SRI LANKA – DISCOVER THE EAST COAST
Would you like to explore Sri Lanka in the summer months? This itinerary is perfect for this period. You will discover the highlights of Sri Lanka – the cultural triangle, the abundance of animals in the national parks and the hilly tea country. In addition, the beaches on the east coast are highly recommended in summer. They are less touristy than the beaches in the south and offer unique opportunities for swimming, surfing and diving. Let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of the landscapes, the warm locals and the delicious food.
This is an example of one of our tours and should serve as a source of inspiration. Of course, the itinerary including the destinations can be adjusted and we would be happy to work out a tour tailored to your interests and budget.
Best travel time: Sri Lanka can be traveled all year round. May to September is suitable for this region.
Travel time: 20 days
Travel planning: Edelweiss flies 2 to 3 times a week directly from Zurich to Colombo.
Tip: The traditional Kandy Perahera, one of the largest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, takes place in August. Colorful parades, traditional dances and music and richly decorated elephants make the festival an impressive experience.
Day 1: Arrival in Colombo – Negombo
After your arrival in Colombo you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your accommodation in Negombo, where you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Negombo – Anuradhapura
After breakfast, travel to Anuradhapura and do a city tour in the afternoon. Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka and is now the most famous of the ancient ruined cities in the country.
Day 3: Anuradhapura – Mihintale – Trincomalee In the
morning ascent of the Mihintale, a mountain peak east of Anurahapura. The mountain is a place of pilgrimage with several religious shrines and abandoned buildings. Visit the ruins of a hospital at the foot of the summit. There are many caves there that are believed to have been used by the monks for meditation. The journey then continues to Trincomalee, a port city on the north coast of Sri Lanka. A nice stay on the beach awaits you here.
Day 4 – 6: Trincomalee
Enjoy the days on Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches, where you can snorkel and dive on spectacular coral reefs. Blue whales, sperm whales and dolphins can also be seen off the peninsula. Trincomalee itself and the area around the town are ideal for exploring on your own.
Day 7: Trincomalee – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Dambulla
Your day begins today with a trip to Polonnaruwa. With the bikes you ride through the scattered walls of the world cultural heritage – blessed with stupas, resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures.
Then on to Minneriya National Park for an evening safari by jeep. Minneriya Park is a national park in the northern central province of Sri Lanka. Leopards and sloths live here; Animals that are rare and threatened with extinction. The park has been declared a wildlife sanctuary.
Continue to your accommodation in Dambulla.
Day 8: Dambulla – Sigiriya – Dambulla In the
morning you climb the gneiss rock Sigiriya, the most popular historical site in Sri Lanka, rising suddenly from the jungle. The 200 m high summit was the place where the citadel of King Kashyapa was in the 5th century and still offers a breathtaking view today. Some niches of the rock have been decorated with colorful frescoes, which are still preserved and world-famous for their amazing beauty. Halfway up is the entrance to the citadel, which is flanked by two lion paws. Sigiriya owes the name “Lion Rock” to these paws.
You will have lunch with a local family and try a variety of Sri Lankan delicacies.
Then visit the cave temple in Dambulla. This is a World Heritage Site and the largest preserved cave temple in the country. In these grottos there are numerous statues of Buddha, as well as ceiling and wall paintings depicting the life of the Buddha. The most imposing Buddha statue is over 14 m long and carved out of the rock.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9: Dambulla – Matale – Kandy
After an early breakfast, travel to Pidurangala rock and watch an impressive sunrise over the valley. Getting up early is worthwhile here and great pictures are created!
On your drive to Kandy, take a break in Matale, Sri Lanka’s main spice growing area. Visit a spice garden where you can admire almost all the tropical spices in the area. Travelers also learn a lot of interesting facts about Ayurvedic medicine here.
Then continue to Kandy. The World Heritage Site Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. It is considered the religious center of Buddhism with the tooth relic temple as the largest sanctuary on the island. Kandy is famous for its rich and magnificent culture. In the evening you will see a traditional dance performance.
Day 10: Kandy
Today you will do a typical Sri Lankan cooking class – an authentic experience including delicious food. An experienced chef will show you how to preserve the nutritional values and the authentic taste of exotic foods. This makes it not only an enjoyable meal, but a healthy one too.
Then visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. In the 4th century AD, the Buddha’s tooth was brought to Sri Lanka and hidden in the hair of an Orissan princess. Since then, the relic has gained prestige and sanctity in Sri Lanka and throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most valuable possession.
Day 11: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
Continue to Nuwara Eliya and visit a tea factory. While visiting the tea factory, you can dress like typical tea pickers and help pick tea leaves. The small town plays a central role in the world’s tea industry. It is famous as a climatic health resort and is a popular travel destination for locals as well as tourists from abroad.
In the afternoon you have time to explore the picturesque area on your own.
Day 12: Nuwara Eliya – Ella
After a leisurely breakfast you will explore the Horton Plains National Park, a World Heritage Site at an altitude of 2,500 m above sea level. The national park is home to many endangered species such as the whiskered langurs, a lively little monkey species.
In the afternoon train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella (approx. 2.5 hours). This drive goes through lush tea plantations and tunnels that were built in colonial times. From the train you have a breathtaking view of waterfalls and green fields, which make the route one of the most beautiful railway lines in Sri Lanka. A real highlight on every Sri Lanka tour.
Day 13: Ella
Enjoy free time today in the small town of Ella in the Sri Lankan highlands. The lively town center has many charming restaurants and the lush landscape around Ella offers ideal conditions for scenic hikes of all levels of difficulty.
Day 14: Ella – Arugam Bay
Today you travel on to Arugam Bay, a picturesque bay on the east coast of Sri Lanka with long, white sandy beaches. Another stay on the beach awaits you to review the many impressions.
Day 15 – 16: Arugam Bay
Enjoy the days at the beach and explore the delicious restaurants, cafes and bars around the bay. Arugam Bay is also the best place in Sri Lanka to go surfing. Nowhere else on the island do the waves run better than here.
Day 17: Arugam Bay – Udawalawa Onward
journey to Udawalawa and visit to the elephant orphanage (public feeding of the baby elephants – approx. 20 minutes). The elephant orphanage was established in 1995 and is part of the Udawalawa National Park. His goal is to nurse orphaned elephants and reintroduce them to the wild.
In the afternoon you go on a safari in the Udawalawa National Park, where you can see not only elephants in the wild, but also impressive water buffalo, axis deer and, with a little luck, even leopards.
Day 18: Udawalawa – Galle
Today you travel on to Galle. Galle is a port city in the south of Sri Lanka and one of the larger towns on the island. The city is the best example of a Dutch colonial fortification. Today and tomorrow you can ideally explore the lovely little town from your accommodation in the middle of the old town.
Day 19: Galle – Negombo
The fortress of Galle is the symbol of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dutch church and the museum are also important sights. Galle is also famous for its artistic lace work and typical ebony carvings. Enjoy free time here and explore the port city on your own before continuing to Negombo.
Day 20: Negombo / journey home
Even the best vacation comes to an end. After a leisurely day in Negombo, it’s time to say goodbye to Sri Lanka. In the evening transfer to the airport and flight back to Switzerland.