Bicycles are the perfect vehicle for visiting many areas around Sri Lanka. Whether you are looking for a hard-core downhill ride or a leisurely trip between archaeological monuments, you can widely find bikes for rent and beautiful trails to explore all over the country. Most of the larger ancient cities in Sri Lanka can only truly be experienced in their greatness by bike as they are too large to visit on foot, and Hill Country offers so many trails that mountain bikers will not be disappointed. We recommend asking in your hotel or guesthouse for local trails and some of the best off-the-path sites to visit by bike as locals will generally have a good insight to some spectacular places.
Many hotels in Hill Country offer mountain bike rentals to visit the surrounding areas, and as long as you aren’t scared of a bit of a challenge, these trails are well worth the effort and offer a quick way and affordable way to get around the dirt trails.
In Nuwara Eliya fat-tyre mountain bikes can be rented to explore the dirt trails which slope steeply in every direction from the town. One of the most popular one day mountain biking trips from Nuwara Eliya is a 10 kilometre trail that leads you through lush tea plantations all the way to the Labookellie Tea Factory. Although the trail has its uphills they are well worth it for the swooshing satisfaction of the long downhills. Bikes can be rented from the Single Tree Hotel in town.
Exploring the areas surrounding many of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities can best be done by bike as driving roads won’t bring you everywhere and there’s so much to see just off the tourist path. Bikes can be rented from most guesthouses in Sigiriya and this is your best option to visit the lush forests filled with countless species of colourful birds as well as a large population of wild elephants and dozens of mysterious archaeological sites.
Polonnaruwa is another ancient city which can best be visited by bike due to its sheer size. Bicycles offer a quick way to get from one end of the ancient metropolis to the other without wearing yourself out too much to enjoy what you are seeing. The many monuments in Polonnaruwa are situated with some distance between them and surrounded by shady woodlands offering a lovely backdrop for a casual cycle.
Sri Lanka’s first capital city Anuradhapura holds so many important archaeological sites that one simply cannot visit them all on foot. Renting a bicycle offers a nice alternative and allows for quick travel between the various important sites. Visiting the Sacred Bodhi Tree is highly recommended, this tree is known to have been planted from a cutting of a Bodhi Tree in India which was brought to Sri Lanka by the Princess Sangamitta. Due to careful recordings it is known that the tree has been under careful guardianship for over 2000 years, making it one of the oldest known human-planted trees on the planet. The Royal Pleasure Gardens which are located to the south of the central area make another beautiful visit and a bicycle is needed to reach this area.
Interested in cycling in Sri Lanka? Read our complete guide to cycling in Sri Lanka for all you want to know.