Welcome to 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... Read More

Top experiences in Polonnaruwa

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Travel guides

Starting at $24.99

Image for

Polonnaruwa activities

$568 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.

$400 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.

$31.25 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day Trip to Twin Kingdoms from Kandy

You will be starting the tour from your hotel at 6:00am. You will be travelling for 2.5 hours to get to Panduwasnuwara. If you bring a packed breakfast, you can use the time to have it since you won’t be stopping for a break before lunch. You will get to Panduwasnuwara at 8:30am. The kingdom of Panduwasnuwara flourished between 504 BC and 474 BC. Believed to be established by the King Panduvasudev, the city was abandoned till the 12th century, when it became known as Parakamapura. The ruins that stand today are mainly from that era. Some of the notable sights you will get to see are the ruins of the magnificent royal palace, the remains of the 297 feet wide tower with its extremely thick walls which have many legends surrounding them, the recently restored former temple of the tooth relic and Panda Wewa which is believed to be one of the very first irrigation systems built in the world. You will travel to Yapahuwa at 10:00am and get there by 11:30 am. You will spend two hours viewing the 13th century rock fortress of Yapahuwa. The fortress played the part of being the last stand of King Bhuvenakabahu, when the Dravidians invaded from India. He attempted to save the Holy Tooth Relic of Buddha there, but the move failed to protect it as it was stolen by the Pandyans immediately following his death. The tooth relic was recovered the year after, but was placed in Polonnaruwa instead. The fortress as you see it now is a beautiful work of art with neatly carved grand staircases, interesting sculptures and pillars. After the fall of the kingdom the fortress was used as a monastery by Buddhist monks. The remains of the stupa that they used can still be seen on the summit of the rock. The stupa contains paintings and Buddha statues from the Kandyan era. At 1:30pm you will finish your visit of the fortress and go for lunch at a place of your choice. You can spend approximately an hour and a half enjoying your meal before you return back to Kandy. You will visit the Elephant Rock, ‘Ethagala’, en route. The rock which has a rough shape of an elephant, has some fantastic views from the top, as well as a newly created giant Buddha statue. You will get back to your hotel in Kandy by 6:30pm, completing your tour.

$138.75 Transfers & Ground Transport

Private Departure Transfer: Polonnaruwa to Colombo Bandaranayake International Airport CMB BIA

Once you have completed your holiday in Sri Lanka and are ready to head back home, your friendly driver will meet you at your hotel in Polonnaruwa and drive you directly to the Bandaranayake International Airport. Whether you’re traveling individually, with a partner or in a group, your ground transport needs will be covered by this private transfer service. Avoid the confusion of taxis or public transport and enjoy a hassle-free ride. Airport departure transfers have never been this easy! Travel in style and comfort with unparalleled safety in your luxurious vehicle and get to your flight in good time and great order. Your English-speaking chauffeur is always at your service!

$49 Outdoor Activities

Private Jeep Safari Tour: Elephant Gathering Safari in Minneriya Park

Meet your driver/guide at your Polonnaruwa or Habarana hotel at 5:30am or 2:30pm 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.

$59 Cultural & Theme Tours

Private Half Day Tour: Polonnaruwa Gal Vihara and Ruins City

Your 3.5 hour private tour starts with a pickup from your hotel in Polonnaruwa (please check departure details for more information on pickup locations). You have a choice of a morning 8:30am or afternoon 2:30pm departure for this tour. Your guide will take you to see some of the monuments that are the finest examples of Ancient Polonnaruwa Kingdom architecture. Some of the key attractions can include: Gal ViharaNissanka Latha MandapayaThe Sathmahal PrasadaThiwanka Pilima GeyaPabalu VeheraKiri VeheraDemala Maha SeyaLotus Bath PondParakrama LakeKing Parakrama StatueGreat Lion StatueBonus Visit - Wood carving factory At the end of your tour, you will be dropped off to your hotel in the Polonnaruwa city area.