After a hectic 2 months in India, Sri Lanka was an absolute dream to travel. With every destination easily reachable and a maximum bus journey of 7 hours across the small island, here’s our easy to follow Sri Lanka itinerary and a route & trip guide of the places we visited…
As those of you that follow our social media are aware, we fell in love with Sri Lanka and ended up extending our visa for 3 months! But the main tourist attractions can definitely be covered in 3-4 weeks.
Our Sri Lanka Itinerary – A Route & Trip Guide
The Capital, and the only international airport in and out of Sri Lanka. Most people say avoid it, we absolutely loved it…check out Welcome To Sri Lanka – What To Expect When Arriving In Colombo for some tips and bits to do.
A few hours inland on the bus and the most natural step to take from Colombo is to head to the centre. One of the most beautiful attractions of Sri Lanka is Sigiriya Rock, and its surroundings areas are a MUST if you’re looking for scenic photos. You can read all about our experience and an alternative to Lions Rock here: Our Guide To A View That Rocks In Sigiriya
From the centre, we decided to head North East to the popular beach town of Trinco. Broken into 3 nearby towns including Uppuveli and Nilaveli, its crystal beaches and snorkelling are a huge hit amongst visitors.
Next up, we headed back down to Kandy. If you hadn’t heard of Kandy before your trip, you sure will have within your first few days in SL. Labelled as one of the most scenic train journeys on the planet, a Kandy to Ella train ride whilst hanging out of the open doors can not be missed if you’re a fan of landscapes. Here are all the details you need to know about the famous train journey The Most Beautiful Train Journey In The World? – Kandy To Ella
After disembarking your train journey, we recommend staying a couple of nights in the mountain town that is Ella. With not only beautiful restaurants but plenty of sightseeing. Ella Rock, The Nine Arch Bridge and Little Adam’s Peak will tire your legs but your memories will be full.
The surf capital of Sri Lanka and a place many tourists end up extending their stay because of the chilled vibes, beautiful beaches and late night antics. We loved AbAy and you can check out How To Spend 5 Days In Arugam Bay for tips on how to maximise your stay.
Many people also ask about safaris as they are one of the big hits in Sri Lanka. We chose to visit Udawalawe National Park for a day trip up from Mirissa, which we highly recommend, but you can weigh up the options here Which Safari To Choose In Sri Lanka – Our Udawalawe National Park Experience
There are also a few other stops that come up in the mainland itinerary that we missed on our first loop. Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are both temple towns famous for their pagodas and historic monuments. While you’re up North there’s also Jaffna, a place largely effected by the civil war that is reforming and now attracting many westerners to the highest point of the country.
The South Coast
From out East we took the longest trip of our Sri Lanka tour. We took a journey around Yala National Park and down to Mirissa. Mirissa is the furthest East of the South coast that most people visit and pretty popular for its palm tree covered beaches. If you’re short on time we recommend starting here Our Top 5 Things To Do In Mirissa
Just up the road from Mirissa, only 15 minutes in fact, is the second most popular surf spot in the country after AbAy. From beginners to pros this is the place to get stuck in and master the waves. There are a few quirky food spots around the area as well so keep your eyes peeled!
Another cool palm tree and beach location, a little more touristy than Mirissa, Unawatuna is worth renting a moped and exploring the area. From the shops, to the beach swings and releasing baby turtles into the ocean…everything you need to know for a good time in Unawatuna can be found in our The Best Things To Do In & Around Unawatuna blog.
Just like Mirissa and Weligama, Unawatuna and Galle come hand in hand. A 15 minute tuk tuk up the road drops you directly in the middle of the famous Galle Fort. A historic Dutch landmark which has been transformed into a beautiful European like town. It’s full of chic shops and beautiful cafes and is definitely worth a visit.
One more stop in the South worth visiting is the Hikka scene. A little less populated than the others and with beautiful resorts and beaches available, Hikkaduwa is rising up the list of ‘places to go’ in Sri Lanka.
Again there are always extra places worth finding in a country and if you have spare time we recommend you head out west from Mirissa. Either Talalla, Dikwella (Hirikitiya Beach in particular) or Tangalle. All of which are beautiful beach destinations that aren’t so touristy and are perfect for relaxing with a coconut!
So that concludes our tour of Sri Lanka and hopefully this guide will come in handy. Whether you’re planning a trip or are currently on your Sri Lanka visit. If you need any extra tips or help don’t be shy to leave a comment below! Safe travels…
You can pre book all of your Sri Lanka accomodation here.