Make the Most of Your Time in Sri Lanka

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A herd of elephants on a sunny day in Sri Lanka
How Many Days to Spend in Sri Lanka

There's a lot to see in Sri Lanka—two weeks will allow you enough time to explore all the island's top sights or even travel to other countries in the surrounding area. However, you can still enjoy Sri Lanka in a shorter time frame. Five days is long enough to see the highlights or spend some time relaxing on the beach, while with seven days, you can go deeper and experience multiple regions.

A game drive in Minneriya National Park
Map of 5 Days in Sri Lanka - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Sri Lanka - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

For a short but sweet trip to Sri Lanka, try one of these 5-day itineraries. You might focus on the country's top highlights, featuring visits to UNESCO-listed temples and a safari in a national park, or you may focus more exclusively on wildlife viewing. Alternatively, cool off on a laid-back tour of Hill Country—excellent for tea lovers—or spend your time exploring the beautiful beaches of the Sri Lankan coastline. Find out more about your options by reading the itineraries below.

Visit a Ceylon tea estate with the family in tow
Map of 1 Week in Sri Lanka - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Sri Lanka - 4 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

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.

A turquoise bay off the coast of Mirissa
Map of 1 Week in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

If you have a week to spend in Sri Lanka, you might opt for a highlights tour that features stops at ancient temples and national parks. Another great option is to focus on wildlife viewing, choosing an itinerary that includes multiple Jeep safaris and a whale-watching tour. Relax on a laid-back tour of Sri Lanka's beaches, consider an itinerary geared to active families, or get off the beaten bath on a trekking trip around the country's quieter landscapes. Read over the following itineraries to learn more about your options.

Sri Lanka
Map of 9 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
9 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

In nine days, you can visit multiple regions and experience many cultural highlights of Sri Lanka. This includes trips to the famous Cultural Triangle of ancient Buddhist cities as well as highland tea plantations and the golden coast of the country's south. You can also include some wildlife spotting in national parks, hikes up rock temples, and cultural exchanges with local artisans.

Buddhist monks on the banks of the Belihuloya River
Map of 10 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With ten days to spend in Sri Lanka, there are several great ways to structure your trip. Choose a highlights tour that takes you 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.

Breathe in the fresh air of the mountains as you and the kids climb toward Hatton on a train with a view
2 Weeks in Sri Lanka - 3 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

There's fun for all ages in Sri Lanka, and two weeks gives you ample time to cover the highlights with your family. If you prefer a mix of culture and wildlife, you'll enjoy the sacred city of Anuradhapura, safaris in Yala, and the beaches of Weligama. The family who is up for an adventure will appreciate a safari and exploring Sigiriya Rock Fortress, visiting orphaned elephants in Udawalawe and Tangalle for temples, boat rides, and turtle watches. Active families will love the junior ranger program, jungle night walks, and beach activities in Passikudah.

Koggala Lake in Sri Lanka
Map of 2 Weeks in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in Sri Lanka - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

There's a lot travelers can see and do with two weeks to spend in Sri Lanka. Explore the island on a highlights tour that takes you to historic temples and national parks, focus on coastal destinations and UNESCO-listed sites, or opt for an itinerary that includes cycling and boating through Sri Lanka's natural wonders. If you're traveling with children, consider a family-oriented tour, or if you're eager to see the Maldives, combine ten days in Sri Lanka with a few more in the paradise of these nearby coral islands. Learn more about your options by reading over the itineraries below.

Ancient Mihintale Temple in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Map of 15 Days in Sri Lanka - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
15 Days in Sri Lanka - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

In 15 days, you can travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka while hitting every coast along the way: north, south, east, and west. And there's a lot to see and do on this island, from exploring ancient Buddhist cave temples to lazing on golden beaches, hiking up rock fortresses, and visiting historic tea plantations in the central highlands. Whether on holiday, a honeymoon, a wellness retreat, or simply chasing the endless summer, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.