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Sri Lanka - 2 weeks Itinerary

Updated: Jan 20

Sri Lanka is a small island country located in the Indian Ocean, just off the southern coast of India. It is known for its diverse culture, beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and ancient temples and shrines. The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and blue whales.

If you are planning a two itinerary then you have come to the right place for recommendations


You're most likely to land at Colombo international airport. I would recommend spending the night in Negombo rather than Colombo City since it's closer and then you can travel the country clockwise, so your last stop will be Colombo City.


Overview of the itinerary



 

Day 1-2

Negombo


Overview

Negombo is a city located on the west coast of Sri Lanka, about 35 kilometers north of the capital, Colombo. It is a popular tourist destination known for its long stretch of sandy beaches, fishing villages, and Dutch-colonial architecture.

Negombo has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when it was a major port and trading center under the Dutch colonial rule

There isn't much to do in Negombo if I am honest. It's a laidback and a quiet city.


Hostel

  • Tuk Tuk Hostel Negombo

Restaurants/Cafes

  • Captain's Table Spice Garden Restaurant The Lighthouse Restaurant Beachcomber Café, The Kitchen

Things to do

  • Visit the Negombo Fish Market, located right on the beach. It's a great place to try fresh seafood.

  • Take a stroll along the beach and relax on the sandy shores. Negombo has several beautiful beaches, including the main beach and nearby Maris Stella Beach.

  • Visit St. Mary's Church, a beautiful Catholic church located in the centre of the city. The church is known for its stunning architecture and is a popular spot for tourists and locals.

Make your way to Sigiriya after spending the first few days in Negambo.


 

Day 2-5

Sigiriya


Overview

Sigiriya is an ancient fortress and palace located in the northern Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is one of the country's most important archaeological sites and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortress is built on top of a massive 200-meter-high rock formation and is known for its unique architecture and the well-preserved frescoes that adorn its walls.

The history of Sigiriya can be traced back to the 5th century AD, when it was built by King Kashyapa as his capital and fortress. The fortress includes a palace, a network of gardens and reservoirs, and a series of defensive structures. One of the most iconic features of Sigiriya is the "Lion's Rock" which is a massive rock formation that stands at the base of the fortress. The fortress is also known for its frescoes, which are painted on the western rock face of the fortress. It is also an important place for pilgrimage for Buddhists, and there are many shrines and monasteries in the area that are dedicated to the religion.



Transport from Negambo to Sigiriya

There are multiple options to get to Sigiriya, such as taking the public bus or using a grab if you're in a group for a more efficient time.

Hostel

  • Roy's Villa Hostel. You must stay here no matter what! It's arguably one of the best hostels I've stayed at across South East Asia. There is limited space at Roys, so make sure you book in advance and don't leave it till the last minute.

Restaurants

  • There's no need to try out any restaurants here because the food at the hostel is authentic and amazing. You'll also have a chance to do a cooking class at Roy's, including how to make a traditional Sri Lankan curry, Kottu, etc.

Things to do

  • If you do decide to stay at Roy's Villa Hostel, there are multiple activities that you'll be doing with Roy because he'll be able to organize everything. If you decide not to, then you can:

  • Visit Pidurangala rock temple for sunrise and see lion rock from a distance.

  • Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The fortress was built in the 5th century by King Kashyapa and is known for its well-preserved frescoes and gardens.

  • Do an authentic cooking class at Roy's Villa Hostel. (This was one of the best things I have done in Sri Lanka - highly recommended).

  • Rent a scooter and drive to the Dambulla Cave Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site located about an hour's drive from Sigiriya. The temple consists of a series of caves containing statues and paintings of Buddha and other deities.

Afterwards, head south to Ella. Along the way you will pass Kandy and if you want visit the Temple of the Tooth, a sacred Buddhist temple that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. But personally, I was not a fan of the city so I skipped it. If you do decide to stay then in the evening you can check out the Cultural Show at the Kandy City Centre, which features traditional dance and music performances.


 

Day 5-9

Ella


Ella is a small town located in the Uva province of Sri Lanka, known for its picturesque mountain landscape and mild climate. The town is situated in the southern hills of the central highlands.

it's a great place to go hiking and trekking.

Ella is also home to several historical and cultural sites, including the Ravana Ella Cave Temple, which is believed to be one of the places where King Ravana, the ruler of Lanka, lived. The Nine Arch Bridge, built in the early 20th century using bricks and cement, is also a must-see attraction in Ella. The bridge is about 100m long and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and valleys.


Transport from Sigiriya to Ella

Take a shuttle or a bus to Ella and not Nuwara Eliya.


Hostel

  • Tomorrowland Hostel Ella - The hostel is on the outskirts of the town of Ella but the vibes are nice and the sceneries are amazing

Restaurants/Cafes

  • Chill Café

  • Ella Spice Garden Restaurant

Things to do

  • Upon arrival explore the town. Ella is

  • The next day wake up before sunrise and hike to Little Adam's Peak, it doesn't take long around 30 minutes. It is a popular hiking destination that offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and is a great place to relax and take in the scenery.

  • Afterwards walk to the Nine Arches Bridge, a historic bridge located just a short distance from Ella. The bridge offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot for photography.

  • In the evening, try some local food at one of the restaurants.

  • The next day visit the Ella Gap, a beautiful viewpoint located just a short distance from the town. The gap offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys and is a popular spot for photography.

  • You can also choose to hike Ella rock trail, it takes around 3-4 hours and offers spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys


 

Nuwara Eliya


Transport from Ella to Nuwara Eliya

On your third or fourth day do a day trip from Ella to Nuwara Eliya and you need to take the train. The train ride from Sigiriya to Ella is considered one of the most scenic train rides in the world, the journey takes around 5 hours.

Make sure you get first-class seats as it is less crowded and you would get to sit next to the windows. I recommend doing this route as usually it is less busy than doing it from Kandy or Nuwara Eliya down to Ella.


On your way back in the evening to Ella, you can take a bus from Nuwara Eliya main bus station which is located in the centre of the city.


Overview

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is located in the hills of the tea country and is known for its cool climate, colonial-era buildings, and tea plantations. The city is a popular tourist destination, known for its picturesque landscape, waterfalls, and hiking trails.

You can also visit a number of tea factories and experience the process of tea production. The annual Nuwara Eliya Festival, which takes place in April, is a popular event that features traditional dance and music performances, as well as displays of local handicrafts. It is also often referred to as "Little England" due to the influence of British colonial rule.


Restaurants/Cafes

  • Grand Hotel

  • Hill Club

  • The Grand Indian - serves authentic Indian cuisine and offers a beautiful view of the city.

  • The Waterfall

  • The Mandarin

  • The Redwood

  • The Blue Field Bakery

Things to do in Nuwara Eliya:

  • located in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. Here you can visit the Tea Museum, which offers guided tours of a working tea plantation and factory and try the different kind of tea for free.

  • After exploring the tea museum, take a hike through the nearby Horton Plains National Park, which offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

  • In the evening, try some local food at one of the restaurants in Nuwara Eliya, such as the

  • Explore the Victoria Park, a beautiful public park


After you are back to Ella from Nuwara Eliya, make your way south to Mirissa.


 

Day 9-14

Mirissa


Transportation form Ella to Mirissa

There are several ways to travel from Ella to Mirissa in Sri Lanka, you can either take a bus/train which would take around 7 hours or rent a van with other backpackers which would take around 4 hours.


Overview

Mirissa is a small town located on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is known for its beautiful beaches and is a popular destination for surfing, whale watching, and other water sports. Here is a suggested itinerary for visiting Mirissa:


Hostels

  • JJ's Hostel

Restaurants

  • Ceylon Curry House (Top Tier)

  • Mirissa Beach Hotel

  • Captain's Beach Restaurant

Things to do

  • Upon arriving in the evening go to Mirissa, go to the main beach (Mirrisa Beach)

  • In the evening, try some local food at one of the restaurants in Mirissa, such as the Mirissa Beach Hotel or the Captain's Beach Restaurant. There are a dozen of restaurants across the beach. I recommend Ceylon Curry House.

  • Do a day trip to Weligama Beach and learn surfing there. It is one of the cheapest places on earth to learn surfing

  • The next day, wake up early and go on a whale-watching tour from Mirissa.

  • In the afternoon, visit the famous Coconut Tree Hill, a popular spot for sunset viewing.


 

Galle


Restaurants in Galle

  • Coconut Sambol (Top Tier)

Things to do

  • Do a day trip to the town of Galle, which is home to a beautiful Dutch fort and a variety of shops and restaurants. You can also visit the Galle Lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline.


 

Udawalawe National Park


  • Whilst in Mirrisa you can do a day trip to Udawalawe National Park One of the best places to see elephants in their natural habitat is at Udawalawe National Park. This park is home to around 400 elephants and features a variety of landscapes, including grasslands, scrub jungles, and riverine forests. It is also a great place for birdwatching.

  • Another place to see elephants in the wild is Gal Oya National Park, which receives fewer visitors than many other parks in Sri Lanka. Here, elephants can often be seen swimming across Senanayake Samudra lake, and you can take boat safaris to observe them.


 

Day 14-16

Colombo City


Transportation from Mirissa to Colombo City

There are several ways to travel from Mirissa to Colombo City. You can either take a bus/train which would take around 3 hours for the train or renting a van with other backpackers which would take around 4 hours.


Overview

Colombo is the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island.

The history of Colombo can be traced back to the 6th century BC when it was known as a port city. The city came under the control of various kingdoms and empires over the centuries, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. The British established Colombo as the capital of their Ceylon colony in 1815 and it remained the capital of the country until 1982 when Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte became the administrative capital.


Hostel

  • Colombo Beach Hostel

  • C1 Colombo Fort

Restaurants/Cafes

  • Ministry of Crab: This popular restaurant is known for its delicious seafood, including a wide range of crab dishes. (Top Tier)

  • Gallery Café: Located in the National Art Gallery, this café serves a range of local and international dishes, including sandwiches, salads, and pastries.

  • The Dunkeld: Located in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, this restaurant serves a range of local and international dishes, including a variety of seafood options.

  • Fort Bazaar: This popular restaurant serves a range of local and international dishes, including a variety of seafood options.

  • The Kitchen: Located in the centre of town, this restaurant serves a mix of local and international dishes, including a variety of seafood options.

Things to do

  • Visit the Gangaramaya Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple located in the heart of the city. The temple is known for its elaborate architecture and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

  • Explore the National Museum, which houses a wide range of exhibits on Sri Lankan history and culture, including ancient artefacts, paintings, and sculptures.

  • Take a stroll through the Pettah Market, a bustling market area located in the centre of the city. Here you can find a wide range of goods, including clothing, jewellery, and souvenirs.

  • Visit the Colombo Fort, a historic fort that was once the centre of the city's trading and commerce. Today, the fort is home to a number of shops and restaurants.

  • Take a walk along Galle Face Green, a popular seaside promenade located in the heart of the city. The promenade offers beautiful views of the ocean and is a great place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of the city.

  • Visit the Independence Memorial Hall: The Independence Memorial Hall is a national monument in Sri Lanka that commemorates the country's independence from British rule in 1948.

  • Shop at the Pettah market: The Pettah market is one of Colombo's busiest and most colourful markets and is a great place to buy souvenirs and traditional handicrafts.

  • Visit Jami Ul-Alfar Masjid, also known as the Red Mosque, which is a historic mosque located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo and is known for its unique architecture and vibrant red-and-white colour scheme. The mosque was built in 1909 by the Muslim community in Colombo, and it is considered to be an important cultural and religious landmark in the city. The mosque is built in the Moghul style of architecture, which is characterized by its ornate domes, minarets and arches. The mosque's most striking feature is its red and white colour scheme, which is said to symbolize the unity of the Muslim community in Colombo


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