Sri Lanka’s Northern Heritage
Discover Sri Lanka’s Northern Heritage with Walk Lanka Holidays, where ancient history and vibrant culture blend amidst breathtaking landscapes. Explore Jaffna’s majestic Nallur Kandaswamy temple, witness the resilient spirit in the resilient streets of war-torn regions, and stroll along the untouched, serene beaches of Mannar. Our tours offer a deep dive into the resilient Tamil culture, rich history, and the untouched natural beauty of Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula. Experience the untouched allure of the north, from the iconic Jaffna library to the mysterious ruins of Mannar, with our expert guides leading the way. Embrace the warmth of local hospitality and uncover a region reborn, rich in traditions and stories waiting to be told. Journey with us to unveil the hidden treasures of Sri Lanka’s Northern Heritage.
14 Days /13 Night
From your pick up at the airport transfer straight to Kalpitiya on the north-west coast (approximately three hours away) for the first three nights of your holiday. Kalpitiya offers beaches untouched by mass tourism, picturesque lagoons and a wide range of water-sports including kite-surfing and windsurfing. The waters around Kalpitiya are home to dolphins, whales, sting rays and marine turtles: go on a whale and dolphin watching expedition with strong ethical credentials or snorkel around the coral reefs and spot plenty of colourful tropical fish. Relax on the quiet beaches and enjoy some spectacular sunsets.
Spend today in Wilpattu National Park. Wilpattu is one of Sri Lanka’s largest and oldest wildlife parks – as well as the most beautiful - and has a wide range of habitats, from the coastal belt and lakes to open grassy plains and thick forest. Spot leopards, water buffalo, crocodiles or kingfishers. As Wilpattu is positioned away from the common tourist trails, an entire day of safari can pass in splendid isolation.
Travel to the Cultural Triangle where you can visit the famous ruins of Anuradhapura – Sri Lanka’s first capital, and the greatest monastic city of the ancient world, ruled from the 4C BC to the 11C by more than 100 Sri Lankan kings.
Just 13km away from Anuradhapura is Mihintale, one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites where Buddhism originated on the island in 247 BC. This is a great morning activity en route to your end point, Mannar Island, a lightly-visited spot and one of the great gathering spots for migratory birds in Sri Lanka. This is the closest point in Sri Lanka to India where the countries were once connected centuries ago by a series of small sandy islands known as Adam’s Bridge. Also take time to visit the ruins of Mannar Fort which was built by the Portuguese in 1560 and which can be eerily quiet in the late afternoon sunshine.
Transfer to Jaffna and the northern tip of Sri Lanka. Explore Jaffna town where sacred Hindu kovils dedicated to various gods are found on every street corner. Visit the ruins of Jaffna Fort and explore the heritage sites such as the ancient Naguleswaram Kovil, hot springs of Keerimalai and the ruins of Kantharodai Buddhist temple. To the west there is the Casuarina Beach, Fort Hammenhiel and birdwatching on the Jaffna to Karainagar causeway. During the migrant birding season from September to March, water birds in their thousands line the Jaffna lagoon: a spectacular site not to be missed.
The more adventurous might wish to make full use of a stay in Jaffna by spending a day out in Delft Island, a remote and charming island where wild horses graze the barren plains. Otherwise, visit the nearer island of Nainativu, home to the historic Nagadeepa Buddhist temple and the Naga Pooshani Ambal kovil.
One of the oldest cities in Asia, Trincomalee has historically been an important trading port due to its large natural harbour. The British once called it "the most valuable colonial possession on the globe". A few miles to the north are the glorious sands of Nilaveli, where the weather is at its most glorious for sun worshippers from June to September. This is Sri Lanka’s equivalent to the Maldives: never-ending white sandy beaches and shimmering blue seas.
Wind your way south west as you make a quick return to the Cultural Triangle. Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, built in the 5C by King Kasyapa. The ruins of the fortress, the wall frescoes, and the symmetrical royal gardens surrounding the rock are amazing feats of this period. Visit Dambulla’s ancient cave temple. Its rock ceiling is one large sweep of colourful frescoes, some of which date back more than 2,000 years, depicting Buddhist mythology and the tales of the Buddha's previous births. This cave temple has the largest number of Buddha statues housed in one place.
Journey close to Colombo’s international airport for your final night’s stay.