Day 1: Negombo
"Ayubovan - welcome from the heart", our driver welcomes you when you arrive at the international airport of Colombo and then drives you to the nearby Negombo. Arrived at the hotel you can recover from a long journey. Negombo is a traditional fishing town in Sri Lanka and its economy is based on tourism and a centuries-old fishing industry. If you stroll along the coastal road in Negombo, you will find a good choice of restaurants offering delicious and above all fresh seafood. The city has a Roman Catholic history and has been given the name "Little Rome", you can find several buildings dating back to the Dutch and Portuguese colonial era, such as the Dutch Canal, the old administration buildings and many of the city's landmarks Churches The 100 km long canal that runs through the city offers the opportunity to discover Negombo from a different perspective.Enjoy a boat ride through the canals of this town (optional) Today is mainly for acclimatization and a rest after a long flight!
Day 2: The cultural triangle of Sri Lanka
The "cultural triangle" of Sri Lanka is the perfect starting point for a trip across the island. Here you can daily visit new highlights of Sri Lankan history and culture without having to move from one hotel to the next. Spend three days here to familiarize yourself with the local history. After breakfast we drive towards the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, to Sigiriya. In the afternoon visit the famous rock fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 370-meter high granite rock with a magnificent palace built by King Kashyapa around 475 AD, a true marvel of old building technology, art and culture. The palace complex at the foot of the rock still has the remains of four indoor pools, where once the king 500 concubines used to bath. The structure of the palace was built with a complex water pipe system in the walls, which provided natural air conditioning during the hot months. At the summit, reached by metal stairs and ladders, you can visit the remains of palace walls, gardens and ponds. The mirrored walls of the Sigiriya Rock still show the world-famous frescoes of the king's concubines who came from all parts of the world. Once you reach the plateau, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the area.
Day 3: Polonnaruwa and the famous Buddha Formation of Gal Vihare
Today is dedicated to the former royal city of Polonnaruwa. After breakfast drive to the royal city and visit the impressive archaeological site. The ancient holy city is the former capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th and 12th centuries. In its heyday, the city, surrounded by a 6 km long city wall, housed hundreds of people. You will visit the Gal Vihara stone sculptures and the three giant Buddha sculptures carved in granite by an unknown sculptor in the 12th century. This tour you can as well do by bike, which makes the visit much more enjoyable as the ancient monuments extend for several kilometers. Please note that the driver will continue with his vehicle, then wait for you at each of the various spots to explain the sites .You can take the bikes from one spot to the next. You can enjoy lunch in one of the many family restaurants in the area. The local food is rice & curry and it tastes best when cooked in a family restaurant in an open kitchen over an open fire and in clay pots. The culmination of the day is the safari through the elephant park of Minneriya. Especially in the summer months there are large herds of elephants. In the period from June to September, the annual "elephant meeting in Minneriyas" is a well-known and spoken about event.
Day 4: Anuradhapura the cradle of Buddhism - a day of highlights
Today, after breakfast, Anuradhapura is explored. The sacred city of Anuradhapura, now in picturesque ruins, was once an important center of Sri Lankan civilization. The fascinating ancient ruins include huge bell-shaped stupas of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces and ancient drinking water reservoirs. The holy city of Anuradhapura is rich in historical values. Here is the sacred tree Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya. It is worshiped because it is the original branch of the ancient Sri Maha Bodhiya in Bodhi Gaya, India, which provided a refuge for the Lord Buddha when he attained enlightenment. This much acclaimed Bo tree, which is over 2,200 years old, rises to its glorious height in the historic Maha Meghavana Royal Park and is considered to be the oldest tree with a recorded history. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, one of the holiest relics for Buddhists in the world, was brought into the country by Sanghamitra Thera and planted by then ruling king Devanampiyatissa. The main attraction of Anuradhapura are the Dagobas, a brick-built hemispherical structure. The Jetawanarama Dagoba is the highest of all Dagobas and is about 110 m high. Mihintale, is the sacred mountain of Buddhists, and from all over the world believers and worshippers come and visit this holy place of the Theravada Buddhism. The history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka has its origins here when monk Mahinda (envoy of King Ashoka of India) met king Devanampiyatissa on this hill and preached the teachings of Buddhism. It was a full moon day in June (Poson). Since then, the faithful have been making a pilgrimage to every Poson to the mountain of Mihintale. To reach the top of the hill, you have to take 1840 granite steps. The most famous Mihintale building is the Stupa / Dagoba of Kantaka Cetiya (1st century BC), a beautiful structure, and well preserved is a unique example of the ancient art of stone carving of those days. The white statue of a Buddha, located right next to the last plateau, is an incredible sight that can be enjoyed from the top of the mountain The standing Aukana Buddha is by far the best example of local stonemasonry, found halfway between Anuradhapura and Dambulla. Despite its 13 m height, the freestanding Buddha, struck out of a rock, looks very graceful due to its ribbed, tight-fitting robe. The broad face expresses calm and serenity. The age of the Aukana Buddha is difficult to determine due to lack of inscription. His creator is unknown, although his work was traced back to the 5th century, when he was associated with one of Sri Lanka's most famous kings, King Dhatusena (455-473).
Day 5: Dambulla the Rock Temple - Kandy the Pearl of Sri Lanka
After a good breakfast, drive towards the last ancient city of Sri Lanka, Kandy. Between green mountains in the north of the mountainous country of the island, lies the royal city of Kandy, the capital of the last independent kingdom of Sri Lanka. It survived two centuries of colonial invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch before it fell victim to the British in 1815. Arrived in Kandy today you will have the opportunity to attend the Temple Evening Ceremony (18.00). "The Temple of Tooth"is the place where the tooth relic of the Buddha is to be found. According to legend, the tooth was taken from the Buddha when he lay on his pyre in 313 AD. It was smuggled into Sri Lanka, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali, who fled from the Hindu armies besieging her father's kingdom in India.When the capital was moved to Kandy, the tooth was taken to Kandy and became most importasnt relic of the new city. The temple was originally built by Kandyan kings between 1687 and 1707, but was later heavily damaged by the Portuguese and Dutch during the 18th century colonial wars.After the wars, the original wooden structures were restored in stone. The first stop today just a few kilometers outside of Sigiriya, in the direction of Kandy, is the famous rock temple of Dambulla. One of the culmination of the highlights of the cultural triangle.
Day 6: Tea plantations - mountain landscape and a special colonial flair
Nuwara Eliya is located in the hill country of Sri Lanka and is famous for its numerous tea plantations, stretching as far as the eye can see. The drive to Nuwara Eliya will be an unforgettable experience as nothing will beat the beautiful scenery of the highlands, surrounded by old trees and beautiful waterfalls. In addition, the fresh climate of the hill country makes it a popular destination for the locals who want to escape the heat of the city. The typical English atmosphere created by the many colonial-style cottages make Nuwara Eliya a unique destination. One of the best tea plantations / factories will be visited in the afternoon. Try a variety of teas during a "Sri Lankan tea sample"
Day 7: The famous “World’s End” in the Horton Plains
The excursion to the Horton Plains starts in the early morning (about 05: 30-06: 00). Therefore, we recommend taking the breakfast with you in form of a picnic. (The hotel will organize this for you) Between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale spreads one of the peculiar landscapes of Sri Lanka: the Horton Plains. The tropical island shows its wildest side here the Horton Plains are among the most popular hiking destinations in Sri Lanka. Named after Sir Robert W. Horton, Ceylon's governor from 1831-37, it is probably due to the hunting enthusiasm of the English that this area has been largely preserved to this day. Thus, the plateau at about 2100 m altitude served the English colonial rulers as a hunting ground for leopards and elephants.Since 1969, the 3160 ha area is under protection and in 1988 Horton Plains was officially declared a national park. 2010 then as part of the central highlands to the World Natural Heritage. Besides Sri Lanka's second and third highest peaks (Kirigalpota 2389 m, Thotupola Kande 2357 m), some of the most important rivers rise on the very rainy plateau. In addition to Sambar deer and leopards, some rare endemic bird species are also found on the Plains. The scenic highlights of the Horton Plains are undoubtedly Baker's Falls and World's End. The hike starts at the park entrance and is 4 km to the famous World's End. Here, the plateau slopes almost 900 m and leaves a breathtaking view, which can be up to the south coast in good visibility. Following the path, after about 2 km you will find the junction that leads to Baker's Falls. For some, the waterfall may be a bit disappointing, but quite impressive for local conditions. He received his name from the British naturalist Samuel W. Baker from 1846 very active driving the cultivation of vegetables in Nuwara Eliya. After the hike, return to your hotel to take the train towards Ella (subject to availability). Once in Ella, you can explore the small mountain village on foot and dine in one of the many restaurants and local cafes.
Day 8: Ella and its beautiful landscape
Ella is a small town in the highlands, an equally popular place for locals and tourists to relax in nature. Ella is known for the best viewpoints and easy trekking trails, surrounded by an endless green as far as the eye can see. After a short evening walk through Ella, before returning to your booked hotel, enjoy a delicious dinner in one of the many small eateries. Our tip: Visit the popular "Cafe Chill", which looks more like a beach bar than a restaurant in the mountains. However, if you like it "down-to-earth" and prefer good authentic food, we recommend the Adam's Breeze where you can enjoy a variety of delicious Curry's or Kotthu dishes. During the day visit the famous Nine Arch Bridge, the Ravana Falls and hike on Little Adam's Peak or Ella Rock!Spend an amazing day exploring the beautiful nature of this village.
Day 9: The Safari Park of Yala
Today you continue towards Tissamaharama, which is located in the south of the country. At the time Tissamaharama was also known as Mahagama and was founded by Prince Mahanaga, the brother of King Devanampiyatissa, in the 3rd century BC. Founded. The settlement became famous during the reign of King Kavantissa, the father of King Dutugamunu. During this time, the three stupas of Tissamaharama and the two old irrigation reservoirs were built. Today Tissamaharama is known for the ancient Kataragama Temple and Yala National Park. Upon arrival in Tissamaharama at 2.30pm, the safari begins at Yala National Park. On the way from Ella to Tissa you will see the famous Buddha reliefs of Buduruwagala. The Yala National Park is by far the most famous National Park in Sri Lanka, which was declared a nature reserve in 1900 and officially became a National Park in 1938. Yala is home to 44 mammal and 215 species of birds. Among the better known residents are the leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambas, jackals, deer, peacocks and crocodiles. The park is by far one of the most popular due to this variety of wildlife that can be easily observed by the vehicle. The main attraction are elephant herds and the large number of Sambar and deer. In addition, one of the highest leopard density in the world reign in Yala. The park consists of five blocks, covering an area of 1260 square kilometres. However, only a fifth of the area is open to visitors. Four-fifths of the park is strictly designated as a nature reserve.
Day 10: Drive along the beautiful coast to Galle - the ancient Fort
The drive along the coast goes through many of the island's famous seaside resorts and well known surfing spots, namely Tangalle, Dickwella, Mirissa, Weligama, Kabalana, Unawatuna to Galle. There are many possibilities on the way to shoot unforgettable holiday photos, e.g. the well-known pole fishermen, turtle farms and unique cliff formations. Enjoy the ride! The penultimate stop of your tour will take you to the 17th century Dutch fortress of Galle (UNESCO World Heritage Site), near the southernmost point of the island, which may be called the best preserved sea fortress in South Asia. When you enter the imposing stones bastions, you go on a journey through time. Inside the fortress you can feel that it radiates the charm of the old world. In the narrow streets you will find numerous Dutch colonial villas, several museums and antique shops that exhibit curiosities from the colonial period of the island. Of the many colonial buildings, the most intriguing is probably the Dutch Reformed Church, where artfully carved monuments have been erected for the city's Dutch settlers. The fortress also houses some of the island's most exclusive boutique accommodation, set in former mansions restored to their colonial splendor. Furthermore, you will find a good selection of restaurants, galleries and boutiques, some of which offer exclusive designer fashion and decorative items.
Day 11: Colombo the capital of the island - the visit is concluding a wonderful journey through Sri Lanka
You will finish your journey in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Colombo is by far the largest and most developed city in the country. The natural harbour was once a magnet for successive merchants and conquerors - first the Arab merchants, then the Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialists. It's easy to explore the city on your own, with a tuk-tuk, the most typical public transport in Sri Lanka. You stop a tuk-tuk by hand. It is absolutely important that the Tuk- Tuk has a taximeter that it is also switched on to avoid any discussions about the fare. We also recommend downloading "Pick Me", our local "Uber" (which also works in Sri Lanka), because you can rent a tuk-tuk with this app.
Day 12: Time to say Goodbye
One last time you have breakfast in Sri Lanka, then you go to the airport. Depending on the departure time, the pick-up from the hotel varies. We hope that you have spent a great time in Sri Lanka and have taken the country and its people to heart. Come back soon! Until then a good trip home and a safe arrival.