- Stilt fishermen in Galle
Although a Singalese port linked to the time of King Solomon, the Portugese laid the first stones for present day Galle in the 16th century before being conquered by the Dutch. Galle is also famous for the traditional art of stilt fishing.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Dambulla in central Sri Lanka, is home to a wonderful cave temple with statues and paintings dating back to the first century BC, although the caves were in use even earlier than this.
- Yala National Park
Yala National Park offers an opportunity to see the native leopards, which are the island’s top predator. The park also supports many other species of birds and animals, including elephants and the Malabar pied hornbill.
- Birdwatching in Bundala
This serene network of lagoons, salt pans and mud flats plays host to a wide variety of wildlife. There are 150 different species of birds including flamingos and crested hawk eagles making it an ideal destination for an avid birder.
- Local flights
- All breakfasts and more
- VIP door to door
- Top performer
- Save £
Discover Sri Lanka's cultural heritage of ancient cities and temples on this thrilling tour
On this intriguing tour you can experience the elegance of a bygone era – Sri Lanka's colonial past – with stays in four heritage properties and discover the historic attractions of bustling Colombo, sacred Kandy, Nuwara Eliya hill station and Galle Fort.
12 nights in hotels and 1 in flight
12 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 12 dinners, including a farewell dinner
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
- Return flights and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Welcome drink reception
- Porterage at all hotels
Excursions and visits
- Colombo city tour
- Dambulla Cave Temple and Matale spice garden
- Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
- City tour of Kandy
- Botanical garden and tea estate
- Game drive in Yala National Park
- Visit to the shrine of Lord Skanda and Temple of Kiri Vebera
- Bundala Bird Sanctuary Guided tour of Galle
- Cultural dance performance
- Cinnamon Lodge organic farm and cookery demonstration
Day 1 UK to Colombo
After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, depart in the evening for your overnight flight to Colombo.
Day 2 Colombo
Arrive in the morning for an overnight stay at The Gateway Hotel (4Q). D
Day 3 Colombo to Habarana
Tour Colombo, then travel to Habarana. Stay two nights at the Cinnamon Lodge (4Q+). Visit the hotel's organic farm and enjoy a cookery demonstration of traditional dishes.B, D
Day 4 Habanara-Sigirya-Polonnaruwa
At leisure. Optional excursions to Sigirya Rock Fortress and Polonnaruwa in the afternoon. B, L, D
This excursion takes you to Sigiriya’s famous ‘Lion Rock’ which was the brief capital of King Kassapa I some 1,500 years ago. Two colossal paws still stand either side of ancient limestone steps, a reminder of the lion figure that once guarded the entrance to the lofty palace gardens on the summit of this 370-metre-high granite rock. Cuts and grooves carved out of the rock face will give you an idea of the size and shape of the original lion structure. Sigiriya is also well known for the Maidens of the Clouds, paintings of 21 beautiful women found on a sheltered ledge.
You will find the ruins of the ancient Sinhala civilisation at Polonnaruwa, which became Sri Lanka’s capital between the 11th and 12th centuries. Highlights include the ruins of the king’s council chamber, the Royal Citadel and the Vatadage Relic House. Another will undoubtedly be the Gal Vihare where unknown artists carved four separate images out of a granite cliff face: the great reclining image of the Buddha entering nirvana is 14-metres long and is generally held to be the most impressive of the sculptures. Also of interest are the reservoirs – they are so large that one, the Parakrama Samudra, is bigger than Colombo Harbour!
Day 5 Habarana-Dambulla-Matale-Kandy
Travel to Kandy, visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple and Matale spice garden en route. Continue to the Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (4Q) for a two-night stay. Evening cultural dance performance. B, L, D
Day 6 Kandy-Pinnawela-Kandy
Visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, lunch will be served in the restaurant overlooking the river so that you watch the elephants bathing. Return to Kandy for a tour of this historic city's famous sights. B, L, D
Day 7 Kandy-Peradeniya-Nuwara Eliya
Visit a botanical garden and a Nuwara Eliya tea estate. Stay overnight at the Grand Hotel (3Q). B, D
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya-Yala
Stay three nights at Cinnamon Wild Yala (3Q). B, D
Day 9 Yala-Kataragama-Yala
Game drive in Yala National Park. Travel to Kataragama to visit the Shrine of Lord Skanda and the Buddhist Temple of Kiri Vehera. Lunch at the hotel. B, L, D
Day 10 Yala
Champagne breakfast at the hotel, and, if your visit is in term time, visit a local school supported by the Saga Charitable Trust, the rest of the day is at leisure, you might like to watch the wildlife from the hotel observation decks. B, D
Day 11 Yala-Bundala-Galle-Beruwala
Travel to Bundala Bird Sanctuary to see aquatic birdlife. Next, tour the ancient city of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to the Cinnamon Bey (4Q+) for a three-night all-inclusive stay. The hotel is set on Sri Lanka's west coast, famous for its golden sands. B, D
Day 12 Beruwala
At leisure, perhaps join an optional river safari. B, L, D
This river safari takes you past six islands, and includes a visit to a cinnamon plantation. Cinnamon, a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, has been cultivated since antiquity for the spice obtained from its bark.
Day 13 Beruwala
Day at leisure, you might want to spend it on the wonderful beach. B, L, D
Day 14 Beruwala to UK
Travel to Colombo Airport for your return flight, arriving for your included UK door-to-door travel service home. B
Sri Lankka's 'Gold Coast'
All-inclusive post holiday extension
After your tour, extend your stay in Sri Lanka at the Cinnamon Bey (4Q+) giving you a full week on its golden west coast.
Extension including breakfasts
Stay at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa (4Q) in the heart of Dubai (available only when flying via Dubai). Single room supplement (per person, per night): from £29.
Alternatively, upgrade to the contemporary JA Ocean View Hotel (4Q+), set on The Walk overlooking the sea.
Dubai with Cinnamon Bey
Combine both the pre and post extensions in Dubai at the Arabian Courtyard and Beruwala at the Cinnamon Bey. Hotel details as above.
If Yala National Park is closed on government advice due to drought conditions on Day 9 of your stay, you'll visit Udawalawe National Park instead.