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 what we believe are the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Itinerary – Best Places To Visit In Sri Lanka
The Mainland Sri Lanka Itinerary
The Capital, and the only international airport in and out of Sri Lanka. Most people say avoid it, we absolutely loved it.
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.
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 and definitely one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.
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 Sri Lanka.
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.
Click HERE for all the details you need to know about the famous Kandy To Ella Train – The Most Scenic Train Journey In The World.
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. This is one place you CANNOT miss out of your Sri Lanka itinerary.
We loved AbAy and you can check out Things To Do In Arugam Bay Sri Lanka blog for tips on how to maximise your stay.
The South Coast Sri Lanka Itinerary
From out East we took the longest trip of our whole Sri Lanka itinerary. 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 Mirissa Guide – 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. So if you’re a surf fanatic, this will be one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. 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. This was on of our best places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Everything you need to know for a good time in Unawatuna can be found in our Best Things To Do In 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 visit in Sri Lanka. Be sure to add this to your Sri Lanka itinerary because you can’t miss the HUGE turtles that live by the Hikkaduwa coastline.
Check out our Wild Hikkaduwa Turtles & Where To Find Them blog here.
Round Up Of Our Sri Lanka Itinerary
So that concludes our Sri Lanka itinerary and hopefully this guide will come in handy.
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 and can read all about in our Udawalawe National Park – Best Safari In Sri Lanka blog.
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.
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!
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 look at where to stay in Sri Lanka and pre book all of your Sri Lanka accomodation here.
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