Cycling in Sri Lanka travel guide


A cycling vacation in Sri Lanka is so much more than just a cycling vacation. Yes, pedal power is your main form of transport, and you’ll be in the saddle most days, but rather than zipping from A to B in a blur of Lycra, cycling in Sri Lanka is about stopping in villages for tea and fresh fruit where children rush out to greet you, spotting a peacock strutting by the road and breathing in the smell of a spice market as you push up into the cool highlands. And when you’re not cycling, you can be climbing rocks to ancient temple ruins, spotting leopards, visiting a tea factory, swimming in the sea, watching whales, elephants and birds of every variety and wandering around a temple or two. The sights of ancient, beautiful Sri Lanka and the sheer joy of cycling rolled into one, and doable in just two weeks. What are you waiting for?

Find out more in our cycling in Sri Lanka travel guide.

Is cycling in Sri Lanka for you?

Responsible Travel recommends


… you have a decent level of fitness. It’ll help you cope with the hills, humidity and distances of a typical cycling vacation here. Do a few spinning classes and day rides before you go.
… you love wildlife. The wildlife is amazing in Sri Lanka and it’s not confined to the national parks either. Expect to see birds and beasts as you pedal along, including peacocks, kingfishers, monitor lizards, monkeys and even an elephant or croc!)
… you believe meeting local people makes a trip. Being met by warm smiles, greetings of ‘good morning’ and children running to wave and say hello as you pedal through villages is one of the most memorable elements of cycling in Sri Lanka.
… you can handle a bit of traffic. Most cycling vacations follow quiet back roads, but Kandy is notorious for its noisy traffic. Go slowly, or ride in the support vehicle until the roads become calmer.


… you’re leery of dogs. There are lots of dogs in Sri Lanka. Some sleep on the road, others wander in front of you, some bark as you pass by and occasionally one will chase you. This isn’t generally a problem, but worth knowing if canines make you nervous.
… you’re wedded to Lycra. Rural people dress conservatively, and both men and women cyclists need to respect these cultural norms to avoid unwanted disrespectful attention. Ideally, cover Lycra shorts with baggy knee length ones or calf-length pedal pushers and wear loose-fitting T-shirts or cycling tops rather than vests.
… you live to race. Sri Lanka is about steady cycling so you have time to appreciate the scenery. Humid conditions in the lowlands make speedy cycling a sweaty business and the hill country’s long ascents demand an easy-does-it approach.
… you want to take the kids. Sri Lanka is very family friendly, but most cycling vacations are for ages 16 and over.

Best time to go cycling in Sri Lanka


Cick on a location: Kandy | Yala
Jan-Feb is the best time to visit Sri Lanka on a cycling vacation, but expect hot, humid conditions any time of year. The average temperature in the lowlands is 32°C, but in the highlands it’s a pleasant 21°C – more comfy for cycling. To complicate things, there are two monsoons, in different regions. Most cycling vacations take in the island’s interior then head south, so are typically only affected by the southwest monsoon, from late May-July. Early May is a quiet time, between monsoons, while Dec is very busy. It’s still possible to pedal through the rains, though, and cycling vacations run year-round – just bring waterproofs.
Photo credits: [Topbox: Amila Tennakoon] [Helpdesk: Amila Tennakoon] [Tempchart: Amila Tennakoon]
Written by Joanna Simmons
Sri Lanka cycling vacation

Sri Lanka cycling vacation

Ride the cool highlands, jungle parks and ancient Buddhist cities

From US $2800 14 Days ex flights
Biking vacation in Sri lanka

Biking vacation in Sri lanka

Discover Sri Lanka on a two-wheeled adventure

From US $2061 14 Days ex flights
Sri Lanka coast to coast cycling vacation

Sri Lanka coast to coast cycling vacation

Sri Lanka Coast to Coast cycling ride

From US $1850 13 Days ex flights
Sri Lanka cycling tour

Sri Lanka cycling tour

Small group cycling tour of Sri Lanka

From US $2480 14 Days ex flights
Sri Lanka highlights biking vacation

Sri Lanka highlights biking vacation

Sri Lanka highlights on two wheels - 14 days cycling tour

From £2124 14 Days ex flights
Sri Lanka cycling vacation, tailor made

Sri Lanka cycling vacation, tailor made

Cycle through Sri Lanka and see the best of the country

From £6285 15 Days inc UK flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: uwee]