Itinerary

(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner)

Day 1: Arrival - Negombo

A driver will meet on arrival at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport Airport (Code: CMB) and transferred to our beachside hotel in nearby Negombo, where you will meet your tour leader. Your day is free to relax and rest after a long flight. The group will meet early this evening for drinks, a briefing, and our first dinner together.

Cycling: 0KMS.

Meals: D

 

Day 2: Negombo to Yapahuwa

 We leave Negombo with a ride of 110kms ahead of us. Once away from the town, our ride is on quiet byways where we are introduced to a rural land of terracotta-roofed cottages amidst verdant rice fields and palm trees. During this first day on the bikes, we will quickly learn what friendly people Sri Lankan's are. 

Not long before reaching our poolside resort, we will have the opportunity to climb the 100-metre high granite rock, atop which sits the 750-year-old Yapahuwa Fortress, boasting stunning views across the plains below. 

NB: The first 15kms is busy traffic-wise, and although some will be more than happy to ride, there is the option to keep the kilometres down by riding in our support vehicle until the first break. 

Cycling: 110KMS or 95KMS

Meals: BLDS

 

Day 3: Yapahhuwa to Anuradhapura

A beautiful day's cycling awaits as we set out today. The route is an even mix of sealed byways and gravel lanes. 

Again the roads are flat as we ride through a scene of tropical vegetation and rice fields. Our journey passes numerous lakes, and we can expect to encounter wild peacocks, mongooses, monitor lizards, and even wild elephants. 

Our destination is one of Sri Lanka's ancient capitals, Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage site where ancient Buddhist architecture is abundant. For those wishing to explore a little of the surroundings, we can arrange a short tour with a local guide after settling into our resort. Those more interested in relaxing after a day on the bikes can enjoy a swim and a beer by the hotel's pool. 

Cycling: 80KMS

Meals: BLDS

 

Day 4. Anuradhapura to Sigiriya

Today's ride, 80% of which is on sealed roads leads us to Sigiriya rock, a jewel in the crown of Sri Lanka's undoubtedly impressive ancient heritage. Here, perched atop a 200-meter high rock looking out far across the island are the magnificent archaeological remains of an ancient city. 

Our ride to reach this site is once again rural, through a landscape varying in colours from vivid green rice fields to terracotta roofs to the dry beige of sun-dried savannah. Once we have settled into our hotel, we can drive to the rock and climb to the ancient city above.

Distance: 75KMS

Transfer: 0KMS

Meals: B.L.D

 

Day 5. Sigiriya to Kandy

Leaving Sigiriya, we ride on quiet rural byways through a lush landscape that includes the slightly surreal Kandamala Lake, from where long-dead trees reach skyward. Following lunch, the road toward's Sri Lanka's second city becomes busier, making this the ideal time to utilise our support vehicle and transfer to our town centre hotel. This afternoon, we can walk along the lakeside, wander around the old buildings and small streets, and, visit the Tooth Temple, before a drink on the town centre pub balcony overlooking the hectic street below. 

Distance: 50-60KMS 

Transfer: 60-90mins

Meals: B.L.D

 

DAY 6: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

Tracing a route past the train station, botanical garden and university we are soon out of Kandy and on the open road. An undulating ride through small rural communities brings us to the real focal point of the day, an excellent winding climb on back roads that lead us up into the highlands of the tea country. Here friendly workers picking the tips from fragrant tea bushes wave at the rare sight of passing foreign cyclists as we ride through Tamil villages and past characterful colonial-era tea factories. As challenging as it is beautiful, this 2300 meter climb culminates in the temperate climate of the lost in time town of Nuwara Eliya.

NB: For those less keen on cycling long climbs, we offer the alternative of a scenic mountain train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya.

Cycling: 95KMS or 0KMS

Meals: BLDS

 

DAY 7: Nuwara Eliya to Ella

Charming back lanes lead us around Nuwara Eliya and behind the boating lake to one of the great descents of the tour. Twenty-two kilometres of smooth asphalt downhill provides a beautiful ride as we sweep through endless curves losing a thousand vertical meters in altitude with a backdrop of stunning views.

The following twenty kilometres involve two eight-kilometre climbs on gentle gradients, before another eight-kilometre descent and a final short ascent to the lovely little town of Ella. 

Cycling: 60KMS

Meals: BLD

 

Day 8. Ella. Rest Day

Set in a beautiful mountain landscape amongst tea plantations, Ella is a lovely spot for a day off the bikes. Here we have options to wander through the tea plantations, trek to Little Adam's Peak, and visit a tea factory.

Alternatively, stay in town, visit the lost in time railway station, take a dip in resort's pool, and enjoy a relaxing lunch with friends in one of the town's restaurants or cafès.

Distance: 0KMS 

Transfer: 0KMS

Meals: B.L.D

 

Day 9: Ella to Udawalawe

Another dramatic 25 kilometre downhill starts our day as we descend from the cool of the high country to the hot, dry plains on a well surfaced winding road. Upon reaching the low-country, a wider undulating road allows those keen to stretch their cycling legs to power on for a while before reaching the second half of today's ride with a meander through the savannah of the low country. 

At around the halfway point, our route becomes more rural as we turn west on smaller rural roads and tracks, and here the tour splits. Those wishing to cycle on can do so with the tour-leader, while those interested in a jeep safari can now use the support vehicle and transfer to our resort at Udawalawa National Park. This 30,000-hectare park is an important habitat for birds and elephants, as well as jackals, leopards, wild boar, and monkeys, to name but a few. 

The safari lasts around 3 hours and is an optional extra.

Cycling: 110KMS or 60KMS

Meals: BLD

 

DAY 10: Udawalawe to Mirrisa

The theme for our final full day on the bikes is rural and begins in fine style with an early start following rivers, canals, and lakes along quiet sealed roads and gravel canal paths. Leaving these trails behind at the first small town we settle into a series of undulating rural byways laced together with some busier wider roads. Today gives us a deep insight into the rustic living of Southern Sri Lanka as we head through pastoral scenes towards our destination amongst the beachside hotspots of the south coast.

Cycling: 100KMS.

Meals: BLD

 

DAY 11: Mirrisa to Galle Fort

Those interested and happy with an early start can today leave the hotel at 05:30 for an optional whale watching excursion

Back at the hotel and following breakfast, ahead lays a fitting finale to our exploration of Sri Lanka. From Mirrisa to Galle is a lovely half-day ride passing villages, paddy fields and lakes, with the familiar and ever-present smiles and greetings of the locals all around. Our destination is one of Sri Lanka's most beautiful jewels, the wonderfully preserved ancient port town of Galle, the little streets of which are a delight to explore on foot.

Distance: 50KMS 

Transfer: 0KMS

Meals: B.L.D

 

Day 12: Transfer to Negombo

This morning we transfer by minibus back to our joining hotel in Negombo. The afternoon will be free to pack for your journey home, wander along the beach, or relax with your fellow cyclists and reminisce about a wonderful cycling adventure through a most exotic land.

Cycling: 0KMS.

Meals: B

 

Day 13: Finish

The tour officially ends this morning. For those heading home, we provide transport to Colombo Airport.

Cycling: 0KMS.

Meals B


© Painted Roads 2021. All rights reserved.