Classic Sri Lanka Circuit

Duration 15 days
Price guide
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Sri Lankan leopard, Yala national park, Sri Lanka.
Galle city, Sri Lanka.
Discover the breathtaking highlights of Sri Lanka on this luxury loop of the island. After a night just outside Colombo, head into the Cultural Triangle to explore ancient temples, vast stupas and Sigiriya. Continue to Kandy, the country’s spiritual capital to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Then spend two nights in the green plantations of the Tea Country. Next, Yala National Park to search for leopards and herds of elephants and finally the sandy beaches of Tangalle and the ancient fortress city of Galle Fort.

Trip highlights

  • Seek out the epic historical wonders of the Cultural Triangle
  • Explore Kandy’s vast assortment of temples and gardens
  • Experience the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden by a botanist
  • Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the Tea Country
  • Venture across Yala National Park in search of leopards
  • Unwind on the pristine sandy beaches in Tangalle

Bespoke trips with Jacada

We design one-of-a-kind journeys incorporating luxury in all its forms. Our bespoke trips include:

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Private tours and experiences
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge
  • Help with restaurant recommendations and reservations
Black and white illustration of two guides pointing to a building in the distance
  • Days 1–2 Colombo
  • Days 2–4 Cultural Triangle
  • Days 4–6 Kandy
  • Days 6–8 Tea Country
  • Days 8–10 Yala National Park
  • Days 10–13 Tangalle
  • Days 13–15 Galle
Classic Sri Lanka Circuit
Price guide
  • Days 1–2 Colombo
  • Days 2–4 Cultural Triangle
  • Days 4–6 Kandy
  • Days 6–8 Tea Country
  • Days 8–10 Yala National Park
  • Days 10–13 Tangalle
  • Days 13–15 Galle

Itinerary in detail

Every Jacada trip is tailored to your personal preferences and interests. Below you’ll find a sample itinerary to inspire your own custom-designed journey.

Days 1–2

An overnight to settle in before your trip

Arrive into Colombo international airport and meet your private guide and driver. Make your way to your first hotel to relax and get prepared for your adventure. You may wish to stay in the city itself or head a little out of town to stay in one of our favourite properties; both situated on peaceful, rural estates.

Seema Malaka temple on Beira Lake. Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Days 2–4

Two nights in the Cultural Triangle

Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were the three great Sinhalese capitals, and together they form an area known as the Cultural Triangle. The heart of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisation, this historic region is crammed full of temples and monuments and its ruined cities are fascinating places to explore.

Make it mine

By bicycle

Go Climbing

Explore Anuradhapura by bicycle

Anuradhapura was the spiritual and secular capital of the island for over a millennium and is one of the largest ancient cities in the world. Explore by bicycle the remnants and remaining monasteries and colossal dagobas where over 10,000 monks once lived. Stop at the massive Sri Maha Bodhi stupa and marvel at the sacred fig, which stemmed from the same tree where Buddha reached enlightenment.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Climb to the top of Sigiriya

The iconic Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, was the site of a city and forest, built around and on top of a huge column of rock in the 5th century by King Kasyapa. Abandoned soon after his death, it was then used as a Buddhist monastery. You’ll explore the gardens and archaeological remains below before scaling the 1200 steps to the top for an amazing view.

Days 4–6

Two nights in Kandy

A world of ancient kings, ornate temples, lush gardens and vibrant traditions, Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka and its cultural capital. Situated in the midst of hills and surrounded by paddy fields and tea plantations, the town is home to the of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), the country’s most important religious shrine.

Browse the bustling market places with bright, fresh produce, local delicacies and fragrant spices, or spend the day exploring the opulent temples and learning about the city’s rich history. The dense downtown area is surrounded by tropical rainforest, so look out for monkeys swinging overhead.

Beautiful view of Kandy in Sri Lanka

Make it mine

The beautiful outdoors

Temple explorations

Tour Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden with a botanist

The Botanical Gardens are the largest in Sri Lanka and one of the finest in Asia. This is due to the Mediterranean climate, elevation of 460 metres above sea-level and the boundary on three sides of the life-giving River Mahaweli. Your expert botanist guide will take you on a leisurely walk around, sharing interesting and insightful stories.

Temple of the tooth, a Buddhist temple also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Explore the sacred Temple of the Tooth

Sri Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth, houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. The relic has played an important role in society for centuries because it is believed whoever holds the relic will rule the country.  The monks of Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters conduct daily worship in the inner chamber and rituals are performed at dawn, noon and in the evenings.

Days 6–8

Two nights in Tea Country

Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea, which is more than evident on the undulating hills and green plantations of the Tea Country. You’ll see the hills dotted with ‘pickers’ quickly but meticulously harvesting leaves by hand, baskets slung across their backs. Skilful workers deftly pluck the most flavoursome and aromatic parts of the bushes – the topmost leaves and buds – which are then sent to nearby factories to be dried and processed.

The first tea plantations were established in Kandy in the 1860s and now most of the scenic central region’s elevated slopes are covered in contoured rows of painstakingly maintained plants.

Tea plantation near Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Immerse yourself in tea culture

Tea pickers at a plantation in Sri Lanka

Your tea tour

A guided tour of the Dunkeld Tea Factory is the quintessential tea experience for those visiting Sri Lanka. The resident Tea Planter will explain the aspects of tea production in just the right amount of detail, from planting, culture, manufacturing process and how flavours are created to suit various palates. What went into creating the perfect cup of refreshing Ceylon tea in 1867 were equal parts science, art, skill and a spot of luck, and little has changed since. With some of the methodology and machinery more than century old, we think that Ceylon Tea is part of the world’s living heritage.

Days 8–10

Two nights in Yala National Park

Occupying the south-eastern corner of the island, the vast Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s second largest national park. The park itself is divided into five blocks, two of which, Ruhuna and Kumana, can be explored on guided game drives, and stretches from the sea inland, encompassing some 979 square kilometres (378 square miles) of forest, wetlands and savannah. This varied landscape provides a vital home for hundreds of Sri Lankan elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles and rare wild water buffalos, as well over 200 bird species.

Incredibly, you can find the highest concentration of leopards in the world at Yala. Their secretive nature means spotting Sri Lanka’s top predator is still a challenge, but accompanied by a skilled guide and a little luck, there are a few better places to find these enigmatic cats.

Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Days 10–13

Three nights on the beach in Tangalle

Enjoy your days relaxing on the laid back sands of Tangalle and exploring the verdant landscape of the interior. A meandering stretch of rugged cliffs and beautiful sandy bays on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, all protected by a vast enclosing reef, is where you’ll find a collection of the island’s best beaches and a handful of blissful resorts.

The waters are a wonderful place for surfing, diving, whale watching or simply lounging. If you’re lucky you may find yourself sharing the sands with Green, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles, the area being a vitally important nesting site.

The Goyambokka beach in Tangalle in the southern province of Sri Lanka.
Days 13–15

Two nights in Galle Fort

Spend your days soaking up the unique atmosphere of Galle, a stunning town at the southern edge of Sri Lanka with a fascinating history that’s evident at every turn through its eclectic assemblage of architecture.

The forts walls, and everything inside them, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with beautiful Dutch fusion architecture, a commanding Victorian lighthouse, grand churches and mosques, all in a sultry tropical setting.

Galle Lighthouse

Make it mine

Go cycling

Take a walk

Cycling in Sri Lanka

A 'paddy trail' village cycling tour

With your guide you’ll cycle a gentle 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) loop starting and finishing near Wijaya Beach and passing through verdant paddy valleys. Stop half way for a fresh coconut milk stop in a shaded ambalama, set in a beautiful garden. No rush, take it at your own pace.

Dutch fort Galle, Sri Lanka.

Explore Galle Fort with a local expert

With your resident guide walk Galle Fort and discover its fascinating history. Learn about the legends of past battles, alliances forged, destroyed and the melting pot of cultures, styles and traditions spanning over three centuries. Visit churches, temples and mosques and hear about Moorish history, spice traders and gem merchants.