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The Sigiriya Fortress

The Classic Tour Of Sri Lanka
The Most Popular Tour Of Sri Lanka

The Sigiriya Fortress - One Of The Wonders Of The Ancient World

Classic Tour Of Sri Lanka

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Tour Schedule

6 Night Tour



Depart UK



Arrive Colombo 

  • Relax On Arrival At Colombo



  • Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
  • Golden Cave Temple At Dambulla



  • The Medieval Capital Of Polonnaruwa
  • Elephant Back Ride



  • The Magnificent Sigiriya Fortress
  • Spice Gardens And Dance Performance



  • Temple Of The Buddha’s Tooth
  • Orchids At Peradeniya Gardens


Hill Country

  • By Train Through The Hill Country



  • Beach Stay For Number Of Nights As Required


Sri Lanka Arrive UK

  • Transfer To Airport


This Is A Private Tour With Your Own Vehicle And Driver-Guide


Locations Visited On This Tour

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

The island’s No 1 visitor attraction is a very relaxed place to spend in the company of 70 elephants.


The Golden Cave Temple At Dambulla

Anyone who appreciates art and history should visit these fascinating cave temples hidden in a gigantic rock.



The very interesting and well preserved medieval capital city with lots of that ‘lost in the jungle’ feeling.


The Sigiriya Rock Fortress

One of the great Wonders Of The Ancient World requires a bit of climbing but has that ‘wow’ factor in abundance



A very pretty town and the gateway to the Hill Country with lots of quaint reminders of colonial era Ceylon.


The Hill Country By Train

Beautiful mountain ranges covered with tea plantations and amazing waterfalls that are best experienced by train.


Beach Stay –  Should You Choose The West Coast or East Coast

From November to April, the West, South West and Deep South of the island experiences fine weather and calm seas. The tropical scenery and well established resorts make these areas popular even during the Summer months of July and August even though seas are slightly rough.


From May to October, the amazing East Coast beaches are among the finest in the entire world with shallow seas where you can just wade out for hundreds of feet into the sea!

Why Do This Tour?

The most popular circuit of the island is recommended for anyone who wishes to see the island’s main sights in a relaxing manner. By spending a couple of nights at each location, our Classic Tour is an ideal combination of sightseeing and leisurely travel between destinations.


The tour includes an extended stay in the Cultural Triangle visiting all of its fascinating temples and ancient cities including the impressive Sigiriya Rock Fortress. After relaxing for a few days at the pretty town of Kandy you will take a train journey through the wonderful tea covered Hill Country and stay in a tea estate bungalow or a colonial bungalow at Nuwara Eliya overnight.


Lovely winding roads take you down to the lowlands through magnificent scenery to reach the island’s famous tropical beaches. A beach stay in addition to this tour will make a memorable 2 week holiday in Sri Lanka.


Recommended for anyone who wishes to tour Sri Lanka at a relatively slow pace.


When To Go?

This Tour Is Possible All Year Round



Clockwise Tour With South West Or Deep South Coast Beach Stay



Anti-Clockwise Tour With East Coast Beach Stay


Frequestly Asked Questions About This Tour?

How Much Travelling Is Involved?

This tour averages around 3 hours of travel between destinations. Since you spend 2 nights at each location, except for the Hill Country, it is as relaxed as can be for a tour tour that incorporates all of the islands main attractions.


Is It Possible To Miss Out Kandy?

Our advice is don’t, because there are lots of logistical headaches in trying to go straight from Dambulla to the Hill Country. Also, Kandy is a really pretty town and one of the the island’s main attractions!


Should You Stay At Nuwara Eliya Town Or The Surrounding Tea Plantations?

With the huge boom in tourism to the island Nuwara Eliya is starting to wake up from its slumber and at the upper level there are now some fairly good accommodation options. Many of the old colonial bungalows are being renovated as boutique hotels, and there are some great restaurants and bars in the town centre with those ‘outdoor heaters’ to keep guests warm during chilly nights. A stay in the surrounding tea plantations can also be an enjoyable experience with many of the former British planter’s bungalows now converted into boutique hotels.


Can You Go To Galle From The Hill Country In One Day?

Yes, especially with the new Southern Expresway cutting journey times but still be prepared for a 5 hour journey!

Mount Lavinia Hotel At Colombo

Mount Lavinia Hotel At Colombo


Beira Lake At Colombo

Beira Lake At Colombo

Baby Elephants At Pinnawela

Baby Elephants At Pinnawela

Buddhist Monk At Polonnaruwa

Buddhist Monk At Polonnaruwa




Amaya Hills

Amaya Hills


Kandyan Dance Performance

Kandyan Dance Performance

Expo Luxury Rail Carriage

Expo Luxury Rail Carriage


The Tea Factory Hotel

The Tea Factory Hotel

Tea Estates Of The Hill Country

Tea Estates Of The Hill Country


Delicious Sri Lankan Cuisine

Delicious Sri Lankan Cuisine

Sri Lanka’s Fabulous South West Coast

Sri Lanka’s Fabulous South West Coast


Avani Bentota

Avani Bentota


Sri Lankan Airlines Stewardesses

Sri Lankan Airlines Stewardesses





The flight from LHR to CMB takes approximately 10 hours.




22 Miles Approx 1 Hour

Relax On Arrival At Colombo

The Mount Lavinia Hotel (1877) is an ideal place to relax upon arrival in Sri Lanka. The hotel has a private stretch of beach for its guests and wonderful Indian Ocean sunsets can be seen from its Terrace Bar.


First Class Hotels :

The Mount Lavinia Hotel

Special Choice :

Lake Lodge Colombo



94 Miles Approx 4 Hours


Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela is Sri Lanka’s most visited attraction, and provides a very relaxed place to spend a few hours watching elephants. It is home to the largest group of orphaned Elephants in the world!  Most of the 70 animals have been found injured or abandoned in the wild.


Depending on the time of day, you can watch the little baby calves some only a few weeks old are fed by bottle and the whole herd is then bathed in the adjoining river. A not to be missed experience.


The Golden Cave Temple At Dambulla

The 5 Cave Temples Of Dambulla are a series of rock temples that have been hewn from a gigantic boulder that contain a very beautiful collection of sculptures, paintings and frescoes from various periods of the island’s history.


Cave No 2 – The Temple Of The Great Kings is the biggest and most spectacular cave temple with over 150 statues and 1500 paintings! The ceilings and walls are covered by the finest murals to be seen in Sri Lanka.


First Class Hotels :

Chaaya Village , Habarana

Special Choice :

Thilanka Resort And Spa , Dambulla


The Ancient City Of Polonnaruwa

The Medieval capital of Polonnaruwa has the feeling of a city that was once ‘lost in the jungle’ – which indeed it was, until it was ‘rediscovered’ by colonial administrators in the 19th Century. Ruins of royal palaces, stupas and monasteries are scattered over several square kilometers around a vast lake known as the Sea Of Parakrama.


The Inner Quadrangle area of the ancient city contains the most exquisite historical remains in the whole of Sri Lanka. The highlight of any visit to Polonnaruwa is The Gal Vihare (Temple Of The Rock) consisting of 4 rock cut Buddhas that are among the masterpieces of Buddhist Art, and one of the world’s great artistic treasures.


Elephant Back Ride At Habarana

One of the most popular activities at Habarana are elephant back rides through local villages and forests.


First Class Hotels :

Chaaya Village , Habarana

Special Choice :

Thilanka Resort And Spa , Dambulla



44 Miles Approx 2.5 Hours


The Magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress

The amazing rock fortress of Sigiriya is often listed as 8th Wonder Of The Ancient World and is easily the most impressive historic sight in Sri Lanka. You enter through The Royal Pleasure Gardens with a series of ponds and landscaped terraces until the ascent of the rock fortress begins through a series of dramatic staircases.


Hidden half-way is a cave that reveals the Sigiriya Frescoes. This is Sri Lanka’s premier artistic treasure and is a must for all visitors. If you have a head for heights, you can reach the top via the gigantic Lions Paws, which are the remnants of a huge stone lion that used to guard the entrance. There are stunning views of the forested plains below from the top.


Spice Gardens Of Matale

The low hills of Matale are ideal for growing spices such as cardamom, pepper, vanilla, cloves and nutmeg. You can have a look around a spice garden and buy some aromatic spices here too!


Kandyan Dance Performance 

Spend the evening in Kandy watching a colourful Kandyan Dance And Cultural Performance, to the sound of rhythmic temple drums.


First Class Hotels :

Cinnamon Citadel , Kandy

Special Choice :

Hotel Thilanka , Kandy


Peradeniya Gardens And Its Beautiful Orchid Houses

The gardens at Peradeniya were one of the jewels of colonial era Ceylon. Initially developed to try out introduced tropical crops like rubber in the island, it soon expanded to become one of the great tropical collections of the world.


During WW2, the Supreme Headquarters of Lord Mountbatten Of Burma were hidden inside the gardens. The Orchid House at Peradeniya contains 300 varieties of orchids that are wonderfully displayed.



Temple Of The Buddha’s Tooth

Delightfully located in a valley surrounded by hills, Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings. The UNESCO protected Old Town area is a lovely place for an afternoon walk along a maze of streets leading to the Temple Of The Buddha’s Tooth and the Kandy Lake, magnificently framed against forest clad hills in the background.


Visit The Temple Of The Buddha’s Tooth in the evening, for the ‘’pooja ceremony’’ that starts around 6:30 pm. At this time crowds gather to offer flowers and prayers to the sacred relic in the inner sanctum and the temple drummers are in full swing – a magical experience.


First Class Hotels :

Cinnamon Citadel , Kandy

Special Choice :

Hotel Thilanka , Kandy



A Train Journey Of Approx 4 Hours


By Train Through The Hill Country

The Highland Queen leaves Kandy Railway Station for a spectacular journey through the Hill Country. There are lovely views of waterfalls and tea estates among the glorious scenery of the Great Western mountain range. Clients are booked on the super luxury Expo Carriage or the Observation Car when available.


Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka’s ‘Little England’ in the hills where British tea planters of yesteryear recreated an English ‘country life’ of manor houses, golfing, horse racing and ‘afternoon tea’ at the Hill Club.


First Class Hotels :

Ferncliff , Nuwara Eliya

Special Choice :

The Grand Hotel , Nuwara Eliya



A Journey Of Approx 5 Hours


Devon And St Clair’s Falls

The spectacular descent of the Hill Country towards Sri Lanka’s beaches passes two of the island’s most famous waterfalls, Devon and St Clair’s Falls, which are easily viewed from the roadside.


The Mlesna Tea Centre overlooking St Clair’s Tea Estate has a nice viewing platform and a Tea Museum. A great place to stop for a cup of tea.



Kithulgala is a very pretty location with tropical rainforest and luxuriant vegetation in the valley of the Kelani River. This is where Sir David Lean’s classic wartime film ‘The Bridge On The River Kwai was filmed.


Sri Lanka’s Beach Resorts

A beach stay on Sri Lanka’s famous palm fringed coastline combined in addition to this tour will make for an excellent 2 week holiday on the island.



Depart Sri Lanka – Daytime flights arrive back in UK the same day.

Classic Tour Of Sri Lanka

First Class - Room And Breakfast (Breakfast)

Special Choice – Half Board (Breakfast + Dinner)

Based On 2 Persons Sharing Room 

SUMMER: 01/05 – 31/10 WINTER: 01/11 – 30/04


£1078 PP
£958 PP

*Price Excludes Beach Stay

Terms and Conditions


• Private tour of Sri Lanka in an air-conditioned vehicle with English speaking driver/guide.

• All entry fees for places of interest as described in itinerary including jeep hire at national parks. 

• Meal plan as stated. 



• Flight and accommodation supplements may apply at peak periods.

• Beach stay at end of tour if required will be charged separately with options given.



• Children under 6 years of age sharing parents bed are given the land tour FREE OF CHARGE!!

• Special rates available for 2 adults and 1 child sharing triple room.

• Discounts available for families and groups.



• You are welcome to suggest changes or alterations such as a more relaxed tour with fewer activities, additional nights at places that may interest you, and adventure activities like white-water rafting.

• Tell us about any special interests and we will incorporate them in to your tour schedule.

If you want to widen your choice of tour hotel options, go to our View All Hotels index and tell us the mix of hotel you wish to stay at? If you have chosen your own hotels, we will include these along with your quote request.



All distances are point to point and do not include stops for sightseeing en-route. Actual travelling times may vary according to traffic, local weather and other factors.



There are a large number of beach hotels featured on our website. You are welcome to browse the Beach Hotels index and ask for your own choice of beach hotel. Alternatively we will feature a standard set of 5 beach hotel options that we can personally recommend.


You are welcome to specify the actual number of beach nights you require.



Unless specified, we usually feature the clockwise version of the tour for Winter Season (October-May) enquiries, and an anti-clockwise version of the tour for Summer Season (June – September) enquiries as the occurance of fine weather, sea bathing, snorkelling and watersports depends very much on the coast that is ‘in season’ at the time of your travel.

Get a Quote for "Classic Tour Of Sri Lanka"

To get more information about this tour, please contact us using the form below.

Alternatively, Call Us On: 0207 100 2323

▪ Substantial Discounts May Apply

▪ If Flights Are Not Required Write - No Flights


▪ We also offer a mix of hotels called Special Choice.

We Aim To Reply to You In Detail Within 12 Hours (8 am – 5 pm).

Note: If you want to contact us about a Tailor Made Tour or another holiday idea and not "Classic Tour Of Sri Lanka", please go to our Contact Page.

Feedback From Our Clients

  • Excellent mix of wildlife, culture, history

    This tour was an excellent mix of wildlife, culture, history and Sri Lankan life. Our chauffeur guide Charles, was very friendly and caring. He made our trip safe and enjoyable. The classic car trip at Kandy worked fantastically. Our children enjoyed the ride in the mini moke very much.

    Martin Youings - 23/Aug/2014


  • A beautiful colonial-era hotel jutting out on a headland at Mount Lavinia, a beachside suburb of Colombo. The hotel has played host to Hollywood greats like Vivien Leigh and Gregory Peck. The Terrace

    The Mount Lavinia Hotel

    A beautiful colonial-era hotel jutting out on a headland at Mount Lavinia, a beachside suburb of Colombo. The hotel has played host to Hollywood greats like Vivien Leigh and Gregory Peck.

  • Chaaya Village

    Chaaya Village

    A beautiful hotel set in a forested park in the Cultural Triangle. The rustic cottages are surrounded by exotic trees and shrubs on the fringe of an ancient lake. A stunning triangular shaped infinity pool adds greatly to the appeal of this property.

  • Cinnamon Citadel

    Cinnamon Citadel

    Cinnamon Citadel is located on a bend of the Mahaweli River, the longest river in Sri Lanka. Unlike many other hotels at Kandy, it has the advantage of relative closeness to the city's main attractions. The Citadel has its own jetty for Boat Trips on the Mahaweli River.

  • Ferncliff


    Built in the mid 19th Centuary, Ferncliff is one of the great historic bungalows at the old British Hill Station of Nuwara Eliya. Careful renovations to convert it into a boutique hotel have retained its colonial charm and the beautiful gardens are spotlessly maintained.


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How To Use The Wishlist.

As you browse our website you can add any Interior Destinations, Beach Resorts, Tour Activities, Tour Hotels or Beach Hotels to your Wishlist.

When you send us your completed Wishlist, our staff will put all your requirements into a holiday format and price it up for you in a reply e-mail.

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C L I E N T   E X P E R I E N C E


Alison Head Family in Sri Lanka!

The Itinerary

The Hotels

"We have returned from an excellent holiday in Sri Lanka.

Elephant Island Tours is a truly customer focused organisation.Our first connect was with Justin in the London Office. He listened carefully to understand our particular needs and apparitions. We were most impressed by his speed of reply, helpful suggestions and advice. The tour fulfilled all our needs. You cannot overestimate the importance of the first contact - Thank you Justin.

The shop window of your organisation was our driver guide Mahendra. He proved to be very knowledgeable and a brilliant driver. He quickly became our friend. He was so helpful in all ways He never let us down. The car was more than adequate for our needs and always clean - Thank you Mahendra."

BY: Tony Powell

"I have just returned from a 2 week holiday in Sri Lanka where I booked a 6 day overland tour through Elephant Island.

Absolutely faultless. The detailed itinerary put together by Amanda at EI incorporated absolutely everything we wanted to do and gave us a fantastic overview of Sri Lanka, its culture, its wildlife and its history.

Our driver Rohan was exceptional. He drove us with care, explained everything in detail and offered us numerous additional stops for activities such as elephant rides, a look around Kandy market and a trip to Nuwara Eliya. I would make sure, next time I go to Sri Lanka, that I had Rohan driving me around.

If you're going to Sri Lanka you MUST book through EI! The whole process was so smooth and ensured that I had the most amazing time in what is surely one of the world's most beautiful countries."

Feedback Posted On Facebook, July 2014.

BY: William Tite

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