Most people have a very faint idea about Sri Lanka but ask anyone who has been to the country and they start painting a pretty vivid picture of a land with never-ending beaches, unbelievable train rides, great surfs, finger-licking food, and incredible wildlife sanctuaries. And all of that at a value for money proposition, you will have a hard time turning down! Want a glimpse of how your Sri Lanka trip would look like? If you are looking for a 5-day Sri Lanka itinerary, new ideas or more information about this beautiful country, we have you covered! The best thing about Sri Lanka is its modest size; you can sample the best it has to offer in as little as 3 days or explore this country crammed together with limitless attractions at a leisurely pace over a week! To make it easier for you, we’ve put together five sets of itineraries, depending on the number of days you can spare for your next exotic holiday! Go through them and decide which is the best option for you!
3-days Sri Lanka itinerary
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka, the land of Serendipity. Since you have just three days to explore this scenic country, it would be ideal to stick to the capital city of Colombo which On Day 1, you will be landing in Colombo, the port town that has an interesting mix of modern and colonial architecture influenced by its Portuguese, Dutch and British heritage. We advise you to relax and watch the beautiful sun set at Cinamon red or Kingsbury at the Galle Face hotel over good food and drinks.
Day 2, should be reserved to explore the city. You should visit landmarks like Gangaramaya Buddhist temple and take a walk along the premises of one of the most prominent religious sites in Sri Lanka following which, take a peek into the country’s history at an unhurried pace at the 261-year old the Dutch reformed Wolvendaal Church. After all the cultural exploration, head off to Galle Face Green, an oceanside promenade ideal for relaxing.
On your last day (Day 3), we recommend visiting Ministry of Crab, a sea-food focused restaurant in Colombo of international renown to end your short sojourn over an unforgettable meal.
4-days Sri Lanka itinerary
After you land in Colombo (Day 1), and relax in your hotel, have your first taste of Sri Lanka by watching the stunning sunset over the sea from the open-top bars at the iconic Galle Face hotel.
2nd day, should be reserved for Kandy (under 4 hours road trip from Colombo), the city famous for its tea plantations, religious sites and rain forest. We recommend visiting the beautiful orchid collection in the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden and the Tooth Relic temple, believed to be housing a priceless ancient relic – Buddha’s tooth. Wear long sleeve trousers and skirts. Round up the day by sipping tea or coffee at the Buono Cafe.
For the third day we suggest coming back to Colombo and touring the capital city famous for its cultural architecture inspired from countries like Portugal, Netherland and Britain. You can visit some renowned landmarks like Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara – a sacred Buddhist temple believed to be visited by Buddha himself, walk in the Viharamahadevi Park – Colombo’s biggest urban park and much more. Plus, Colombo being a port city, visitors can enjoy beautiful sunsets over the oceanic horizons.
Visit the gallery-cum-restaurant, Paradise Road The Gallery Café in Colombo on your Day 4 in Sri Lanka for the perfect European meal in an understated luxurious setting to end your trip on a high.
5-days Sri Lanka itinerary
If you get 5 days to spend in Sri Lanka, we recommend you spend a day each in Dambulla, Ella and Galle after arriving in Colombo!
On Day 1, after landing in Colombo, rest before heading out to the streets of the capital city where you can visit high-end restaurants, enjoy road-side delicacies, or go on leisurely walks.
Day 2 of the 5-day Sri Lanka itinerary is reserved for Dambulla (4 hours away from Colombo). Visitors come here to witness the historic cave temple complex also popularly called Golden Temple of Dambulla. Inside the caves you will find statues and murals so well preserved that the cave complex has been given the title of World Heritage Site.
For those who want a taste of more history and religion, Anuradhapura is a short drive away (less than hour and a half away). While, those who prefer nature should head out to the Minneriya National Park.
On Day 3 after your lesson in culture and history, we suggest you travel to the quiet hill town of Ella (under 4 hours from Dambulla). Ella is the place everyone comes to relax and recharge amidst the healing green scenery of the town. Hiking is also a popular activity in Ella, with Mini Adams Peak serving as the easiest hike. For the best pictures head out to Ravana falls – picturesque waterfalls and the stunning Nine Arch bridge – extraordinary rail bridge.
Your Day 4 in Sri Lanka should be reserved for the historic city of Galle (under 4 and half hours from Ella). Galle is often considered an unmissable Sri Lankan attraction because of the beautiful Dutch presence in everything – from buildings, to culture to food. The first visit in Galle should be to the UNESCO listed 16th century Galle Fort, an incredible construction looking over the ocean. Don’t miss out on visiting Flag Rock, for the best sunset views in Galle.
Return back to Colombo (less than 2 and half hours from Galle) on Day 5. Head out to Upali’s by Nawaloka for an authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.
We offer not only 5-day Sri Lanka itinerary holiday packages but much more. Check them out here.
6-days Sri Lanka itinerary
Six days in Sri Lanka gives you ample time to explore the arresting beauty of the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Here’s what we suggest you should do:
Day 1 arrive in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka – the land of beautiful beaches. The port town is perfect for exploring, be it the grand buildings of multi-colonial heritage or watching the beautiful sunset from the open top restaurants peppered through the city.
On Day 2, we recommend visiting Negombo, a nice beach town an hour from the capital city. Once you reach here, make sure you visit the Negombo Lagoon – the large biodiverse mangrove lagoon home to a wide array of beautiful water birds like herons, gulls and many more. End your day by dining out at Pick N’ Mix, a highly recommended restaurant serving Sri Lankan cuisine.
We suggest you take off to Dambulla on Day 3 (less than 3 and half hours from Negombo), a large town located in the centre of Sri Lanka. Dambulla is popular among tourists inclined towards spiritual journeys, with the Golden Temple of Dambulla serving as the centre stage. The temple is a cave complex which has statues and paintings depicting Gautam Buddha and his life.
On Day 4, travel to Sigiriya, just half an hour away from Dambulla. The town is known for being home to ancient rock fortress and palace ruins. Once there, make sure to visit Sigiriya Rock, an ancient massive column of rock believed to be the seat of power of a legendary kingdom surrounded by forests from all sides.
For Day 5, we recommend travelling to Kandy (under 3 hours away from Sigiriya), one of the most prominent religious centres in Sri Lanka. The most visited site in Kandy is the Temple of the Tooth – one of the most sacred places of worship for Buddhists. We also recommend going for a walk amidst the famous orchids of Royal Botanical Garden.
On your last day (Day 6), come back to Colombo and wrap up your trip by indulging in some light snacks and drinks at the unusual settings of The Cricket Club Café.
7-days Sri Lanka itinerary
You can explore the exotic beauty of Sri Lanka at leisure over a week at stretch if you opt for this 7-day tour plan:
Touch base in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka for the Day 1 of your Sri Lanka trip. After some rest, travel to Dambulla (under 4 hours) to visit its famous caves. The caves have been given the title of World Heritage site because of the well-preserved statues and murals inside the complex.
Day 2 is reserved for a visit to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress complex located near Dambulla (under half an hour). Once here, visit the Sigiriya Rock – a gigantic rock column towering 200 meters high. The rock is surrounded by manicured gardens and believed to the seat of power of a legendary Sri Lankan kingdom.
On Day 3, we recommend travelling to Kandy, one of the most prominent religious centres in Sri Lanka. The temple of the tooth is the most famous religious attraction of Buddhist tradition that draws in tremendous crowds every year. The lesser known attraction of Kandy is the city’s natural beauty, we recommend saying feed the Asian elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, going for a walk amidst the famous orchids of Royal Botanical Garden and a walk along the serene Kandy Lake.
Day 4 can be spent at Nuwara Eliya, the city that’s all about tea plantations, colonial style hotels and rolling hills (under 2 and a half hours from Kandy). After all the walking around in Kandy, you are going to need all the relaxation you can get and that’s exactly what this hill city will offer you. Get closer to nature, by visiting St. Clair’s Falls known as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka” and Lover’s Leap waterfalls or go for a tea tasting session at Bluefield Tea Gardens.
On Day 5, head out to Ahungalla (under 6 hours from Nuwara Eliya), a small coastal town. The main appeal of the town lies in the fact it is not a tourist trap like other famous Sri Lankan beaches, so you can head out to any beach and watch the unending waves peacefully. If you are in the mood for some Sri Lankan-style sea food, make sure you dine at the Sunshine restaurant.
On the second last day of your Sri Lanka vacation(Day 6), make your way back to Colombo (around 2 hours from Ahungalla). The port town has an interesting mix of modern and colonial architecture influenced by its Portuguese, Dutch and British heritage. You can visit some renowned landmarks like Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara – a sacred Buddhist temple believed to be visited by Buddha himself, walk around the Viharamahadevi Park – Colombo’s biggest urban park and much more.
Day 7, the last day of the trip, should end on a high note; head toCurry Leaf, a restaurant famous for its take on Sri Lankan gastronomical cuisine.