Best of Ella

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Ella
One of Sri Lanka’s most picturesque hill country villages, Ella lies amid forested mountains, tea plantations and hidden waterfalls. You can admire the views on walks through the forests, visiting temples or tea estates, followed by star-filled evenings unwinding at one of the well-placed guesthouses overlooking the valley. Getting here is a big part of the experience, especially if you come aboard the vintage train from Kandy, where you'll have picturesque mountain views along the way.

Near Ella, you can make the walk to see Ravana Falls, an 82-foot (25-m) cascade that tumbles down a rocky hillside surrounded by thick forest. The idyllic setting is a favorite spot for locals to go for a swim in refreshing rock pools. A bit more challenging is the trek to Ella Rock, a four-hour round-trip that takes to you a summit with panoramic views over the layers of misty mountains stretching off to the horizon. Excursions by tuk-tuk take you out to tea-growing plantations, where you can learn about the intricacies of tea growing while walking the fields and chatting with harvesters.
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End your trip on the beaches of Unawatuna
Map of Miracles of Sri Lanka: Temples, Mountains & Beaches - 8 Days
Miracles of Sri Lanka: Temples, Mountains & Beaches - 8 Days

This 8-day getaway takes you on a circular journey through the highlights of central and southern Sri Lanka. Setting out from the west coast beach town of Negombo, you'll travel deep into the country's cultural heart—exploring the ancient fortress of Sigiriya, the cave temples of Dambulla, and the palaces and relics of Kandy along the way. After a refreshing trip through the lush mountains and tea estates of Ella, head back to the coast to wind down in the beach paradise of Unawatuna.

Hike to Little Adam's Peak for a fun photo opportunity
Map of Sri Lanka Active Adventure - 9 Days
Sri Lanka Active Adventure - 9 Days

This 9-day journey through Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) explores fascinating highlights in the Cultural Triangle—home of ancient cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Buddhist relics. With a private driver and guide, you'll take hikes in tea country, spot diverse wildlife in the rainforest, and relax (or surf) on picturesque beaches on the south coast for an adventure to remember.

Sunrise views from the summit of Adam's Peak
Map of Sri Lanka Outdoor Adventure: Dambulla to Unawatuna - 10 Days
Sri Lanka Outdoor Adventure: Dambulla to Unawatuna - 10 Days

On this thrilling 10-day itinerary, you'll hike, raft, and zipline your way across Sri Lanka's most dramatic and diverse landscapes. Explore the fortresses and rock temples of the Cultural Triangle, brave waterfalls and whitewater rapids in the Hill Country, and go off-road to search for elephants in Udawalawe National Park. Your adventure ends on the south coast with some well-earned downtime on the tropical beaches of Unawatuna.

Views across the Sri Lankan highlands from Little Adam's Peak
Map of Sri Lanka Highlights: Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, Yala & Galle - 9 Days
Sri Lanka Highlights: Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, Yala & Galle - 9 Days

From the UNESCO-listed ruins of the Cultural Triangle to the historic Indian Ocean fortress of Galle, this nine-day introduction to Sri Lanka rounds up all the highlights of the island's south and central regions. Explore the ancient civilizations of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, tour the sacred temples of Kandy, take a breathtaking train journey through the tea fields of Ella, and head off-road in search of rare wildlife in Yala National Park.

Search for the rare Sri Lankan leopard in Yala National Park
Map of Active Sri Lanka: Rivers, Mountains, Wildlife & Beaches - 9 Days
Active Sri Lanka: Rivers, Mountains, Wildlife & Beaches - 9 Days

Raft, hike, abseil, and snorkel your way around Sri Lanka on this nine-day outdoor adventure. Winding through the island's central and southern regions, you'll start with a week of adrenaline-fueled fun—paddling through whitewater rapids, rappelling down waterfalls, and hiking to dramatic mountain peaks. After heading into the wild to search for leopards and elephants on safari, wind down with snorkeling and swimming in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Sunrise over the Indian Ocean in Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Beaches & Villages of Sri Lanka: Kandy, Ella, & Tangalle - 10 Days

This relaxed 10-day itinerary around Sri Lanka is a treat for nature lovers. Along the journey, you'll see turtles hatching eggs on the beach, spot rare birds in the wild, hike to incredible vistas, and learn about the spices of Ceylon. There's a cultural element to the trip, too: you'll visit temples, learn to meditate with a Buddhist monk, dine in a Sri Lankan home in a small village, and ride an antique train route established by the British in the 18th century.

Map of Discover Sri Lanka: Dambulla, Kandy, Ella, Yala, & Weligama - 12 Days
Discover Sri Lanka: Dambulla, Kandy, Ella, Yala, & Weligama - 12 Days

Discover the culture, heritage, wildlife, and beaches on this Sri Lankan journey. To start, visit the esteemed Dambulla Rock Temple. Then, climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, followed by a trip to a local village, complete with a nature walk and an authentic meal on a working farm. Next, explore the temples and sights of Kandy and the scenic tea country of Ella. Stop for a safari at Yala National Park and then head to Weligama for an ancient fort tour, some whale watching, and four days of beach bliss.

Ella Rock in Hill Country
Trekking in Sri Lanka - 7 Days

One of the best ways to explore Sri Lanka is on your own two feet, exploring quiet trails and beautiful landscapes on a guided trekking tour. This weeklong adventure takes you to Horton Plains National Park, Ella Rock, the famed Hill Country, and several other destinations for hiking, canoeing, and appreciating native wildlife. You'll also visit ancient temples and learn about the harvesting and production of tea, adding a cultural element to this outdoorsy itinerary.

Watching the waves roll in on Unawatuna Beach
Map of Sri Lanka for Families: Cultural Triangle & South Coast - 7 Days
Sri Lanka for Families: Cultural Triangle & South Coast - 7 Days

With a mix of cultural highlights, hands-on activities, and plenty of beach time, this 7-day Sri Lankan itinerary is perfect for families. Go for a gentle cycle through the countryside of the Cultural Triangle, spot elephants on safari in Minneriya National Park, and learn the beats of traditional drumming in Kandy. After picking tea leaves in the lush mountains of the Hill Country, it's time to transfer to the coast to enjoy the warm, turquoise seas around Unawatuna.

Twilight over Kalpitiya's lagoon
Sri Lanka Glamping Adventure - 13 Days

Sri Lanka's natural beauty takes center stage on this diverse and adventurous 13-day itinerary. Beginning and ending in the capital of Colombo, you'll spend your days exploring ancient temples and fortresses, hiking to secluded waterfalls, relaxing on idyllic beaches, and spotting rare wildlife in two of the country's most spectacular national parks. At night, the sounds and sights of nature will lull you to sleep at a succession of luxurious "glamping" properties.

Sunset over a beach in Tangalle
Map of Ancient History & Pristine Beaches in Sri Lanka - 14 Days
Ancient History & Pristine Beaches in Sri Lanka - 14 Days

This two-week itinerary around Sri Lanka offers an ideal mix of activity and relaxation. You'll begin in Negombo and work your way around the island, stopping to visit ancient temple complexes, Buddhist shrines, and palaces carved into mountainsides. Along the journey, you'll spend two nights observing wildlife in Wilpattu National Park, enjoy the calm coastline in Pasikudah, explore charming colonial villages, and relax on breathtaking beaches with snorkeling and diving opportunities easily accessible offshore.

Spot Sri Lankan elephants on safari
Map of Sri Lanka Family Wildlife Adventure - 14 Days
Sri Lanka Family Wildlife Adventure - 14 Days

Experience the best of Sri Lanka's nature and wildlife experiences on this two-week family-themed itinerary. Looping through the island's southern and central regions, you'll embark on a series of fun-filled safaris, nature walks, biking excursions, and boat trips, with nights spent in comfort at gracious eco-lodges and safari camps. Search for leopards in Yala National Park, see the monkey-filled ruins of Polonnaruwa, watch elephants swim in Gal Oya National Park, spot rare primates on a nocturnal jungle hike, and discover the colorful marine life of Pasikudah.

A traditional boat in the Maldives
Map of Explore Sri Lanka & The Maldives - 14 Days
Explore Sri Lanka & The Maldives - 14 Days

This 14-day island-hopping trip offers equal parts exploration and relaxation. Uncover the history and culture of Sri Lanka, a jewel of the Indian Ocean, from ancient rock fortresses and historical capital cities to quiet tea plantations and national parks home to elephants and other endangered wildlife. You'll spend some time unwinding on the beaches of Unawatuna before heading to the capital city of Colombo to catch your flight to the Maldives. You'll spend the last few days of the trip snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying epic sunsets in this island paradise.

Traditional fishing stilt aparatus of Koggala Beach, Sri Lanka
Map of Sri Lanka Winter Holiday Adventure - 15 Days
Sri Lanka Winter Holiday Adventure - 15 Days

Eschew the frigid winter for the sun-kissed beaches and verdant mountains of Sri Lanka. Over 15 adventure-filled days, you'll experience the highlights and natural beauty of this mystical gem of the Indian Ocean, from its highland tea plantations to its gilded southern shores. In between, you'll tour ancient cities, enjoy jungle safaris, explore cave temples, swim at romantic waterfalls, go whale watching, and much more.

A monkey samples some Sri Lankan coconut
Map of Flavors of Sri Lanka - 9 Days
Flavors of Sri Lanka - 9 Days

Delight your senses and broaden your palate with this nine-day exploration of Sri Lankan culture and cuisine. Beginning and ending in Colombo, you'll circle the island's south, checking off must-see highlights as you sample local dishes. Bike to a rural village for an unforgettable curry lunch, explore Kandy's colorful street food scene, see how world-class tea is made in Hill Country, and taste the freshest seafood on the tropical beaches of Ahangama.

Views across the Sri Lankan city of Kandy
Wonders of Sri Lanka: Negombo to Ahangama -10 Days

From ancient temples to mountain villages and national parks, this 10-day itinerary introduces you to the many wonders of southern and central Sri Lanka. Setting out from the laid-back beach town of Negombo, you'll visit some of the country's most remarkable cultural sites like Yapahuwa, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya, and explore the surrounding landscapes with memorable cycling and safari excursions. After a week of discovery and adventure, end your trip with a few days of relaxation on the Indian Ocean beaches of Ahangama.

Sunrise across the Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Treasures of Sri Lanka - 20 Days

Discover the magic of central and southern Sri Lanka on this immersive 20-day itinerary. Setting out from Colombo, you'll wind your way through a land rich with culture, history, and natural beauty—visiting countless highlights and hidden gems along the way. Spot elephants and leopards on safari, hike to towering waterfalls, explore ancient ruins and sacred temples, and savor some downtime on idyllic Indian Ocean beaches.

Elephants grazing at Yala National Park
Map of Honeymoon in Sri Lanka - 12 Days
Honeymoon in Sri Lanka - 12 Days

This 12-day honeymoon is perfect for couples who love exotic wildlife and natural scenery. Starting from the capital, you'll circle the island-nation exploring a boggling array of national parks, rainforests, ancient villages, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Buddhist relics. After each day of sightseeing with your private guide, you'll have quality time (alone) at your accommodations—a fun mix of resorts, beach hotels, and safari camps—for the ultimate romantic adventure.

The lush green mountains of Ella, Sri Lanka
Map of Cycling Tour of Sri Lanka - 13 Days
Cycling Tour of Sri Lanka - 13 Days

This is the quintessential Sri Lankan bike ride! On this two week trip, you will discover local tea plantations, small villages, and historically significant cities — along with some wonderfully diverse riding through a sizeable portion of the island. You'll cycle from the culturally rich north through tea country then down into the southern plains and Horton Plains National Park, finishing in Galle.

Other popular travel destinations in Sri Lanka
Kandy · Sigiriya · Colombo · Negombo · Nuwara Eliya · Udawalawe · Yala National Park · Galle · Bentota · Wilpattu · Mirissa · Anuradhapura · Tangalle · Dambulla · Pasikudah · Habarana