North Central Province UNESCO sites

Our most recommended North Central Province UNESCO sites

Polonnaruwa: Ancient City Guided Cycling Tour

1. Polonnaruwa: Ancient City Guided Cycling Tour

8:00 You will be taken by TukTuk to tour the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa where you meet your cycling guide. 8:20 Arrive and do a cycling tour of one of the better kept ruins of ancient Ceylon - the UNESCO World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa, which was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Today you will be cycling about 10km on soft surfaces as you whizz between the ruins. The ancient heart of Sri Lanka 11:30 You will be taken back to your hotel.

From Negombo: Full-Day Unesco City of Anuradhapura Trip

2. From Negombo: Full-Day Unesco City of Anuradhapura Trip

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who want to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.  See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba and see the 2nd-century BC shrine, containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic. Explore the Abhayagiriya temple and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas.

From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

3. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

4. From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

Start your tour at 6:30 AM with pickup from your hotel in Kandy. The first stop on your itinerary will be the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. which you will reach at approximately 9:00 AM. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, where you will discover spellbinding vistas across mist-wrapped forests in the early morning. Climb a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top of the ruins. Pass a series of frescoes and a pair of colossal lion's paws carved into the bedrock. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens, and quiet shrines that surround the site. After visiting the fortress, proceed to a local village in Sigiriya to experience a village tour. Get a chance to go on an oxen cart ride, and experience the world from the view of a local farmer. Afterwards, take a relaxing catamaran safari through a calm lake. Stroll through the golden fields ripe with their harvest of paddy. Watch a traditional cooking demonstration, that teaches you the basics of Sri Lankan cuisine. Delight your taste buds with a home-cooked lunch; made over a wood-fire and served on fragrant lotus leaves placed over woven trays.  After experiencing the village life of Sri Lanka, travel onwards to Minneriya National Park to go on safari. See the famous Sri Lankan elephants, rare bird species, saltwater crocodiles, Indian pythons, and an abundance of flora and fauna. On completion of the jeep safari at approximately 6:00 PM and return to your hotel in Kandy, stopping along the way for dinner, at your own expense.

Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

5. Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

Discover the magnificent remains of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital city, and the striking rock fortress of Sigiriya on a guided tour from Colombo. Travel to the two UNESCO World Heritage sites directly from your hotel and break up the day with a tasty Sri Lankan lunch. Start your day early, when your guide will collect you from your hotel in Colombo or Negombo, and enjoy snacking on seasonal fruit as you drive out of the city. Your first stop will be the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka’s most important archeological sites and its second capital city. Wander between the ruins of the fabulous garden-city with your guide, and admire colossal works of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Hear how the city was, for two centuries, Sri Lanka’s thriving religious and commercial center. Stop for a fresh lunch before moving on to Sigiriya, an ancient fortress built on a gigantic column of rock. Sigiriya is believed to have been inhabited by Buddhist monks as far back as the 3rd century BC. It is home to colorful frescoes and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. To finish the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Colombo or Negombo.

From Negombo: Anuradhapura to Wilpattu National Park 2-Day

6. From Negombo: Anuradhapura to Wilpattu National Park 2-Day

Visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura, explore its ruins, and visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Stay overnight at a 3-star Hotel on a Bed and Breakfast basis. Then, discover the unique landscape of the Wilpattu National Park as you look out for its resident leopards and other wildlife on an adventurous game drive. After a pickup from your hotel in Negombo and a 4-hour transfer onboard a luxury vehicle, arrive in Anuradhapura. Visit the oldest historically documented tree on earth, The Sacred Bo tree over 2000 years old, grown from a branch of the very tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Admire the relic chambers like Ruwanveliseya, Abhayagiriya, and Jetavanaramaya. Visit the remains of the Brazen Palace, The Twin Ponds, and the Samadhi Buddha. See the Isurumuniya temple, The Moonstone, The Guard stones, or Thuparama and Lankaramaya Dagobas. The following morning, drive to Wilpattu National Park for a thrilling Game drive. Uncover huge swathes of dense, dry country woodland. See a variety of birds, and with a bit of luck, an impressive array of wildlife including leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, wild pigs, and crocodiles. Conclude your trip with a transfer back to Negombo.

Sri Lanka's history, culture, wildlife, beach in 7-days tour

7. Sri Lanka's history, culture, wildlife, beach in 7-days tour

This 7-day Sri Lanka tour gives you a complete picture of the tropical island from historical temples, palaces, and other monuments in the north-central province to breathtaking scenery with waterfalls, mountains, and tea gardens in the hill country. The 7 days trip also gives you access to Yala national park, where you spot elusive leopards, bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, buffaloes, and many other creatures. The tour wind-up with an overnight stay on the west coast resort giving you time to relax. Day 1 Meet your driver and proceed to your hotel in Dambulla. You will be visiting a 1st century BC ancient temple today, Dambulla golden temple, and witness more than a hundred ancient buddha statues and paintings. Later Check-in at the hotel and leisure. Overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 2 After a leisurely breakfast, climb the Sigiriya rock fortress and see the site of the palace of King Kassapa, who lived in the palace in the 5th century AD. Today you can see his swimming pool, granite throne, and other ancient constructions. Later proceed to the historical city of Polonnaruwa and take the Polonnaruwa city tour. 3 hours city tour gives you an opportunity to witness temples, Buddha statues, gardens, the king's place, and many other important monuments. Overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 3 After a leisurely breakfast, proceed to the hotel in Kandy. En route, visit a spice garden. In the afternoon Kandy city and a walking tour and visit the temple of the tooth relic, Peradeniya botanical garden, and witness the Kandyan cultural show. Overnight stay in Kandy. Day 4 After an early morning breakfast, head to Kandy railway station and board the train to Nuwara Eliya. The hill country train journey lasts about 4 hours and is one of the most scenic train trips in the world. Immerse yourself in the captivating mountain scenery along the way. Later visit tea plantations and tea factory and the Nuwara Eliya city tour follows. Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. Day 5 After breakfast, head to the south coast wildlife park, Yala national park, en-route stop at Ravana waterfalls and Sita Amman temple. In the afternoon Yala national park safari. Yala national park is the most popular wildlife park in Sri Lanka for wildlife tours and visitors can witness a large number of wild animals during the safari such as leopards, elephants, crocodiles, sloth bears, wild buffaloes, etc. Overnight stay in Yala. Day 6 After a leisurely breakfast, leave for the hotel in Bentota. en-route walking tour of it Galle Fort, and a boat safari of the mangrove lagoon in Bentota ( Madu River estuary). Overnight stay in Kalutara/Bentota. Day 7 After a leisurely breakfast leave for Colombo. Your driver will drop you off at your hotel or the airport after your Colombo sightseeing tour. Your Colombo sightseeing tour includes Gangarama temple, Simamalaka, Viharamahadevi park, Cinnamon garden, Independence memorial hall, Galle face green, and town hall.

From Dambulla: Sacred City of Anuradhapura Private Day Tour

8. From Dambulla: Sacred City of Anuradhapura Private Day Tour

Your tour begins at 8:00AM from your hotel in Dambulla, from where you will be taken to explore the most cultural sites in Anuradhapura. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel. Anuradhapura was first settled by Anuradha, a follower of Prince Vijaya and the founder of the Sinhala Race. It was later made the capital by King Pandukabhaya in about 380 B.C. Whilst there you will visit important landmarks such as Jetavanarama, which was one of the tallest buildings of the ancient world. You will also discover the Sri Maha Bodhi, as well as the ruins of the huge Abhayagiri Monastery. At approximately 12:00PM, you will enjoy lunch at a place of your choice (at your own expense), after which you will take a 30-minute drive to Mihintale, one of the most significant sites in the cultural triangle. Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, and is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa. You will eventually finish your tour at 3:00PM, at which point you will return to your hotel in Dambulla where you will arrive by 4:30PM.

Day Trip to UNESCO City Anuradhapura From Colombo

9. Day Trip to UNESCO City Anuradhapura From Colombo

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who love to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka. See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba. See the 2nd-century shrine containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic, the Abhayagiriya temple, and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas. 

Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

10. Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

Day 1 Explore the important historical monuments in Sri Lanka on this 3 days tour while visiting ancient Buddhist temples, museums, palaces, gardens, Buddha statues, and many more. Embark on an exciting and very rare 3-day cultural tour of Sri Lanka's holiest, the Cultural Triangle. Explore 5 UNESCO-listed sites where important historical monuments are to be found. Visit cultural triangle cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sigiriya between private-guided sightseeing ventures. Get picked up in Colombo and head to your hotel in Sigiriya via Anuradhapura, the oldest city in Sri Lanka. The first activity of the 3 days tour is the hop-on hop-off city tour of the historical city of Anuradhapura. The tour covers a large number of historical places such as Buddhist temples, dagobas, palaces, gardens, and other remarkable structures in the city testify to the grandeur of ancient civilization. The city tour also includes the most sacred 8 Buddhist sites in the city, better known as "Atamasthana", Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa, and Lankarama. Later in the day settle in for a good night's sleep at your hotel in Sigiriya. Day 2 After breakfast leave for the Sigiriya rock fortress, home to one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Your Sigiriya tour starts early morning, allowing you to escape the mid-day heat. Climb the rock and reach the summit to see the site of the King's palace, swimming pool, and king's throne. Soak up in the breathtaking scenery from the top of the pinnacle. Later drive to Polonnaruwa and see the dozens of ancient temples, Buddha statues, and many ancient structures built by ancient Kings. Witness massive stone-cut Buddha statues, dagobas, an audience hall, and much more at the cultural museum of Polonnaruwa. Later in the day Minneriya safari on an open jeep. Enhance your experience with a wildlife safari at Minneriya National Park. Spot wild elephants, bears, wild boar, deer, buffalo, monkeys, and maybe even a leopard. Stay overnight in Sigiriya. Day 3 Depart early for Colombo via Kandy, visiting a spice/herbal garden en route. In Matale, spices and herbs are used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medicine. Hear about this history as you explore the site with your guide. Later visit Dambulla Golden Temple and Tooth Relic Temple are sure to add another level of sacrosanctity to your experience. Dambulla hosts more than 150 Buddha statues and a large number of ancient murals. The next stop will be Kandy city. Today Kandy is one of Sri Lanka's most important cities because of the presence of the temple of the sacred tooth of the Buddha. This is the most visited Buddhist temple on the island, frequented by thousands of devotees every day. Return to your hotel in Colombo.

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What people are saying about North Central Province

Lalli (German speaking guide) and Jayasuriya (driver) did a super job. We got to see many places and were able to experience Sri Lankan culture. It was fun, thanks for that.

great day, had a very knowledgable driver, great food and learned a lot about the people and the country.