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  • Sri Lanka
  • Grand Tour of Sri Lanka

Grand Tour of Sri Lanka

17 Day Escorted Tour

Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean
Challenging Pace

Journey to the heart of this captivating island, boasting an incredible variety of highlights from undiscovered pristine beaches in the East, to ancient civilisations and sacred pilgrimage sites in the Cultural Triangle. Journey high up into the tea plantations of Sri Lanka's hill country and then down to Udawalawe and Yala to experience Sri Lanka's stunning wildlife, and discover the country's rich history in Colonial Galle and the capital, Colombo.

2021 Dossier

2022 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Tours of Colombo, Kandy & Galle
  • The beautiful beaches of Passikudah and Mirissa
  • Explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress & Dambulla Rock Temple
  • Visit the ancient capital, Anuradhapura
  • Discover the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya
  • Safari through Udawalawe and Yala Parks
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Colombo

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Colombo.

Day 2


On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Colombo for a welcome dinner.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, is a bustling, cosmopolitan city whose colonial history is still very much evident along wide, shaded boulevards and among its Victorian churches and tumbledown cafes. An introductory half-day city tour visits the vibrant temples and bazaars of Pettah, selling seemingly everything from traditional jewellery to Ayurvedic medicines. A trip to the Old Dutch hospital is a highlight of the newly restored Fort complex, home to some of Colombo's chicest restaurants, cafes and shops. After lunch rest of day at leisure.

Day 4
Colombo to Anuradhapura

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today you will leave the capital and head north to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the spiritual heart of the Cultural Triangle. On route, visit the somnolent village of Mihintale and its nearby sacred mountain peak and temple complex. Ancient monastic dwellings and meditations spots are connected by beautiful old stone steps amongst rocky hills.

Day 5
Anuradhapura to Passikudah

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Anuradhapura's city ruins are one of South Asia's most evocative sites and contain a rich collection of crumbling temples, vast monasteries and elaborate palaces. Marvel at the sacred Bodhi tree, the oldest authenticated tree in the world. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before travelling east to Passikudah.

Day 6

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today has been left at leisure for you to relax and enjoy Passikudah's powder-white sands and emerald-blue waters on Sri Lanka's laid-back, less-visited east coast.

Day 7
Passikudah to Dambulla

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, embark on a journey to Sri Lanka's second ancient city. Scattered over gently undulating woodland, explore the monumental ruins of the ancient garden city of Polonnaruwa. Afterwards, continue on to the scenic town of Dambulla where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 8
Dambulla and Sigiriya

Breakfast & Dinner

Undoubtedly a highlight of the tour is today's excursion to the awe-inspiring Sigiriya rock fortress. The ancient city of Sigiriya is a World Heritage Site and the city ruins lie on the slopes and summit of the imposing granite peak, towering above the jungle below. Climb up steps carved into the rock face to see the fortified palace and brilliant frescoes or enjoy the spectacular views of ancient citadel and jungle from the lily-pad-covered moats that surround the rock. Return to your hotel for lunch and to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Please note: photography is prohibited in parts of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Prohibited areas will be clearly signposted.

Day 9
Dambulla to Kandy

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, visit the Dambulla Rock Temple, where the impressive caves contain over 2000 square metres of painted walls and ceilings which were once gilded by the ancient King to mark his place of worship. After some time to explore here, a stop will be made at a typical Sri Lankan spice garden to observe how a variety of spices are grown. You will arrive into Kandy this afternoon and head to the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The golden-roofed temple houses Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic - a tooth of Buddha; you will arrive in time for 'pooja' when the heavily guarded room housing the relic is open to both pilgrims and travellers alike.

Day 10

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Cradled amongst misty hills, the small city of Kandy exudes history, culture and beauty with its calm centrepiece lake surrounded by rolling forested landscapes and colourful houses. Explore the famous botanical gardens of Peradeniya, full of exotic palms, colourful orchids and home to over four thousand species of trees and plants. Then enjoy a tour of the city followed by a day at leisure.

Day 11
Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning you will journey to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as 'Little England' due to its plethora of colonial bungalows, well-tended hedgerows and pretty rose gardens. The picturesque mountain town is blessed with a salubrious climate and breathtaking views over the surrounding valleys, meadows and peaks. Sri Lanka is one of the world's largest exporters of tea and Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of this industry since the 19th century. En route to your hotel, you will make a stop at a tea plantation to observe the rich traditional process and inhale the heavenly scent of the prestigious Ceylon tea brand.

Day 12
Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A morning tour of Nuwara Eliya begins today, driving through the lush green tea plantations dotted with the colourful saris of the women working in them. Lunch will be served in a local village, Ella, with far-reaching views over the misty landscapes beyond before continuing to Udawalawe.

Day 13
Udawalawe to Tissamaharama

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Udawalawe national park is renowned for its elephant viewing opportunities against the stunning backdrop of the surrounding hills. Rising early this morning, embark on a jeep safari to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. As well as being home to over 250 elephants, deer, water buffalo, monkeys and a variety of bird species can also be found in the park. Just outside the park is the Elephant Transit Home, an inspirational project started to rehabilitate orphaned elephants. After this visit, depart for Tissamaharama to enjoy lunch and the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 14
Tissamaharama and Yala National Park

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After some free time this morning, a jeep safari in the nearby Yala national park awaits. Covering a vast 1200 square kilometres, Yala is Sri Lanka's largest national park boasting a uniquely stunning oceanfront setting. Journey through the heartland of wildlife, home to elephants, sloths, deer and, with the highest density of leopards in the world, you may even be lucky enough to spot one of these beautifully elusive animals.

Day 15
Tissamaharama to Mirissa

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Departing Tissamaharama, you will travel to the sleepy coastal resort of Mirissa. The idyllic crescent of beach, fringed with coconut palms is the perfect place to crack open a coconut and relax on the soft golden sands by the calm turquoise waters.

Day 16
Mirissa and Galle

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning will be at leisure for you to further relax or choose an optional whale watching excursion (only available Nov-Apr). The south coast of Sri Lanka is arguably the best place in the world to see planet earth's largest ever creatures, the Blue Whale. Alternatively, visit the nearby Hikkaduwa preschool to see a charity project funded and supported by Mercury Holidays. Late this morning you will travel to Galle, a fort area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This national treasure has been inhabited by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, all of whom left their distinctive marks visible in the walled Galle Fort and through the sleepy streets strewn with colonial buildings, restaurants and small boutique shops.

Day 17
Mirissa to UK


After breakfast transfer to Colombo airport for your flight back to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2023
from £2,529
4 Dates
4th Jan - 20th Jan
11th Jan - 27th Jan
18th Jan - 3rd Feb
25th Jan - 10th Feb
February 2023
from £2,499
3 Dates
1st Feb - 17th Feb
8th Feb - 24th Feb
15th Feb - 3rd Mar
March 2023
from £2,249
2 Dates
8th Mar - 24th Mar
15th Mar - 31st Mar
April 2023
from £2,199
2 Dates
19th Apr - 5th May
26th Apr - 12th May
May 2023
from £1,999
1 Date
24th May - 9th Jun
June 2023
from £2,099
2 Dates
7th Jun - 23rd Jun
21st Jun - 7th Jul
July 2023
from £2,999
1 Date
26th Jul - 11th Aug
August 2023
from £2,649
1 Date
9th Aug - 25th Aug
September 2023
from £2,299
3 Dates
6th Sep - 22nd Sep
13th Sep - 29th Sep
20th Sep - 6th Oct
October 2023
from £2,299
2 Dates
4th Oct - 20th Oct
18th Oct - 3rd Nov
November 2023
from £2,299
3 Dates
1st Nov - 17th Nov
8th Nov - 24th Nov
22nd Nov - 8th Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Ramada Colombo
2 nights
Colombo, Sri Lanka
More details
Hotel Palm Garden Village
1 nights
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
More details
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Tour Reviews

Kevin Morley

27 Mar 20

All hotels were 100% excellent, with the exception of The Palm Garden Village in Anuradhapura.

Christopher Dainty

26 Mar 20

Quality accommodation

Trevor Denison

14 Mar 20

All very good. With such a comprehensive Itinerary, all meals included, great value for money. Guide, hotels, meals, organisation all excellent.

Elizabeth Ward

11 Mar 20

We enjoyed every one of the hotels. They were different but all good quality.

Andy Heard

16 Feb 20

Great selection of a variety of hotels all providing excellent comfortable accommodation, great food and superb hospitality .

Wayne Sherratt

29 Nov 19

The hotels could not be faulted. Some were different but a pleasure to stay in them.

B Evans

08 Nov 19

Excellent holiday, special thanks to Kusum guide/ driver. Superb hotels and well organised.

David Alastair Fleming

26 Oct 19

Generally excellent, but some variability, especially with lunch stops.

Christine Moloney

26 Apr 19

Some of the hotel rooms & around the pools could have been a bit cleaner. The food & hotel staff were excellent. This was one of the best tour holidays we have taken. The size of the group was perfect as we were able to get on & off the coach quickly & was more friendly with a small number people. The food could not be faulted & the places we ate, other than the hotels, were such a good choice.

David Seares

21 Apr 19

All hotels were of a good standard

Michael Sabec

07 Apr 19

Very high standard of hotels throughout the tour. Meals in all the hotels were excellent with a very good choice of Sri Lankan or western food. The excellent and knowledgeable service provided by the tour guide, assisted by the coach driver and his assistant, made this a very memorable tour.

Matthew Forde

01 Apr 19

All the hotels were excellent, the rooms were terrific in all locations. Most of the service was of a high quality although there were occasional lapses due to lack of training. The buffets were generally well presented and fulsome. The tour was amazing value for money and the guide Lathif was exceptional and ensured the tour exceeded all our expectations.

James Neary

28 Mar 19

Most of the Hotels were very good. All reviewed on Trip Advisor individually

Stuart Wilkinson

18 Mar 19

All the hotels were of a very good standard with all staff being friendly and helpful. All the hotels varied in style which made the trip all the more enjoyable.

M Glover

15 Mar 19

Sudesh our tour guide was outstanding and after many tours around the world, he is probably the best guide we have ever met.

Denise Stendall

26 Feb 19

All hotels were good,they were all very helpful providing gluten free food for my husband and at every meal, Ernest, our guide, spoke to the chef on our behalf. The whole trip was well organised, the hotels were good, everything went beyond our expectations. Thank you for a wonderful holiday.

Richard Swaine

09 Feb 19

All the hotels selected were good and some of a very high class.

All the meals were beyond our expectations

Marion Slade

09 Feb 19

We were most impressed by the standard of hotels used throughout. All were well located, very clean and furnished and appointed to a high standard. We especially enjoyed the Calm Resort at Pasikudah and the Amaya Hills hotel.

Mike Hill

08 Dec 18

All hotels were good/excellent- generally buffet meals - occasional waiter service for a change would be appreciated. The guide is singled out for special mention for his attention to detail and planning efficiency it was reassuring to have a good safe driver.

M Braide

30 Oct 18

Highly organised with attention to detail and planning. The tour was very well planned with two stops at coastal resorts to ease the pace of the tour. The driver gave excellent service. The hotels generally very good standard.
A fantastic value for money tour, with one of the best tour managers that I have ever met. Highly recommended.

Katie Philpott

05 Oct 18

Most of the hotels were very good quality. I particulary liked the Hotel Palm Garden and The Calm Resort.

Katrina Matthews

19 Sep 18

Fantastic good quality 3 and 4 star hotels some with amazing views

Leonard Goodes

15 Sep 18

Hotels were of a high standard and represented good value for money.

Peter Williams

10 Jul 18

All hotels were excellent. Rooms and food brilliant! All staff very good and helpful.

Theresa Robinson

20 May 18

All hotels were excellent

Owen Woodward

17 Mar 18

Some hotels a bit dated but generally all good

Neil And Sharon Walker

28 Jul 17

Excellent accommodation and food. Far exceeded our expectations.

Jon & Anne Sass

28 Mar 17

The hotels were of exceptional high standard. All in fantastic locations, rooms excellent and food and service extremely good. Have no negatives at all, very good value.

Jennifer Hancock

07 Dec 16

The standard of the hotels we visited was good . We have no complaints about any hotel .

Mark Symes

06 Oct 16

Excellent tour with great guide and hotels.

Carol Bickerstaff

09 Jun 16

Newton the guide was very patient and informative and a wonderful host. The driver was fabulous and made us feel safe even when others were testing him with their bad driving. Chmi was a very pleasant young man and very helpful on the coach getting water with a smile.

John Coyne

09 Jun 16

Absolutely first class!! The guide was knowledgeable and a great travel companion. Excellent value given the quality of hotels and the small size of the group.

John Coyne

31 May 16

Absolutely first class!! Knowledgeable guides and fantastic tour companions. Exceptional value given the quality of hotels and small size of groups.

David Tyler

31 Mar 16

All Hotels were excellent with a good range of facilities. Buffet meals were also good with a wide selection.

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Extend Your Tour

Grand Tour of Sri Lanka with Sri Lanka Beach Stay

5 Day Extension



Grand Tour of Sri Lanka with Maldives Beach Stay

5 Day Extension



Grand Tour of Sri Lanka with Highlights of Kerala Extension

5 Day Extension



Grand Tour of Sri Lanka with Colombo City Stay

3 Day Extension



Important Information

A visa is required for entry into Sri Lanka. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is from £63. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are only valid for 3 months from the date of issue. Therefore, we recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time. Alternatively, you can visit The High Commission of Sri Lanka at 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London, W2 2LU. Please note: If you have chosen to add the 'Kerala Beach Stay' or 'Highlights of Kerala' extension to the end of your tour, you will need to obtain an Indian visa prior to your UK departure. The Travel Visa Company offers a service which takes can take up to 15 working days at busy times. The cost is approximately £134. Alternatively, you can apply for your own visa. You can apply in person or by post to the Indian Embassy in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7DU. There are also regional centres elsewhere in the UK. Full details on the process can be found on the Indian Embassy website www.in.vfsglobal.co.uk.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your flight is to Colombo Airport is with Sri Lankan Airlines (UL), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3. Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage and hand luggage that you are permitted to carry one item of hand baggage (max 5kg - 56x36x23cm) in addition to one small personal item on-board the aircraft. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure.

Airport Extras If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras - Tel. 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. Please note there are approximately 1,300 steps to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 30. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour with local guides throughout ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Rupee, LKR. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Sri Lanka. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in Sri Lanka should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are! Tipping is customary in Sri Lanka. Should you wish to tip, this will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. We would recommend approximately £3-5 per person, per day for the driver and guide and £4 per person, per day for the national guides. It is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency, please do not give coins as these are difficult to exchange.