutch Fort, before wandering narrow streets dotted with Dutch colonial villas, museums and antique shops.
Travel to Colombo, stopping at Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery en route. The hatchery is home to Sri Lanka's pioneering sea turtle conservation project, established in 1981 to protect the local turtle population.
Embark on a city tour of Colombo this morning. Explore the Fort district, the historic centre of the city. Wander through Pettah Market. Visit the Dutch Church of Wolvendaal, dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple, a major pilgrimage site for Buddhist devotees, and Colombo's finest museums. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
Fly to New Zealand arriving home the same or following day.
Places Visited: Negombo (1N) - Sigiriya (3N) - Polonnaruwa - Anuradhapura - Dambulla - Kandy (2N) - Nuwara Eliya (1N) - Yala National Park (2N) - Galle (2N) - Colombo (1N)
If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs or you prefer travelling with your own personal guide, contact us to arrange this as a Private Tour.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
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