Spend 2 weeks in Sri Lanka exploring at your own pace, with the comfort and flexibility of your own private driver.
With a culture spanning more than 2000 years, Sri Lanka is a captivating and diverse island steeped in history and home to eight Unesco world heritage sites. Sri Lanka is also home to several national parks hosting an abundance of wildlife, including Yala National Park which has the highest density of leopards of anywhere in the world. With an abundance of beautiful, uncrowded coastline and white sand beaches, Sri Lanka's beaches are the perfect place to chill out at the end of your trip after your time spent exploring the island.
Visit the capital, Colombo; the ancient city of Anuradhapura; Sigiriya (Lion Rock); Kandy and the Temple of the Tooth; Nuwara Eliya; the plateau of Horton Plains, Yala National Park and end on the beaches of Beruwala.
Depart the UK today from your chosen airport.
You will be greeted on arrival and transferred to your hotel in Colombo where you will spend the night.
The rest of the day is yours to explore Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. Why not visit the vibrant markets and bazaars of Pettah or the National Museum with its collection of lovely antiques and arts of Sri Lanka? Alternatively you could visit a Buddhist temple and a Hindu Kovil to experience the diverse religions of the local people.
After breakfast at the hotel it's time to set off for your next destination, the sacred ancient city of Anuradhapura. This UNESCO city has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization.
You will see some of the tallest and most famous Stupas of Sri Lanka, the ruins of ancient royal palaces and the ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’ (sacred Bo tree) which is over 2,200 years old, the oldest historically documented tree in the world.
After breakfast you will head off on your next journey. After half an hour, your first stop will be to visit the ancient remains of Mihintale, regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. A stairway of 1,840 steps lead to the summit where you can enjoy stunning views across the surrounding countryside. Next is Aukana to see the statue of the Aukana Buddha, this magnificent structure is 13 metres high and dates back to the 5th century.
On arrival in the small village of Habarana, you will check into your hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast you will leave for Sigiriya, only a short ride away. Begin your day by climbing the rock fortress of Sigiriya, a ‘fortress in the sky’ built in the 5th century. Built by King Kassapa this fortress was originally a royal citadel, built on the summit of lion rock, which rises 200m out of the jungle. The base of the rock is surrounded by extensive gardens and large ornamental lions paw guards the stairway of the palace. This site is a must-see, make sure you also check out the 10 foot high mirror wall!
Spend the afternoon at the ruins of the ancient capital Ceylon. This medieval city is still defended by enclosing walls and is home to the remains of palaces, shrines, monasteries, parks and ponds. Dating back to the 13th century this city is in a good state of preservation and worthy of a visit.
After breakfast, head off to your first port of call, Dambulla, only half an hour away. Explore the famous Golden Rock Cave Temple - a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery is the largest and best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Make sure you check out the 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha.
Next stop is Kandy, one of the most important cultural cities in Sri Lanka and home to the ‘Temple of the Tooth’ which houses the most sacred religious relic, the tooth of the Buddha.
On arrival you'll have time to check into your hotel and take a rest before visiting the Temple of the Tooth this evening. Afterwards, you'll get to watch the Kandyan Cultural Show, featuring dancers, drummers and fire walkers.
After breakfast, you'll head to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage - half an hour away. The orphanage was built to take care of baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild and you'll be able to watch the elephants being fed and see them having a bath!
Next stop is Nuwara Eliya, via a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens - home to a rare collection of tropical and indigenous flora.
Tonight you will stay in Nuwara Eliya, set in the heart of tea country this little town is reminiscent of the English countryside complete with Georgian & Queen Anne style homes.
After breakfast, head for Horton Plains, the highest plateau in the country. Horton Plains is famous for its unique vegetation and rare, endemic highland birds. An escarpment that falls 880 metres to the lowlands of the Southern region offers spectacular views of the countryside below and is often referred to the ‘Worlds End’.
This afternoon you can take a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya at your own convenience before having the evening at leisure.
Breakfast will be served at the hotel before you head to the jungles of Yala National Park. En route you will visit Rawana Waterfalls, a great photo opportunity set against the backdrop of mountains.
On arrival into Yala, check into your hotel before heading out on an afternoon safari accompanied by a professional tracker. Yala National Park is home to many animals including elephants, buffalos, sloth bears, mongeese and crocodiles. There is also a high concentration of leopards although you may need a bit of luck to spot these nocturnal creatures!
Early-risers have the opportunity to head out on a leopard safari before dawn, or you can opt for a lie in before breakfast and continuing your onward travels!
After breakfast, it's on to Bentota and one of the most stunning beaches on the South-west coast.
On arrival you will check in, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Today is a free day to relax and soak up the sun on the stunning beach at Beruwala. Why not treat yourself to a spa treatment or a swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean?
Depart at any time, a driver will take you to the airport to meet your onward flight.
High season in Sri Lanka runs from December to March and is when the Hill Country and West/South coast beaches are busiest and driest. The Maha monsoon season keeps the East, North and ancient cities wet at this time. April and September are the best option for those travelling countrywide with these months enjoying the best weather overall, New Year’s celebrations in mid-April can cause transport in particular to be busy so keep this in mind. Low season brings rain to the South and West coasts plus the Hill Country, weather is best at this time for travel to the North & East.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.
10 nights accommodation in a mixture of 4* & 5* accommodation (except in Anurahapura where accommodation is of a 3* standard).
Hotels in this category include: