Begin your trip in cultural Colombo, exploring the city’s markets and multi-ethnic history, before travelling to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle to see the temples of Polonnaruwa and the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Next, travel onto Kandy and visit the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple before heading into the tea country at Haputale and going elephant watching at Udawalawe National Park. End your trip on the beaches of the deep south in Tangalle, before travelling back to Colombo for your departure.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Tangalle, Polonnaruwa, Udawalawe, Colombo, Haputale, Kandy
Activity Activity Luxury, Beach, Nature & Wildlife, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Mild
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Arrive in Colombo

Arrive in Colombo

Day 1–2 in Colombo

On arrival at Colombo Airport transfer to your first boutique hotel to relax after your flight.

Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Day 3–5 in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, a thriving centre of commerce and religion. Today, visitors can explore the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Sacred Quadrangle and a number of temples. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Don't miss

Get lost in the caves of Dambulla

Get lost in the caves of Dambulla

Explore the five main caves of Dambulla stuffed with statues of Buddha and Hindu gods. The walk up offers great views of Sigiriya Rock.

See Buddha’s tooth in Kandy

See Buddha’s tooth in Kandy

Day 6–7 in Kandy

Central Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites, being home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – a tooth from Buddha himself. The golden-roofed temple is actually part of the Royal Palace complex, which includes several museums and temples. Look out for the annual perahera festival, when the tooth is paraded around the city by 65 decorated elephants.

Explore the lesser-visited tea country of Haputale

Explore the lesser-visited tea country of Haputale

Day 8–9 in Haputale

The hillside town of Haputale is a little-visited stop on the train route into tea country from Kandy to Ella. Surrounded by tea plantations, this is the perfect place for a hike through Sri Lanka’s countryside away from the crowds. Take a side-trip to Diyaluma Waterfall to see the country’s second-highest waterfall, complete with three sets of pools to soak in.

Don't miss

Train to tea country

Train to tea country

Take the rickety train through the hills to the village of Ella, where you can enjoy hiking, waterfalls and — of course — tea.

See elephants in Udawalawe National Park

See elephants in Udawalawe National Park

Day 10 in Udawalawe

Sri Lanka’s finest national park is home to herds of elephants, wild buffalo, crocodiles and leopards. The park’s light vegetation makes it easier to spot the animals, with the 200 Asian elephants that call the Udawalawe home the main attraction.

Relax on the low-key beaches of Tangalle

Relax on the low-key beaches of Tangalle

Day 11–13 in Tangalle

Laidback Tangalle in Sri Lanka’s south is one of the region’s more relaxed beach destinations, combining simple guesthouses and some upmarket hotels. What really sets it apart from the other resorts along the coast are the nearby attractions, including turtle-watching at Rekawa and the rock temples of Mulkirigala – both a half-day trip away.

Historic markets and modern malls in Colombo

Historic markets and modern malls in Colombo

Day 14–16 in Colombo

Cosmopolitan Colombo is more than just the gateway to Sri Lanka. Here, you can learn about Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic history, with churches, mosques and temples all in a line, street food with influences from around the world, and shopping in a mix of ancient markets and huge malls in Pettah.

Don't miss

Sample diverse Sri Lanka cuisine

Sample diverse Sri Lanka cuisine

From Jaffna crab curry to breakfasts of hoppers (fermented rice crepes), Sri Lankan food has a distinct identity depending on where you visit.

Where to stay

Classic

Melheim Resort

Located in Beragala at the southern edge of the hill country, Melheim Resort Sri Lanka is a quality nine-bedroom hotel with great views across the southern plains to the coast. Simple, clean and reasonably priced, all rooms have en-suite bathrooms, private balconies and commanding views, and guests can enjoy the swimming pool, mini spa and restaurant with outdoor dining.

Superior

Coco Tangalla

Coco Tangalla is an intimate colonial villa situated on Tangalle beach. Decked out in black and white, this old house has been decorated in a fun and contemporary style with splashes of Sri Lankan tradition. It’s chic, compact, and very laid back here. With only six rooms, you can expect personal service, attentive staff and terrific food.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators may cost between £2,950 and £4,200pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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