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

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

$420 Cultural & Theme Tours

4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Tour

ItineraryDay 1: Colombo - SigiriyaStop At: Dambulla Cave Temple, Habarana, North Central ProvinceYou 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.Duration: 2 hoursNo meals included on this day.Accommodation included: Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.Day 2: Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - SigiriyaStop At: Polonnaruwa Archaeological Ruins, Polonnaruwa, North Central ProvinceIn 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.Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sigiriya, Central ProvinceIn 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).Duration: 3 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.Day 3: Sigiriya - Kandy Stop At: Hiriwadunna LakeIn 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.Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Royal Spice GardenAfter 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.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Temple of the Tooth, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceIn 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. Duration: 2 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • LunchAccommodation included: Accommodation is in a 3 star hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.Day 4: Kandy - ColomboPass By: Colombo Fort, Colombo, Western ProvinceToday after breakfast, you will be taken back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia or Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.Meals included: • BreakfastNo accommodation included on this day.

$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

$880 Cultural & Theme Tours

Round tour 10 days UNESCO heritages, local life & hill country with chauffeur

ItineraryDay 1: Pick up Proceed to EllaStop At: Ella Rock, Ella, Uva Provincein the morning meet our driver and start your tour from pick our location, proceed to Ella. it's 05 hours travel from Colombo to Ella and we recommend to leisure in hotel rest of the day. One of the most famous tourist destination at an elevation of 1,041 meters above. Stunning view of green mountains in and Ella rock, little’s adam’s peak are famous trek adventures. One of touristic and all year around busy little town. Duration: 2 daysPass By: Dilra ToursSri Lanka cultural tour plan and packages will provide you the best luxurious hotels to stay along with a round tour to different cultural, heritage destinations and beaches.No meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 2: Little adam's peakStop At: Little Adam's Peak, Ella, Uva ProvinceRecommend to start in the morning by 07.00 Am, from your hotel. walking thorough tea plantations, streams along foot path , The heavenly place view, overlooks a spectacular gap in the southern mountain wall where the lands falls away a scenic drop of 3,000 feet to the southern plains and sea. Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Demodara Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Uva ProvinceThis 30 meters height 9 Arch bridge in Demodara is an evidence of engineering skills in colonial era. After little adam’s peak you will proceed with our driver to the place where it start to 9 Arch bridge and pay for a tuk tuk ride to visit and return back also a walk through narrow road between local lands is an willing experience. Duration: 1 hourNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 3: Train ride from Ella to NanuoyaStop At: Ella Railway Station, Ella, Uva ProvinceTrain ride – a scenic breath taking views out of the window. Tea plantations and workers, paddy fields are farms also green mountains kissing the blue sky if you travel in early morning you can capture hills covered by mist. Our driver will drop you to train and he will meet you at your departure railway station Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya, Nuwara Eliya, Central ProvinceOur driver will pick you up from Nanuoya railway station and proceed to Nuwara Eliya, it’s 30 minutes drive to Nuwara Eliya town, The city “Little England” gives different feel from other part of the country. The remaining colonial architectures have earned the name “Little England”. (Sightseeing Golfing, Race course, Strawberry farm, Seetha temple, Ashoka vatika, Hakagala Botanical garden, Gregory's lake, Tea Factory and Plantation)Duration: 3 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 4: Horton plain - [Walk in Tea plantation] Ramboda - Village walk Stop At: Horton Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya, Central ProvinceEarly morning 05.00 Am before sunrise proceed to Horton’s plain. It is the headwater of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan Sambar Deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains, “ visit World's End and Baker's Falls” are key attractions in Horton plainDuration: 3 hoursStop At: Ramboda Waterfall, Pussellawa, Kandy District, Central ProvinceWalk in village like a Sri Lankan and experience the real Sri Lanka village life in this rural life & living style. Walk through paddy field explore how they do farming, how they use water from field to field, village houses and how they live in big garden. And suggest to experience the lunch in Village house with Sri Lanka cooking style. in the evening return back to hotel & leisure in hotelDuration: 4 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 5: Ramboda to Kandy > [Cooking program & dinner] city tour in KandyStop At: Kandy City Center, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceCultural City Kandy (Senkada gala Nuwara) & Temple of Tooth Relic Kandy mean “Kanda” (Mountain) in Sinhalese, it’s the city of last Sinhalese king and only the royal palace remain from history. The royal palace converted in to temple of tooth relic later and it’s the most sacred city and the place of the country. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. Art & Craft, Kandy lake & do not miss the most attractive evenint in the evening the cultural dancing show Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Kandy City Center, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceParticipate for a cooking class for Lunch or Dinner, proceed to local farm or market and buy goods to cook, study how to add various types of spices and they make delicious curries in kitchen Duration: 2 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 6: Kandy > Tuk tuk tour to 3 templesStop At: Temple of the Gadaladenia, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceIn the morning proceed a tuk tuk tour from Kandy to 03 temples, Best thing of this activity is you are exploring through local village through paddy fields and local living along the road you ahead. Embekke is famous for the intricately carved wooden pillars of its diffed or drum hall. Each pillar has a different pattern carved in to each of it’s’ four side. The Angam fighters, dancers, elephants, lions, peacocks and flowers are decorations of each wooden pillar.Paddy field extend and trough the entire area and a top a massive stone outcrop was the Lankathilake temple. This massive stone rock named “Panhalgala rock” from the history. According to copper plaque records this image house was constructed as four storied mansion but today only three stories can be seen. Wall and the paintings belongs to Kandyan era. In the 14th century Gadala deniya temple was constructed in the Dravidian architectural style incorporating Sinhalese Polonnaruwa era style and other indo Chinese architectural patterns. Gadala denihya is on of the best place to view the original stone carving design. Duration: 3 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 7: Kandy - Nalanda gedige - Dambulla - SigiriyaStop At: Nalanda Gedige, Matale, Central ProvinceIn the morning proceed to Sigiriya and visit Nalanda gedige en route. Nalanda Gedige is an ancient and mysterious edifice near Matale that has confounded researchers with its strange mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Dambulla Cave Temple, Habarana, North Central ProvinceVisit golden rock cave temple in DambullaDambulla a small town central location of cultural triangle. Dambulla cave temple known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a world Heritage Site in Sri Lanka It is the largest cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. 05 of Major caves are Painted with events of lord Buddha among caves surroundedDuration: 2 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 8: Sigiriya > Lion rock > Walk in Village > SigiriyaStop At: Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sigiriya, Central ProvinceUNESCO world heritage Sigiriya Lion Rock FortressEarly in the morning around 07.30 Am start from your hotel. Sigiriya rock was a royal citadel for nearly twenty years. This great exciting site is nearly one hectare in extent. The rock fortress in the shape of a lion is a masterpiece of architecture. Very famous throughout the world for the ruins of palace in top of the rock , frescoes on it, Advance water system and gardening. Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Habarana Lake, Habarana, North Central ProvinceIn the afternoon proceed to Hiriwadunna for village tour experience. (we recommend not to take bullock cart ride) start walking to village or cycling to village and meet the catamaran rider in lake and proceed to the next bank by catamaran to where the farm and local houses. Meet beautiful local ladies and join with them for coconut pealing, rice plow and cook local rice curry and rotti from grain and make the curry name call “coconut sambol” to eat with rice or rotti. There after visit the vegetable farm in their garden. After cooking even return back to started point by tuk tuk tour through village. Duration: 2 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 9: Sigirya > Polonnaruwa > Minneriya > SigiriyaStop At: Polonnaruwa Archaeological Ruins, Polonnaruwa, North Central ProvinceIn the morning proceed to Polonnaruwa a city of man made by ancestors. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's Kingdoms, declared the city by King Vijayabahu1. Ancient City of Polonnaruwa is has been declared a World Heritage Site.Galviharaya , Kirivehera, Medirigiriya, Nissanka Malla’s Palace, Parakramabahu’s Palace, Parakrama Samudraya, Pothgul Vehera, Rankot Vehera, Royal Palace Complex, Satmahal Prasada, Thuparamaya, Vatadage are the main attractions. Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Minneriya National Park, Habarana, North Central ProvinceMinneriya a small town is famous for Great Minneriya  man made lake,Minneriya National park which is a hot spot for safari lovers because of the large number of Elephants, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Birds Areas of Sri Lanka,Duration: 3 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 10: Sigiriya > Colombo (drop to trincomalee)Stop At: Colombo Fort, Colombo, Western ProvinceIn the morning start from Habarana to Colombo and drop to your hotel and finish the tour orWe can transfer you to Trincomalee, Colombo, Negombo, or South beach point as per your drop of location. Tour complete. Duration: 3 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.

$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.