Cycle Sri Lanka

Cycle Sri Lanka

14 Days



Cycle Sri Lanka

14 Days Starting in Negombo and ending in Colombo Airport

Visiting: Negombo, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Udawalawe National Park Safari, Kataragama, Mirissa, Colombo

Tour operator:


Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:


Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:



History, Wildlife Tours


Cycling, Sightseeing, Walking

$2411 (USD) Operator discount: $410 WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $69 -17%
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Tour Overview

Completing a circular journey this trip takes in ancient temples and fortresses, cycling through tea plantations and across the scenic trails of the Knuckles Range. Leaving the coast behind we explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa on two wheels before steadily climbing to wide plains. Search for leopard in Yala National Park before making our way to the beach for a well-earned rest. Cycle Sri Lanka - Ride the backroads, villages, Knuckles Range and central highlands of Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Sigiriya - Wander through ancient cities, painted cave temples and climb the dramatic 'Sky Fortress' Kandy and the Hill Country - Explore the 'temple of the Tooth' and cycle the lush tea plantations in cooler climates


  • Cycle Sri Lanka - Ride the backroads, villages, Knuckles Range and central highlands of Sri Lanka

  • Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Sigiriya - Wander through ancient cities, painted cave temples and climb the dramatic 'Sky Fortress'

  • Kandy and the Hill Country - Explore the 'temple of the Tooth' and cycle the lush tea plantations in cooler climates


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Day 1: Join Tour Negombo




Our adventure begins in Negombo, just a short drive from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. A coastal town known locally for its fishing industry and golden sands, Negombo is the perfect place to spot locals bringing in their catch and to watch the sunset.

The Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting followed by our first group dinner to get to know your fellow travellers. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is 30-minute drive from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day there is the option to take a short cycle ride in the late afternoon exploring the coast of Negombo with its colourful fishing boats and relaxed people. You will need to meet at reception at 4pm for this gentle introduction to Sri Lanka's beautiful landscapes, firstly spending some time to ensure everybody is happy with the bike fit and making any necessary adjustments. The ride covers some 10 kilometres before we head back to the hotel before dark.

Day 2: Morning Cycle Ride. Afternoon Visit Dambulla Cave Temple




Leaving after breakfast we drive (30mins) to Dankotuwa this morning, from where we begin our morning's cycle ride through small backroads, gravel or dirt roads (15km) and lovely forest to the outskirts of Kuliyapitya. Please note that the road surface for today's ride is in a poor state of repair. Arriving in Kuliyapitya, we then transfer by bus (2.5hrs) to Dambulla for a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, breaking our journey with a lunch stop in Kurunegala. Dambulla has a great series of caves which hide an incredible collection of temples, Buddhist images and Hindu sculptures that date back to the 1st century BC. After our visit we continue by bus (30mins) to our hotel in Sigiriya.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 38 kilometres (total 390 metres accumulated ascent and descent).

Day 3: Climb Lion Rock, Then Cycle To Polonnaruwa




First thing this morning we drive the short distance back to Dambulla then cycle (24km) alongside lakes and canals to Sigiriya. We then leave the bikes as we climb the imposing 'Sky Fortress' of King Kassapa, whose 5th century ruins are one of the country's major archaeological attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fortress is accessed by way of a series of steep steps that take us past the famous frescoes of the 'Sigiriya Damsels'. Returning to the base of Lion Rock, we drive (45mins) to Minneriya where the second leg of todays ride commences. Back on our bikes we ride to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Our route follows a series of relatively straight and flat backroads through a landscape dotted with forests and villages, with around 10km on decent dirt road.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 50 kilometres (total 340 metres ascent and descent).

Day 4: Pedal To Polonnaruwa Archaeological Site And Village




Polonnaruwa reached the height of its glory in the 12th century and the city is still blessed with a number of ancient monuments, including the spectacular ruins of its Royal Palace and the Circular Relic House, a curious structure with a beautifully preserved 'moonstone' carved at the foot of a flight of steps. We spend this morning cycling around some of the area's major archaeological sites, before continuing on bike after lunch to explore the villages near Parakkrama Lake, one of the country's most impressive ancient reservoirs. Around 4km of today's route is on gravel or dirt roads.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres (total 210 metres ascent and descent).

Day 5: Cycle And Drive To Kandy, Visit Spice Gardens En Route




Today we cycle through the Knuckles Range and on to Kandy, one of Sri Lanka's cultural highlights. We begin our day's ride from our hotel and cycle alongside Parakrama Samudra reservoir - built by the Singhalese kings in the 12th century - always staying close to Wasgamuwa National Park. Our ride ends before we get to Pallegama and we get back in the vehicle to drive up into the Knuckles Mountain Range. These striking landscapes and isolated cloud forests provide a haven for a rich diversity of flora and fauna. After around an hour and a half we reach the highest point at Riverston pass. From here we descend for about another hour and half to Matale Spice Gardens where we plan to visit. Finally we drive (1hr) on to Kandy and our accommodation for the night.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 61 kilometres (total 600 metres ascent and 500 metres descent).

Day 6: Explore Kandy On Foot




With no cycling planned for today we have some free time to enjoy one of the country's cultural gems. Lying in the mountains to the north-east of Colombo, Kandy is renowned as a centre of spiritual and cultural importance. The city is home to the famous 'Temple of the Tooth', whose jewelled shrine is believed to hold the left canine of the lord Buddha. It was also the last capital of the Sinhala Kings and still retains much of its old world charm; its wonderful mix of colour and vibrancy making it an ideal spot to explore at our own pace.

No cycling today.

Day 7: Into The Beautiful Highlands, Colonial Nuwara Eliya And Tea Plantation Visit

Nuwara Eliya



Leaving Kandy this morning we drive for around two hours through a picturesque landscape of rolling, verdant hills into Sri Lanka's central highlands. On our journey we will stop at a tea estate to learn about tea picking and processing and to see the impressive Ramboda Falls. Keen cyclists have the option to ride on good (albeit steep!) tarmac before reaching the tea estate and there is also the option to ride the final 18km section up to our hotel in Nuwara Eliya. Following the tea factory visit we continue on foot through the tea plantations to a Tamil hamlet and will hopefully meet some families of tea pickers. Those not riding the optional sections will make the journey by bus. Nestling amongst the lush, cool hills, nearly 1,900 metres above sea level, Nuwara Eliya was once a summer retreat for the British and still retains a distinctly colonial feel that harks back to its 19th century origins.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 18 kilometres (optional) (total 900 metres ascent).

Day 8: Highlands Cycle. Visit Bambarakanda Waterfall




In the morning we leave the hotel, cycling out through the highlands towards Badulla. Later changing direction to ride through the tea estates to Haputale on the southern, increasingly lush and tropical slopes of the mountain. Whilst the overall bias is on downhill, later in the day there are a few undulating and hillier sections as well. Later we can make a de-tour to visit the Bambarakanda Waterfall, the highest in Sri Lanka, before arriving at our hotel. This evening dinner is included.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 68 kilometres (total approx 970 metres ascent and 2200 metres descent).

Day 9: Cycle To Udawalawe National Park; Optional Safari

Udawalawe National Park Safari



Today we cycle through the spectacular southern slopes of the highlands via Rajawaka and Pallebedda until reaching Highway 18 where our ride ends. We then drive (30mins) to the Elephant Transit home for the chance to see the feeding of baby elephants. Afterwards we either drive to our hotel in Embilipitiya with free time this afternoon to relax, or alternatively have an optional 4WD jeep safari in Udawalwe National Park. The park is famous for its large elephant herds and has many other game to look for, from buffalo to sambar deer plus many bird species. This evening dinner is included.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 37 kilometres (total 420 metres ascent and 830 metres descent).

Day 10: Cycle Country Roads To Yala National Park; Optional Safari




Turning south-east this morning, our cycle route leads us to the town of Kataragama where we spend the night. We plan to visit the interesting local temple dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist gods. Lying close to the beautiful and abundant landscapes of Yala National Park, our afternoon arrival provides us with a chance to enjoy an optional game drive through the park. One of Sri Lanka's more popular reserves, Yala is home to a rich diversity of ecosystems and is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, including sea turtles, sloth bears, one of the world's highest concentrations of leopards and over 215 species of birds. We use one of the less frequented Yala park entrances, around 40 minutes drive from Kataragama.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 49 kilometres (total 320 metres ascent and 370 metres descent).

Day 11: Ride Along The Coast Through Bundala National Park




This morning we drive (30 mins) to the coast and then cycle the first 23km section along the coast and Bundula National Park, giving us a good chance to spot crocodiles. We then get back in the vehicle and drive for around an hour to a point beyond Tangalla. From here we cycle again following back roads heading to the west. Our cycle ride ends in Matara where we get back on the bus again and drive (20 mins) to the hotel in Mirissa. Around 20kms of today's ride is on gravel or dirt roads.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 65 kilometres (total 600 metres ascent and descent).

Day 12: Cycle The Coastal Backroads And Visit Galle




We cycle from our hotel this morning, through the backroads, with a possible option to visit an Ayurvedic snake doctor. We explore the Weligama Bay area further on our bike route that eventually leads us back to the hotel in time for lunch. Later this afternoon we drive for around 40 mins to Galle for a stroll through the old town.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres (total 380 metres ascent and descent).

Day 13: Day At Leisure In Mirissa




Today has been left free to enjoy the laid back ambience and turquoise waters of Sri Lanka's southern coast. Rich in biodiversity, colonial history and golden beaches, the area offers a wealth of options to make the most of our last day in the country. There are also snorkelling trips available, ayurvedic massages and even the possibility of enjoying a whale-watching trip during the migration season (December to April).

No cycling today.

Day 14: Tour Ends At Colombo Airport


The trip ends at Colombo airport. There are two transfers planned today.

Departing Mirissa this morning we drive for around 2 to 2.5 hours to Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo where our trip ends. The first transfer is planned to arrive at the airport at 10am, the second transfer is planned to arrive at the airport at 5.20pm and you will need to select which you want at the time of booking. The earliest your flight can depart is 1pm.

What's Included

  • Meals
    Breakfast: 13 Lunch: 5 Dinner: 2

  • Bike rental

  • Accommodation

  • Fully Guided

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Country Entry Visas

Why Book this Tour

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. We also provide a support vehicle, spare parts and take care of day to day bike maintenance. All you need bring is your own helmet.


Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?


  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?


  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?


  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?


  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?


  • What is the maximum group size?


  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?


  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour


Cycle Sri Lanka


It was our first Explore trip - and we will definitely do more. We loved the cycling, and the overall itiniery was excellent.


Cycle Sri Lanka


Great trip with someod challenges


Cycle Sri Lanka


This trip was a make or break trip for me with Explore, after a couple of poor quality trips previously. It was a make-I had an amazing time! The bikes were much better quality than on previous trips and were well suited to the trip, which made all the difference. The tour guide Cham was also excellent. The cycling was nice and challenging too, with varied routes and scenery. Overall we did and saw a whole variety of things, so I feel as though I saw a lot of Sri Lanka. Being vegetarian, it was great to be able to find an array of tasty food wherever we went.


Cycle Sri Lanka


We’re already looking to plan our next trip - with Explore!


Cycle Sri Lanka


I was worried about travelling to SriLanka in wake of the bombings last year but the country and its people were welcoming and the country was incredibly safe.

Dates & Availability

Sunday - Saturday

Jan 28, 2024 - Feb 10, 2024
$3070 $2722 (USD)

Operator discount: $270 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $78 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Feb 11, 2024 - Feb 24, 2024
$2890 $2411 (USD)

Operator discount: $410 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $69 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Mar 31, 2024 - Apr 13, 2024
$2680 $2605 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $75 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Jul 28, 2024 - Aug 10, 2024
$2750 $2673 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $77 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Oct 13, 2024 - Oct 26, 2024
$2550 $2479 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $71 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Oct 27, 2024 - Nov 09, 2024
$2550 $2479 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $71 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Nov 10, 2024 - Nov 23, 2024
$2680 $2605 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $75 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Saturday

Nov 24, 2024 - Dec 07, 2024
$2680 $2605 (USD)

WINTER SALE @ Tourhub Discount: $75 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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