The Perfect Weeks In Sri Lanka Itinerary

Sri Lanka Road Guide

This 3-week itinerary through Sri Lanka is a day-by-day Sri Lanka route. The island is easy to travel through and can be done by bus, tuk-tuk, motorbike, taxi, or private driver. One of the most popular options is to travel by traditional Sri Lankan train, gaining a wonderful insight into Sri Lankan culture as you fly through beautiful landscapes.

Use this 3-week route to cover the top things to do in Sri Lanka, and if you have more time, we’ve added some additional options.

Day 1 – 2: Relaxing in Negombo or Colombo

Start your trip in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city. Here you’ll discover a unique mix of modern and traditional, where towering skyscrapers and luxurious rooftop bars sit next to stunning mosques, traditional houses, and bustling street markets. After a busy day of sightseeing, head to one of the beautiful parks to relax and see unique tropical plants, trees, and flowers. Alternatively, take a wander down to the city beach, where you can watch locals flying their kites in the coastal breeze or cheering as they score points playing cricket.

However, Colombo is not the closest city to the airport. For more convenience, head to Negombo, a laidback town that’s right next to the airport. It’s a great place to stay for affordable accommodation with swimming pools where you can relax and unwind after the flight. The beaches are also far more picturesque in this city.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Kandy

Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second-largest city and one of the most beautiful you’ll find in all of Sri Lanka. Discover the old colonial buildings that line the edges of a vast lake in the center, keeping an eye out for exciting wildlife and unique plants. Plus, the buzzing streets filled with coconut sellers and stalls are just a stone’s throw away from this fantastic nature.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens, a fantastic tranquil wilderness in the city, full of a diverse range of plants, trees, and flowers. As you look around, you’ll notice that the mountains and tropical rainforests are never far away! It’s this proximity that makes Kandy a great jumping-off point for day trips.

Day 4: Sigiriya

Lion Rock in Sigiriya is one of the country’s most famous landmarks. The enormous natural formation sticks out of the flat landscape, towering above forests and grasslands filled with elephants. On top of the 200-meter square-shaped rock, you’ll find the remains of an ancient palace and gardens and many rock drawings along the way. Additionally, Lion Rock is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka, which is another reason to add it to your Sri Lanka route!

Alternatively, visit Pidurangula Rock, Lion Rock’s nearby little sibling. This rock may be smaller, but it provides a better view, as it looks directly onto Lion Rock. There’s also a affordable entrance fee too!

If you have time to stay a few nights in Sigiriya, we recommend relaxing in one of the many beautiful hotels in nature, hiking the rocks, or going on an elephant safari in the flat valley. To get there, hire a driver or look for a shuttle bus (a 3-hour drive from Kandy).

Day 5: Kandy to Ella Train Ride

Head back to Kandy to catch the most beautiful train ride in Sri Lanka. This long train ride is one of the top things to do on any Sri Lanka route, taking you through stunning rolling hilltops, rainforest, and luscious green tea plantations. Hang out the door with the wind in your hair and feel the weather get cooler as you move higher up into the mist and the clouds of the Sri Lanka highlands. Get Kandy Train Tickets here.

Day 6 – 7: Nuwara Eliya

The train from Kandy goes all the way to Ella, making a few stops on the way. Get off a little earlier and spend a night in the natural beauty of Nuwara Eliya, an area famous for tea plantations.

It’s especially well known as being home to the Lipton plantation, one of the world’s most famous tea growers and exporters! In fact, the history of colonization here by the English has even affected the architecture, with lots of English-style bungalows dotted through the fields, giving Nuwara Eliya the nickname ‘Little England’.

Day 8 – 10: Ella

Visit one of the most blissful and natural places in Sri Lanka: Ella. The small town has a laid-back hippy vibe, complemented by the great mountains and hills that tower over the town. Stay in a hilltop guesthouse with incredible views, and use it as a base to climb to Adams Peak, Ella Rock, or the mesmerizing Nine Arch Bridge. When you’re done hiking, head for one of the many picturesque waterfall pools for a refreshing dip.

Day 11 – 13: Arugam Bay

Ready to catch some waves? Arugam Bay is the most famous surfing spot in Sri Lanka. It’s so popular that many surfers make this their home between April and October when the days are sunny and warm, and the waves are great. It’s easy to see why people spend so much time here, with the relaxed way of life, living in a wooden beach hut, surfing and sunbathing by day, and enjoying all the fantastic bars and restaurants by night. This is where you’ll truly find hammock-swinging and coconut-sipping vibes!

Day 14: Go on Safari in Sri Lanka

From Arugam Bay, it’s super easy to take a day trip to Yala National Park for a safari among nature. You might even be lucky enough to spot the elusive leopard!

Join a tour, jump in a jeep, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. As you cross over bumpy dirt roads, around lakes, and through bushland, you’ll see vast groups of wild elephants and other animals. There are plenty of national parks to choose from in Sri Lanka, some of the most popular being Udawalawe National Park or Yala National Park.

Day 15 – 16: Mirissa

Head south to the paradise beach town of Mirissa. Take off your shoes and say goodbye to regular life as you slow down, feel the sand between your toes and the waves against your feet. Mirissa isn’t just about the beach, though; there are beautiful coconut tree forests to explore, fascinating tidal islands, and endless great restaurants.

Mirissa is also one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see Whales, which migrate here between November and March. You’ll find the most spectacular sunsets in this part of the country, a winning combination with a sunset whale watching trip.

Day 17 – 19: Unawatuna

The Unawatuna area has the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka, known for the white sand, great surfing, lively beach bars, and Instagram-famous palm-tree swings. The town is small, but it has excellent shopping, guesthouses, and trendy restaurants.

It’s also a great jumping-off point to local sights nearby, like Galle Fort, Koggala Lake, or even the bright lights of Colombo! You could quickly lose track of time in this beautiful little beach town, and it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind at the end of your Sri Lanka route.

Day 20+21: Back to Colombo

Finish your trip and stay close to the airport in Colombo. If you have a little extra time before your flight, visit Barefoot handicraft and its fantastic restaurant or tick of some of the sights you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Sri Lanka is an absolute heart-stealer, and the likelihood is that you may want to stay for longer than three weeks. If you’re extending your route, there are many more awesome places to visit, especially in the northern part of Sri Lanka (where you’ll find some real hidden gems!). Some of the most popular places to visit on a Sri Lanka route are:

Sri Lanka is an absolute heart-stealer, and the likelihood is that you may want to stay for longer than three weeks. If you’re extending your route, there are many more awesome places to visit, especially in the northern part of Sri Lanka (where you’ll find some real hidden gems!). Some of the most popular places to visit on a Sri Lanka route are:

By Bus

Buses are a very inexpensive option; it’s just a few dollars for a full day of traveling by bus! Be aware that buses are usually packed full of people, and you will have to stand. Don’t expect air conditioning, but you’ll have the perks of enjoying local TV with Sri Lankan music videos! Purchase any transport tickets online here.

Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. There isn’t a perfect period to visit because each side of the island has its own “best time to visit.”which means the sun will always be shining somewhere! ☀️ The dry seasons by month and destination are:

Sri Lanka Visa

You need a Sri Lanka visa to be allowed into the country. Fortunately, arranging a visa isn’t difficult at all. All you need to do is make sure your passport is valid for at least six months. You can select several options for your visa for Sri Lanka, depending on how long you are planning to stay and for what reason you are visiting the country.

Online Visa, Sri Lanka

The first option is applying for your Sri Lanka visa online. It’s wise to apply at least a few days before your arrival. Usually, the applications are approved within a few hours, and you will receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). The 30-day tourist visa will cost you $35.

Visa on Arrival

Even if you have not applied for ETA can get a Visa on Arrival on arrival for Sri Lanka. There is a counter at the airport in Colombo where you can go. However, you will pay $5 extra, and there are generally long tails. For this reason, we recommend applying for your visa online ahead of time.

How Much Does Sri Lanka Cost?

In Sri Lanka, payment is made in the Sri Lankan Rupee (not the same as the Indian Rupee). Currently, $1 is equal to 2 Sri Lanka Rupees. Generally, Sri Lanka is inexpensive to travel in, especially in the more remote locations like the North or the center.

Vaccinations Sri Lanka

Whatever the length of your trip is, it’s recommended to get two vaccines:

DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio)
Hepatitis A

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