Cycling Sri Lanka's Vivid Landscapes and Cultural Treasures
This trip entails traveling back in time to 2500 years ago to the heart of the Sri Lankan civilization. A land that is bound to mesmerize you, Srilanka offers the most vivid and diverse experiences for travellers within the confines of its relatively small size. Packed with jungle safaris, beaches, tea plantations, and exotic countryside. We traverse through the entire stretch of Srilanka, starting in the central northern province of Sigiriya, going southwards till we hit the southern edge, Galle.
Enjoy Sri Lanka’s rock fortress at Sigiriya and the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa. Besides the ancient trail, enjoy the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, home to the tea planters community, and elephants at Udawalawe. Local cuisine blended with aromatic spices, architecturally acclaimed temples, heritage sites, and a scenic cycling route will engage your senses as you bike through vivid Sri Lanka.
Negombo | 08:00hrs
50km or 30mi
Varied topographyRide through the the different topographies of Sri Lanka – tea plantations, beaches, meandering irrigation canals, hills, forests and historic towns
|DAY 1||Negombo||Suriya Resort||D|
|DAY 2||Dambulla||Sigiriana Resort||B,L,D||40km / 24mi||cycling|
|DAY 3||Dambulla||Sigiriana Resort||B,L,D||45km / 27mi||cycling|
|DAY 4||Polonnaruwa||Hotel Sudu Araliya||B,L,D||80km / 48mi||cycling|
|DAY 5||Kandy||Thilanka Hotel||B,L,D||70km / 42mi||cycling|
|DAY 6||Nuwara Eliya||The Hill Club||B,L,D||65km / 40mi||cycling|
|DAY 7||Nuwara Eliya||The Hill Club||B|
|DAY 8||Ella||Flower Garden Resort||B,L,D||30km / 18mi||cycling, hiking|
|DAY 9||Belihuloya||River Garden Resort||B,L,D||50km / 30mi||cycling|
|DAY 10||Udawalawe National Park||Kalu’s Hideaway||B,L,D||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 11||Tangalle||Eva Lanka Hotel||B,L||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 12||Galle||The Heritage Galle Fort||B||40km / 24mi||cycling|
Day 1: Negombo
On the day of the tour, our guide will meet you at your hotel in the evening at 17:00hrs. We'll use this time to do a bike fit to ensure that your cycling experience is as comfortable as possible. After that, we'll have a relaxing dinner together and go over the briefing for the tour.
Negombo is a vibrant coastal town with a mix of Dutch and Portuguese architecture and a bustling fish market. If you have time, we recommend exploring the town's canals, beaches, and historic sites. You could also take a boat ride to the nearby Muthurajawela Marsh, which is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife.
Day 2: Dambulla
Today we recommend hitting the road early to avoid the heat. After a short transfer, get ready for the day’s cycling. An easy-paced ride that takes us along the stunning coastal route with stops at fish markets. Later we turn inland and take a shuttle transfer of about 3hrs to Dambulla, famous for the ancient Dambulla cave temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cave temple is one of the largest and best-preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka, and it is renowned for its ancient murals and sculptures.
Apart from the cave temple, Dambulla is also known for its vibrant local market, where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and other local produce. The city is surrounded by beautiful countryside, with rice paddies, forests, and small villages, making it a great destination for nature lovers and adventurers.
Day 3: Dambulla
Have an early morning breakfast and get ready to take a classic loop around Sigiriya visiting Dambulla cave along the way. We start the exploration in the backdrop of the large Lion Rock after which the town was named. We ride along gravel roads following an old irrigation canal to Dambulla, the 2nd century BC Buddhist cave temple. One has to walk up some distance to see the five caves, which still house many ancient Buddha statues.
Post-lunch, head to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya. Sigiriya is a small town named after the huge ‘Lion Rock’. It was here that King Kasyapa decided to forge his roots, build a palace on a high rock and embellish its sides with frescos. The last part of the climb, starting from the ‘lion paw’ is quite steep. The ruins of the palace on the summit are surpassed only by the magnificent aerial view of the surrounding jungle.
Day 4: Polonnaruwa
Today we go on a journey to uncover the rich history of Sri Lanka as we ride to Polonnaruwa, an ancient kingdom that dates back to the 12th century. Our journey starts with a picturesque ride through a lush forest, surrounded by vibrant greenery. The terrain is mostly flat, with a few gentle rolling patches that add to the adventure.
Upon arriving at Polonnaruwa, we'll be transported back in time as we explore the remains of this once-thriving city. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Polonnaruwa boasts an impressive collection of ancient structures, including the Royal Palace, the Quadrangle, the Gal Vihara, and the Lotus Pond. The city's architectural wonders are renowned for their intricate carvings, beautiful frescoes, and advanced irrigation systems, showcasing the ingenuity of its people.
Later in the evening, we return to the hotel, rejuvenated by the fascinating discoveries of the day. Polonnaruwa is not just a city of historical significance but is also a haven of natural beauty, surrounded by lush forests, lakes, and rivers, providing a perfect destination for those who love adventure and nature. A visit to Polonnaruwa is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.
Day 5: Kandy
Start your day in perfect harmony with nature as you wake up to the serene melody of chirping birds. We'll get back on our bikes and set off on an unforgettable ride through a verdant forest, where lush greenery will envelop us in a breathtaking embrace. Along the way, we'll pass by the expansive Minneriya water tank, which will leave us awestruck by its beauty.
Our next destination is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka - Kandy, situated on the picturesque Kandy Plateau, surrounded by rolling hills draped in tea plantations. This city is home to one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. As we enter the temple's hallowed halls, we'll be mesmerized by the intricate architecture and awe-inspiring religious artifacts, including the tooth relic itself, believed to be a sacred relic of the Buddha.
Day 6: Nuwara Eliya
Today's ride promises to be nothing short of breathtaking as we set out on a journey through Sri Lanka's stunning hill country, with its lush tea plantations and sweeping mountain vistas. The route to our destination, the old British tea valley of Nuwara Eliya, is a challenging one, with gradual climbs and a few steep hills to conquer. However, the awe-inspiring scenery, glistening reservoirs, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the majestic mountain ranges make every pedal stroke worth it.
We'll stop for a delectable lunch at a picturesque spot overlooking a stunning waterfall and panoramic landscape. Here, we can take a moment to soak in the beauty of our surroundings and rejuvenate ourselves for the rest of the journey. After lunch, we'll transfer to Nuwara Eliya, where we'll spend the rest of the day exploring this charming town.
Nuwara Eliya, also known as 'Little England,' is a town that exudes colonial-era charm, with its well-manicured lawns, Victorian-era architecture, and immaculate gardens.
Day 7: Nuwara Eliya
Today you can spend the day at leisure.
In the evening, we recommend taking a stroll through the town's bustling bazaars, sampling local delicacies, and picking up souvenirs to take home.
Day 8: Ella
Today's ride promises to be the highlight of the tour, offering a breathtaking undulating ride from Nuwara Eliya through a diverse range of landscapes. We will pass through lush grasslands, dense forests, dairy farms, and windmills, and stop at Pattipola railway station, the highest railway station in Sri Lanka, situated 1,897 meters above sea level.
The final stretch of the ride includes a challenging 4km uphill climb, leading to Horton Plains, one of Sri Lanka's most popular national parks. This vast expanse of grasslands and thick forests is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many endemic bird species. We will explore the park's designated trails on foot, including a hike to World's End, a dramatic scenic viewpoint offering panoramic views of the park. The total hike is approximately 8km, and we will also visit Baker's Falls, a stunning waterfall in the park.
If time permits, we will take a downhill ride to Ohiya railway station for lunch, followed by a scenic 90-minute train journey to Ella. Ella is a charming town situated at an elevation of 1,041m, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Please note that as our arrival time at Ohiya railway station is uncertain, we cannot make advance reservations for 1st class tickets on the train. We will need to purchase on-the-spot tickets, which are available only for the 2nd and 3rd class.
Day 9: Belihuloya
Start your morning with an invigorating hike to Little Adam's Peak and Nine Arch Bridge, both easily accessible from Ella. Enjoy panoramic views of lush green hills and valleys, and take in the beauty of the impressive Nine Arch Bridge, a railway viaduct that dates back to the British colonial era.
Later we ride towards Belihuloya, passing through forests, grasslands, and teak plantations. The initial descent can be steep, so we'll proceed with caution. After arriving at the base, continue riding uphill to Belihuloya, known for its lush green landscapes, rolling hills, tea plantations, and scenic beauty.
Day 10: Udawalawe National Park
Today is largely downhill as we ride to Udawalawe. The landscape along the route from Belihuloya to Udawalawe offers a captivating mix of forests and rural villages.
In the afternoon, we'll set out on an exciting safari adventure in Udawalawe National Park. The park is home to hundreds of Sri Lankan elephants, as well as other wild animals such as leopards, deer, and buffalo. With well-planned safaris and knowledgeable guides, you'll have a chance to observe these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat.
Day 11: Tangalle
Today, we'll set off towards Tangalle, cycling along one of the beautiful irrigation canals that flow towards the southern coast. Along the way, we'll pass through lush banana plantations, providing a refreshing change of scenery from the mountainous terrain of the past few days. Cycling through the countryside will give us an opportunity to soak in the rural lifestyle and connect with the local culture.
As we approach Tangalle, the air becomes warm and humid, with the salty scent of the sea in the distance. After a long day of cycling, there's nothing quite like relaxing on the beach and taking in the beautiful surroundings of Tangalle.
Day 12: Galle
Today, we go on a beautiful coastal and interior trail as we ride towards Galle after a short transfer. The stunning views of the ocean and the gentle sea breeze keep us company throughout the ride. As we make our way toward Galle, we will pass through charming coastal villages and verdant countryside landscapes.
Post-lunch, explore the historic Galle Fort on foot. The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best-preserved colonial-era fortifications in Asia. As we walk through the narrow streets and alleys, we will discover an abundance of Dutch and Portuguese architectural gems, museums, and cathedrals. The picturesque coastline also provides a perfect opportunity to relax on the sunny beaches and soak in the beautiful surroundings.
Day 13: Colombo
Extend at Galle and spend the days at leisure or transport to the Colombo International Airport for your onward journey.
Dates and Prices
Our base pricing is in USD. However, we can also quote in AUD, GBP, CAD, and EUR, and you can pay in the same. Please write us.
From US $625
From US $300
Couldn't find a trip with convenient dates?
Open your date as a join-in tour or customize further as private one.
We offer private departures on almost all our itineraries, and for groups of four or more, they cost the same as our standard trips!
All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
E-bikes are available on this trip at a surcharge. Please send a note to your tour consultant to book one.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.
With a tropical climate, Sri Lanka has two cycles of monsoon which bring rain to the west and south-west coastal lines from May to September, and between October and February, it rains in northern regions and east coastline. Although the rains are generally short, with occasional heavy downpours.
Leaving out the monsoon season, the remaining months receive plenty of sunshine and are mostly dry. Temperatures remain fairly consistent year-round, with coastal regions averaging from 25 to 32°C and the mountain regions from 15 to 20°C. Sri Lanka is humid as well with relative humidity ranging between 60% & 90%.
Predominantly, Sri Lanka is almost a year-round cycling destination and our bike tours run around the year.
Most travelers require a visa to visit Sri Lanka. The process for acquiring one is relatively straightforward. For trips to Sri Lanka of up to 30 days, visas, also known as ETAs (Electronic Travel Authorization), can be obtained from the government’s Department of Immigration and Emigration website. The Electronic Travel Authorization System is available online or at the port of entry. Visitors are strongly urged to use the online system to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry.
Reviews from our friends
Rob H from US5.0
An excellent trip combining beautiful cycling trails, iconic landmarks and cultural immersion. Knowledgeable and helpful guides, excellent journey support. Ask for Chamara as the guide as his enthusiasm and drive really made the trip.
Malcolm Rodley from AU5.0
Excellent outing, we were looked after very well, the bikes were good, the guides were very nice people, accommodation was of good quality.
Emma Trewella from AU5.0
we very much enjoyed our tour
Overall with we very much enjoyed our tour and bike ride through Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an awesome place to visit. We were very happy with the quality and maintance of the bikes. The tour guide was confident and flexible to our needs. The hotels were generaly of a high standard and some exceeding our expectations. Our driver was always very careful and mindful to lock the vechicle so we could safely leave our belongings in the bus.The food was generally delicious and plentiful but perhapes not as much protein (meat) as we are use to while riding. Snacks were always available and bus never far away. The extra activities were fantastic and really added to the trip and experience of Sri Lanka . The Safari was the highlight. Would have loved more time in the highlands exploring the tea plantaions and doing an extra hike !