10 day tour
Sri Lanka highlights

  • Climb the impressive Sigiriya Rock
  • See the famous gathering of elephants in Minneriya National Park
  • Relax & end your holiday at the beach

During this Sri Lanka highlights tour you will notice that you don’t need to travel a lot to see a lot! You will see Sri Lanka’s highlights in just 10 days and as Sri Lanka is relatively small, travel distances are short. You start off your journey relaxing at the beach town Negombo. You visit temples and caves and you learn more about the Buddhist lifestyle of the Sri Lankan people. You will embark on a spectacular train ride through green mountains and tea plantations and end your Sri Lanka holiday with some relaxing days at the beach in Talalla Bay.

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10 day tour of Sri Lanka:

Route: NEGOMBO – SIGIRIYA – KANDY – ELLA – TALALLA BAY – GALLE

sri lanka highlights

Day 1: Airport – Negombo
Your Sri Lanka highlights tour starts in Negombo. After arriving at the airport, your driver will meet you and bring you by car in about 20 minutes to your hotel in Negombo. In Negombo you can visit its centuries old fishing industry, taste various sea food, or visit traditional fishing villages in the surroundings.

sri lanka highlights

Day 2: Negombo – Dambulla – Sigiriya, afternoon optional safari Minneriya National Park
After breakfast your driver will bring you in about 5 hours to the ancient rock fortress city of Sigiriya. On the way you make a stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple, home to magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colours and shapes. It was constructed and painted around the 2nd Century BC (Anuradhapura era) and construction continued up to the Kandyan era of the 18th Century, forming an unbroken line of history and painting styles of Sri Lanka for 2500 years.

In the afternoon you can do a safari in Minneriya National Park. Minneriya National Park is famous for gathering of herds of wild elephants. The gathering is the largest known meeting place of Asian Elephants in the world. During the dry season of August to September, herds up to 300 elephants are seen within a few square kilometers. Minneriya has recorded 24 species of mammals, over 170 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles, 8 of which are endemic.

sri lanka highlights

Day 3: Sigiriya – village walk – Kandy
In the morning you can do an optional village walk through the rustic rural community of Sigiriya and Habarana accompanied by an expert guide. It’s not just a walk but an authentic encounter with the local village folk; experiencing their lifestyles, their culture and their hospitality. Since both villages are predominantly agriculture based, there is ample opportunity to view and experience traditional rice fields, vegetable farming, cultivation of native yams and other crops, poultry keeping, bee keeping and much more.

sri lanka highlights

In the afternoon, you can climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya was built as a complex city and a fortress by King Kashyapa during his regime of 477 to 495 CE. It has been an UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. In the heat of the day the climb can be a bit tough, but when you arrive at the top you will be rewarded by an amazing view of the surroundings.

After the climb of Sigiriya your driver will bring you to Kandy, a drive of about 2 ½ hours.

sri lanka highlights

Day 4: Kandy; optional trek to Heel Oya Village
Today you have a free day in Kandy. In the morning you can do an optional trek to Heel Oya Village. Heel Oya is a rural, remote agricultural village, which is known for  practicing justice by the traditional way of hearing a case by the village-headman. The main livelihood of the village community is rice paddy cultivation, home gardening, livestock and spices. Villagers engage in bee-keeping, traditional dances etc., as supplementary income sources. Tourists are encouraged to work and become part of the village life by engaging in plucking fruits and vegetables for a meal to be prepared according to local taste. You will also get an opportunity to watch some of the other aspects of this village, like the Heel Oya waterfall, local species and herbs.

sri lanka highlights

In the afternoon, you can visit the famous Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) to attend the evening sermon. The Temple of the Tooth is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists from all over the world, as it houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple. Kandy is also the place to see traditional Kandy dancing. A team of dancers, accompanied by drummers, give a spectacular show.

sri lanka highlights

Day 5 : Kandy – Ella
Today you make a spectacular train journey to Ella. The train ride from Kandy to Ella is known as one of the most scenic train trips in the world. The train finds it way through green mountains and tea plantations. Your driver will pick you from Ella railway station and will transfer you to your hotel in Ella.

sri lanka highlights

Day 6: Ella; optional hike to Ella Rock and Little Adam’s Peak or visit tea estate
Ella a peaceful, scenic village in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Today you can make a trek to Ella Rock. You start from Bandarawela. The trek goes partly along rail tracks, through forests and mountains with panoramic views. You climb Ella Rock and Little Adam’s Peak. The trek is approximately 4 hours.

sri lanka highlights

You can also choose to embark on a tuk tuk ride and tea estate trail to Dambatenna Tea Factory and Lipton Seat,  followed by a scenic tea estate walk with an expert guide. This is a trekking trip of approximately 3 to 4 hours.

sri lanka highlights

Day 7: Ella – Talalla Bay
It is time to go to the beach! Your driver will bring you to Talalla Bay, a drive of approximately 4 hours. Talalla Bay is a beautiful, sheltered crescent shaped cove, fringed by palms and about 2 kilometers long. Close by is the town of Tangalle.

Day 8: Talalla Bay free day
You are free to spend the day on this beautiful beach as you see fit. You can relax enjoying the sun, sea & sand, or maybe engage in some of your favorite water based activities.

sri lanka highlights

Day 9: Talalla Bay – Visit Galle
Today you visit the beautiful colonial town of Galle, located in the southwestern tip of the island. Galle is an important historical landmark with its fortified city, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later developed in the 17th century during the Dutch colonial period. The Dutch Fort in Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. Take an interesting walk through this heritage site that boasts of a colorful history.

Day 10: Talalla Bay – Airport
Your journey through Sri Lanka comes to an end today. A transfer will be organized from your hotel to Colombo airport, where you will board your flight home.
sri lanka highlights

More inspiration?

See our other travel suggestions for more ways to explore Sri Lanka.

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