With 10 days to spend in Sri Lanka, there are several great ways to structure your trip. Choose a highlights tour to the country's UNESCO World Heritage Sites and ancient temples, explore the great outdoors on an active adventure that includes cycling and whitewater rafting or relax on a laid-back itinerary showcasing quiet beaches and villages. Alternatively, you could combine a week in Sri Lanka with a few days in the island paradise of the Maldives. Read over the following itineraries to learn more about your options.

Itinerary #1: Highlights of Sri Lanka 

See the best of Sri Lanka on this exciting 10-day tour that features whale-watching, a Jeep safari, a visit to a home for baby elephants, stops at ancient temples, and time to relax on the beach.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore "Little Rome" in Negombo Negombo
Day 2 Discover the Ancient Rock Fortress of Sigiriya Sigiriya
Day 3 Explore Temples in Dambulla & Kandy Kandy
Day 4 Learn About Ceylon Tea Production Nuwara Eliya
Day 5 Spot Wildlife in Yala National Park Yala
Day 6 Look for Wild Elephants in Udawalawe National Park Udawalawe
Day 7 Visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home Mirissa
Day 8 Go Whale-Watching off the Coast of Mirissa Mirissa
Day 9 Free Day in Mirissa Mirissa
Day 10 Sightsee in Colombo & Depart  


Welcome to Sri Lanka! You'll begin the tour in Negombo, exploring the monuments of so-called "Little Rome." Then you'll move on to Sigiriya to see the ancient rock fortress once shaped like a giant lion: only the stone-carved paws remain today. You'll visit temples in Dambulla and Kandy, then learn about the production of Ceylon tea, one of the country's key exports, in the place where it's harvested and produced.

Continue on to Yala National Park, where you'll search for native wildlife on a Jeep safari. Look for wild elephants in Udawalawe National Park, then get up close with baby elephants being cared for by humans at the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home. Then it's off to the sea. You'll go on a whale-watching boat tour off the coast of Mirissa, followed by a free day to explore the coastal area on a motorbike or tuk-tuk. Finish up with some sightseeing in Colombo, home to an intriguing blend of historical and modern architecture, before you catch a flight out. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Outdoor Adventure in Sri Lanka

Hike, cycle, raft, and swim through the Sri Lankan wilderness on this action-packed 10-day tour that takes you to many of the country's natural attractions for adventure and relaxation.

 A picturesque waterfall in the Knuckles Mountain Range
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore "Little Rome" in Negombo Negombo
Day 2 Hike Through Spectacular Scenery in Knuckles Knuckles
Day 3 Go Trekking & Visit Temples in Kandy Kandy
Day 4 Raft on the Kelani River Nuwara Eliya
Day 5 Discover Horton Plains National Park Belihuloya
Day 6 Cycle & Hike Along the Belihuloya River Belihuloya
Day 7 Look for Wild Elephants in Udawalawe National Park Udawalawe
Day 8 Visit Baby Elephants & Hit the Beach in Bentota Bentota
Day 9 Free Day in Bentota Bentota
Day 10 Sightsee in Colombo & Depart  


The journey begins in Negombo. You'll quickly move away from civilization into the spectacular scenery of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Go trekking on forest trails, then visit temples in Kandy before embarking on a whitewater rafting adventure on the Kelani River, an activity suitable for all ages and levels of expertise. Next, it's onward to Horton Plains National Park, where you'll spot rare animals in the wild and enjoy wonderful views of tea plantations from the "World’s End" precipice.

You'll go hiking and cycling along the Belihuloya River and go on a Jeep safari to look for elephants in Udawalawe National Park the next day. At Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home on day eight, you'll have the rare chance to see baby elephants being taken care of by humans before they're released back into the wild. Continue on to Bentota, where you'll spend the next day or two relaxing by the Indian Ocean. You'll wrap up with a morning of sightseeing and souvenir shopping in Colombo before the trip ends. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Beaches & Villages of Sri Lanka

Discover quiet villages and laid-back beach towns on this relaxed trip around Sri Lanka that features turtle-watching on the sand, an epic trip on an antique train, and the chance to meet a Buddhist monk.

Sunrise over the Indian Ocean in Tangalle
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore "Little Rome" in Negombo Negombo
Day 2 Visit the Fish Market in Negombo Kandy
Day 3 Explore the Spice Trail & Meet a Buddhist Monk Kandy
Day 4 See the Famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic  Kandy
Day 5 Train Trip to Ella Ella
Day 6 Hike to Little Adam's Peak Ella
Day 7 Look for Turtles in the Wild in Tangalle Tangalle
Day 8 Spot Wildlife at Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary Tangalle
Day 9 Free Day in Tangalle  Tangalle
Day 10 Depart   


Like the previous itineraries, this journey starts in "Little Rome," also known as Negombo. You'll spend a couple of nights here, visiting the photogenic fish market and sightseeing. Then you'll have a unique cultural experience, following the Spice Trail of Kandy, dining in a Sri Lankan home, and meeting a Buddhist monk who will explain the tenets of Buddhism and the basics of meditation. Swing by the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy before catching a ride on an antique train to Ella.

Hike to Little Adam's Peak on day six, then transfer to Tangalle, a wonderful beach destination where you'll spend the remaining days of the trip. This is prime territory for spotting turtles on the beach: they come ashore to lay their eggs at night. You'll see more colorful wildlife on the next day's visit to Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary. Then you'll have a free day to just relax on the beach in Tangalle or add on a side excursion to Buddhist shrines and rock temples. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Best of Sri Lanka

This active 10-day tour around Sri Lanka is full of interactive activities, including a cooking class, a dolphin-watching boat tour, and several chances to spot wildlife on Jeep safaris around national parks.

Visit a tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Waikkala Waikkala
Day 2 Explore Wilpattu National Park Wilpattu
Day 3 Go on a Jeep Safari Around Wilpattu Wilpattu
Day 4 Sightsee in Anuradhapura Trincomalee
Day 5 Tour the Coast Near Trincomalee on a Boat Trincomalee
Day 6 See the Rock Fortress at Sigiriya Sigiriya
Day 7 Visit Temples in Dambulla & Kandy Kandy
Day 8 Learn About Tea in Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya
Day 9 Discover the City of Colombo Colombo
Day 10 Depart   


Arrive in Waikkala. You'll explore Wilpattu National Park for the next few days, going on guided Jeep safari tours around the park, spotting rare wildlife in their natural habitats. You'll sleep at a safari camp, and take breaks there for lunch, as well — the resident chef will teach you how to make a Sri Lankan meal during a family cooking class. Do some sightseeing in Anuradhapura before moving on to Trincomalee, where activities include whale-watching (in season), dolphin-watching, boating, and snorkeling.

Continue on to Sigiriya to see the massive rock fortress, then spend day seven touring more ancient temples in Dambulla and Kandy. Cool off in Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as "Little England," where the weather is cooler and tea production is a major industry. You'll tour a plantation to learn about the process, then proceed to the city of Colombo to do some cultural sightseeing and market shopping for souvenirs before the trip comes to a close. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Discover Sri Lanka & the Maldives

On this 10-day tour of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, balance cultural sightseeing with relaxation, touring temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites before moving on to island beaches for snorkeling, sunbathing, and sunset boat rides. 

Colorful boats in a Sri Lankan harbor

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sri Lanka & Transfer to Negombo Negombo
Day 2 Visit Medieval Yapahuwa Girithale
Day 3 Tour Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa Girithale
Day 4 Explore Dambulla Cave Temple Kandy
Day 5 Tour Buddhist Temples in the Region Kandy
Day 6 Shop & Relax in Colombo Colombo
Day 7 Fly to the Maldives & Enjoy the Beach South Male Atoll
Days 8-9 Discover the Beauty of the Maldives South Male Atoll
Day 10 Depart   


The trip kicks off in Negombo, Sri Lanka. You'll base yourself in Girithale for the next few nights, touring the ancient capital of Sri Lanka at Yapahuwa as well as the rock temple at Sigiriya and the massive reservoir at Polonnaruwa. More awe-inspiring temples await on days four and five as you visit Dambulla Cave Temple, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, and the temples of Gadaladeniya, Lankathilaka, and Ambekka

Take a day to relax and shop in Colombo, the country's current capital city. Then you'll fly to the Maldives, spending a few nights on the island of South Male Atoll. Explore this island paradise, going on snorkeling excursions, swimming in a turquoise lagoon, relaxing at a luxurious resort, and winding down in the evening with a sunset cruise that doubles as a dolphin-watching tour. It's always hard to say goodbye to this magical place, but the trip wraps up on day ten. Learn more

More Great Sri Lanka Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Sri Lanka? Check out these other Sri Lanka itineraries, with active adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 10 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 10 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas