Trip Types
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions

Sri LankaWildlife and beaches for families! 

  • Highlights
Travel to the northern parts of Sri-Lanka, where caramel-sanded beaches are ideal in the summer months and wildlife is vibrantly abundant with dolphins in Kalpitiya, the elephants in Minneriya and leopards in Wilpattu. Begin your journey with a visit to Kandy and witness an annual Buddhist festival of Esala Perahera, where elephants wear bright-colored cloaks and dancers perform spectacular acroba...

Travel to the northern parts of Sri-Lanka, where caramel-sanded beaches are ideal in the summer months and wildlife is vibrantly abundant with dolphins in Kalpitiya, the elephants in Minneriya and leopards in Wilpattu. Begin your journey with a visit to Kandy and witness an annual Buddhist festival of Esala Perahera, where elephants wear bright-colored cloaks and dancers perform spectacular acrobatics. A perfect mix of culture, nature, and wildlife, this tour will take you on an unforgettable discovery of the island’s multicultural diversity, a thousand-year history of multiple ancient kingdoms, and a visit to the largely unexplored Northern peninsula with stunning lagoons and active Buddhist and Hindu temples existing since the dawn of times. You will be enthralled by the idyllic magic of this tropical paradise.

See more
Tour itinerary includes
  • Local culture
    Local culture
  • Safari
    Safari
  • Jeep
    Jeep
  • Snorkeling and diving
    Snorkeling and diving
  • Bird watching
    Bird watching

Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: The bustling capital of Colombo City!

Welcome to Sri-Lanka!

• At arrival, you will be greeted by your driver and of course the tropical air of this magical island!

• Depending on the time of your return flight, you can go for a city tour. As a suggestion, you can visit the Dutch fort and museum, discover the busy Pettah neighborhood, its markets, and the mosque, as well as City Hall’s colonial-era architecture.

Visited:
Colombo
Accommodation
Night at Sayura House (Colombo)

Day 2: Kandy temples & seasonal Esala Perahera

• Drive to Kandy and discover Sri Lanka’s landscapes, passing along paddy fields, palm trees, sometimes hills.

• On the way, make a stop and visit a working tea plantation. You will learn about the process of picking the tea and weathering the leaf to achieve that aromatic Ceylon infusion.

• Go on a three temple hop in Kandy’s neighboring towns. These 14th-century sanctuaries will tell a very rich history of this once ruling kingdom, where temple art achieved some of its elaborate heights, in the form of ornate wood carvings and masterful mural paintings.

Visited:
ColomboKandy
Accommodation
Topaz (Kandy)

Day 3: Dambulla cave monastery

• Today, go for a city tour of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s last royal capital placed in the majestic hill country, including Upper Lake Drive, Market Square, and a Gem Museum.

• Afterward, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, housing the royal palace complex and the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an essential role in the country’s politics owing to the fact that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country.

• Travel to the cultural triangle. On the way, you can visit Dambulla Cave Rock Temple. The Buddhist temple is a UNESCO world heritage site, located on top of a rock, and consists of five caves. All are filled with Buddha statues and have beautiful wall paintings. The view over the surrounding environment is breathtaking!

Accommodation
Night im Jay's Holiday Resort (Habarana)

Day 4: Cultural triangle & elephants in Minneriya

• Early in the morning, to avoid the long lines, you can explore the legendary Sigiriya rock fortress, an ancient royal abode built into solid rock.

• Sigiriya is the most visited site in Sri Lanka and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This incredible structure was built by a 10th-century king, Kassapa.

• Go for a hike in the beautiful Pidurangala valley, still unknown to mass tourism, and holding great archeological significance. From the top of the hill, you will see a beautiful vista with a view of an ancient monastery, the “Lion’s Rock”, the national park of Minneriya, some caves, and Buddha statues.

• Continue to Minneriya National Park and go for an exciting jeep safari. The park is known for its large elephant population, counting approximately 400 pachyderms.

• You can also see other wild animals: crocodiles, buffalos, deer, pelicans and a multitude of birds. The park is equally interesting for its landscapes, spanning wetlands, lakes, and mountains rising in the background.

Visited:
SigiriyaPidurangala, Minneriya
Accommodation
Night im Jay's Holiday Resort (Habarana)

Day 5: Bullock cart ride & Polonnaruwa’s ancient kingdom

• For a fun morning spent among the locals, ride a bullock cart through the village of Hiriwaduna.

• You can partake in a cooking class of some local specialties and then enjoy a typical village lunch made of delicious curries.

• You can also take a boat on the nearby lake and admire the beautiful scenery of Sri Lanka’s countryside.

• In the afternoon, you can visit Polonnaruwa, which was the island’s capital during the 11th and 12th centuries. The main attraction, Gal Vihara, is a group of 4 Buddhas carved in granite stone. The archeological museum here is very interesting. This visit can be done on a bicycle (rental on-site). 

Accommodation
Anantamaa (Trincomalee)

Day 6: Whales, turtles & snorkeling in Trincomalee’s Pigeon Island

• Sunny days on the beautiful beaches of Trincomalee! Take a boat ride to Pigeon Island, and enjoy a fun day of snorkeling.

• You will see many colorful tropical fishes that are easy to spot due to their curious patterns. For more, take a sea boat excursion to see the dolphins or the whales deep in the sea.

• Or simply, take a swim with the turtles in the beautiful turquoise waters of this eastern seaside.!

Visited:
Trincomalee
Accommodation
Anantamaa (Trincomalee)

Day 7: Hindu temples & the island’s Tamil culture

• You can start the day by visiting the town of Trincomalee and the famous temple of Koneswaram Kovil.

• You can also make a stop and discover the hot water springs in the town’s vicinity. Then continue to Jaffna and visit the Kovil of Nallur Kundaswamy, a principle pilgrimage site for the Hindus.

• Strike a casual conversation with a local salesman or shopkeeper, and you will quickly find that this part of the country hides rare gems of cultural riches.

Visited:
TrincomaleeJaffna
Accommodation
Fox Resort (Jaffna)

Day 8: Island hopping in Jaffna

• When in Jaffna, go for a fun island-hopping adventure. This is a unique experience with some of the islands joined by suspended bridges and others reachable via a short boat ride. Les islands closest to Jaffna are Karaitivu and Velanai. 

• From Velanai, you can go on an unforgettable boat ride to the island of Nainativu, where you can visit the Buddhist temple of Nagadipa, as well as the Hindu temple of Naga Pooshani.

• Hire a tuk-tuk and take a coastline ride around the island. Finally, hop over to Delft Island for its picturesque wilderness, the ancient ruins and the ponies galloping freely in the beautiful landscapes.

• Once done with the islands, you can still enjoy the animated night markets of Jaffna! 

Visited:
Jaffna
Accommodation
Fox Resort (Jaffna)

Day 9: Northern peninsula and Point Petro

• Early in the morning, drive to the peninsula to visit the water sources of Keerimalai, situated 15km from Jaffna.

• Then, visit the ruins at Kantarodai, the twenty mysterious Dagobas discovered in 1916. You then proceed to Point Pedro, the most extreme northern cape of the island, where you can meet plenty of fishermen.

• Discover sublime beached totally abandoned to the wild and meander around the most remote coastline in the country.

Visited:
Jaffna
Accommodation
Night at Palm Garden Village (Anuradhapura)

Day 10: Buddhist beginnings in Anuradhapura & leopards in Wilpattu

• Head off to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first ancient capital. Many of the Buddhist temples are still active here, so you can have a lively insight into the philosophy. 

• Next, visit Mihintale, the place where Buddhism originated in 257 BC. It is only 8 km away from Anuradhapura. The pilgrimage site inherits several religious monuments and abandoned structures and is located 300m on top of a rock, offering a scenic outlook.

​• In the afternoon, transfer for a jeep safari in the Wilpattu National Park. You can see a large variety of wild animals: leopards, crocodiles, buffalos, deer, and an abundance of water birds.

Visited:
AnuradhapuraWilpattu, Kalpitiya
Accommodation
Melheim Beach (Kalpitiya)

Day 11: Dolphins & kite surfing in Kalpitiya

• Day at leisure on the north-western coast in Kalpitiya, still undiscovered by mass tourism and known for its beautiful wild beaches.

• The waters near Kalpitiya are densely populated by hundreds of dolphins, but also are significant for their coral reefs and precious ecosystems.

• Here it’s all about the masks and tubas for snorkeling. The location is also known for being the prime spot for Kite Surfing in the windy seasons of the year.

• Enjoy a relaxing stay in a cabana on the beach!

Visited:
Kalpitiya
Accommodation
Melheim Beach (Kalpitiya)

Day 12: Local markets & churches of Negombo

• Before your departure, make a stop in Negombo and visit the biggest fish markets.

•  Explore this beach-front town nicknamed “Little Rome” with its rich colonial history and magnificent churches. If you have time, you can take a boat ride along the “Dutch canal”, famously used in the not-so-long-gone past for transporting cinnamon bark.

• Transfer to the airport depending on your flight schedule.

We hope you enjoyed your time in Sri-Lanka!

Visited:
Kalpitiya, NegomboColombo

ColomboKandyDambullaHabaranaSigiriyaPidurangalaMinneriyaTrincomaleeJaffnaAnuradhapuraWilpattuKalpitiyaNegombo

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Season Price Per Adult
Prices Starting From
From January to December $1,010

Included in price:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • In-trip ground transportation
  • Activities according to your customized trip
  • Airport transfers
  • 24/7 local agency support
  • Trip creation with an expert local agent

Not included in price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
  • Personal expenses
  • Service gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
Book your flights to Sri Lanka
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Your local agent Sujeevan, in Sri Lanka, will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

Itinerary not quite right for you?

Create your custom-made trip Browse all tour ideas in Sri Lanka (14)

Other tour ideas

Tour ideas by activity, interest, or seasonality