The ultimate seven day Sri Lanka itinerary for those seeking a unique adventure!
The hype surrounding Sri Lanka is real, sadly, tourism in the country has taken a massive hit since Easter 2019. The country is doing all they can to bolster tourism once again, from hip new beach resorts opening to critically-acclaimed restaurants. But, what good are these cool new openings if nobody is going to visit. So, I’m here to persuade why Sri Lanka should be top of your bucket list. And also let you in on seven cool spots to add to your seven day Sri Lanka itinerary.
We spent just over three weeks in Sri Lanka & our highlights included seeing a baby elephant in the wild and walking secluded golden beaches at sunset. There’s certainly something for everyone in this South East Asian island. And what’s more Sri Lanka is 100% one of the most photogenic places we’ve been to.
So, without further ado here are our picks for the best seven day Sri Lanka itinerary!
Day 1 – explore Colombo
Colombo is likely where you will arrive on the first day as it where the Bandaranaike International Airport is located. Colombo is a busy and vibrant city. It is divided into 13 districts, with Colombo 1 or Fort Area being the center of the city. Spend the day here visiting the National Museum, have lunch in the Old Dutch Hospital, before getting your cultural fix at theTemple of Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil. For some great street food in the evening visit the Galle Face Green area.
Getting to your next stop | Take the train the next morning to Kandy, which takes roughly 3 hours.
Day 2 – take the train from Kandy to Ella
Regularly dubbed as the ‘most beautiful train journey in the world’ by the media. The Kandy to Ella train is certainly a train-ride not to be missed. As a result, of its famed status this train is typically packed to the rafters. The best spots on board are the public areas between carriages. Here you can hang out of the doorways (be cautious though) to get that all-important Instagram photo!
My only advice is to book first class or reserved second class to avoid the sweaty jam-packed journey in third-class like we did.
Day 3 – Nine Arches bridge, Ella
There are two options for you to get to Nine Arches Bridge – you can walk or get a tuk-tuk. A tuk-tuk from Ella town costs approx. 300LKR, ask them to drop you at the tunnel and walk a little way to the bridge itself. Luckily, there are a few walking routes from Ella town to the bridge.
How to get there:
You can walk the road towards Adam’s Peak and turn left at the small colorful temple. It is a bit of a tricky route but the easiest way to find the bridge on this route is to google map Lake Front Cottages (map link here), the bridge is a short walk from here.
From Ella, follow google maps to Art Cafe Umbrella, at the parking lot a couple metres from this Cafe (map link here) you will find a jungle path. Follow the path for 10 minutes for a gorgeous view of the bridge.
The quickest way is to walk the main ‘Nine Arches track’ towards the tunnel. Note – this is the busiest walking route.
Day 4 – Uva Halpewatte tea factory, Ella
This was a unique highlight of our Sri Lanka itinerary. We visited the Uva Halpewatte factory hidden high in the hills surrounding Ella. Aa tuk-tuk here from Ella town costs just $7 one-way. You can also pay your driver a little extra for him to wait for you & bring you back to Ella. We learned so much about the tea-making process. The views from the balcony are to-die-for.
Day 5 – Udawalawe National Park
My favourite part of our Sri Lanka trip was seeing elephants in the wild at Udawalawe National Park. Sure, there are lots of amazing national parks in Sri Lanka but I did my research before arriving and decided on Udawalawe because it has the highest number of elephants (over 250). Udawalawe is also less-crowded than the more famous Yala or Minneriya national parks. We stayed at the lovely Elephant Trails on the outskirts of the park.
Getting here | we had two get two local buses, the first from Ella to Wellawaya and the second from Wellawaya to Udawalawe from here we caught a tuk-tuk to our hotel. A very cheap way to do it – max. $15 each.
P.S we have taken lots more photos of beautiful Sri Lanka it was so easy to photograph!
Day 6 – Galle lighthouse
Running the length of Galle town is 36 hectares of fort walls, it is along these walls that the famed Galle lighthouse stands proud. Be sure to get here for sunrise (and avoid the crowds) or sunset for the best photo opps.
Getting here | we took a taxi from Udawalawe to Galle, this was arranged through our hotel. The journey took under 3 hours and cost us $60. You can ask your accommodation to arrange a shared taxi, for a cheaper price.
Day 7 – The colourful fishing boats on Rekawa beach
We stayed at the gorgeous Seven Turtles Resort and every morning and evening walked the length of the beach out front. It is here we spotted the colourful fishing boats and the colourful characters who own them.
Getting here | we got a tuk-tuk from Galle, approx. $20.
There you have it a short but sweet overview of our seven day Sri Lanka itinerary. There’s certainly a lot more that could be added to this itinerary. On that note – is there anywhere I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below!
READ NEXT | our time in Sri Lanka including lots more pretty photos
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