4 tours to discover the authenticity of Sri Lanka

Train panoramique pour Nuwara Eliya

Experience an authentic stay in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Here are 4 tours to discover Sri Lanka

Don’t be fooled by its size, Sri Lanka has many treasures and an unsuspected palette of landscapes. Follow the cultural triangle and penetrate mythical Buddhist sites. Wind your way through rice paddies set in mountains whose mist lifts their mysteries. Enjoy the authentic experience of a night in a monastery. Look out for elephants in Uda Walawe Park. Smell the spices and tea before inhaling the iodine on the beaches. Here are 4 ideas for authentic tours, carefully designed by our partner responsible tour operator, for an authentic stay in Sri Lanka.

A summer trip to Sri Lanka

Train panoramique pour Nuwara Eliya

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  • ⏱️ Duration: 16 days
  • 🌟 The Nomad Plus: personalized accommodation and activities (more or fewer hikes) itinerary with or without guide
  • 🚗Seeautotour itinerary
  • 💙 We like: mix of nights in refuge, temple and guest house and beautiful hikes in lush landscapes

The itinerary begins in the colorful village of Negombo, deeply rooted in its maritime traditions. The following day, you’ll visit the economic heart of the island: Colombo. Dazzling, cheerfully messy, the capital is a must-see.

You then pass through the valleys, warm under their mantle of lush tea plantations, to reach Uda Walame. This is one of the most popular national parks for a safari in Sri Lanka. Admire the herds of elephants, buffalo, iguanas, crocodiles and thousands of birds that make up the landscape. At the end of the day, you’re invited to spend the night in a temple.

This tailor-made road trip in Sri Lanka offers you a unique experience, with a professional driver at your side, following the itinerary proposed by the tour operator. You’ll follow in the footsteps of Sir Thomas Lipton, through tea plantations clinging to the mountains. The ideal place to immerse yourself even more closely in the culture of ancient Ceylon. It’s also the starting point for hikes in the Tangamale Reserve.

Then comes the highlight of your authentic Sri Lanka tour: the panoramic train to Nuwara Eliya. A journey as crazy as it is majestic in an old iron caterpillar! Arriving at the station, enjoy « Little England » before a trek into the rainforest. The views from here are breathtaking. You’ll walk on clouds and find the whole collection of epinal images of Sri Lanka.

You then leave the embrace of the mountains for Kandy. The sacred city, Sinhalese cultural and spiritual center, cultivates its difference. In particular, it is home to the Tooth of Buddha.

The tour continues to the mystical caves of Dambulla and thefortress of Sigiriya. During this visit, you’ll tackle the rugged slopes of the « Lion Rock ». Don’t worry, the view is well worth the effort. Finally, return to terra firma and head for Polonnaruwa. Spend a day cycling among the historic monuments protected by UNESCO.

End this Sri Lanka tour on Nilaveli, replay all the images of the trip on a white sand beach and finish in style with a snorkeling session on Pigeon Island.

A concentrate of tea and culture

Polonnaruwa,City.,Sri,Lanka.,Ceylon.

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  • ⏱️ Duration: 9 days
  • 🌟 Le + Nomade: several possible extensions: trek, safari, beaches, luxury hotels and stays in the Maldives
  • 🚗Seeautotour itinerary
  • 💙 What we like: a compendium of towns, listed sites and must-see temples, a must for travellers in a hurry.

This tailor-made itinerary, with private driver, focuses on the most emblematic sites of the « Pearl of the Indian Ocean », Sri Lanka.

Start with an invigorating overview of the sprawling metropolis of Colombo. The next day, the capital gives way to the cradle of Buddhism: Anuradhupara. You’ll wander between relics plucked from the jungle and white dagobas scattered across rice paddies. The religious fervour is palpable. You’ll find the same atmosphere near the bewitching city of Polonnaruwa: the third stage of the tour. The island’s former capital, which once shone throughout Asia, now boasts some magnificent remains.

Continue on to the famous Lion of Sigiriya for an impressive ascent dotted with frescoes. Perched at a height of 200 metres, the Rock towers above the jungle dotted with lakes. The climb can be tough, but what a view!

The itinerary continues on to Dambulla, whose thousand-year-old caves and Golden Temple are among Sri Lanka’s cultural and artistic wonders, and then on to Kandy. Custodian of the Tooth of Buddha, this spiritual city attracts all the country’s pilgrims. But that’s not all! Kandy also boasts a lively local life, bustling tuk-tuk and Kandyan dances.

The end of our stay is approaching. The clock strikes for the train journey to Nuwara Eliya: a mythical Sri Lankan experience. Watch the tea plantations, the towering forests and the temples go by to the sound of the swaying carriages. The peaceful landscapes of this mountainous region are undoubtedly the most beautiful in the country. On arrival, enjoy Nuwara Eliya and its surprisingly British charm. Here, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to tailor your Sri Lanka tour to your preferred leisure activities.

Finally, end your trip in Negombo, on the shores of beaches brightened by multicolored boats.

Complete Sri Lanka tour

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  • ⏱️ Duration: 17 days
  • 🌟 Nomad’s +: possibility of attending the Perahera festival in Kandy (August), a period of unforgettable festivities.
  • ✅ Groups from 4 to 15 people
  • 💙 We like: deep and intense discovery of Sri Lanka through confidential sites

Take off on a grand tour of Sri Lanka. Start your itinerary on the coast, disembarking in the colorful port village of Negombo. Relax among the outrigger canoes, where Sinhalese and seafaring cultures intermingle. Then set off for the hilltop fortress of Yapahuwa. The route is punctuated by exciting and historic stops.

But the real tour of ancient sites begins here! Discover Dambulla, its mystical caves and its Golden Temple. The tour continues on to Sigiriya. Its Lion Rock emerges from the lush jungle and promises a magical climb. The following day, step back in time to discover the island’s oldest dynasties. Welcome to Polonnaruwa. Wander among the ruins scattered in the jungle, the inviolable home of the monkeys.

Nature-lovers rest assured: here come the highlands. What’s on the agenda for the next two days? Hiking in the Knuckles Range, among granite-faced mountains, dripping with rice paddies and tea plantations. The mist clings to the tea pluckers, then dissipates to reveal the secrets of tea and spices.

After this 100% nature getaway, discover Kandy: the city elevated to the rank of spiritual capital. A visit to the Temple of the Tooth is an invitation to prayer, while an evening in the lively streets will get your heart pumping. But here’s perhaps the most exciting part of your trip: a bumpy train ride to Nuwara Eliya. A must on any tour of Sri Lanka! Enjoy the scenery as it passes along the railroad line: villages, emerald tea plantations, waterfalls cascading poetically through the valleys…

Arriving in Nuwara Eliya, enjoy the unique atmosphere of « little England ». The region is also home to numerous Tamil villages and waterfalls, including Bambarakanda, which you’ll have the pleasure of admiring. Also in the area, climb to Small Adam’s Peak and its breathtaking views over the steep valley.

To round off your visit to the mountainous area, you embark on a safari. Welcome to Uda Walawe, the gateway to the savannah, where you’ll discover elephants. Finally, your journey ends on the sandy beaches of Mirissa and along Galle Fort, where the atmosphere is both nostalgic and cosmopolitan. Choose one of the dates proposed by the adventure travel agency and live this unique experience without further delay.

Sri Lanka in hiking boots

Temple de la grotte historique de Dambulla au Sri Lanka

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  • ⏱️ Duration: 15 days
  • 🌟 The Nomad Plus: personalized accommodation and activities (more or fewer hikes) itinerary with or without guide
  • 🚗Seeautotour itinerary
  • 💙 We like: sporty journey marked, in particular, by the ascent of Adam’s Peak

From the moment you arrive in Sri Lanka, this tour plunges you into the heart of the cultural triangle and ancient sites, accompanied by a professional driver. The authentic itinerary begins with an ascent of Sigiriya’s impressive Lion Rock. The hike to the top of the rock is punctuated by frescoes and ancient pools.

Then, swap miles on foot for miles on bicycle! The archaeological site of Polonnaruwa reveals its secrets with every pedal stroke. This ancient city preserves vestiges that have just been dug out of the jungle: a unique atmosphere guaranteed! The tour continues to the Dambulla caves and the Golden Temple. You’re now at the heart of Buddhist history.

Then the journey becomes sportier again. Head for Medagama. Hike through spice plantations, small Tamil villages and women meticulously plucking tea leaves. In the altitude and coolness of dawn, a walk through the rice paddies begins. A new landscape opens up to you!

Following the road, you finally arrive in Kandy. A spiritual city full of life, a must-see with its Temple of the Tooth and its bustling streets, Kandy is sure to surprise. After this city interlude, hang on to the doors of Sri Lanka’s most chaotic and charming train. Steep cliffs, tea fields and waterfalls rush in through the old windows. The tracks wind their way to Nuwara Eliya. A mountain town of English-style cottages.

Top off the day with a hike in Horton Plains National Park, with its lush plains, jagged mountains, blue skies and thundering waterfalls. The next day, hike to Sri Lanka’s highest waterfall: Bambarakanda. Now you’re all warmed up for Adams Peak, the highlight of your Sri Lanka tour! Arm yourself with courage and patience: 5300 steps separate you from the summit. But the reward is fantastic: a blazing panorama amidst Buddhist flags.

Why not give your calves a rest? Climb aboard a jeep for a safari to Uda Walawe: the best place in Sri Lanka to see processions of wild elephants. Finally, you’ve earned a well-deserved rest. The trip ends on the beaches of Mirissa with a visit to Galle, an ancient multicultural walled city.

Did these Sri Lanka tours appeal to you? Feel free to browse our guide to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean to enrich your stay.