About the journey

Discover Sri Lanka’s jungle covered hills, beautiful beaches, ancient cities and cultural sights as you journey by first class railway and chauffeur-driven car from one stunning experience to the next.

November to April is the dry season in Sri Lanka, offering the perfect escape from the cold winter weather in Europe and the USA. Allow us to transport you on an unforgettable tour of ancient cities, temples and palaces, tea plantations, gardens, elephants and national parks ending with a relaxing few days on the beautiful beaches in the Southern Province.

Our Winter Grand Tour is aptly named as it combines the very best of Sri Lanka’s history, wildlife, culture and beaches in one perfectly orchestrated Grand Tour. This unforgettable VIP trip transports you in air-conditioned comfort with your own chauffeur-driven vehicle and English-speaking guide. We take care of all the hotel arrangements and attractions so all you have to do is sit back, camera at the ready, and enjoy the magnificent sights.

This 14-night Grand Tour of Sri Lanka takes place between November and April, the dry season in Sri Lanka. It offers adventurous-spirited travellers the perfect escape from the cold winter weather in Europe and the USA. Allow us to transport you on an unforgettable tour of ancient cities, temples and palaces, tea plantations, botanical gardens, elephant orphanages and national parks, ending with a relaxing stay on the beautiful beaches in the Southern Province.

Ideal for all ages, our tour includes some Sri Lankan experiences that are simply not possible for independent travellers. Your Grand Tour begins with a Welcome Dinner hosted by our local agent at a top-notch restaurant in Colombo. This allows you to see Sri Lanka through local eyes, especially when he introduces you to the city’s nightlife! We take you to genuine elephant and turtle conservation projects that are off the usual tourist trap, and how about a first class rail trip with lunch as you ride through the mountains to the tea estates at Nuwara Eliya? This is one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world and of course your driver will transport your luggage and be waiting to pick you up from the station.

If you want to see Sri Lanka’s best attractions, cultural sights and stunning beauty spots in safety and comfort then your journey starts right now as you book your unforgettable Grand Winter Tour with us! Here’s just a glimpse of what to look forward to –

Itinerary

Day01

Your personal driver/guide will meet you at the airport and transport you in comfort to your hotel in Colombo. Join our agent for a memorable Welcome Dinner.

Day02

Journey through the wooded hills to your accommodation in Habarana, Dambulla or Sigiriya, stopping at the Dambulla Cave Temple along the way.

Day03

Spend the day in the ancient city of Anuradhapura with a guided tour of the sacred sights.

Day04

Visit Polonnaruwa, reputedly one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful cities. There’s time for an elephant ride before climbing Lion Rock.

Day05

Drive to the lake city of Kandy, famous for its Royal Botanical Gardens and Temple of the Tooth.

Day06

Time to explore more of Kandy’s attractions at your own pace, including shopping and sightseeing.

Day07

A first-class rail trip through stunning mountain scenery to Nuwara Eliya.

Day08

Tour a tea estate before heading to Uda Walawe National Park to see herds of wild elephants, birds and wildlife.

Day09

A scenic drive to Tissamaharamaya takes in an Elephant Rehabilitation Centre and more wildlife encounters in Yala National Park.A full day’s wildlife spotting is planned at the Wasgamuwa National Park.

Day10

Head south to the ancient fort city of Galle passing stilt fishermen and visiting a Turtle Hatchery.

Day11

Spend three days as you choose at a luxury hotel on the beach near Beruwela. Relax by the pool or explore local villages on foot, bicycle or boat.

Day12

Spend three days as you choose at a luxury hotel on the beach near Beruwela. Relax by the pool or explore local villages on foot, bicycle or boat.

Day13

Spend three days as you choose at a luxury hotel on the beach near Beruwela. Relax by the pool or explore local villages on foot, bicycle or boat.

Day14

Transfer to the airport with a stop for last minute shopping in Colombo, if there’s time.

Day01

Colombo

Your Sri Lanka adventure begins when you touch down at Bandaranaike International Airport where your personal chauffeur and guide will be waiting for you. You will be transported to your hotel in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, taking in views of the countryside and city during the 60-90 minute journey, depending on the traffic. There’s time to unpack and rest after your journey or perhaps enjoy some welcome refreshments at your chosen hotel.

Depending upon your arrival time, we will arrange a morning or afternoon city tour of Colombo to introduce to some of the highlights of this vibrant colonial city. In the evening our agent in Colombo will entertain you to a complimentary Welcome Dinner at 7pm. This is a good opportunity for you to ask questions about Sri Lanka and discuss your forthcoming trip in detail with your personal local host. Please let us know your dining preference from the following 5 options:

1. Experience authentic Sri Lankan Jaffna cuisine at a high-end restaurant in Colombo

-OR-

2. Enjoy non-traditional food in a private club frequented by members of the elite social classes of Colombo

-OR-

3. Visit a high quality restaurant that specializes in the very best fish and seafood from our shores

-OR-

4. Experience typical Sri Lankan street food at a more typical restaurant frequented by Sri Lankan locals

-OR-

5. Your choice of restaurant in Colombo. If you have a particular favourite in mind just let us know and our agent will make reservations for your memorable welcome dinner.

After a fabulous meal your agent will be happy to show you some of Colombo’s vibrant night life before you retire and enjoy a good night’s sleep in your hotel.

Day02

Habarana, Dambulla or Sigiriya

Get off to an early start around 5 am to spend a full day in Yala National Park with packed breakfast, lunch, fruit and drinks on-the-go so you don’t miss a moment. Dawn and dusk are the best time to see wildlife sightings and the low light is perfect for wildlife photography. Expect to see elephants, sloth bears, macaques, wild water buffaloes and many birds. You may be lucky enough to see a leopard as Yala has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. After an exciting day on a jeep safari encountering plenty of local wildlife, you’re sure to sleep well.

Day03

Habarana, Dambulla or Sigiriya

The highlight of Day 3 is a trip to the sacred city of Anuradhapura, about 50 miles (80km) away. This is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capital cities with well-preserved remains from the pre-13th century kingdom of Rajarata. This remarkable World Heritage Site is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with many stupas, dome-shaped dagobas, pillars, moonstone entrances and pokuna bathing tanks. A guided tour will reveal more of this enchanting city where many monastic buildings have been lying semi-hidden for centuries in the dense jungle. In contrast, absorb the sights and sounds of the bustling city with its souvenir shops, spice markets, colourful temples and street vendors. Return to your hotel for a second night after around 4 hours total drive time today.

Day04

Habarana, Dambulla or Sigiriya

Another wonderful journey through this lush hilly region awaits you, this time to Polonnaruwa which is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka. Expect to spend around 2.5 to 3 hours in the car as you are transported in air-conditioned comfort to see some amazing sights. One of the optional experiences is an Elephant Ride in Habarana for a small additional cost of around $25-30 per person. This is a truly amazing way for animal-lovers to get up-close to these gentle giants and enjoy an exhilarating ride through the jungle. Next you will discover the ancient World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa in the capable hands of a local English-speaking guide. Highlights include the Lankatilaka Temple, remains of the Royal Palace and the Siva Devale on this extensively preserved archaeological site. During the return drive, a stop is planned at the Sigirita Rock which means “Lion Rock”. Visitors can climb the huge brown rock to see the 5th century citadel and palace with its surviving moats, walls, frescoes and carvings. Return to your hotel for your final overnight stay in this area.

Day05

Kandy

A short drive is planned to take you to the lake city of Kandy, high in the mountains. Explore the town at leisure before meeting your driver/guide at a pre-fixed time for the onward journey. Garden lovers will enjoy an optional visit to the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens for a small additional entrance fee (1100-1300 rupees). The gardens are known for their established exotic trees and beautiful orchid collection as well as having colourful borders and flower beds. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at your hotel in Kandy.

Day06

Kandy

Kandy has a great deal to offer so a second day is scheduled in this beautiful city. Explore the town of Kandy at your own pace and perhaps take in one of the cultural attractions such as the impressive temples, lake and the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Maligawa. There is ample opportunity to indulge in some shopping or visit the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens if you did not get a chance to do so previously. Meet your driver at a prearranged time for your transfer back to your Kandy hotel. Maximum driving time today will be one hour, depending upon the traffic conditions.

Day07

Nuwara Eliya

It’s up with the larks (or should that be hornbills?) for a 5am visit to Horton Plains National Park. We avoid the heat of the day with this half-day hike accompanied by a local naturalist and guide. Enjoy the cool mist rising from of Baker’s Falls and admire the extensive view from World’s End which has a sheer 900-metre drop. See how many amazing creatures you get to see and photograph, including the resident Toque macaques, purple-faced langurs, leopards, rusty-spotted cats, giant squirrels and maybe even a glimpse of the highly endangered Horton Plains slender loris. Your driver will transport you back to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya for a relaxing evening.

Day08

Embilipitiya or Uda Walawe

After an early breakfast your driver will drive you south to Uda Walawe. A visit to a working tea factory is scheduled where you will see how tea is picked, dried, graded and packed to provide the world with its early morning cuppa! The area of Nuwara Eliya is nicknamed “Little England” for its English-style gardens and colonial architecture which can be enjoyed as you journey by car to the Uda Walawe National Park. Enjoy an afternoon safari spotting herds of wild elephants, deer and water buffalo. There are many exotic birds around this area of marshes, forest and grassland. Estimated total drive time is 4 to 4.5 hours, ending with a final drive to your hotel in Embilipitiya or Uda Walawe.

Day09

Tissamaharamaya or Yala

After breakfast, prepare for the scenic drive to Tissamaharamaya or Yala. The highlight of the day will be visiting a transit camp which feeds and rehabilitates orphaned elephants before releasing them back into the wild. This project is unlike the better-known Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which is run as a tourist attraction rather than as a conservation project. Your support of this project enables the rehabilitation program to continue its vital work with orphaned baby elephants. More wildlife is scheduled with an afternoon safari in the beautiful Yala National Park, the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It provides a conservation area for herds of elephants and waterbirds as well as being home to the highest concentration of endangered leopards in the world. Overnight accommodation is at Tissamaharamaya or Yala after 2.5 to 3 hours total driving during the day.

Day10

Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Ahungalla or Koggala

Earlybirds can join an optional safari in the Yala National Park at 5am for an additional charge. Dawn is a magical time of day to spot and photograph wildlife without other tourists around. After breakfast you will head for the beautiful beaches which the Southern Province of Sri Lanka is famous for. Along the way your driver/guide will take you to see the stilt fishermen at Weligama – another great photo opportunity – before heading to Galle. Explore the ancient Galle Fort complex and walk the ramparts before continuing on to see the Mask Makers of Ambalangoda. This is an optional tourist activity which is free to visit. Next stop is the Turtle Hatchery where volunteers collect the eggs of endangered turtles and protect them from predators until they hatch. After a few days of nurturing, baby turtles can be carried down to the sea by visitors and launched. This is a very special eco-experience which gives the turtles a much higher chance of survival. After a day on the road of around 4 to 4.5 hours you can relax at your hotel in Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Ahungalla or Koggala for the remainder of the day and overnight.

Day11

Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Ahungalla or Koggala

This beautiful coastal area with its golden sandy beaches, lagoons, rivers and lush vegetation will be your relaxing home base for the next three days. Luxury hotels provide plenty of amenities including swimming pools and quiet places to relax and read with a good book from the library. Enjoy this free time without your driver/guide and explore the local villages on foot or bicycle, or perhaps join a fishing or sightseeing trip by boat.

Day12

Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Ahungalla or Koggala

This beautiful coastal area with its golden sandy beaches, lagoons, rivers and lush vegetation will be your relaxing home base for the next three days. Luxury hotels provide plenty of amenities including swimming pools and quiet places to relax and read with a good book from the library. Enjoy this free time without your driver/guide and explore the local villages on foot or bicycle, or perhaps join a fishing or sightseeing trip by boat.

Day13

Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, Ahungalla or Koggala

This beautiful coastal area with its golden sandy beaches, lagoons, rivers and lush vegetation will be your relaxing home base for the next three days. Luxury hotels provide plenty of amenities including swimming pools and quiet places to relax and read with a good book from the library. Enjoy this free time without your driver/guide and explore the local villages on foot or bicycle, or perhaps join a fishing or sightseeing trip by boat.

Day14

Airport

Enjoy your final breakfast in Sri Lanka and say farewell to the beach before your driver arrives to collect you. Your final day in Sri Lanka includes a 3.5 to 4 hour drive to the airport. If flight times permit, a stop in Colombo for some last minute shopping can be arranged. International flights require you to check-in at the Bandaranaike Airport 3 hours prior to departure.

We wish you a comfortable and safe flight home and look forward to your speedy return for another wonderful Sri Lanka experience with us.

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