Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary

Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary

Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary

Sri Lanka is a great country that owns countless beautiful sights. Three weeks is an ideal length for a Sri Lanka route. The island is easy to travel although getting from A to B can be time-consuming due to traffic conditions. Get around by bus, train, tuk-tuk, motorbike, taxi or Uber. We created a 3-week Sri Lanka route guide and give you some additional options to add if you have more time during your route through Sri Lanka.

Quickly jump into the guide:

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Sri lanka 3 week route map

Sri Lanka Route Guide

This 3-week itinerary through Sri Lanka is a day by day Sri Lanka route. Note that most days contain links to much larger articles about that specific location. (Photo below is in Mirissa) ➳ Order your Visa online here

sri lanka route guide secret beach

Day 1 – 2: Relaxing in Negombo or Colombo

Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital city. This city is not the closest to the airport. Negombo is usually a better and more laid back city to stay. Take about one or two days to relax from your flight.

Get tickets from Colombo to Kandy

Day 3: Sightseeing in Kandy

Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second largest city. On your way to the city, make sure to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens. In Kandy, walk around the lake or do visit one of the temples in the city.

Read: Things to do in Kandy

sri lanka route guide kandy

Day 4: Sigiriya

Lion Rock in Sigiriya is one of the country’s most famous landmarks. Climb up the enormous 200m square shaped rock. Lion Rock is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sights in Sri Lanka, and a must visit.

Read: Climb up Lion Rock in Sigiriya

Day 5: Back to Kandy

Head back to Kandy to catch the most beautiful train ride of Sri Lanka. It takes you on an unforgettable 5-7 hour ride through the beautiful hilltops filled with tea plantations. Get Kandy Train Tickets here

Read: Most Beautiful Train Ride from Kandy to Ella

sri lanka route guide kandy ella train

Day 6 – 7: Nuwara Eliya

Get off the train in Nuwara Eliya and see little England in Sri Lanka. Visit the beautiful tea plantations and factories.

Read: Explore the Tea Plantations of Nuwara Eliya

Day 8 – 10: Ella

Visit one of the most chilled out places in Sri Lanka; Ella. Climb to higher levels on Mini Adams Peak or Ella Rock, explore the tea plantation and visit the nine arch bridge. Ella is a must do in Sri Lanka!

Read: Things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka route guide Ella

Day 11 – 13: Arugam Bay

Ready to catch some waves or fully relax? Arugam Bay has the best surfing points in Sri Lanka. Many surfers make this their home from April to October. It is one of those areas in the world you have to visit at least once in a lifetime.

Read: 7 Things to do in Arugam Bay

Day 14: Visit one of the National Parks in Sri Lanka

Go and find vast groups of wild elephants and other wildlife in Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park or one of the other many beautiful national parks in Sri Lanka.

Read: Best places to see Elephants in Sri Lanka

Day 15 – 16: Mirissa

Mirissa is all about the beach, relaxing and great restaurants. This part of the country has some of the best Sri Lankan sunsets! Tip: Are you the person that likes to escape busy beaches? Find your perfect beach in the list of 10 x Best Beaches in Sri Lanka.

Read: 9 Great Things to do in Mirissa

Things To Do Mirissa Sri Lanka coconut tree header

Day 17 – 19: Unawatuna

The Unawatuna area has the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka. The town itself is small, has excellent shopping, guesthouses, trendy restaurants and a quite some activities and sightseeing nearby. From there you can easily visit Galle Fort, Koggala Lake, and many other towns.

Read: Mini-Guide: Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Day 20: Back to Colombo

Finish your trip and stay close to the airport in Colombo. If you have a little extra time, visit Barefoot handicraft and its fantastic restaurant.

Day 21: Return home

Optional places

Do you have even more time than 3 weeks in Sri Lanka? Extend the route and visit the northern part of Sri Lanka. These are other popular places to visit.

sri lanka route guide trincomalee

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. There isn’t a perfect period to visit because each side of the island has it’s own “best time to visit.” ☀️

  • North – May to September
  • Center – January to April
  • South – December – March

Sri Lanka Visa

You need a Sri Lanka visa to be allowed into the country. Arranging a visa isn’t difficult at all. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months. You have several options for obtaining a visa for Sri Lanka.

Order your Visa online here

Online visa to Sri Lanka

The first option is applying for your Sri Lanka visa online. It’s wise to apply at least a few days before your arrival. Usually, the applications are approved within a few hours and you will receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). This 30-day visa will cost you $30 and can only be paid by credit card.

Sri Lanka Route Guide street

Visa Bureau

If you don’t have a credit card then head over to a visa bureau. You will pay a little extra but they will arrange this for you without having to own a credit card.

Visa on Arrival

Even if you have not applied for ETA can get a Visa on Arrival on arrival for Sri Lanka. There is a counter at the airport in Colombo where you can go to. For this service, you will pay $5 extra and you have to wait long.

sri lanka route guide galle dutch fort

Costs of traveling through Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, they pay in Rupee. The Sri Lankan Rupee is not the same as in India. At this time, 150 rupees is equal to 1 dollar.

Cost of a room in Sri Lanka

It is quite difficult to find a room for under $10 per night. If you’re looking for a pretty good room in a nice guesthouse go quickly towards the $15 to $20 per night for a double room. Dorms are hardly in Sri Lanka and those that do exist are quite expensive.

Sri Lanka route guide accommodation

This was our view in Ella.

Costs of transportation

It’s not typical in Sri Lanka, but to hire a car + driver will usually cost about $50 per day. Buses are a very cheap option. It’s just a few dollars for a full day of traveling by bus, most of the time they are packed and you will have to stand. Don’t expect an air conditioning but luckily there’s a TV with Sri Lankan music videos on it.

sri lanka route guide public transport

Taking the train is a must in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka owns some of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The price for a second-class cabin varies from $1.50 to $4. Sometimes they run out of seats, meaning you have to stand or sit on the floor. But this a beautiful experience itself.

Costs of food & drinks

Sri Lanka has a delicious kitchen. A local rice and curry cost about 100-400 Rupee which is $1 – $3. Alcohol can be hard to get in some parts of Sri Lanka because of their religions. The price of a Tiger beer is around $2.

sri lanka route guide smoothie

Vaccinations Sri Lanka

Whatever the length of your trip is, it’s recommended to get two vaccines:

  1. DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio)
  2. Hepatitis A

Staying away for several months? Then you probably should get vaccinations against Hepatitis B and rabies. Malaria occurs in the north of Sri Lanka. It is wise to always use DEET.

We got you a $15 discount at if you book via this link, you’re welcome!

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