Sri Lanka Grand

Sri Lanka · West Coast Sri Lanka · Negombo
Ancient royal city of Anuradhapura
Sigiriya Rock & Minneriya National Park
Temple of the Tooth & Kandy Dancers
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Grand Sri Lanka Tour

This grand tour of Sri Lanka offers a comprehensive overview of the island's key destinations. The fascinating comparison between the preserved remains of the ancient royal city of Anuradhapura and medieval Polonnaruwa captivates visitors. The still-standing stupas, palace, and temple ruins, soaring up to 230 feet, are truly mesmerizing. The contrasts between architectural and natural spectacles, the immersion into diverse religions, and the breathtaking array of colours from temples to tuk-tuks and majestic elephants define this tour.

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11 nights, double room, half-board
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Sri Lanka Grand in Detail

Tour 12 days / 11 nights

Day 1: NEGOMBO

Welcome and pick-up from the airport in Negombo (approximately 40 kilometres north of the capital Colombo) and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, explore the garrison town founded in 1672 by the Dutch, with the remains of the famous fort. In the evening, enjoy the opportunity to have a drink at one of the numerous beach restaurants while watching the sunset over the sea. Overnight stay in Negombo. (No meals included)

Day 2: NEGOMBO – ANURADHAPURA

(Approx. 170 km, about 4 hours)

In the morning, depart for Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Ceylon from the 4th century BC. The city was the religious and political centre of the country until around the year 1000 AD. Today, you will visit the remains and ruins of the palaces, monasteries, and monuments of ancient Anuradhapura, including the Dagobas. Not to be missed is the world-famous "Bodhi Tree", a poplar fig said to have originated from a branch of the tree in Bodhgaya, India, under which Buddha found enlightenment around 2300 years ago. Later or the next morning, visit one of Sri Lanka's oldest Buddhist sites: Mihintale, about seven kilometres outside the city on Mount Mahinda, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Witness a Dagoba from the 2nd century BC. Overnight stay in Anuradhapura. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 3: ANURADHAPURA – SIGIRIYA

(Approx. 75 km, about 1.5 hours)

Travel to Sigiriya. Just before arrival, visit the rock caves of Dambulla, accessible by a gentle climb about 160 m high. This former retreat of King Walagama is home to countless Buddhist wall paintings, sculptures, and statues. In the afternoon, walk to the village of Hiriwaduna, with a population of 2500, and hike through the surrounding fields and forests. Experience the local life, flora, and fauna, wade through small streams, and perhaps farmers will let you ride on ox carts or a catamaran. After about three hours, drive to the hotel. Overnight stay in Sigiriya. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 4: SIGIRIYA

Early morning start to Minneriya National Park. There, switch to an ancient Jeep for a safari through the park on narrow paths to spot not only birds and deer but especially the freely roaming elephant herds, which can number up to 50 animals. Next, climb the world-famous "Sigiriya Rock". Ascend past the "Cloud Maidens" - colourful wall paintings of female beauties - to the 200 m high plateau, where the remains of King Kassapia's fortress built in the 5th century AD are located. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding hills and forests. Then, drive back to the hotel. In the afternoon, reach the ancient royal city of Polonnaruwa from the 12th century AD. Visit the archaeological park with countless remains of residential buildings, palace and park complexes, and partially well-preserved stupas, temples, and the four Buddha statues carved into rock at Gal Vihara, including the "sleeping Buddha". Overnight stay in Sigiriya. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 5: SIGIRIYA – KANDY

(Approx. 90 Km, about 3 hours)

In the morning, depart from the hotel to Kandy, the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom until 1815. En route, visit the enchanting spice garden in Matale, where there is also the opportunity to purchase local products in a small shop. In the afternoon, arrive at your hotel, followed by a visit to the "Temple of the Tooth" Sri Dalada Maligawa, which houses a tooth of Buddha in a golden shrine. This site is still a pilgrimage site and monastery today. With some luck, you may see the shrine during a ceremony, but the tooth is never visible. In the evening, attend a performance by the Kandy Dancers. Overnight stay in Kandy. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6: TREKKING IN THE KNUCKLES

(Approx. 5 – 6 hours from/to Kandy)

Early in the morning, start to the Knuckles Range, located to the east of Kandy. This area, also known as the "Misty Mountains", is easy to hike. Dense fog often sweeps through the mountains, making the animals in the forest seem like ghosts, their sounds mystically muffled as if from nowhere. The path leads you through partially dense tree growth in a tunnel-like manner up to a viewpoint with a magnificent panoramic view of the lowlands. Some fitness is indeed required. After reaching the car again, return to Kandy. In the afternoon, stroll through the markets and merchant halls of the city centre along the typical colonial buildings and the winding alleys between the clock tower and the Temple of the Tooth, which is located directly on "Kandy Lake". Overnight stay in Kandy. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 7: KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA

(Approx. 150 Km, about 4 hours; partly winding mountain roads)

In the morning, visit the Botanical Garden of Peradeniya, dating back to 1371, where, among other things, flying foxes and possibly the world's second-largest tree, a Javanese fig covering about 1600 sqm of ground, can be seen. Then, drive to the tea plantations near Nuwara Eliya and visit a tea factory. Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 8: NUWARA ELIYA – HORTON PLAINS – BANDARAWELA (TRAIN)

The Horton Plains National Park is a World Heritage Site and offers hikers an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna. At altitudes of up to 2500 m, the tour lasts about 5 – 6 hours and takes you to a region that has developed almost endemically due to its remote location for millions of years. Most of the island's rivers also originate here in the highlands. An exceptional natural experience, for which you have already risen quite early today. After lunch, drive to Nanoya and take the famous "Toy Train" in second class to Ella. Upon arrival, the driver will be waiting to take you to the hotel in Badarawela. Overnight stay in Badarawela. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 9: BANDARAWELA – UDAWALAWE

(Approx. 85 km, about 3 hours without hiking)

This morning, embark on an easy trekking tour to "Little Adams Peak" (1 – 1.5 hours), where one can supposedly see a footprint of Buddha. This is a beautiful hike through the hilly nature of this area with a magnificent view from the summit at 1141 m altitude. You will walk through tea plantations, past waterfalls, and may even improve your Sinhalese with the farmers in the fields. Then, drive to Udawalawe National Park. There, experience a three to four-hour safari through this magnificent nature reserve. With some luck, you'll see crocodiles, elephants, deer, water buffalo, and many birds. Overnight stay at Udawalawe National Park. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 10: UDAWALAWE – SINHARAJA

Approx. 50 Km, about 2.5 hours

After breakfast, drive to the Sinharaja Rainforest. A roughly four-hour hike takes you into a hilly rainforest area. The local guide will show you the diversity of the plant world and countless small forest inhabitants such as chameleons, insects, snails, snakes, birds, etc. A very educational day that also offers time for your own excursions, as you will be staying near the national park. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 11: SINHARAJA – GALLE

(Approx. 70 Km, about 3 hours)

Around noon, you will reach Galle, the old Portuguese garrison town. In the 16th century, Galle was the most important port city on the island until the British took over in the 18th century. Wander through the old town with its many small shops and restaurants, drift through the market district, and be impressed by the imposing Galle Fort. Wide views over the sea and the city leave an unforgettable impression. Overnight stay in Galle. (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 12: GALLE – NEGOMBO

(Approx. 160 Km, about 3 hours)

After breakfast, depart for Colombo Airport or to your hotel on the west coast or the start of your extension programme. (Meals: Breakfast)

Programme subject to change.

Getting There

Additional information

Location

Sri Lanka Grand
Sri Lanka, West Coast Sri Lanka, Negombo
Bandaranaike International Colombo Airport (CMB)
approx. 128 km / 154 min

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