- Search for elephants & leopards on safari in Yala National Park
- Hike your way to the breathtaking St. Clair Waterfall
- Marvel at Kandy's lakeside Temple of the Sacred Tooth
- Climb to the iconic rock fortress of Sigiriya
- Spot exotic birdlife in the biodiversity hotspot of Sinharaja
- Unwind on the Indian Ocean beaches of historic Galle
|Day 1||Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Bentota||Bentota|
|Days 2-3||Relax on the Beaches of Bentota||Bentota|
|Day 4||Transfer to Tissamaharama||Tissamaharama|
|Day 5||Yala National Park Safari, Discover Kataragama||Tissamaharama|
|Day 6||Transfer to Ella, Lipton's Seat & Tea Plantation Tour||Ella|
|Day 7||Hike to Diyaluma Waterfall, Explore Ella||Ella|
|Day 8||Transfer to Nuwara Eliya via Horton Plains National Park||Nuwara Eliya|
|Day 9||Trek to Devon & St. Clair Waterfalls, Transfer to Kandy||Kandy|
|Day 10||Explore Kandy, Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth||Kandy|
|Day 11||Transfer to Giritale via Dambulla Royal Cave Temple||Giritale|
|Day 12||Rural Cycling Adventure in Habarana, Visit Ancient Polonnaruwa||Giritale|
|Day 13||Discover the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, Transfer to Mahiyanganaya||Mahiyanganaya|
|Day 14||Hike to Kaluwa Wetuna & Rathna Ella Waterfalls||Mahiyanganaya|
|Day 15||Transfer to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve||Sinharaja|
|Day 16||Explore the Sinharaja Forest Reserve||Sinharaja|
|Day 17||Transfer to Galle, Tour the Historic Dutch Fort||Galle|
|Day 18||Beach Day in Galle||Galle|
|Day 19||Transfer to Colombo & Explore the Capital||Colombo|
|Day 20||Depart Colombo|
Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to BentotaWelcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival at the Colombo Airport, you'll be met by your driver and transferred south to the golden beaches of Bentota. Calm seas and miles of pristine beaches make this laid-back resort a favorite holiday playground. As evening approaches, sample the local cuisine with a dinner of freshly caught seafood before watching a memorable sunset over the Laccadive Sea.
Days 2-3: Relax on the Beaches of Bentota
Day 4: Transfer to TissamaharamaHead east along Sri Lanka's southern coast today to reach the idyllic lakeside town of Tissamaharama. Located on the edge of Yala National Park, it's the perfect base for exploring the country's second-largest natural reserve and its diverse wildlife. Get settled into your hotel and rest up for tomorrow's safari adventure.
Day 5: Yala National Park Safari, Discover KataragamaCovering almost 621 square miles (1000 km), the spectacular Yala National Park was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka. The park is best known for its diverse wildlife, and it has an important role in the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards, and aquatic birds. The landscape of dry thorn scrub, interspersed with small dusty glades, is reminiscent of Africa and a perfect environment for safaris.
Spend the morning exploring this natural wonder on a guided Jeep safari, taking your time as you search for rare flora and fauna and keeping an eye out for the park's most famous inhabitants—a sizeable herd of Sri Lankan elephants.
Day 6: Transfer to Ella, Lipton's Seat & Tea Plantation Tour
Another scenic transfer this morning whisks you deep into the heart of Sri Lanka's tea country, where you'll get settled in the charming mountain village of Ella. Blessed with a wonderfully cool climate, the village is surrounded by lush peaks and tea plantations, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to the south coast of Sri Lanka.
In the afternoon, your driver will take you on a trip to Lipton’s Seat, one of Sri Lanka's most impressive viewpoints. The Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton used to survey his burgeoning empire from this lofty spot, and today you can enjoy similar views looking out across emerald hills and tea estates. Learn more about the country's most famous export at the surrounding tea estate, where you'll tour the fields and factory and finish off the visit with a cup of world-class Ceylon tea before heading back to Ella for the evening.
Day 7: Hike to Diyaluma Waterfall, Explore EllaStart this morning with a visit to Diyaluma Falls, the second-highest waterfall in the country. An enthralling and challenging hike takes you to the top of the 721-foot (220 m) drop, where several natural pools are surrounded by dense jungle and resplendent wilderness. Experience the thrill of swimming at the top of the towering natural wonder,
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 8: Transfer to Nuwara Eliya via Horton Plains National ParkYour driver will take you on another beautiful drive this morning to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Horton Plains National Park. Characterized by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, forests, and grassland, it's home to various mammal species, including elk, deer, giant squirrel, wild boar, wild hare, porcupine, and leopard. The park also has unique vegetation and offers a perfect ground to observe many rare and endemic highland birds. One particularly impressive physical feature in Horton Plains is the escarpment that falls dramatically to the lowlands. Aptly known as the "World’s End," the precipice offers a fabulous view of the tea estates below. On a clear day, you can see all the way out to the distant southern coastline.
Day 9: Trek to Devon & St. Clair Waterfalls, Transfer to KandyAfter breakfast this morning, an unforgettable day of trekking awaits as you lace up your hiking boots and set out toward two of Sri Lanka's most magnificent waterfalls. Your first stop is Devon Falls, known as the "Veil of the Valley," which plunges 318 feet (97 m). Then it's on to St. Clair Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in the country and commonly known as the "Little Niagara of Sri Lanka."
Day 10: Explore Kandy, Discover the Temple of the Sacred Tooth
Spend today discovering Sri Lanka's cultural capital and "City of Wonders." Start with a visit to the historic Royal Palace on the edge of Lake Kandy. Stroll through the palace’s shrines, temples, and gardens before visiting its crown jewel: Sri Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). The intricate temple complex dates to the 16th century and is home to Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic: a tooth from the Buddha.
As evening falls, you can attend a fascinating cultural show to see some great examples of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Day 11: Transfer to Giritale via Dambulla Royal Cave TempleTransfer north towards Giritale this morning, stopping en route at the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dambulla. This sacred cave temple complex dates back to the 1st century BCE and is home to some of the country’s most important religious artifacts. Wander through a series of caves to marvel at gilded interiors, dramatic murals, and an incredible collection of holy statues, including a 47-foot (14 m) reclining golden Buddha. Then climb to the temple’s rocky clifftops for sweeping views across the surrounding forests and countryside
Day 12: Rural Cycling Adventure in Habarana, Visit Ancient PolonnaruwaSet out into the countryside today on a guided cycling tour through rice paddies and back roads. You'll have the chance to interact with local farmers and learn about Sri Lankan rural life before pedaling to a quiet lake, where you can enjoy a scenic boat trip out onto the water. Afterward, cycle around the lake, keeping your eyes open for exotic birds. Break for a cup of tea or a fresh coconut along the journey, then sit down for lunch with a local family inside a mud hut.
Day 13: Discover the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, Transfer to MahiyanganayaSpend the morning exploring the iconic Sri Lankan monument of Sigiriya. This rocky monolith rises high out of the lush jungle and is home to the remains of an ancient fortress built in the late 5th century CE. The name translates to "Lion Rock," a reference to the way visitors traditionally began their final ascent to the top of the monument, passing through the open jaws and throat of a lion. Unfortunately, the only remains of this lion figure today are the gigantic paws sculpted into the side of the rock. You'll find beautiful water fountains, boulder gardens, frescos, mirror walls, and relics of the castle within the UNESCO-listed site.
Then it's time to meet your driver and transfer south to Mahiyanganaya, a small gem of a city near the banks of the Mahaweli River. With spectacular views across the Central Highlands and the Knuckles Mountain Range, it's a perfect base for outdoor adventure. Get settled into your hotel for the evening and rest up for a full day of hiking tomorrow.
Day 14: Hike to Kaluwa Wetuna & Rathna Ella WaterfallsStart today's adventure with a 1-mile (1.5 km) hike from the village of Rathna Ella village to see the majestic Kaluwa Wetuna Ella. The 98-foot (30 m) waterfall lies deep in the jungle and makes for a great trek that's beloved by nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. Then continue 2 miles (3.5 m) through the lush forests of Mahiyangana to Rathna Ella. This breathtaking destination is well worth the journey, as the 331-foot (101 m) waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful in Sri Lanka.
Day 15: Transfer to the Sinharaja Forest ReserveHit the road again today for a long drive south to one of Sri Lanka's most important biodiversity hotspots. Home to a spectacular variety of endangered mammals, birds, reptiles, and butterflies, the rainforest of Sinhajara is a nature lover's paradise. Get checked into your nearby accommodation and rest up—tomorrow you'll venture into the lush jungles to experience the dizzying diversity firsthand.
Day 16: Explore the Sinharaja Forest ReserveEnjoy an incredible trek through the World Biosphere Reserve of Sinharaja today. Walk along narrow paths and wooden footbridges to explore the rich biodiversity of the rainforest, keeping an eye out for monkeys, snakes, amphibians, and colorful birds
Day 17: Transfer to Galle, Tour the Historic Dutch FortTransfer to the coast today to discover the fascinating UNESCO-listed city of Galle. Step back in time as you explore its 300-year-old Dutch fortifications, surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean. After a tour of the city's historic past, you'll have time to explore its Dutch-colonial buildings, historic mosques, grand mansions, and museums. Wander the streets and you'll discover stylish cafes, shops, and boutique hotels owned by local and ex-pat artists and designers.
The city is also famous for Unawatuna Bay, a lovely cove protected by a reef. If you feel like cooling off, wrap up the afternoon with a dip in the ocean before getting settled into your accommodations for the evening.
Day 18: Beach Day in GalleToday is free for you to enjoy the many amenities of Galle at your leisure—relaxing on the beach, swimming in the warm seas, or soaking up some sun. Take a whale or dolphin watching excursion, explore more of the historic fort, or sample some mouth-watering Sri Lankan cuisine at one of the many excellent local restaurants.
Day 19: Transfer to Colombo & Explore the Capital
Day 20: Depart Colombo
After a leisurely breakfast (and maybe some last-minute souvenir shopping) it's time to meet your driver for the transfer to Colombo Airport and your departing flight. Safe travels!
More Sri Lanka Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Sri Lanka? Check out these other Sri Lanka itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
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