4 red bikes in line - cycling tours in Sri Lanka

The Best Cycling Tours In Sri Lanka 2022 | A Full Round-Up List

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Sometimes, lazing around on the beach all day just isn’t enough for all you escapade junkies out there! Try these amazing cycling tours in Sri Lanka to get your adventure fix!

The Best Cycling Tour In Sri Lanka

Galle

This is the perfect cycling tour in Sri Lanka for familiies, or those who don’t want to rush and race around. You’ll go at your own pace through the attractive countryside, passing lagoons and mangroves.

You’ll visit a village to explore a Buddhist temple, and speak to the locals about the products that they catch, manufacture and sell.

At the end of the trip, you’ll be given a fresh king coconut to enjoy!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 2 – 3 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: 8+
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Sri Lanka’s landscape is beautiful everywhere you look. Driving through the hills, along the coastline and through the cities gives you just a glimpse of what the scenery has to offer. Cycling through, however, lets you get up close and personal with the natural and urban life, and it’s just a great way to explore.

Green tea plantations surrounding a red tuk tuk - cycling tours in Sri Lanka

I’ve listed over 20 cycling tours in Sri Lanka that take you on routes that you might not find yourself, or even with a driver. You’ll be one of the very few who gets to see the real Sri Lanka like this.

This article is divided into Sri Lanka bike tours that start in different parts of the country. Read a snippet of what to expect from each part of the country, and choose the best Sri Lanka cycling tours for you.

Types Of Cycling Tours in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan countryside shows a whole different side to the country. There is so much greenery everywhere, lots of small local villages and wildlife that you don’t have to pay for a safari to see!

There are a variety of tours that show you around on bikes in Sri Lanka. Here are a few examples:

  • Day
  • Night
  • City
  • Village
  • Multi-Day
  • Mountain Bike
  • Countryside
  • Hill
  • E-Bike
  • Food
  • History
  • Tea Plantation

Sometimes, different tour types are combined, so you might find a multi-day tour that takes you through both the city and countryside, with a stop in the tea plantations too. You’ll definitely find something that suits you on this list of Sri Lanka cycling tours!

What To Expect On Your Cycling Tours In Sri Lanka

Even if you’ve been on a cycling tour before, you’re an avid hobby cyclist or this is your first time on a cycling holiday, it’s important to be prepared and to know what to expect.

I read plenty of tour reviews that are complaining about things that the customer should have already known about, and this lack of research and prep hurts the companies as they have to accept a negative review.

Girl taking picture of bike in sunset

For example, if you’re going on one of the a half-day cycling tours in Sri Lanka that does not mention having breakfast provided, eat before you come because otherwise, you’ll probably be exercising on an empty stomach! It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared so that you won’t be disappointed, and the tour company won’t feel like they’ve let somebody down.

Here are the things that you can expect from most cycling tours in Sri Lanka. Not all of the tours will be able to provide all of these things, but this list is a good starting point for things to look out for:

Bikes

You can’t go on a bike tour without a bike! Some places across the world might expect you to bring your own bike if you’re doing a crazy month-long trip somewhere or you’re practising for an event. However, you will easily find that you’ll be able to get bikes in Sri Lanka – you don’t have to travel with your own!

Water

Most companies will provide you with a bottle of water, but I’d suggest also bringing your own because the heat in Sri Lanka will dehydrate you faster than ever when cycling. Try to bring a bag with decent side pockets as well so that you can take as many bottles as you can.

Some companies will even give you a cool fresh king coconut during your trip!

2 coconuts being held in front of palm trees

Helmets

This is a no-brainer. If you’re on a bicycle tour, then you must expect to be provided with a helmet. Some tours also offer safety glasses and reflective jackets for added safety.

Experienced Guide

You don’t want to be cycling through the wilderness with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing! The tour companies should provide someone who will give you a safety briefing and introduction to the tour when you arrive at the meeting place.

Back Up Vehicles

This isn’t something that will be offered on all of the cycling tours in Sri Lanka, but it’s an added extra that might help you choose one tour over the other. Everyone’s fitness levels are different, and the weather/humidity also affects everyone differently too. You might find that you thought you could cycle further than you actually could, or you’re finding it more difficult to make it up the hills.

On some tours that offer a vehicle, you can talk to your guide and they will phone for someone to come and pick you up, and take you to the destination. This is good for people who are a little worried about the distances the tour covers, but still want to get involved!

White bike with basket amongst flowers in city

Hotel Pick Up/Drop off

Again, this won’t be offered on every one of these cycling tours in Sri Lanka, but only the ones that need it. Sometimes the starting point of the cycling tour is quite remote, or difficult to get to, so the company will arrange for a tuk-tuk or a car to pick you up from your hotel or even the airport in some cases. Usually, you’ll go to an arranged place and meet your guide (and bike!) there, but sometimes it’s just easier for the company to get everyone together first and then start the tour.

Where To Take Cycling Tours In Sri Lanka

There are so many different places to start your Sri Lankan cycling tour, so I thought a map would be helpful to give you an idea of the general area that you’ll be in. The map below shows the town starting point of every cycling tour on this list, which will make it easy for you when booking and organising.

You can see that most of the cycling tours in Sri Lanka are based in the central or west of the country, as that’s where most of the tourists tend to visit.

Here is a quick guide to what to expect in the different parts of Sri Lanka!

North

The north of Sri Lanka is a relatively quiet place in terms of tourism. Since the end of the civil war though, more and more people are visiting this cultural gem. The area is full of national parks, remote islands and important temples. With more similarities to India than the southern parts of Sri Lanka, the northern region is a fascinating place to explore.

East

Many people head straight to the south coast for ocean activities, but the eastern beaches are some of the best in the country for things like surfing and whale watching! There are a few relatively unknown towns with a chilled-out vibe with great shopping and beautiful shores. The marine life is bustling at Pigeon Island, there are some impressive temples along the east coast and you’ve got easy access to the land national parks too.

Central

The centre of Sri Lanka is home to the gorgeous tea plantations, set in the rolling hills. Sunrise mountain hikes, tea estate tours and waterfall adventures are popular in this part of Sri Lanka. There is a huge British influence here, but the reestablishment and growth of the local culture are interesting to see.

South

Although the south coast is famous for its beaches, surfing and whales, there is also some incredible history to be discovered, especially towards the southwest where the cycling tours in this list are. Galle Fort sits majestically on the coast, where museums remind you of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, galleries show you the beauty of the country and restaurants feed you the local food. Yala is also a fantastic place to be if you’re also planning on a safari after your cycling tour. Leopard sightings are relatively common here!

West

There are some wonderful cities along the west coast of Sri Lanka. Colombo isn’t often somewhere that tourists explore a lot – usually, one day is enough – but if you want to know more about the largest city in the country, an insightful cycling tour is the best way to go. Negombo is the town closest to the international airport but it’s so much more than a stopover place! The west coast also has some beautiful and remote beaches to explore, both on land and underwater (in Hikkaduwa you can even snorkel with wild turtles!)

Read More: Spend An Incredible 10 Days In Sri Lanka

North Sri Lanka Cycling Tours

Anuradhapura

Mihintale Cycling Tour from Anuradhapura

With an early 7 am start, this tour begins in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. You’ll cycle around 16km to the mountain peak of Mihinthale, which is a famous pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka.

You’ll spend some time here, visiting the Mininthale Archeological Museum, the Kalu Diya Pokuna (Black Water Pond) and Stone Bridge.

After an interesting morning, cycle back to the starting point and finish up the tour!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 8 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Cycling in Anuradhapura City with Cooking Demonstration

For a little something extra, try this tour that also shows you how to cook some authentic Sri Lankan food! You’ll cycle around the ancient UNESCO World Heritage city, and explore the ruins. Take a look at the incredible Jetavanaramaya monument – it was built almost 2000 years ago! You’ll also pass by Tissawewa, which is a man-made reservoir also built in the third century.

Afterwards, you’ll have a live cooking demonstration where you can pick up some helpful tips!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 7 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Cycling in Anuradhapura Ruin City

For a more in-depth visit to the historical city of Anuradhapura, try this tour that stops at 13 different archaeological sites!

You’ll be taken around the city by a knowledgable guide and shown the hidden history. The whole route is about 25 – 30 km, but the terrain is flat. If you do need support, there will be a back-up vehicle ready to help you and take you onwards.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 4 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 5+
  • Extra Info: Need to confirm weight + height

Click here to check availability and prices


Jaffna

Cycling Tour in Jaffna

This jam-packed tour of the off-the-beaten-track city of Jaffna will leave you wowed by the northern region of Sri Lanka!

You’ll meet your guide outside a designated hotel, and start your Sri Lanka bike tour by visiting the 17th century fort. Next, you’ll visit Jaffna Library – it was infamously burnt down during the civil war in the 80s, but now it has been rebuilt and is reclaiming its title as one of the cities most popular attractions.

After visiting two lovely parks nestled within the city, you’ll be handed a fresh king coconut to rejuvenate!

During the tour, you’ll visit temples, churches and ancient monuments, brimming with history and even selling wine! Another fun stop is the most famous ice cream shop in Jaffna – locally made, creamy and absolutely delicious!

There will be time to stop and take photographs along the way, and there’s a dedicated viewpoint for this too at the end of the tour.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3 hrs 45
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for ice cream!

Click here to check availability and prices

East Sri Lanka Cycling Tours

Arugam Bay

Cycling Tour From Arugambay to Habarana (5 Days)

This is one of the epic multi-day cycling tours in Sri Lanka – and it’s an unforgettable experience!

With your accommodation included, and an experienced guide leading the way, all your group has to worry about is enjoying the moment and seeing the most incredible things on your journey!

You’ll meet your guide in Arugam Bay, and then start your trip by cycling to the beautiful Pasikudah reef for some incredible swimming.

The next stop is very different – Polonnaruwa is known for being a major ancient city in Sri Lanka, with important monuments and temples to discover.

Up next is a cycle to the pretty town of Trincomalee. Famous for its beaches and whale watching opportunities, it’s a lovely place to spend a day or two.

Your last cycle will take you inland to the last stop on the tour – Habarana.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 days
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Extra Info: Private tour

Click here to check availability and prices


Central Sri Lanka Cycling Tours

Ella

Ella Cycling Tour

This scenic cycling tour will take you through the mountains, stopping at famous landmarks like the Nine Arch Bridge and the Demodara Loop, as well as the tea plantations dotted around the province!

You’ll be provided with safety equipment, and a back up vehicle will be available if you need it, as this location is quite hilly.

Enjoy a tea or coffee on your break, and take in the breathtaking views of Ella.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices

Read More: The Best Things To Do In Ella


Cycling to Ellawala Waterfall

There’s is nothing like a great cycle on a hot day with a refreshing waterfall dip waiting for you at the end! On this tour, you’ll cycle downhill through the pretty landscape, and go past rivers, local villages and thick jungles.

Once you’ve reached the lowest part of your cycle, you’ll trek towards Ella Wala Falls and you’ll have the opportunity to bathe in the pool at the bottom.

Your friendly tour guide will reward you at the end with a cookie and a fresh king coconut too!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pickup Included: No (meet at your hotel)
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Swimwear

Click here to check availability and prices


Kalthota

Rural Outback Cycling Challenge

This 40km cycling challenge is a fantastic experience from start to finish. After a full safety briefing, you’ll start your ride, passing through beautiful local villages and forest reserves.

After a rest and some more cycling, you’ll park up your bikes to climb the sacred Kuragala Rock. Enjoy the views, and get ready to ride back down through the stunning Kalthota Pass to a gorgeous waterfall, Duwili Ella.

Make your way downhill through the Sri Lankan countryside, taking in the breathtaking landscape. you’ll end up near Udawalawe National Park, which is perfect if you want to join a safari tour next!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: 14+
  • Need To Take: Extra water

Click here to check availability and prices


Kandy

Tea Plantation Cycling Tour

This private tea plantation tour takes you from your hotel in Kandy all the way to the Ceylong Tea Factory. Lush tea fields surround you on your journey, and you’ll be given some refreshments on the way to keep your energy up.

Next, you’ll ride along a road that will slowly turn into gravel terrain. It’s an exciting trail that will give you the opportunity to acsend and descend a few times. You can then choose which path to take – back on the same road or on a more challenging route. Both trails will join up at the end where you’ll have another break.

If you need it, a back-up vehicle will be available to you!

After riding along the river, you’ll finish your tour and be taken back to your hotel.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 4 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Kandy Half Day Cycling Tour

A cycling tour is a great way to see a city. You can explore so much more than you would on foot, in less time too.

After an early morning pick up, you’ll ride to a few different places in Kandy. An example itinerary for this trip is visiting the peaceful Udawattakele Forest Reserve, the Garrison Cemetery (established in 1817 for British nationals) and the Gannoruwa Agro Farm, where you can learn plenty about organic agriculture.

On this tour, you’ll be given refreshments and there will be a back-up vehicle if you need it too.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices

Knuckles Mountain Range

You’ll be picked up nice and early in a safari jeep, and driven 25km from Kandy to your starting point. You’ll start on a nice and easy downhill ride, with a quick stop at a natural swimming pool before taking a rest to prepare for the rest of the journey.

The next 2.5km is quite a steep cycle, but you’ll get through it with the thought of a delicious prepared lunch for you when you reach the top!

After lunch, you’ll get onto a gravel trail and make your way to Corbett’s Gap, which is a stunning viewpoint in the mountains. You can enjoy a quick cup of tea here before getting back on the saddle and cycling downhill to finish off the trip, with the vehicle waiting at the bottom ready to transfer you back to your hotel.

This tour has a back up vehicle following the route, so you can stop and jump in if you need a rest at any point!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Polonnaruwa

Cycling Tour in Polonnaruwa Kingdom

Get the chance to explore the medieval and UNESCO World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa on this cycling tour. Visit an ancient monastery, temples and palaces, seeing some incredible architecture along the way.

It’s a full on day, but one that you remember forever, with so much of ancient Sri Lanka to learn about. All of the entry fees to the sites are included in the price, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra on the day.

You can arrange to be picked up from the airport in an air-conditioned vehicle, or anywhere inn the Colombo/Negombo region.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 12 – 14 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Sigiriya

Cycling in Sigiriya Countryside

This tour takes you around the incredible 8th wonder of the world – Sigiriya Rock (or Lion Rock).

You’ll see the beautiful countryside (watch out for roaming elephants!) as well as the stunning stone fortress, famous for it’s gardens and palaces 200 metres high.

You could even link this tour with a climb of Sigiriya, if you’ve got the energy left!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Tea Country (Hatton/Nuwara Eliya)

E-bike Through Castlereagh Tea Trails

Meet up with your guide at Hatton train station (if you’re coming from Colombo then you’ll need to get an early train!) and enjoy a nice cup of tea to start the morning off.

The e-bikes will make the cycling trip so much easier than if you were on a standard bike! You’ll glide down to the lake and jump across to the tea factory. Once there, you’ll be guided around the estate, and you’ll learn all about the tea making process in Sri Lanka.

Afterwards, you’ll relax and enjoy some snacks before getting back on your bike and making your way through the pretty countryside to the end point of your trip.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes (Hatton station)
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


Cycling in Nuwara Eliya City

Cycle through the pretty town of Nuwara Eliya, where you’ll ride around the lovely Greogry Lake and surrounding areas.

Brits will be familiar with the style of the town, with red postboxes and houses that look just like back home!

You can visit the golf course, the old post office and a few Hindu temples too.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices

Read More: Take This Incredible Train Journey From Ella To Nuwara Eliya!


Cycling in Devil’s Staircase

For something with a little more adrenaline thatn your every day city cycling tours in Sri Lanka, follow the this trail in the mountains.

As this is a private tour, you can choose whether you want to start from the top and release your inner thrillseeker as you race down, or dare yourself to try to make your way upwards, weaving along the hairpin bends, past the highest waterfall in the country!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 6 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


South Sri Lanka Cycling Tours


Galle Fort and City Cycling Tour

The amazing Galle Fort is not to be missed, and what better way to explore it than on one of the best city cycling tours in Sri Lanka?

Your local guide will give so all of the information on the history of the Fort, as your ride past the lighthouse, the clock tower, the churches, the bastions and the ol Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct.

Don’t froget your camera as there are some stunning viewpoints along the walls and within Galle Fort itself!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 2 – 4 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices

Read More: The Best Things To Do In Galle


West Sri Lanka Cycling Tours

Colombo

Morning Cycling in Colombo

Colombo is often viewed as just a busy city with nothing else to offer. But this cycling tour takes you to all of the best places, with photo stops included in the time given.

Visit Galle Face Green, the Independence Memorial Hall, a Buddhist temple and the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct (yep, different to the one in Galle!).

Your local tour guide will be knowledgable about all of the different stops, so ask them any questions you have about the city!

You can also take a similar tour at night time! Click here for more information about it.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pickup Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices

Read More: Here Are The Best Ways To Get From Galle To Mirissa!


Meals On Wheels – Street Food Bike Tour

Cycling throught the city of Colombo is bound to make you hungry, with the amazing street food stalls and local restaurants cooking up a storm – so this tour is designed to feed you up on the route!

You’ll have a helpful guide who knows the area well and can teach you about Colombo and its architecture, history and culture. They’ll also take you to the best hidden gems for Sri Lankan snacks and treats.

What a way to explore the city!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration:
  • Pickup Included:
  • Age Suitable For:
  • Need To Take:
  • Extra Info:

Click here to check availability and prices

Negombo

Cycling in Negombo Fishing Village

Negombo is a small town close to the airport, but there’s more to it than that! Cycle along the coast and meet the local fisherman who make a living from the ocean.

At 20km long, this route takes a good amount of time, so you can really enjoy the beauty of Negombo.

You’ll get the chance to visit a fisherman’s house and enjoy a cup of tea, whilst learning about the trade and how it has changed over time.

There is a backup vehicle ready for you any time, but there are also plenty of breaks and time for rest if you need it.

Enjoy the incredible sunset as you cycle back to your hotel.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 2 – 3 hours
  • Pickup Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Adults
  • Need To Take: Cash for tips

Click here to check availability and prices


The Best Time To Visit Sri Lanka

The weather and seasons in Sri Lanka can be a bit unpredictable. There are two monsoon seasons that split the island, so try to avoid these if you can.

Generally, the best time to visit the north and east of Sri Lanka is from around April until September. The rain tends to be lower during this time of year.

Read More: How To Spend 7 Awesome Days In Sri Lanka

For a trip to the central parts of Sri Lanka, the best time to go is usually November to February, although we have visited in February twice and had very different experiences – one year it was incredibly foggy and wet, another year it was sunny and dry most of the time!

The south and west coasts are great to visit between October and March. You’ll be most likely to get sunny beach days here at this time of year.

What To Pack For A Sri Lanka Cycling Tour

Here is our basic packing list for a trip to Sri Lanka. We’re recommending this amount of luggage regardless of how long you go for because you can easily get your clothes laundered in Sri Lanka for a very low price.

You might prefer a backpack on one of these cycling tours in Sri Lanka – but if you’re going on a multi-day tour then the company will have somewhere for you to put your luggage during the cycling parts of the trip.



Which cycling tour tickles your fancy the most? Let us know if you have any questions about renting bikes in Sri Lanka and enjoying a cycling tour!

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