Abundant wildlife, breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious food—Sri Lanka has them all, making this tropical island nation a welcoming destination for families. Spend a week with your family discovering Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle, looking for elephants, monkeys, and elusive Asian leopards, and visiting iconic sites such as Sigiriya Rock, once carved into the shape of a lion, and Kandy's Royal Palace and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Itinerary #1: Sri Lanka for Families: Cultural Triangle & South Coast

Children of all ages will find something just for them on this seven-day visit to Columbo, the Cultural Triangle, and Unawatuna's palm-bordered beaches. Optional hands-on activities like traditional drumming lessons, kid-friendly art classes, and whale watching tours allow parents to create a Sri Lankan adventure that matches their family's travel style.

mother and son stare at the ocean
A mother and son watch the waves roll in on Unawatuna Beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Explore the City Colombo
Day 2 Visit the Dehiwala Zoo, Transfer to Sigiriya & the Cultural Triangle Sigiriya
Day 3 Rural Village Trail in Habarana, Elephant Safari in Minneriya National Park Sigiriya
Day 4 Climb Sigiriya Rock, Transfer to Kandy, Temple of the Tooth & Cultural Show  Kandy
Day 5 Transfer to Ella, Visit Lipton's Seat & Tea Estate Ella
Day 6 Transfer to the Beaches of Unawatuna, Discover Galle Dutch Fort  Unawatuna
Day 7 Transfer to Colombo Airport & Depart  

Kick off your journey with a visit to Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. Spend the morning at the Dehiwala National Zoo and enjoy free time to explore downtown and get acquainted with Sri Lankan cuisine. Next, embark on a morning cycling and boating tour of Lake Habarana. Cycle along the lakeshore path or travel by tuk-tuk (motorized cycle rickshaw) before heading to Minneriya National Park for an afternoon elephant-watching safari. Your adventure continues at a 5th-century fortress on top of Sigiriya Rock, where you'll ascend stone steps to the summit (or, for younger children, stop at a waypoint).

Relax on the transfer to Kandy, where you'll tour the Royal Palace and Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), built to house the Buddha's tooth. Get some hands-on musical experience at a traditional Sri Lankan drumming lesson and learn more about Sri Lanka's cultural heritage at a family-friendly evening show. In Ella, wander through tea fields and learn how Sri Lanka's world-famous tea is produced. End your journey in Unawatuna, relaxing with your family on sandy beaches and exploring Galle's Dutch colonial-era pirate heritage. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Sri Lanka Off the Beaten Path Family Adventure

This one-week itinerary takes your adventure-loving family on a journey to discover Sri Lanka's cultural heritage and natural beauty in some unexpected places. It combines family-friendly activities with outdoor exploration, a cooking demonstration, a visit to an indigenous village, and an afternoon in Colombo.

Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya - Paddle the peaceful lagoons of Kalpitya with the kids
Paddle the peaceful lagoons of Kalpitiya with the kids
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Coastal Kalpitiya Kalpitiya
Day 2 Wilpattu National Park Wildlife Safari, Transfer to Matale Matale
Day 3 Boat Ride at Bowathanna Reservoir, Sri Lankan Cooking Demonstration Matale
Day 4 Transfer to Mahiyanganaya, Kaluwa Wetuna Ella Waterfall Hike Mahiyanganaya
Day 5 Dambana Vedda Village Visit Mahiyanganaya
Day 6 Transfer to Colombo, Explore the City Colombo
Day 7 Depart Colombo  

Begin your vacation with a paddling trip on Kalpitiya's lagoon, where you'll explore mangrove forests and have an opportunity to birdwatch. Before reaching Matale, your outdoor adventure continues with a safari in Wilpattu National Park, home to leopards, sloth bears, and elephants. Here, you'll explore the Bowathanna Reservoir by traditional boat. Later, participate in a cooking demonstration and learn how local spices enhance the flavors of traditional Sri Lankan dishes.

Day 4 sees Mahiyanganaya as your home base. Hike to the Kaluwa Wetuna Ella waterfall, near the village of Rathna Ella. This hike can be modified for young children or extended to include the Rathna Ella Waterfall. Next, spend a day at the Dambana Vedda Village. You'll meet members of a forest-dwelling indigenous tribe and learn about their customs. On Day 6, you'll have free time in Colombo. You might like to visit the Dehiwala National Zoo, Colombo National Museum, or the restful Seema Malaka Buddhist TempleLearn more

Plan your trip to Sri Lanka
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Sri Lanka Family Getaway: Sigiriya, Pasidukah & Kandy

Discover Sri Lanka's natural wonders and vibrant culture on this family-focused getaway. Your experiences will range from viewing elephants and monkeys to snorkeling in the Indian Ocean and touring the Kandy countryside. Kid-friendly activities such as a bonfire, riverside picnic, and outdoor movie night will appeal to even the youngest travelers.

Elephants gathered on the shores of Minneriya Tank Reservoir
The children will love seeing the elephants in Minneriya National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Sigiriya, Safari at Minneriya National Park Sigiriya
Day 2 Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Tour the Ancient Village of Puranagama Sigiriya
Day 3 Transfer to Pasikudah, See the Monkey Kingdom of Polonnaruwa Pasikudah
Day 4 Snorkeling in Pasikudah Pasikudah
Day 5 Transfer to Kandy, Visit the Giragama Tea Factory, Tour the Sacred City  Kandy
Day 6 Village Walk, Temple Visit and Riverside Picnic Kandy
Day 7 Transfer to Colombo Airport and Depart  

Start your adventure at Minneriya National Park, where Asian elephants spend their dry season. Climb Sigiriya Rock to see the ancient fortress on top of an enormous granite formation. Next, visit Puranagama, a re-creation of a traditional Sinhalese hamlet, and discover how Sri Lankan villagers lived long ago. Tour Polonnaruwa's 12th-century ruins and meet monkey conservation experts for a guided visit and plenty of monkey-spotting opportunities. Enjoy some family downtime in Pasikudah. Children ages seven and up can take a guided snorkeling tour while younger siblings play on the beach.

On Day 5, visit a tea factory in Giragama to learn about growing and processing Ceylon tea. Spend two nights in Kandy, home to the Royal Palace and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, where one of the Buddha's teeth is enshrined. Explore the city and visit the hilltop Bahirawakanda Buddha statue that looms over Kandy. Day 6 includes a peaceful morning exploring the outlying countryside and relaxing over a picnic lunch by the Mahaweli River. On your way back to Kandy, stroll through Peradeniya's peaceful Royal Botanical Gardens to encounter Sri Lanka's trees, flowers, and birds. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Family Fun in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, Kandy & Wadduwa

This one-week family itinerary is packed with outdoor adventures and cultural discoveries. After a safari, rock fortress climb, monkey encounter, and cycling tour, you'll attend a cultural show, visit a biodiversity complex with an astonishingly tall tower you can climb, and spend two relaxing days at the beach.

Sri Lanka - Take the kids to see famed Sigiriya
 Take the kids to see the famed Sigiriya 
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Sigiriya, Safari at Minneriya National Park Sigiriya
Day 2 Tour the Monkey Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, Village Cycling Tour of Hiriwadunna Sigiriya
Day 3 Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Transfer to Kandy, Visit the Temple of the Tooth Kandy
Day 4 Explore the Kotmale Dam, Traditional Music & Drumming at a Cultural Show Kandy
Day 5 Climb the Magical Tower of Ambuluwawa, Transfer to Wadduwa Wadduwa
Day 6 Free Day in Wadduwa Wadduwa
Day 7 Transfer to Colombo & Depart  

The family fun begins with a Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park to see Asian elephants gather at the Minneriya Tank Reservoir. On Day 2, you'll spend a morning with primate conservation experts to learn about their work with the monkey populations at the UNESCO-listed ruins of Polonnaruwa before touring a traditional farming village by bike. Climb colossal Sigiriya Rock to view the ancient fortress atop the monolith, transfer to Kandy, and spend the afternoon visiting the Royal Palace and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, sacred to Buddhists because it holds a tooth of the Buddha.

Next, you'll travel to Kotmale Dam, where your guide will point out panoramic vistas. You'll also see Mahaweli Maha Seya, a stupa (shrine) built when the dam was constructed, and attend an evening cultural show complete with dancing, acrobatics, and fire tricks. On Day 5, you'll travel to the Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex on a hill overlooking Gampola. Older children and adults may climb Ambuluwawa Tower, while younger kids can explore the gardens at the tower's base. Your family holiday wraps up in Wadduwa, where you can swim or relax on the beach. Learn more

More Great 1-Week Sri Lanka Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration as you plan your trip to Sri Lanka? Take a look at these other week-long Sri Lanka itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 1 Week in Sri Lanka - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Sri Lanka - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas