Grand Tour of Sri Lanka

Tour route

  • Colombo: 2 nights
  • Anuradhapura: 1 night
  • Passikudah: 2 nights
  • Dambulla: 2 nights
  • Kandy: 2 nights
  • Nuwara Eliya: 1 night
  • Udawalawe: 1 night
  • Tissamaharama: 2 nights
  • Mirissa: 2 nights

Prices from £1,849pp for 15 nights including flights and transfers

Highlights

  • City tours of Colombo, Kandy and Galle
  • The beautiful beaches of Passikudah and Mirissa
  • Explore the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Dambulla Rock Temple
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ancient capital, Anuradhapura
  • Discover Nuwara Eliya with its famous tea plantations
  • Safari through both Udawalawe and Yala National Park 

Overview

Journey to the heart of this captivating island, boasting an incredible variety of highlights from undiscovered pristine beaches in the East, to ancient civilisations and sacred pilgrimage sites in the Cultural Triangle. Journey high up into the tea plantations of Sri Lanka’s hill country and then down to Udawalawe and Yala to experience Sri Lanka’s stunning wildlife, and discover the country’s rich history in Colonial Galle and the capital, Colombo.

Good to Know

Group Size

This is a small group tour with a maximum of 20 passengers.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour with local guides throughout ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Private Tour

Upgrade to a private tour with local guide on the same itinerary departing on the day of your choice from £299 per person, please call for details.

Tour Dates:

2019

30 Jan, 06 Feb, 13 Feb, 20 Feb, 24 Feb, 27 Feb, 10 Mar, 13 Mar, 20 Mar, 28 Mar, 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 01 May, 15 May, 29 May, 12 Jun, 19 Jun, 26 Jun, 28 Aug, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 09 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct, 06 Nov, 13 Nov, 20 Nov

Prices from £1,729 per person for 15 nights including flights and transfers.

Tour itineraries may be subject to change.

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Itinerary

Day 1: UK to Colombo
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Colombo.

Day 2: Colombo
On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Colombo for a welcome dinner.
• Dinner

Day 3: Colombo
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, is a bustling, cosmopolitan city whose colonial history is still very much evident along wide, shaded boulevards and among its Victorian churches and tumbledown cafes. An introductory half-day city tour visits the vibrant temples and bazaars of Pettah, selling seemingly everything from traditional jewellery to Ayurvedic medicines. A trip to the Old Dutch hospital is a highlight of the newly restored Fort complex, home to some of Colombo’s chicest restaurants, cafes and shops. After lunch rest of day at leisure.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Colombo to Anuradhapura
Today you will leave the capital and head north to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the spiritual heart of the Cultural Triangle. On route, visit the somnolent village of Mihintale and its nearby sacred mountain peak and temple complex. Ancient monastic dwellings and meditations spots are connected by beautiful old stone steps amongst rocky hills.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Anuradhapura to Passikudah
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Anuradhapura’s city ruins are one of South Asia’s most evocative sites and contain a rich collection of crumbling temples, vast monasteries and elaborate palaces. Marvel at the sacred Bodhi tree, the oldest authenticated tree in the world. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before travelling east to Passikudah.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Passikudah
Today has been left at leisure for you to relax and enjoy Passikudah’s powder-white sands and emerald-blue waters on Sri Lanka’s laid-back, less-visited east coast.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: Passikudah to Dambulla
This morning, journey to Sri Lanka’s second ancient city. Scattered over gently undulating woodland, explore the monumental ruins of the ancient garden city of Polonnaruwa. Afterwards, continue on to the scenic town of Dambulla where you will spend the next two nights.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Dambulla and Sigiriya
Undoubtedly a highlight of the tour is today’s excursion to the awe inspiring Sigiriya rock fortress. The ancient city of Sigiriya is a World Heritage Site and the city ruins lie on the slopes and summit of the imposing granite peak, towering above the jungle below. Climb up steps carved into the rock face to see the fortified palace and brilliant frescoes or enjoy the spectacular views of ancient citadel and jungle from the lily-pad-covered moats that surround the rock. Return to your hotel for lunch and to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Please note: photography is prohibited in parts of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Prohibited areas will be clearly signposted.
• Breakfast & Dinner

Day 9: Dambulla to Kandy
After breakfast, visit the Dambulla Rock Temple, where the impressive caves contain over 2000 square metres of painted walls and ceilings which were once gilded by the ancient King to mark his place of worship. After some time to explore here, a stop will be made at a typical Sri Lankan spice garden to observe how a variety of spices are grown. You will arrive into Kandy this afternoon and head to the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The golden-roofed temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of Buddha; you will arrive in time for ‘pooja’ when the heavily guarded room housing the relic is open to both pilgrims and travellers alike.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Kandy
Cradled amongst misty hills, the small city of Kandy exudes history, culture and beauty with its calm centrepiece lake surrounded by rolling forested landscapes and colourful houses. Explore the famous botanical gardens of Peradeniya, full of exotic palms, colourful orchids and home to over four thousand species of trees and plants. Then enjoy a tour of the city followed by a day at leisure.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
This morning you will journey to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as ‘Little England’ due to its plethora of colonial bungalows, well-tended hedgerows and pretty rose gardens. The picturesque mountain town is blessed with a salubrious climate and breathtaking views over the surrounding valleys, meadows and peaks. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea and Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of this industry since the 19th century. En route to your hotel, you will make a stop at a tea plantation to observe the rich traditional process and inhale the heavenly scent of the prestigious Ceylon tea brand.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12: Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe
A morning tour of Nuwara Eliya begins today, driving through the lush green tea plantations dotted with the colourful saris of the women working in them. Lunch will be served in a local village, Ella, with far reaching views over the misty landscapes beyond before continuing to Udawalawe.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Udawalawe to Tissamaharama
Udawalawe national park is renowned for its elephant viewing opportunities against the stunning backdrop of the surrounding hills. Rising early this morning, embark on a jeep safari to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. As well as being home to over 250 elephants, deer, water buffalo, monkeys and a variety of bird species can also be found in the park. Just outside the park is the Elephant Transit Home, an inspirational project started to rehabilitate orphaned elephants. After this visit, depart for Tissamaharama to enjoy lunch and the rest of day at leisure.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: Tissamaharama and Yala National Park
After some free time this morning, a jeep safari in the nearby Yala national park awaits. Covering a vast 1200 square kilometres, Yala is Sri Lanka’s largest national park boasting a uniquely stunning ocean front setting. Journey through the heartland of wildlife, home to elephants, sloths, deer and, with the highest density of leopards in the world, you may even be lucky enough to spot one of these beautifully elusive animals.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 15: Tissamaharama to Mirissa
Departing Tissamaharama, you will travel to the sleepy coastal resort of Mirissa. The idyllic crescent of beach, fringed with coconut palms is the perfect place to crack open a coconut and relax on the soft golden sands by the calm turquoise waters.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 16: Mirissa and Galle
This morning will be at leisure for you to further relax or choose an optional whale watching excursion. The south coast of Sri Lanka is arguably the best place in the world to see planet earth’s largest ever creatures, the Blue Whale. Alternatively, visit the nearby Hikkaduwa preschool to see a charity project funded and supported by Mercury Holidays. Late this morning you will travel to Galle, a fort area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This national treasure has been inhabited by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, all of whom left their distinctive marks visible in the walled Galle Fort and through the sleepy streets strewn with colonial buildings, restaurants and small boutique shops.
• Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 17: Mirissa to UK
After breakfast transfer to Colombo airport for your flight back to the UK.
• Breakfast

Is this the right tour for you?

This is a fairly full-on tour with lots of travelling and sight seeing to make the most of your holiday. Accommodation is in 3-4* hotels offering excellent value for money and a way to see the most popular sights of Sri Lanka at an affordable price.