A complete 2 week itinerary through Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka with its countless beautiful sights is my all-time favorite travel destination. The island offers everything from a paradise coastline in the south to misty mountains, tropical jungle, and tea plantations in the central highlands. Although you could probably spend a lifetime traveling through this country, the ideal length of a vacation is 2 weeks. This complete 2 week itinerary through Sri Lank takes you to destinations like Weligama, Mirissa, Hiriketiya, Udawalawe National Park, Ella, Kandy, and Colombo. Get ready – here we go!

Map of your 2 week Sri Lanka itinerary

This 2 week travel itinerary through Sri Lanka contains a day-by-day schedule. You get to experience the vibrant cultural heritage in the capital, the surf culture on the south coast, a safari in a national park, an enchanting train ride through lush tea plantations, and hiking in the mountains. All at the same time as meeting the kind Sri Lankan people and experiencing their rich culture (and great food!)

Let this guide help you plan your Sri Lankan trip, and if you have more time, I’ve added some additional options. If you want more details on specific locations, head to this page where I’ve gathered 10+ Sri Lanka travel guides.

Day 1: Flight, arriving in Negombo

Going to Sri Lanka from Sweden is a rather long flight. We had two layovers: the first one in Copenhagen, and the other one in Doha. The flight took approximately 16 hours. If you are not arriving in Sri Lanka too late in the evening, I suggest you continue straight to your first destination: Weligama. Weligama is located a 3 hour drive from the international airport in Negombo.

Getting to Weligama: Our first plan was to take the train to Weligama. Taking the train is a really cheap way to travel around the island. But after a quick scan, we found out that taking a cab is pretty cheap too. We paid 12 000 Sri Lankan rupees (LKR), which is around 60 EUR or 600 SEK, for a 3-hour drive. To us, this was money well spent. We had comfortable seats, air condition and could sleep peacefully. We asked our guesthouse in Weligama to send a driver, but you can also book a taxi via Sri Lankan taxi – or ask someone at the airport.

Day 2 – 4: Chill & surf in Weligama

Weligama is the place to be for those who love surfing, trendy cafés and soft vibes. This is a laid back town to spend your first days in Sri Lanka. Weligama beach is a 3 kilometers long sandy beach, and is known as one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka for beginner surfing. Plenty of surf camps are located here, and the beach is crowded with surf schools and board rentals. Go for a surf lesson, or rent a board on your own for an hour (250 LKR) to experience the waves.

Read more: 5 x best restaurants in Weligama, Sri Lanka

Coconut Tree Hill and Secret Beach in Mirissa.

Day 6 – 7: Relax in Mirissa

Mirissa is mostly about chilling at the beach and exploring the ocean. Mirissa is sometimes missed by travelers but was according to me the perfect place for some relaxing days. Mirissa is much smaller than Weligama and has a soft atmosphere with a beautiful beach, clear water, and great restaurants. During these days you can go diving, search for turtles, take a relaxing massage, etc.

Read more: Top 10 things to do in Mirissa

Day 8 – 9: Dikwella & Hiriketiya beach

Head east to the small town of Dikwella (officially Dickwella). Here you will find many trendy restaurants and two great beaches: Dikwella beach and Hiriketiya beach. Hiriketiya is smaller and famous for its surfing, and Dikwella is larger and calmer. Stay somewhere in between to experience them both.

➳ Read more: A complete travel guide to Dikwella & Hiriketiya beach

Udawalawe National Park is one of the best places to see elephants in Sri Lanka.

Day 10: Safari in Udawalawe National Park

When in Sri Lanka you should definitely visit one of the many national parks. The country is home to over 26 national parks and is probably the best country in Asia to experience wild animals. Udawalawe National Park is located between Dikwella and Ella and is popular among those who want guaranteed elephant sightings. Unlike Yala National Park, Udawalawe is smaller but is still home to a significant number of elephants. Udawalawe is actually one of the best places to see elephants in Sri Lanka.

Going to Udawalawe from the south coast with public transport is possible. You take a bus to Matara and there you switch to another one. After observing the craziness of the buses, we decided that going by car felt better. The car ride cost us 8000 LKR (400 SEK/40 EUR). We decided to book one hotel night in Udawalawe. We arrived in the evening, got some dinner at the hotel, and then went to sleep to catch a 6 am safari.

Tips! While in Udawalawe, make sure to visit the baby elephants in the Elephant Transit Home.

The iconic Nine Arch Bridge, and the view from Little Adam’s Peak, both in Ella.

Day 11: Visit the mountain village Ella

Ella is a small town located in the central highlands, surrounded by mountains and tea plantations. The views you get to see here are stunning! Although Ella is a popular stop for tourists, the atmosphere is still relaxed. From here you can visit tea plantations, go on spectacular hikes like Little Adams Peak, swim in waterfalls, and meet monkeys (that will steal the bananas you saved for your afternoon snack). From Ella, you can board the train to Kandy, which is known to be the most beautiful train ride in the world.

We went from Udawalawe to Ella by car. Again worth it. It took 2 hours and cost 6000 LKR (300 SEK/30 EUR).

Tips! You can easily spend 3–4 days in Ella if you wish to extend your trip to Sri Lanka.

 Read more: 8 things to do in Ella – a guide to the most scenic village in Sri Lanka

Taking the train from Ella to Kandy is a must-do while in Sri Lanka.

Day 12: The world’s most beautiful train ride, from Ella to Kandy

The best way to get to Kandy from Ella is definitely by train. It takes about 7 hours, but it is definitely worth it. This scenic train ride is known to be the world’s most beautiful train ride. The train trip takes you through tea plantations, on mountain tops, and through beautiful villages. Make sure to book your ticket in advance. We booked our tickets a few weeks before our trip and they were almost sold out.

We didn’t have more than a few hours in Kandy before leaving for Colombo the next day. To be honest: I’m glad we didn’t have more time. There are some things to do in Kandy, like visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, but I wouldn’t want to prioritize them over the south coast or Ella.

Tips! Have more days in Sri Lanka? Then make a stop in Nuwara Eliya on your way to Kandy! This little mountain village is considered to be the highest located village (in altitude) in Sri Lanka and is home to many beautiful tea plantations and hike trails.

Day 13: Sightseeing in Colombo

Finish your trip and stay close to the airport in Colombo. Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka, and also the biggest city on the island. We had one day here before we had to go to Negombo and the airport. The city has an interesting history, with several temples and buildings to explore – but I would say one day is enough. Spend the evening at Galle Face Green, an ocean-side urban park in Colombo. Since Colombo is located on the west coast you can see a pretty good sunset from here.

A close-up photo of two tuk tuks

Day 14: Flight back home

Head to Negombo and the airport. Give the world a big smile and enjoy the fact that you just spent 14 days in a wonderful country!

Optional places

Do you have more time in Sri Lanka? Extend the route with these popular places:

  • Unawatuna and Dalawella: Two famous beach towns on the south coast. Unawatuna is a bit too touristy for me. Dalawella is small but popular among sea turtles, which makes it worth a visit!
  • Galle Fort: Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site that nowadays is filled with impressive colonial buildings, cute shops, and trendy cafés. If you stay in Unawatuna you can make a day trip to Galle Fort, as it’s located only 20 minutes from Unawatuna.
  • Yala National Park: Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s most popular wildlife park due to its many leopards. We chose Udawalawe over Yala because we wanted to see elephants.
  • Arugam Bay: Arugam Bay on the east coast of Sri Lanka is known as a surfers paradise and one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
  • Climb Sigiriya Rock: Lion Rock in Sigiriya is one of the most popular landmarks in Sri Lanka. The rock is located 2,5 hours north of Kandy. A visit here means you need to extend your trip by at least two days.
  • Kaudulla National Park: Kaudulla National Park is home to 200+ elephants, which makes it a great alternative to Udawalawe National Park.
  • Nuwara Eliya: Explore the lush mountain village Nuwara Eliya, also known as Little England of Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is located at 1900 meters above sea level which makes the environment unique, with lush tea plantations and cooler temperatures
  • Elephant Freedom Project in Kegalle: Spend a few days volunteering at the Elephant Freedom Project in Kegalle, one of the few ethical sanctuaries for elephants in Sri Lanka.
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