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The North of Sri Lanka

The North of Sri Lanka is the heart of the unique Tamil culture and cuisine. Boasting historic Hindu temples, ancient civilisations, and remote islands the region offers a fascinating and off-the-beaten-path experience for travellers seeking to explore the true diversity of Sri Lanka

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 1 Airport – Negombo

Airport – Negombo approximate travel distance and time | 10km, 30min drive

Negombo is a vibrant coastal city located on the western coast of Sri Lanka, not far from the Airport. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches and a network of picturesque lagoons.

The city has a rich history, with Portuguese and Dutch colonial influences evident in its architecture and culture.

Things to Do:

  • Relax on Negombo Beach and enjoy the sunset

  • Visit the Dutch Fort in Negombo for a glimpse into its colonial past

  • Discover the Negombo Fish Market for a bustling atmosphere and fresh seafood

  • Explore the Muthurajawela Marsh for bird watching and wildlife spotting

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 2 Anuradhapura (Cultural Triangle)

Negombo - Yapahuwa approximate travel distance and time | 115km, 2 hours 30min drive
Yapahuwa – Anuradhapura approximate travel distance and time | 88km, 2 hours drive

Anuradhapura. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, established in the 4th century BC this ancient city in Sri Lanka boasts a profound history and cultural legacy. Once the island's inaugural capital and a thriving hub of Buddhist civilization for over a millennium, Anuradhapura stands as a testament to the enduring heritage of Sri Lanka and remains one of the oldest continously occupied cities in the world.

Things to Do:

  • Visit the old city of Anuradhapura perhaps on a bicycle tour

  • Mihintale. This 4th century BC temple on a pictersque hill is a sacred site of piligrmage

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 3, 4 & 5: Jaffna

Anuradhapura – Jaffna approximate travel distance and time | 210km, 4 hours drive

Jaffna. The cultural heart of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Immerse yourself in its history, resilience, and vibrant traditions. explore the rich tapestry of Jaffna's cultural heritage, from the iconic 17th century Jaffna Fort standing sentinel over the city, to the revered Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil echoing with four centuries of worship and rituals, along with bustling markets adorned with colourful textiles, fragrant spices, and local delicacies.

Things to Do:

  • Neduntheevu (Delft Island) is a Tranquil Gem off the Shores of Jaffna 

  • Nagadipa Temple an ancient site of worship where  the Buddha is said to have visited

  • Naga Pooshani Amman Kovil, an ancient and colourful Hindu Temple

  • Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

  • Jaffna Fort.  This iconic fort dates back to the 17th-century Portuguese occupation

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 6 & 7: Harbarana (Cultural Triangle)

Jaffna – Habarana approximate travel distance and time | 250km, 4 hours 30min drive

Travel to the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka the place to discover the magnificence & sophistication of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka including several UNESCO world heritage sites such as the 11th-century city of Polonnaruwa which served as the capital of Sri Lanka for 150 years, the fortress monolith of Sigiriya 'Lion Rock' and the magnificent art & sculpture of 1st century Dambulla cave temple complex.

Things to Do:

  • Polonnaruwa (UNESCO world heritage). The well-preserved 11th-century capital of Sri Lanka

  • Dambulla (UNESCO world heritage). The 1st-century cave temple complex

  • Sigiriya (UNESCO world heritage). A 5th-century fortress known as Lion Rock

  • Minneriya National Park - home to the largest herds of elephants on the island.

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 8 & 9 : Kandy

Harbarna– Kandy approximate travel distance and time | 250km, 2.5 hour drive

Kandy, the hill country capital situated by a lake surrounded by picturesque mountains it was the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka and has a rich history and tradition of arts, music, and dance.

Things to Do:

  • The Kandy Temple. The 16th-century sanctuary houses a relic believed to be a tooth of the Buddha, drawing pilgrims and visitors from around the globe.

  • Peradeniya Botanical Garden.  Established in the early 19th century, the garden spans a sprawling 147 acres along the banks of the Mahaweli River.Explore the Royal Palace of Kandy (The last kingdom of Sri Lanka)

  • Take a stroll around Kandy Lake and enjoy the serene surroundings

  • Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery

  • Watch a cultural show

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 10 & 11: Ella (Hill Country)

Kandy - Ella approximate travel distance and time | 142km, 4 hours’ drive

Nestled amidst the lush hill country of Sri Lanka, Ella is a picturesque town that captivates visitors with its enchanting beauty and serene ambience. Surrounded by emerald, green tea plantations and embraced by misty mountains, Ella is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those yearning for a break from the heat and humidity of the low lands.

Things to Do:

  • Little Adam's Peak a accessible trek offering breathtaking views

  • The Nine Arch bridge, a marvel of engineering and an icon of Ella

  • Hiking to Nil Diya Pokuna, Ella Gap and Ella rock

  • Visit a tea estate

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 12 & 13: Yala

Ella - Buduruwagala approximate travel distance and time | 38km, 1 hours’ drive
Buduruwagala – Yala approximate travel distance and time | 108km, 3 hours’ drive

Yala, situated on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka, is primarily known for its renowned Yala National Park. One of the country's most iconic wildlife reserves, celebrated for its diverse ecosystems, including dense jungles, grasslands, and pristine coastlines. Yala is renowned for the high density of its Leopard population making it one of the best places in the world to see this magnificent cat.

Things to Do:

  • Buduruwagala. 10th century colossal rock carvings

  • Yala. Safari in Yala National Park

Sunsets at a beach in Sri Lanka
Day 14: Galle

Yala - Galle approximate travel distance and time | 190km, 4 hours’ drive

Galle, the coastal city on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, is a captivating blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Steeped in colonial charm and surrounded by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that invites visitors to explore its living 17th-century Dutch fort with vibrant streets, cafes & restaurants.  Along with the beautiful beaches of the southern coastline, this is one of the highlights of Sri Lanka.

Things to Do:

  • Galle Fort.  The enigmatic 17th century fort with it vibrant streets, shopping and food scene

  • South Coast Beaches. Some of the most beautful in Sri Lanka

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