Sri Lanka on a Shoestring

2-Week Sri Lanka Highlights Holiday Itinerary on a budget - Culture, Wildlife & Beach

Prices from £1,055 pp

red plane icon All prices exclude international flights at the start/end of your trip. Let us book flights for you. 

View day-by-day

Duration14 days / 13 nights (flexible)


ItineraryColombo - Negombo - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Kandy - Ella - Yala - Unawatuna - Colombo

Call us 01273 322398


Ever wanted to explore ancient shrines, spot wildlife on the vast plains and unwind on sun-kissed southern shores of Sri Lanka without breaking the bank? We might have just the solution up our sleeves! Giving you the comfort of all the arrangements being taken care of as well as the freedom to explore the country just as you want, this new itinerary combines all the perks of both independent travelling and pre-arranged itinerary. We will take care of all your accommodation and transfers (and occasional activities), but you will have to find your own way around the sites and get to the National Parks on time independently. We’ve made sure that everything is within easy reach to make your journey hassle-free. Sounds like your cup of tea? Then read on!


Please note, this itinerary is set and can only be done in this order, but if you’d like to stay longer in any of the locations within your trip, we can easily arrange that – just let your Travel Specialist know!

What's included

  • Private transfers
  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast
  • Excursions as described (excluding entrance fees)

Our ready-made itineraries 1. Add your favourite itinerary to your travel plan  2. Send it our way 3.Our travel specialists will get planning and send you a quote

Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Amble along Negombo's Canals

Today you’ll arrive in Negombo, a modest beach town on the palm-fringed west coast, not far from Colombo. During your time in Negombo, you’ll stay in an inviting guesthouse with a swimming pool and gardens. Your time today is free for you to do as you please; why not relax by the pool with a good book or take a stroll along the beach. The following day, you will make your way to the lagoon for a boat trip down the canals. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the fascinating colonial history, wander through the vibrant bazaar and watch the fishermen bring in their morning catch at the market.

river with boats on side and palm trees

Lion Rock and Temples in Buddha's Garden

From crumbling ruins to majestic elephants, this trip will take you on a discovery of Sri Lanka’s fascinating Cultural Triangle. Your journey will begin with an overnight stay in Sigiriya, allowing you enough time to climb Sigiriya’s mighty rock fortress. Next day you will arrive at Sri Lanka’s ancient capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Polonnaruwa, where you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time as you wander, and take a tour by bike, around the ancient stone city. The city is well known for its great food scene and is packed with food stalls and small local eateries serving up local delicacies. You’ll spend 2 nights at a countryside lodge near Polonnaruwa, where you can relax and take in the beauty of the area.

Girl standing in front of Sigiriya Rock

Kandy's Cultural Treasures

Positioned right in the heart of central Sri Lanka and nestled in the lush green ‘hill-country’, you’ll find the historical city of Kandy. There is so much to discover here, from the Temple of the Tooth to traditional dance shows, colourful markets and the vast Botanical Gardens. You’ll stay in family-run accommodation with a pool, decorated traditional style and boasting a view of the tropical gardens. During your time here you’ll witness a traditional Pooja ceremony and have plenty of time to explore Kandy at your own pace.

Man and child looking at lights

Explore the Emerald Valleys of Ella

Ella is a peaceful village nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill-country, with fresh air, some lovely places to eat and a welcoming atmosphere. You’ll travel here through the lush countryside, before settling into your cosy hotel for the next couple of nights. All around Ella you’ll find tea plantations, temples, waterfalls and green hills. At Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock there are some truly spectacular viewpoints too. You can pack a day-bag and explore this wonderful part of Sri Lanka to your heart’s content, or just find a comfy chair and take it all in with a nice cup of tea.


The Wild Heart of Yala National Park

Yala National Park is one of the most famous National Parks in Sri Lanka. During this trip, you’ll make your way to the park’s gates and head out on a jeep safari where you can spot a kaleidoscope of colourful birds, monkeys, crocodiles, buffaloes and of course, elephants. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot a leopard sneaking past, so make sure you have your camera ready! The safari will be pre-booked for you, so all you need to do is show up on time and pay the parks entrance fees. After an exciting day of wildlife spotting, you’ll head back to your simple lodge in Tissa, a small town near to the park and drift to asleep to the sounds of nature.

leopard in the wild on the island of sri lanka

Turquoise Bay at Unawatuna

Enjoy a tropical beach break at the bay of Unawatuna for a dose of sunshine, sea and sand. Soak up the rays, sample freshly caught fish and perfect your downward facing dog with a little yoga. You’ll stay in your own characterful room just a few minutes walk from Unawatuna’s tropical bay.

Turquoise Bay at Unawatuna

Just One More Colombo!

it’s time to journey back to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s colourful capital. During this trip, you’ll enjoy a traditional British high tea and spend the night in a modern hotel in a quieter part of Colombo, right by the seaside. The city itself probably won’t be the highlight of your holiday, but it’s an interesting and convenient way to end your Sri Lankan adventure if you’re flying early the following day.

colobo beach Photo by Nayan Badolla
David on a rickshaw

Speak to our Sri Lanka specialist, David

“There’s nowhere like Sri Lanka. Having travelled all over the country, it wasn’t long before I fell completely in love with its beaches, tea hills, wild rainforest and national parks. Oh, and did I mention the spicy curries? They knocked my socks off!”

More Sri Lanka itineraries

Recently Viewed