7 Must-Do City Tours in Sri Lanka

The Colombo city tour is one of the must-do city tours in Sri Lanka. The tourists can find many dozens of city tours in Sri Lanka. However, the below-mentioned 7-city tours are the most popular among travellers. Taking advantage of the free walking tour of Colombo is a great way to see the city without breaking the bank. Get a better understanding of the history of Colombo, the city’s history, and the ancient temples such as Gangarama. In modern times, the city has evolved into one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting and fascinating metropolises, teeming with people and a dizzying array of sights, sounds, and smells. The city tour of Colombo is a very popular activity among tourists, and it is part of most Sri Lanka tour packages.

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Must Do City Tours in Sri Lanka

Great ideas “are born while walking,” as Friedrich Nietzsche put it. And it’s likely that he was correct. Taking a walking tour is a great way to see a city and learn about its history, architecture, and other interesting features. There is a wide variety of walking excursions to choose from on the island, including city tours, hiking tours, and trekking trips. In recent years, walking tours have become increasingly popular among tourists, and they continue to rank high on the list of must-do activities for vacationers.
When you book a walking tour, you get to pick the exact locations you want to cover on foot. Being free of a wind-powered vehicle also allows you to better connect with the environment. The seven Sri Lanka city tours listed below are great options if you share the majority of tourists’ preference for wandering around cities.

Walking the streets of Sri Lanka will do more than just relax you; it will also give you a glimpse of the natural splendor that the subcontinent is famous for. In this guide, we take you on a tour of some of the top walking tour sites in Sri Lanka, which number in the tens of thousands.

  • Colobmo city tour
  • Kandy city tour
  • Galle city tour
  • Nuwara Eliya city tour
  • Anuradhapura city tour
  • Polonnaruwa city tour
  • Trincomalee city tour

A city tour of Colombo

Taking advantage of the Free Walking Tour of Colombo is a great way to see the city without breaking the bank. Get a better understanding of the history of Colombo, the city’s history, and the ancient temples such as Gangarama. In modern times, the city has evolved into one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting and fascinating metropolises, teeming with people and a dizzying array of sights, sounds, and smells. The city tour of Colombo is a very popular activity among tourists, and it is part of most Sri Lanka tour packages.

Embark on a city tour of Sri Lanka’s capital after breakfast at your hotel. See the beautiful parks, monuments, museums, famous temples, and excellent shopping that this city has to offer.

The National Museum, Sri Lanka’s largest museum and one that dates back to 1877, houses priceless artifacts from the island’s colonial and ancient periods, including carvings, swords, firearms, masks, and statues.

One of the most stunning and recognizable Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, the Gangaramaya, should be visited afterward. In the main sanctorum, you can find breathtaking sculptures carved into the corridors and doorways. Pictures and small paintings depicting Buddhist narratives adorn the walls and ceilings.

The Beira Lake is conveniently located near the popular Gangaramaya temple, so you may take a duck paddle boat ride if you like. Alternatively, you can take a little break and shop at the mall next to the lake. However, you really must see the serene Seema Malaka Temple, which sits smack dab in the midst of the lake.

After that, you’ll take a scenic drive to the Colombo Fort district, home to numerous magnificent buildings from the colonial past. Some of the most famous buildings in the area are Lloyd’s building, St. Peter’s church, the old parliament, the clock tower, and the Galle Buck lighthouse.

Indulge in a leisurely Sri Lankan buffet meal.

Independence Square, one of the best spots to unwind in Colomboe is an iconic building that you will visit after lunch. In addition to the memorial hall, there is a memorial museum and a large, verdant park outdoors that provides ample shade.

The next stop is at Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo’s biggest and finest park; if you didn’t have time to relax at Independence Square Park, you may do so now with the shade of these majestic trees. The aquarium, children’s play area, war monument, lake, and suspension bridge are just a few of the many attractions that families with young children can enjoy.

After that, we’ll whisk you away to a famous Colombo department store like Cotton Collection or Odel for a little classic retail therapy.

Afterwards in the evening, make your way to the Galle Face Green, which is smack dab in the center of the bustling Galle Road that runs parallel to the ocean. Enjoy some traditional Colombo street cuisine, including isso wade and kottu, while mingling with welcoming locals and watching groups of youngsters play cricket and fly kites. Galle Face Green is a popular spot in Colombo due to its beautiful sunsets, pleasant atmosphere, and abundance of fresh air.

You can head back to your hotel after the day is over, full of stories and experiences to share.

Kandy city tour

Kandy city tour is among the most popular city tours in Sri Lanka. Due to its demand the Kandy city tour is included in most Sri Lanka trip packages along with other city tours in Sri Lanka. To begin your day tour, you’ll head to the Kandy vantage point. From here, you’ll drive up a hill near Kandy Lake and take in breathtaking views of the lake and the town below.

The Last Monarch of Kandy

Sri Wickrama Rajasingha, the last monarch of Kandy, artificially built the lake known as Kandy Lake. Locals and visitors alike love to stroll around the lake and even take boat rides over it.
Peradeniya is home to more than 4,000 plant species, including several varieties of palm trees, medicinal herbs, and orchids, so take a stroll through the botanical gardens there. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the gardens, so you may capture the many varieties of flowers.

The breathtaking view of Kandy Tea Factory

Stop by a Kandy tea factory to see the leaves transformed into the world-renowned Ceylon tea. The country’s tea is now a major export commodity, thanks to the British, who turned most of the land into plantations.

You will be escorted on a city tour of Kandy after lunch, which includes a stop at the gem museum and some shopping. The town of Kandy is constantly bustling with people going about their regular business. Herbs, spices, and tea are just a few of the many things you may find at this market. Wooden sculptures, batiks, and clothing are among the numerous souvenirs available for purchase.

Isle of Gems

Proceeding to the next item, gems. Sri Lanka is famous as the “Isle of Gems,” and Kandy is a major city in the country where you can find a wide variety of jewels for sale. There is an astounding assortment of flawlessly cut and polished stones. Ruby, Star Ruby, Alexandrite, and Sapphire are just a few of the prominent gems that are available.

The Temple of Tooth Relic

As the sun sets, make your way to the Temple of Tooth, a cherished and must-see destination for Buddhists across the nation. Here, in a golden coffin, rests the precious tooth relic of Lord Buddha, making it the holiest site in all of Buddhism. The Royal Palace Complex, a stunning landmark in its own right, contains it. Light oil lights and place a plate of flowers on the altar as you join hundreds of devotees in worship, taking in the tranquility, incense aroma, and chanting noises of the temple.
The cultural program will culminate with a performance of traditional Kandyan dancing, which is a reflection of Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture. This is the country’s official dance, and it’s a sight to behold.
You should check back into your hotel after an unforgettable day.

Galle city tour

Galle is one fo teh most popular places for city tours in Sri Lanka. The city tour of Galle gives you access to a wide range of activites and sites. Your Galle city tour kicks off at 7:00 am from Colombo and then heads to south coast of Sri Lanka. You will be stopping many times along the way.

Situated on Sri Lanka’s southwestern coast, the city of alle is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating history. Galle is a great place to spend a day because of its interesting museums, beautiful beaches, and colonial-era buildings.

Galle Fort

Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Galle Fort displays a wealth of history that began in the 16th century and makes it an essential tourist destination. Among the many colonial-era structures housed within the fort are a lighthouse, museums, and stores. Another notable landmark is the Dutch Reformed Church, which features an unusual combination of colonial and indigenous architectural elements.

The marine museum, housed within the fort, is an intriguing destination for anybody with an interest in marine history. Sri Lankan boat-building techniques and maritime traditions can be explored here. Plus, you shouldn’t miss the Galle Lighthouse if you’re looking for a stunning panorama of the shoreline.

Soft white sand and crystal-clear waters beckon from Unawatuna Beach, which is outside the fort. Indulge in water sports, swim, and sunbathe for a stress-free afternoon. In addition, the beautiful Koggala Lake is a great place to go boating since you may see crocodiles, monkeys, birds, and more.

Along with these must-sees, Galle also has a thriving market scene, delicious local food, and beautiful colonial-era buildings that are perfect for a stroll. Galle is a wonderful vacation spot that will captivate you with its rich history and breathtaking scenery.

Nuwara Eliya city tour

After breakfast, your city tour will begin with a drive to Nuwara Eliya in the morning. Before heading into town,

The Goldf Club at Nuwaraeliya and the Surroundings

you will have the opportunity to see the famous Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs in Asia, from the outside. One of Sri Lanka’s oldest post offices will be presented to you once you reach the town. A classic example of a colonial structure in the Tudor style, this one is particularly striking for its red brick façade. After that, you’ll visit further classic colonial structures that showcase the impact of the British during their era of colonization. These structures include the HNB Bank, the Nuwara Eliya Police Station, St. Xavier’s Church, and the crown jewel of Nuwara Eliya, the grand hotel—a renowned colonial masterpiece with beautifully landscaped grounds.
The next stop is at Victoria Park, a picturesque park dedicated to honoring Queen Victoria. Spend some time strolling about the park to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of its beautiful grass and trees. After that, we’ll head to another colonial gem from the British era—the Nuwara Eliya Race Course. This is Sri Lanka’s sole horse racing track, and it’s famous for its yearly festivities in April that are a lot like the Ascot Races.

Next, you’ll pay a visit to Lake Gregory, a colonial-era man-made wonder. Designed for power generation, it is today a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. In the distance, you can see majestic mountains that frame this picturesque lake. There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the on-site activities. Such as paddle boats and other water sports.

The Sita Aamman Temple and Haggala Botanical Garden

The Sita Amman Temple and the Hakgala Botanical Gardens will be our destinations after lunch. The old “Ashoka Vatika” is made up of these two locations. Coupled with Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Sri Lanka’s second-largest, is the Sita Amman Temple, which is specially dedicated to Sitadevi, wife of Lord Rama. It is a collection of stunning gardens with various flower beds, including roses and orchids.

You will visit a strawberry farm on the way back to the city. Try some of our most beloved desserts, such strawberry cheesecake, waffles, or the ever-popular strawberries and cream. You will be escorted to the Bale Bazaar, a famous local flea market known for its affordable winter clothing, upon your return to the city in the evening.

Anuradhapura city tour

Vebtioruing on a Anuradhapura city is teh ebst way to explore the most historical city of Sri Lanka. it is one of the most sought after city tours in Sri Lanka as it allows the travelelrs to explore ancisnt temples in Anuradjaopura. The ancient capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, will be the focus of a full-day excursion that departs from your location. Upon your early morning arrival in Anuradhapura, your first stop will be at: the scared bo tree.

The Sacred Bo Tree

The Sacred Bo Tree, also known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, is a seedling that Sanghamitta, daughter of Emperor Ashoka, brought from India, where Buddha attained enlightenment from the main stem of the Bodhi Tree. After receiving this seedling, King Devanampia Tissa planted it here in a ritualistic fashion.

The next stop is to King Dutugemunu’s Lovamahapaya, also known as the Brazen Palace. Stone pillars support this magnificent, nine-story building. A roof made of copper or bronze gave rise to the moniker “Brazen Palace” for this building. This palace was built to accommodate one thousand monks and their attendants, offering them a place to stay as well as medical assistance for those who were hurt.

The Ruwenwelisaya Dagaba

After this, you’ll head to Sri Lanka to see the oldest stupa, Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba. The Ruwanwelisaya is a symbol of Sri Lanka’s glorious architectural past. The triumphant King Dutugemunu built Ruwanwelisaya, also known as the Great Stupa, in 140 BC. This stupa stands as a testament to his audacious endeavor and the outstanding service it rendered in reviving Buddhism in the nation

The Tissa Wewa

Afterwards, you’ll visit Tissa Wewa, an artificial reservoir constructed in the third century BC by King Devanampiya Tissa to augment Anuradhapura’s water supply and nourish the royal gardens of the king. A system of canals for irrigation was subsequently constructed and linked to this reservoir.

Here you will be led to the first of King Dutugemunu’s monuments, Miriswatiya Dagoba. Following his sanctification, on the seventh day of the Tissa Wewa water celebration, an elaborate sword containing a sacred relic of Buddha was placed on the shore. They built this dagoba on top of the king’s sword because, upon returning from his bath at the reservoir, he was unable to draw it, despite their repeated efforts. They saw this as a sign of a miracle.

The Thuparama Temple

Going to the Thuparama Temple is the next stop. Constructed in the wake of Buddhism’s arrival in Sri Lanka, it predates all other stupas in the nation. King Devanampiya Tissa constructed it. One of the smallest stupas on the island—if not the world—is the Thuparama. Buddhists believe that it is home to the right collarbone relic of Lord Buddha, which Mahinda, the son of King Ashoka of India, carried to Sri Lanka.

The Abayagiri Monastery

After that, you will be led to the world-renown Moonstone, housed in the Abayagiri Monastery and situated atop the main staircase in the main structure. As far as artifacts from the 7th and 8th centuries are concerned, this moonstone ranks high among the finest and best-preserved examples. The guardstone will then be seen. The Rathna Prasada was atop the Abhayagiriyi monastery before the South Indian invaders leveled it. A guardstone depicting a god king shielded by a Naga Gala, a five-headed serpent, holds a vase of flowers representing wealth and has been painstakingly carved throughout the years by the many kings who have come before him.

Vattagamini Abhaya, a Sinhalese king, constructed the Abhayagiri Monastery Complex, the biggest monastery complex in the Anuradhapura kingdom. After that, you enter the complex. Abhayagiri Stupa, the principal stupa built over a footprint of Lord Buddha, is part of this complex. There is also a branch of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree. The original height of the stupa was 370 feet, making it the second-tallest on the island. The new museum at Abhayagiri Monastery was dedicated to Fa-hsien with the purpose of preserving and showcasing the artifacts unearthed during the excavations. These artifacts included gold jewelry adorned with gems and crystals. The purpose of this museum is to house all of the artifacts and relics that have been found during archeological digs.

The Samadi Budda Statue

The Samadhi Buddha Statue, a masterpiece of Sinhalese sculpture and art, is the next stop after touring this complex. The 2-meter-tall granite sculpture stands guard atop the Bodhi tree, facing the four cardinal directions, and is carved into the meditative posture known as Samadhi, which is linked to the Buddha’s initial enlightenment.

The Jetavanarama Stupa and Monastery

Afterwards, you’ll come upon the Jetavaranama Stupa and monastery. Constructed in the third century, this spectacular building was once the largest brick construction in the world and the third largest of its kind. Over 90 million bricks make up this massive bulbous stupa, which evokes feelings of tranquility and reflection as well as a connection to the past. The sheer magnitude of the building demonstrates the achievement and resolve of the period, making it an attraction that is definitely worth a visit. The remains of a monastery that once housed three thousand monks surround it.

The kuttam Pokuna

This insists to Kuttam Pokuna, also called the “Twin Ponds,” will follow. Built in the 8th century as a swimming pool with terraces for the monks, it is an architectural landscape.
At roughly 12:30 p.m., you will be served lunch.

The Isurumuniya Temple

Following lunch, the day tour will continue with a visit to Isurumuniya Viharaya. The Isurumuniya Viharaya is a beautiful temple that is semi-encased in a cave and topped by a rock. At the base of the cliff, on a rock that appears to be emerging from a picturesque pond, are detailed sculptures of elephants. Included in the temple’s wealth of priceless carvings is the world-famous “Isurumuniya Lovers” sculpture, which was once set on a granite slab but is currently housed at the Archaeological Museum. Towars the end of teh city tour you will explore Mihintale and Aukana Buddha Statue.

The Mihintale

For Buddhists all around the globe, Mihintale is an essential pilgrimage site since it is the birthplace of Buddhism. In addition to pilgrims, tourists flock to this place to climb the hill and see the numerous religious shrines of the monastic community. One of these shrines, a magnificent 40-foot stupa, was constructed in the 1st century BC, giving attention to the site’s significance.

The Aukana Buddha Statue

Being one of Sri Lanka’s tallest standing Buddha statues, the Aukana Buddha Statue commands respect in historical accounts. With its massive stature of 42 feet, the exquisite sculpture of the Buddha statue is a testament to the craftsmanship and talent of the artisans who created it. At the conclusion of the tour in the evening, you will be taken back to your hotel.

Polonnaruwa city tour

Polonnaruwa city tour is one fo teh most popular city tours in Sri Lanka. It allows the torusit to see ancient temples, palaces, gardens, and many other ancient monuments in the historicla city of Polonnaruwa. this city tou also includes the historical museum of polonnaruwa, which is anothe rpopular destinations for toruist in Sri Lanka.

The Archaeological Museum

Your first stop in Polonnaruwa upon arrival will be the Archaeological Museum, which houses an incredible collection of bronze sculptures and scale models of the sites, showing buildings as they may have appeared in the past. The museum provides a wealth of information about the art and history of the former mediaeval capital city.

The King Parkramabahu’s Citadel

Following that, you will be escorted to King Parakramabahu I’s citadel and royal palace. In its original form, it was a seven-story building that would have been astounding to its contemporaries. An enormous chamber resembling a pavilion, the Audience chamber or Council chamber, features elaborate carvings. The Royal Bathing Pool is located in a secluded area of the palace grounds.

The Shiva Devale

After that, we’ll head to the Quadrangle, the ancient city’s nerve center. Beginning with the Shiva Devale, the complex includes the ruins of numerous ancient buildings, such as the Thuparamaya, an image house with good preservation, the Nissanka Latha Mandapaya, also known as the Floral Altar, the Hatadage, or House of Seven Relics, and the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, a creation that has been revered and prominent in Sri Lankan history.

The Satmahal Prasadaya

Following that, you will visit the Satmahal Prasadaya, an incredibly bizarre and intricate structure that drew inspiration from eastern design, and the Gal Potha, an immense rock-carved book. Standing six floors tall, it resembled a stepped pyramid.

The Pabalu Vhehara and Rankoth Vehera

The Pabalu Vehera, a symbol of love, and the Rankoth Vehera, the fourth largest dagoba after the three giants in Anuradhapura, are both accessible via bus from this location.

The Alahana Monastery

The next stop is the Alahana Pirivena Monastery, a magnificent complex of monasteries established in the eleventh century by King Parakramabahu I. Inside, you’ll find the Lankatilake image house and the Buddha Seema Prasada.

The Kiri Vehera

The Kiri Vehera, Polonnaruwa’s best-preserved dagoba and a shrine with a milky white exterior, would be the next stop on the itinerary.

The Gal Vehera

The next stop is the north, where you can marvel at the Gal Vihara and its renowned sculpture collection. One of the most impressive rock sculptures on the island is a set of four Buddha statues cut into a granite cliff.

The Nelum Pokuna

The next stop is at the Nelum Pokuna, followed by the Lotus Pond—a stunningly designed granite pool shaped like a lotus flower—and the Thivanka Image House, a massive monastery close to Polonnaruwa.

The Parakrama Samudraya

You will be escorted to witness the wonder of the Parakrama Samudraya, which is also called the Parakrama Sea due to its enormous size. The engineering brilliance of King Parakramabahu I allowed for the creation of this man-made lake, which is filled up as it drains off the rainwater collected through eleven channels that fed a system of irrigation canals and smaller tanks.

The next stop is at the Royal Palace Complex of King Nissanka Malla. There is a raised platform supporting eight granite columns, and a low wall surrounds it. In the middle of the platform rests a little granite stupa. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to witness the Nissanka Raja Sabha Mandapa, which is the royal audience hall or council chamber.

The next stop on your bus tour will be the magnificent Giant Statue of Parakramabahu I, a work of monumental art dating back to the 12th century. Carved onto a rock face, the tall but respectful person wears a sarong and holds a sacred text. The next stop is at Pothgul Vihara. Among Sri Lanka’s historical sites, this library and monastery complex stands tallest. At the conclusion of the tour in the evening, you will be taken back to your original location from Polonnaruwa.

City tours in Sri Lanka- exploring Trincomale

Trincomalee may not be among the most popular city tours in Sri Lanka. However, it is well worth dedicating your time and money to it. The Trincoimlaee city tour differs in many ways from other city tours in Sri Lanka. Trincomlaee City Tour is the only city tour we discuss in this article that gives you the opportunity to explore the cultural and religious aspects of Hinduism.

  • On this full-day Trincomalee tour,
  • you’ll see the harbor,
  • pigeon Island,
  • Fort Frederick,
  • All the other must-see landmarks in this culturally rich city.

At 6 in the morning, you’ll go on a trip to see dolphins.

Take a boat ride out to sea off the coast of Trincomalee for about half an hour, and you’ll be able to observe dolphins surface frequently. We have seen whales on the east coast only during the spring (March–May), but you never know; you might be lucky enough to see one during the off-season.
The boat will transport you to Pigeon Island once the dolphin viewing tour is over. Sri Lanka has two marine national parks, one of which is Pigeon Island. It has breathtaking coral reefs that are home to a variety of magnificent tropical fish and other marine animals, like turtles. A snorkeling expedition is available as an extra for anyone who is interested in trying it out.
View breathtaking ocean vistas from atop the rock formations that lie across the island.

Getting back to the mainland and heading to Fort Frederick will be your next step after breakfast. Discover the fort, which is home to the world-renown Konaswaram Temple, perched precariously on Swami Rock with breathtaking views of the Bay of Bengal and India’s eastern coast. Various temples can be found within the fort itself.

Enjoy a bite to eat at a local joint.

Returning to Trincomalee after lunch, the tour will stop at the city’s natural harbour, which spans several acres of land and water. Back Bay, Dutch Bay, and the inner harbor make it up. Take in the sights and sounds of the harbor as you meander past the many eateries and cafes that line its shores.

Marble Beach, one of the most picturesque and pristine beaches in the Trincomalee region, is the next stop on your itinerary. Since the Sri Lanka Air Force is in charge of it, you can rest assured that it is a safe place to swim in shallow waters. Take a leisurely walk around the beach and look for marble pebbles.

Bentota city tour

The city tour of Bentota is among the very popular city tours in Sri Lanka and ia large number of beach holiday lovers, taht anchoring on teh west coast love this one day excursion. The city tour of Bentota revilve mainly around Bentota however, it inclueds many interesting activites such as boat trips, village tours, cooking class and walking along the Bentoat river. At eight in the morning, your journey will begin in Bentota. After you are dropped off at your hotel, your chauffeur will take you to the locations listed below.

Excursion to Lunuganga Garden

Geoffrey Bawa (23 July 1919 – 27 May 2003) was an architect whose vision became the Lunuganga estate. He found his initial inspiration and conducted his experiments in this rural house, which he also used as a retreat as his star began to rise. The estate is adorned with a multitude of artworks and relics from all parts of the world, showcasing the characteristic unique flair and whimsical beauty of Bawa.

The Biodiversity Area of the Madu Ganga

Indulge in a delightful two-hour boat ride down the Madu River, passing through a vibrant ecology. Navigate the hidden pathways fashioned by the mangroves. Come see the locals who grow cinnamon on one of the tiny islands. See the birds of water in their native environments.

Lunu Ganga

Bevis Baawa’s House and Garden Sir Lawrence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Agatha Christie, and countless more were guests at the renowned garden of Bevis Bawa. The Garden at Brief is a testament to his maturing character. Enter Bevis’s world by going through the tall entrance with the statue cap, which is located in the thick bamboo hedge. Then we’ll go through the Japanese garden, past the expansive lawns, and eventually pass the circular pond and water steps as we make our way around the verdant perimeter path. You may see evidence of its maker all throughout the garden

Sea Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda

The Chelonii order includes turtles among its members. Researchers and conservationists also refer to them as chelonians. The distinctive bony covering, or carapace, that chelonians get from their ribs serves as a protective shell. The earliest turtles appeared more than 220 million years ago, during the Triassic Period, making this an extremely ancient group of animals. Three species of reptiles make up the order Chelonii, sometimes called the Testudines: terrapins, tortoises, and turtles.

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