Grand Tour of Sri Lanka

  • 12 Days

  • Sri Lanka

  • Active pace

Journey through lush forests to sacred temples and ancient ruins and through misty hills on winding railways. From the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Temple of the Tooth to the leopards of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka is a place of endless appeal.

Your journey starts here

Highlights

VIP private home pick-up service
Flights
Transfers
Services of a driver/guide
Accommodation
Selected meals
All airport taxes
VIP private home pick-up
  • Overview

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

  • Day 3

  • Day 4

  • Day 5

  • Day 6

  • Day 7

  • Day 8

  • Day 9

  • Day 10

  • Day 11

  • Day 12

of 12 days

Your detailed itinerary

Tour departing on 18th September 2017

Meals included: 10 breakfasts, 10 dinners

Overview

Journey through lush forests to sacred temples and ancient ruins, through misty hills on winding railways; from the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Temple of the Tooth to the leopards of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka is a place of endless appeal.

At a glance

  • Colombo - visit the attractive Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct and the wide lawns of Galle Face Green.
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress  - the ruins of this 5th century palace are one of the country’s most dramatic sights.
  • Kandy - visit the Temple of the Tooth which houses one of Sri Lanka’s most important relics.
  • Rail journey to Nuwara Eliya - a stunning railway journey from Kandy to the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya.
  • Nuwara Eliya  - a sightseeing tour in the capital of Sri Lanka's tea industry.
  • Yala National Park - spot leopards and water buffalo on a jeep safari.

Extensions

  • 2 nights Dubai hotel stay pre-tour
  • 6 nights Sri Lanka beach stay post-tour
  • 7 nights Maldives beach stay post-tour

Please call our Travel Specialists to book this holiday with an extension.

Day 1

Depart UK

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 2

Arrive Colombo

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, embark on a sightseeing tour of this bustling city. Historically, Colombo was known as a trading port due to its natural harbour and was a city of strategic importance to the Portuguese, Dutch and British before Ceylon gained independence in 1948. Many old colonial buildings can still be seen around the city alongside more traditional Sri Lankan architecture. See the Galle Face Green promenade, Dutch Hospital precinct, Fort Railway Station, a Hindu Kovil, the Beira Lake and Independence Square.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3

Colombo - Anuradhapura - Mihintale - Sigiriya

After breakfast, journey through the lush Sri Lankan countryside to Anuradhapura, the country's ancient capital. The city is considered sacred to the Buddhist world and is surrounded by monasteries. Your city tour takes in the well-preserved ruins of this area and the Sri Maha Bodhi (or Bo Tree), the oldest recorded tree in the world. This remarkable tree was a sapling taken from the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree in India, under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. Later visit the pilgrimage site of Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, before continuing to Sigiriya.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 4

Sigiriya - Minneriya - Sigiriya

This morning visit the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a giant magma plug which has served both as a long-standing Buddhist monastery and a fortress. Surrounded by a network of gardens and moats, it is an historical, geological and anthropological landmark. The ancient ruins of the upper palace built by King Kasyapa can also be found on the summit, which at 656 feet above sea level affords magnificent views across the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside. On the way to the top, see the famous 'Cloud Maidens' frescoes painted on the rock wall. Later, take an afternoon safari drive to either Minneriya, Kaudulla or Eco Park National Park where with luck, elephants, Sambar deer and leopards might be seen.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 5

Polonnaruwa - Dambulla - Kandy

This morning visit the ruins of Polonnaruwa. After lunch visit the fascinating Dambulla Rock Cave Temple which comprises of five caverns, each amazingly preserved, containing frescoes and statues of the Buddha. En route to Kandy there is also a visit to a spice garden and a batik factory.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6

Kandy

A jumble of culture, history and colonial buildings, Kandy is nestled in forested hills and is one of Sri Lanka's most interesting cities. This morning first visit the Temple of the Tooth then enjoy a comprehensive tour of this green city, taking in the colourful market place, the upper lake drive and the Gem Museum. There will also be a visit to the Arts & Crafts Centre and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens which are renowned for their collection of orchids, spices and medicinal plants. This evening visit a cultural show and be entertained by Kandyan dancers and drummers.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 7

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Today, admire the views on a scenic rail journey from Kandy to the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya by train. Experience one of the world's most stunning rail journeys on this quintessential Sri Lankan rail service. The train bumps and grinds through the forests and tea plantations and is a highlight of your tour. Otherwise known as 'Little England', Nuwara Eliya is set nearly 2,000 metres above sea level and is surrounded by rolling hills and lush tea plantations. It is considered the capital of Sri Lanka's tea industry, with its cool temperatures, humidity and rainfall providing the perfect climate for tea production. This evening, take a sightseeing tour around the town.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 8

Nuwara Eliya - Horton Plains - Nuwara Eliya

An early start this morning as you journey up steep mountains to the Horton Plains. Located on Sri Lanka's highest plateau, this mountainous region is blanketed in mist-wreathed forests and affords spectacular views of the valleys below, occasionally extending to the coastline. The evening is at leisure in Nuwara Eliya.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 9

Nuwara Eliya - Yala

After breakfast journey south towards Yala National Park. The rest of the day is free to relax in the lush jungle surroundings of your hotel.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 10

Yala National Park

This morning, take a jeep safari through Yala National Park. Home to one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, sights of these beautiful creatures are not uncommon. Yala is also a birdwatcher's paradise, with around 230 species recorded in the park. As well as leopards and birds, look out for elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo, macaques and mugger crocodiles - Yala really is Kipling's Jungle Book brought to life! Later, you will have another opportunity to spot animals on an afternoon safari.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 11

Yala - Galle - Colombo

This morning travel to Galle for a city tour, before continuing back to Colombo for an overnight stay. If you are choosing a Sri Lanka beach extension, your tour will end here.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 12

Colombo - UK

Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK or to the Maldives if you are extending your stay.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Hotels

  • Colombo: Ozo Colombo
  • Sigiriya: Hotel Sigiriya
  • Kandy Mahaweli Reach
  • Nuwara Eliya: St Andrews (2017) / Araliya Green Hills (2018)
  • Tissamaharama: Hotel Chandrika
  • Galle: Amari Galle (2018)

Notes

A number of steep steps must be climbed in order to reach the top level of Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

For 2017 departures - the journey to Horton Plains is a 3-4 hour trek through mountains, which some people may find difficult.

The Yala National Park is closed to visitors around September / October. During this period The Yala Safari Drive will take place in the Udawalawe National Park or Bundala National Park.

A visa is required to travel on this tour. Please refer to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice prior to departure for the latest requirements and how to apply.

Tour hotels will be as specified or alternatives of a similar standard.

Latest customer reviews

09/04/2017

A great way to see Sri Lanka

04/04/2017

See above for my answer to this

23/03/2017

Bought spices from the spice garden and local market, a selection of teas from the market and tea factory, a batik hanging from the batick factory which explained how batik is produced and a piece of jewellery from the gem factory.

20/11/2016

A VERY COMPREHENSIVE TOUR COVERING BOTH CULTURAL AND WILDLIFE OF THE ISLAND.OUR TOUR GUIDE JANAKA WAS EXCELLENT. WE DID HOWEVER FIND IT STRENUOUS AND INDEED IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR SOME OF THE OLDER MEMBERS OF THE PARTY. BETTER DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE LEVEL OF PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIRED FOR MORE THAN THE ONE DAY WOULD MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT THE TOUR. OUR INITIAL PICK-UP WAS POOR WHEN AS WE HAD TO WAIT FOR OVER AN HOUR AFTER CLEARING OUR BAGGAGE. WE HAD TO WAIT FOR A LATER FLIGHT TO ARRIVE WITH ANOTHER ARCHERS CUSTOMER. UNACCEPTABLE AFTER A LONG FLIGHT. ALL ACCOMODATION WAS VERY GOOD, ESPECIALLY THE OZO IN COLOMBO AND THE QUIRKY ST ANDREWS HOTEL IN NUWARA ELIYA. THE FOOD THROUGHTOUT WAS VARIED AND VERY GOOD QUALITY WITH SOMETHING TO SUIT ALL PALATES. ON A TECHNICAL NOTE THIS FEEFO FEEDBACK WILL NOT SUPPORT TRUE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION FOR ANY QUALITY PROCESS.

15/08/2016

Fantastic tour, excellent hotels & guide. Varied itinerary (historic, religious, wildlife, safari, culture, village life etc.), really showing the best Sri Lanka has to offer. Such excellent commentary - really well looked after in a group of only 4. Good air con vehicle.

24/06/2016

Our guide and driver Antony made the holiday what it was.Jammed pack of sightseeing and local knowledge..

Why book with Archers Holidays?