If you have limited time but want to get the best of Sri Lankan beaches, national parks and mountains follow this itinerary. You can easily swap and change routes on this itinerary, miss some spots or add some in. If you would like to experience the mountains first and beaches last do this itinerary completely in reverse.
Arriving in Columbo take a bus or private car to the city. If you have landed early enough to catch transport to Hikkaduwa do so. If not spend the night in Colombo and head for Hikkaduwa first thing the next morning. Pre-book your train here.
Now it’s time to get your chill on as you take in the beauty of Hikkaduwa. Go swimming, relax on the beach, get a massage or swim with the turtles as you settle into Sri Lanka.
Day 3, 4 & 5
Spend the morning relaxing in Hikkaduwa before taking a lunchtime train or bus to Galle. Spend the next couple of days exploring the beautiful Galle Fort and Unawatuna. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy good local food within the fort and be sure to catch a sunset by the lighthouse. Organise a tuk-tuk or rent scooter and head to Unawatuna beach. Spend the day exploring the local bars, restaurants and beach. Head to Dalawella Beach and to find the famous swing and bag yourself a cool Insta picture.
On your way back check out Jungle beach, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported a paradise island (from the paradise island you’re on!). After check out the Japanese Peace Pagoda which is just next door.
Day 6 & 7
After enjoying some time around Galle jump on a local bus or organise a private car or tuk-tuk to take you to Mirissa. Enjoy time here lounging on a tropical beach and checking out the many restaurants and bars which offer up some great meals. Organise a whale watching tour and spend the day out on the ocean, if you’re lucky you’ll see whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
Day 8 & 9
Next up is safari time! Yala National Park is one of the most popular parks for tourists to visit. There are many to choose from but for this itinerary, we’re going visit Yala. Organise a safari with a local company, your hosts should be able to assist you. Spend some time in the parking and enjoy sites of elephants and maybe some leopards if you’re lucky.
Day 10, 11 & 12
Next, you will head into the mountains and stay in Ella. Spend some time relaxing in this super chilled village. There are many activities to choose from which include hiking to Ella Rock and/or Little Adam’s Peak, watching a train drive over the famous Nine Arch Bridge or organise a tea tour and spend the day exploring the Sri Lankan tea fields.
Following your stay in Ella take the famous Ella to Kandy train. It is recommended to book a few days in advance to avoid disappointment. My suggestion would be to book when you arrive in Colombo if you’re on a tight schedule or book when you arrive at Ella if you can be more flexible with time and wait a day or two if the train is booked.
Arrive in Kandy, grab some lunch and organise transport to take you to Colombo.
Spend a day exploring the up and coming city of Colombo before departing Sir Lanka.
*Please note that a sunrise hike to Adam’s Peak can be easily added to this itinerary by either swapping out an activity or spending this itinerary up a little.