Welcome to Polonnaruwa


That Polonnaruwa is close to elephant-packed national parks only adds to its popularity. And with good accommodation and plenty of bikes for hire, the town itself makes a pleasant base for a day or two, fringed by a huge, beautiful tank with a relaxed ambience.

Nearby Kaduruwela, 4km east of Polonnaruwa, has the lion's share of banks, shops and other facilities.


Top experiences in Polonnaruwa

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Polonnaruwa activities

$420 Cultural & Theme Tours

4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Tour

Day 1 : Hotel / Sigiriya You will be picked up from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia and driven to Dambulla. Visit the Cave temple of Dambulla (UNESCO World Heritage). Spend overnight in Sigiriya. Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.Day 2: Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya In the morning, take a morning cycling tour at one of the best maintained ruins of ancient Ceylon - the UNESCO World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa where was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. In the afternoon, drive from your hotel to Sigiriya by TukTuk and Climb the Sigiriya rock fortress where you will visit rocky abode and water gardens (UNESCO World Heritage site & one of the Wonders of the World). Spend overnight in Sigiriya. Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.Day 3: Sigiriya / Dambulla / Kandyin the morning, trek through the archetypal Sri Lankan Typical village. The trek begins with an awesome walk along a Wewa or man-made reservoir. The reservoir, the surrounding scrub jungle, marshland and village are a hive of early morning or an evening activity. You will continue your tour with a bullock cart ride up to a village house where you can experience a Sri Lankan Lunch.After Lunch, we will drive to Kandy. En route visit a Spice garden in Matale. For centuries, spices have been one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated exports and are used for not only food but also medicines and cosmetics. In the afternoon, you will take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, market square, gem lapidary and more. Spend overnight in Kandy. Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis. Day 4 : Kandy / Your Hotel Today after breakfast, you will be taken back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia or Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

$49 Outdoor Activities

Minneriya National Park: Elephant Gathering Private Safari

Meet your driver/guide at your Polonnaruwa or Habarana hotel at 5:30am or 2:00pm for your 3-hour jeep safari tour of Minneriya National Park. Experience “The Gathering,” a name given to the elephants that assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir during the dry season. According to wildlife authorities, the Minneriya gathering is the largest grouping of wild Asian elephants at any given time. View the famous elephants as they graze on the grasses growing on the tank bed. Perhaps you’ll spot any of the park’s diverse wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, deer, wild buffalo, wild pigs, grey langers, purple-faced leaf monkeys, porcupines, and assorted birds. At the end of the safari, head back to Polonnaruwa or Habarana. Depending on the location of your hotel, choose to visit photo stop at sunset of the Minneriya Tank and the standing big Buddha at Giritale.  When your tour is complete, your vehicle will return you to your hotel.

$547 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Day Sri Lanka Cultural Tour: Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla including Jeep Safari at Minneriya National Park

Day 01: Colombo - Sigiriya (approx. 4.5 hrs) [D]Morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo or Bandaranaike International Airport by 9am and leave for Sigiriya. Upon arrival, check in at the hotel in Sigiriya and later spend the rest of the day at Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The 5th-century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site - Sigiriya -boasts of ancient Sri Lankan engineering and urban planning supremacy acclaiming to be one of the finest monuments of art and culture. Surrounded by ramparts and moats, the Lion Rock, resembling the mythological 'City of Gods', is coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in the Ajanta caves of India. Walk in the shade of an eminent 'mirror wall' embracing the Western face of Sigiriya representing an artistic hundred meters laminated with graffiti. Dinner and overnight stay at Fresco Water Villa.Day 02: Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Minneriya - Sigiriya [B, D]After breakfast transfer to Polonnaruwa (approximately 1.5 hrs.). Rising with the decline of Anuradhapura, the city of Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital and crown jewel of King Parakramabahu, remains superior proof of ancient culture and heritage blended with religious beliefs. Walk across its scattered walls of the World Heritage Site that is blessed by stupas resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures while observing the relic house Watadage that boasts of beautiful stone carvings. The Nissankamalla Council Chamber is, however, a head-spinning beauty to just sit back and observe with its swaying pillars reminding the aesthetics of a powerful kingdom which rests beside Parakrama Samudraya - sea of Parakramabahu & masterpiece of irrigation.Later transfer from Polonnaruwa to Minneriya and explore Minneriya National Park by a Jeep Safari (approx. 3 hrs). If you're up for a serious rumble in the jungle, Minneriya is your Colosseum! Spreading over 8800 hectares, this is a sanctuary for elephants. Minneriya is home to herds of deer and ample bird-life, but its spotlight remains between swaying trunks & flapping ears. In fact, depending on the season, this is the largest elephant gathering in the world - over 700 at a time - which has garnished the park to become a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts across the globe. Return to the hotel in Sigiriya. Dinner and overnight stay at Fresco Water Villa.Day 03: Sigiriya - Dambulla - Colombo [B]After breakfast proceed to Dambulla and visit the famous Dambulla Cave Temple (approx. 30 mins). As an icon in the face of Sri Lanka, Dambulla Rock Temple houses some of the most unique drawings in magnificently constructed 5 cave temples flanking the golden temple of Dambulla. Afterwards return to Colombo and transfer you to your hotel in Colombo or Bandaranaike International Airport.

$953 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Awesome 14-Day-round-the-Island-Tour

1st day - Pick up from airport or 8.30 from hotel, drive from Colombo/Negombo to Habarana, visit Dambulla cave temple, overnight stay in Habarana2nd day – Visit Sigiriya rock (UNESCO-protected site), after breakfast climb Sigiriya lion rock, in the evening climb and see sun set from Pidurangala rock, overnight stay in Habarana3rd day – Drive from Habarana to Polonnaruwa, sightseeing of the ancient city, in the evening visit Minneriya national park and enjoy wild-elephant- safari, overnight stay in Habarana4th day – Drive from Habarana to Anuradhapura, visit the sacred cities of Anuradhapura and Mihintale, overnight stay in Anuradhapura5th day – Drive from Anuradhapura to Trincomalee, overnight stay in Uppuveli beach front hotel for relaxing and enjoying beach side6th day – Early morning boat tour to Pidgeon Island and diving there, overnight stay in Uppuveli beach front hotel 7th day – Visit Trincomalee with Koneswaram temple, Fort Fredrick, Novel museum, Kanniya hot springs, overnight stay in Uppuveli beach front hotel8th day – Drive from Trincomalee to Kandy, route via Nalanda Gedige temple, visit spice garden in Matale, Aluvihare  rock temple and Matale Hindu temple, overnight stay in Kandy9th day – Visit Kandy, Tooth Relic temple and Royal Botanical garden in Peradeniya, evening walk around Kandy lake, overnight stay in Kandy10th day – Going from Kandy to Ella by train (6-hour-tour), enjoying view of hills and tea plantations, overnight stay in Ella11th day – Visit 9-Arch-Bridge and Ella Water falls, small hiking tour, overnight stay in Ella12th day – Drive from Ella to Yala, early morning leaving from Ella, visit Yala national park, overnight stay in Yala13th day – Drive from Yala to Galle, stop at most southern point Dowundara  with lighthouse, visit Galle Fort (UNESCO-protected site) and Dutch quarter, overnight stay at Unawatuna beach front hotel for relaxing and enjoying beach side 14th day – Drive from Galle/Unawatuna to Colombo airport, if schedule allows (depending on flight departure time) visit gem producer in Galle or Turtle hatchery in Kosgoda

$50 Tours & Sightseeing

Full Day Tour To Polonnaruwa Ancient City

We will pick you at your hotel (0730AM After breakfast) and proceed to the Ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious centre. The glories of that age can be found in the archaeological treasures that still give a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday. You'll find the archaeological park a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs and temples, statues and stupas – in a compact core. Witness the ancient Sri Lankan architecture such as the statue of King Parakramabahu, Potgul Vihara, Vatadage, Lankathilaka, Parakrama Samudra etc. You will be transferred to your hotel. Tour Highlights: Statue of King ParakramabahuPotgul ViharaVatadageLankathilakaParakrama Samudraya

$784.18 Cultural & Theme Tours

6-Day Sri Lanka Culture and Heritage Private Tour

ItineraryDay 1: ARRIVAL TO SIGIRIYA Stop At: Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sigiriya, Central ProvinceYou will be picked up from Bandaranaike International Colombo Airport and energetically welcomed by your own driver heading to Sigiriya (Approx. 4 hours drive). Duration: 1 dayNo meals included on this day.Accommodation included: Spend Overnight in Sigiriya. Accomodation is a three star hotel or similar grade on bed and breakfast premiseDay 2: SAFARI / POLONNARUWA / SIGIRIYA Stop At: Polonnaruwa Archaeological Ruins, Polonnaruwa, North Central ProvinceMorning : After Breakfast, proceed for safari (3hours) and Visit The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (UNESCO world heritage site) with approx. 2 hours drive Afternoon: Climb the famous Sigiriya rock fortress and visit rocky abode and water gardens, an UNESCO world heritage and one of the Wonders of the World). End the day with an Ayurwedic massage in Sigiriya,Duration: 4 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Spend Overnight in Sigiriya. Accommodation is a three star hotel or similar grade on bed & breakfast basis.Day 3: SIGIRIYA / DAMBULLA / KANDY Stop At: Golden Temple of Dambulla, Dambulla, Central ProvinceMorning: After the breakfast visit Golden Temple of Dambulla and Dambulla Rock Temple which is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding and the paintings are done on the ceiling. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of god and goddess. Visit after Spice Garden in Matale on the way to KandyDuration: 2 daysStop At: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceVisit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which houses the Lord buddha's tooth relic. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. After watch a cultural show in the evening. (Kandyan dance)Duration: 1 hourMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Spend Overnight in Kandy. Accommodation is a three star hotel or similar grade on bed & breakfast basis. Day 4: KANDY/ NUWARA ELIYA Stop At: Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, Kandy District, Central ProvinceMorning: Visit Peradeniya Botanical Garden, a standout amongst the best boanical gardens in Asia.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Ramboda Waterfall, Pussellawa, Kandy District, Central ProvinceAfter botanical gardens visit, you will be headed to Nuwara Eliya. On the way visit Ramboda Waterfall, a tea estate and tea plantation where the best tea for the world is delivered. Duration: 2 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Spend Overnight in Nuwara Eliya. Accommodation is in a three star hotel or similar grade on bed & breakfast basis. Day 5: NUWARA ELIYA / COLOMBO Stop At: St Clair's Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Central ProvinceMorning: After Breakfast drive to Colombo or Negombo. En route visit Devon & St. Claire's waterfalls.Duration: 1 hourMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Stay in a three star hotel or similar grade on bed & breakfast basis, based on location you arrive.