23 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

23 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Paphos
bus + Fly:  16​h 30​min
1
Colombo
— Few hours
Drive:  4​h
2
Anuradhapura
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Dambulla
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Polonnaruwa
— Few hours
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
Kandy
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
6
Nuwara Eliya
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
7
Ella
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
8
Arugam Bay
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
9
Udawalawa
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
10
Kalametiya
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
11
Mirissa
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
12
Galle
— 2 nights
train:  2​h
13
Colombo
— 1 day
Fly + taxi:  2​h 30​min
14
Sigiriya
— 3 nights
15
Sigiriya
— 2 nights
Fly + bus:  17​h
End: Paphos


Learn more about your trip

few
hours
Colombo

Colombo ©
The commercial capital of the country, Colombo has added modern touches to its colonial-era core, creating an exciting and eclectic coastal city.
On the 3rd (Sat), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Colombo using our trip planner.

Paphos, Cyprus to Colombo is an approximately 16.5-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also fly. You'll lose 3 hours traveling from Paphos to Colombo due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Paphos in August, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 30°C in Colombo. You'll have a few hours on the 3rd (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling to Anuradhapura.

Things to do in Colombo

Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple ©

1
night
Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura ©
Explore the well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization and its former capital at Anuradhapura, a World Heritage Site and erstwhile center of Theravada Buddhism set amidst peaceful green parks.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Abhayagiri Dagaba. Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Sat): pause for some photo ops at Abhayagiri Dagaba and then admire the striking features of Ruwanwelisaya.

For traveler tips, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Anuradhapura trip tool .

Drive from Colombo to Anuradhapura in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and taxi; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Dambulla.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Ruwanwelisaya ©
Ruwanwelisaya
Abhayagiri Dagaba ©
Abhayagiri Dagaba

1
night
Dambulla

Dambulla ©
On a trip to Dambulla, visit the largest and best-preserved cave temple complexes in the country, declared a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Sun): Head underground at Golden Temple of Dambulla, then don't miss a visit to Dambulla Cave Temple, and then savor the flavors at Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre.

To find where to stay, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, read Dambulla visit planner .

Drive from Anuradhapura to Dambulla in 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Mon) early enough to drive to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Dambulla

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Dambulla Cave Temple
Highlights from your plan
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Dambulla Cave Temple ©
Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre ©

few
hours
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Mon): appreciate the extensive heritage of Polonnaruwa, pause for some photo ops at Gal Vihara, then explore the ancient world of Polonnaruwa Vatadage, and finally don't miss a visit to Hetadage.

To find traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read Polonnaruwa trip itinerary maker app .

Getting from Dambulla to Polonnaruwa by car takes about 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Kandy.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Polonnaruwa ©
Polonnaruwa
Gal Vihara ©
Gal Vihara
Polonnaruwa Vatadage ©
Polonnaruwa Vatadage

2
nights
Kandy

Kandy ©
Nestled between mountains in inland Sri Lanka, Kandy proudly bears its World Heritage Site designation while remaining culturally independent and colorfully picturesque.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Tue): identify plant and animal life at Royal Botanical Gardens, appreciate the history behind Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, then contemplate the long history of Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and finally explore the activities along Kandy Lake.

For other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read Kandy sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Polonnaruwa to Kandy takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Nuwara Eliya.

Things to do in Kandy

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trip

Royal Botanical Gardens
Highlights from your plan
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ©
Royal Botanical Gardens ©
Royal Botanical Gardens
Kandy Lake ©
Kandy Lake

1
night
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya ©
Sitting high up in the hills, the green and pleasant Nuwara Eliya offers both a rich history and proximity to pristine natural areas.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Wed): explore the striking landscape of Horton Plains National Park, then walk around Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Nuwara Eliya and Tea Country.

To find photos, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Nuwara Eliya trip builder app .

Drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya in 2.5 hours. On the 8th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Ella.

Things to do in Nuwara Eliya

Parks Wildlife Nature
Highlights from your plan
Horton Plains National Park ©
Horton Plains National Park
Sita Temple ©
Sita Temple
Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya
Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya

1
night
Ella

Ella ©
The relaxing hilltop village of Ella benefits from a more temperate climate than much of the rest of country thanks to its high elevation.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Thu): take in the dramatic natural features at Ella Rock.

For ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Ella tour builder .

Traveling by car from Nuwara Eliya to Ella takes 2 hours. In August in Ella, expect temperatures between 39°C during the day and 29°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Fri) early enough to drive to Arugam Bay.

Things to do in Ella

Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Little Adam's Peak ©
Little Adam's Peak
Ella Rock ©
Ella Rock
Ravana Ella Falls ©
Ravana Ella Falls

2
nights
Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay ©
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Sat): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kudumbigala Monastery, contemplate the waterfront views at Pottuvil Lagoon, then don't miss a visit to Muhudu Maha Vihara, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Arugam Bay. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Rice & Carry Bags Shop, then visit a coastal fixture at Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Arugam Bay using our trip planner.

Traveling by car from Ella to Arugam Bay takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In August, daytime highs in Arugam Bay are 39°C, while nighttime lows are 29°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) early enough to travel to Udawalawa.

Things to do in Arugam Bay

Historic Sites Nature Parks
Find places to stay Aug 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse ©
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse
Arugam Bay ©
Arugam Bay
Pottuvil Lagoon ©
Pottuvil Lagoon

1
night
Udawalawa

Udawalawa ©
Start off your visit on the 12th (Mon): identify plant and animal life at Udawalawa Safari and then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Udawalawa Elephant Orphanage.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Udawalawa trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Arugam Bay to Udawalawa. August in Udawalawa sees daily highs of 39°C and lows of 29°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Kalametiya.

Things to do in Udawalawa

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Udawalawa Safari
Highlights from your plan
Udawalawa Safari ©
Udawalawa Safari

2
nights
Kalametiya

Kalametiya ©
On the 13th (Tue), identify plant and animal life at Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary, then don't miss a visit to Kalametiya Eco Bird Watching, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary.

To find more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Kalametiya trip planner.

You can drive from Udawalawa to Kalametiya in 1.5 hours. August in Kalametiya sees daily highs of 39°C and lows of 29°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Wed) to allow time for the car ride to Mirissa.

Things to do in Kalametiya

Parks Wildlife Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Kalametiya Eco Bird Watching ©
Kalametiya Eco Bird Watching
Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary ©
Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary
Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary ©
Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary

2
nights
Mirissa

Mirissa ©
The fishing town of Mirissa has developed into a notable tourist destination.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Wed): learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Snake Farm. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Mirissa Beach, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Polhena Beach.

To find maps, reviews, photos, and tourist information, read our Mirissa sightseeing planner .

Getting from Kalametiya to Mirissa by car takes about 2 hours. August in Mirissa sees daily highs of 39°C and lows of 29°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can go by car to Galle.

Things to do in Mirissa

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Matara
Highlights from your plan
Mirissa Beach ©
Mirissa Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Spas

2
nights
Galle

Galle ©
The southernmost city on the island, Galle combines colonial-era history with a tropical feel and climate.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Fri): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Dutch Reformed Church.

To see traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Galle travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Mirissa to Galle takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train. In August in Galle, expect temperatures between 36°C during the day and 30°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sun) early enough to catch the train to Colombo.

Things to do in Galle

Wildlife Parks Nature

Side Trips

Unawatuna, Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Sinharaja Forest Reserve ©
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Unawatuna Devol Devalaya ©
Unawatuna Devol Devalaya
Dutch Reformed Church ©
Dutch Reformed Church

1
day
Colombo

Colombo ©
On the 18th (Sun), don't miss a visit to Independence Square, then see the interesting displays at Colombo National Museum, then stroll around Galle Face Green, and finally browse the different shops at Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct.

To see where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, read our Colombo holiday planner.

Traveling by train from Galle to Colombo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sun) so you can travel to Sigiriya.

Things to do in Colombo

Museums Shopping Parks
Highlights from your plan
Colombo National Museum ©
Colombo National Museum
Galle Face Green ©
Galle Face Green
Independence Square ©
Independence Square

3
nights
Sigiriya

Sigiriya ©
The historic rock of the same name dominates the landscape of World Heritage-listed Sigiriya, where the steep and striking lava plug contains the ruins of an ancient empire.
Start off your visit on the 19th (Mon): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Minneriya National Park. Keep things going the next day: delve into the distant past at Sigiriya.

For where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, use the Sigiriya travel site .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Colombo to Sigiriya takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Wed) to allow time for travel to Sigiriya.

Things to do in Sigiriya

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trip

Minneriya National Park
Find places to stay Aug 18 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Sigiriya ©
Sigiriya
Minneriya National Park ©
Minneriya National Park
Pidurangala Rock ©
Pidurangala Rock

2
nights
Sigiriya

Kick off your visit on the 21st (Wed): identify plant and animal life at Dhilip De Alwis, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Habarana Buddhist Temple, and then see the interesting displays at Sigiriya Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu): get outside with Outdoor Activities.

To find maps, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Sigiriya trip planning website .

Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Sigiriya

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Habarana, Karu Arts & Crafts
Find places to stay Aug 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Safaris
Dhilip De Alwis ©
Dhilip De Alwis
Karu Arts & Crafts ©
Karu Arts & Crafts

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