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Modified: December 27, 2023

by Doralynn Petty



Welcome to Sri Lanka, a mesmerizing island nation nestled in the Indian Ocean. Known for its scenic beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality, Sri Lanka offers a plethora of experiences that will leave you enchanted. Whether you’re a nature lover, culture enthusiast, adventure seeker, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Sri Lanka has something for everyone. With a perfect blend of pristine beaches, lush tea plantations, ancient ruins, and diverse wildlife, Sri Lanka is a paradise waiting to be explored. From the bustling capital of Colombo to the tranquil beaches of Mirissa, this itinerary will take you on a journey through some of the best places that Sri Lanka has to offer. As you embark on this 10-day itinerary, be prepared to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and discover iconic landmarks that showcase the country’s rich heritage. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as we guide you through Sri Lanka’s top destinations. But before we start our exploration, it’s essential to understand a few things about Sri Lanka. The best time to visit is between December and April when the weather is sunny and dry on the west and south coasts. The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR), and English is widely spoken throughout the country, making it easy for travelers to communicate. Now, let’s begin our journey in the thriving capital city of Colombo.


Day 1: Colombo

Start your Sri Lanka adventure in the vibrant and bustling city of Colombo, the commercial capital of the country. Colombo is a unique blend of modern and colonial architecture, where towering skyscrapers stand alongside charming colonial buildings. Begin your day with a visit to the iconic Gangaramaya Temple, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Admire the beautiful architecture and explore the museum that houses a fascinating collection of artifacts. Next, head to the bustling Pettah Market, a vibrant bazaar where you’ll find everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and electronics. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you haggle with local vendors and sample delicious street food. In the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular promenade facing the Indian Ocean. Enjoy the cool sea breeze and watch the locals flying kites or indulging in a game of cricket. If you’re interested in history, visit the nearby Colombo National Museum, which showcases a wide range of exhibits including ancient artifacts and traditional artwork. End your day with a visit to the vibrant Colombo Fort area, where you can explore historical sites such as the Old Parliament Building and the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. Your first day in Sri Lanka will give you a taste of the country’s rich heritage and lively atmosphere. Make sure to savor some authentic Sri Lankan cuisine at a local restaurant before you continue your journey to the next destination, Kandy.


Day 2: Kandy

On day 2, embark on a scenic journey to the beautiful city of Kandy, nestled amidst lush green hills. Known as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy is famous for its rich history, sacred sites, and serene surroundings. Begin your day with a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. This sacred temple houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and witnessing the morning ritual and offering of prayers is a truly spiritual experience. Afterwards, explore the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, located just a few kilometers outside of Kandy. Spread across 147 acres, these stunning gardens are home to a wide array of exotic plants and trees. Take a leisurely walk amidst the vibrant flora, visit the orchid house, or simply relax by the peaceful lakeside. In the afternoon, discover the rich history of Kandy by visiting the Kandy Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts from the Kandyan era. Stroll through the streets of the city and explore the local shops, where you can pick up traditional handicrafts, gems, and spices as souvenirs. In the evening, don’t miss the captivating Kandyan cultural show, where you can witness traditional dances, drumming performances, and fire acts. Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythms and colorful costumes as you experience the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. To end the day on a serene note, take a stroll around the picturesque Kandy Lake, known as the “Sea of Milk.” Enjoy the tranquility and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills as the sun sets over the city. After a fulfilling day exploring the cultural wonders of Kandy, rest and rejuvenate as you prepare for the next part of your Sri Lankan adventure – the stunning ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya.


Day 3: Sigiriya

On day 3, get ready to experience the awe-inspiring Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic attractions. Sigiriya is a towering ancient rock fortress that dates back to the 5th century AD and is often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Start your day early to beat the crowds and enjoy the mystical ambiance as you trek up to the top of the rock. As you ascend, marvel at the magnificent frescoes of the “Heavenly Maidens” painted on the rock face, depicting the beauty and grandeur of ancient Sri Lankan art. Reaching the summit of Sigiriya, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding lush green landscapes. Explore the fascinating ruins of the ancient palace complex and learn about the remarkable engineering ingenuity of its time. After descending from the rock, take a short drive to the nearby Habarana village, where you can experience an exhilarating elephant safari. Hop on the back of a gentle giant and embark on a thrilling ride through the forests, fields, and streams of the area, creating memories that will last a lifetime. In the afternoon, visit the nearby ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Explore the archaeological site, which was once the thriving capital of Sri Lanka during the 11th and 12th centuries. Marvel at the well-preserved ruins, including the Royal Palace, Buddhist temples, and intricately carved stone sculptures as you immerse yourself in the rich history of the region. Don’t miss the chance to witness the stunning sunset over the scenic Minneriya National Park, known for its impressive gatherings of wild elephants. Embark on a jeep safari and watch as herds of elephants gather near the Minneriya Tank, creating a captivating spectacle of wildlife. After an eventful day exploring Sigiriya and its surroundings, relax and unwind in your accommodation, preparing for the next exciting part of your Sri Lankan adventure – the charming hill town of Nuwara Eliya.


Day 4: Nuwara Eliya

Welcome to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as “Little England” due to its colonial-era architecture and cool climate. Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country, Nuwara Eliya is famous for its scenic landscapes, tea plantations, and picturesque gardens. Start your day with a visit to a tea plantation and witness the process of tea production from plucking to packaging. Learn about the art of tea tasting and savor the flavors of world-renowned Ceylon tea as you admire the sprawling tea estates blanketing the hills. Next, explore the enchanting Hakgala Botanic Gardens, renowned for its stunning collection of roses. Take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully manicured garden, as the fragrance of roses fills the air. Admire the vibrant colors and different varieties of roses on display, creating a visual feast for the eyes. Afterwards, visit the historic Seetha Amman Temple, surrounded by lush greenery and steeped in mythological significance. According to legend, this temple is believed to be the place where the Hindu goddess Sita was held captive by the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana. Explore the temple grounds and immerse yourself in the spiritual aura of the place. In the afternoon, indulge in some leisurely activities such as boating on the serene Gregory Lake or taking a stroll through the beautifully manicured Victoria Park. Enjoy the serene surroundings and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you relax in the lap of nature. As the day draws to a close, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the picturesque town center of Nuwara Eliya. Marvel at the colonial-era architecture and take a leisurely walk along the tree-lined streets, appreciating the charming ambiance. In the evening, unwind and enjoy a warm cup of tea or indulge in a traditional English high tea experience at one of the quaint tea houses in town. Savor delicious pastries, cakes, and sandwiches while taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding hills. After a peaceful and refreshing day in Nuwara Eliya, retire to your accommodation and prepare for the next leg of your Sri Lankan journey – the breathtaking hill town of Ella.


Day 5: Ella

Welcome to the picturesque town of Ella, nestled amidst the stunning mountains of Sri Lanka’s hill country. Known for its breathtaking views, lush green landscapes, and tranquil atmosphere, Ella is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Start your day by embarking on a scenic hike to the famous Ella Rock. The trail takes you through tea plantations, dense forests, and picturesque villages, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Reach the summit and be rewarded with a breathtaking vista that stretches as far as the eye can see. After the exhilarating hike, visit the iconic Nine Arch Bridge, a stunning architectural marvel that stands amidst lush greenery. Watch in awe as the train passes over the bridge, capturing that perfect Instagram-worthy moment. In the afternoon, head to the charming Ravana Falls, one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful waterfalls. Take a refreshing dip in the cool waters or simply admire the cascading falls from afar. Don’t forget to snap some photos to capture the natural beauty of this enchanting spot. For the adventurous souls, Ella offers exciting activities such as ziplining and rock climbing. Get your adrenaline pumping as you soar over the tree canopies or conquer the rugged rock formations, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of Ella. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll through the town’s vibrant streets and explore the local shops and cafes. Sample delicious street food and traditional Sri Lankan delicacies or relax in a cozy café, sipping a cup of freshly brewed Ceylon tea. Before you leave Ella, make sure to witness one of the most breathtaking sunrises in Sri Lanka from the famous Ella Gap viewpoint. As the sun emerges from behind the mountains, watch as the stunning landscapes come alive with vibrant colors, casting a magical spell over the valley. As the day comes to an end, bid farewell to the charming town of Ella and prepare for the next leg of your Sri Lankan adventure – a thrilling safari experience at Yala National Park.


Day 6: Yala National Park

Welcome to Yala National Park, one of the most renowned wildlife sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. Day 6 of your adventure will take you on an exciting safari through the park, offering you a chance to witness the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. Start your day early to maximize your chances of spotting animals in their natural habitat. Embark on a thrilling jeep safari through the park, accompanied by an experienced guide who will help you navigate the terrain and spot elusive creatures. Yala National Park is known for its large population of leopards, so keep your eyes peeled as you explore the park’s rugged landscapes and dense jungles. Spotting these majestic big cats in their natural habitat is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aside from leopards, Yala is also home to a wide array of wildlife, including elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. Keep your camera ready as you encounter these incredible creatures in their natural environment. As you journey through the park, your guide will provide fascinating insights into the behavior and habitats of the animals, enriching your safari experience. Take in the breathtaking scenery and feel a sense of awe as you witness the raw beauty of nature all around you. In addition to the wildlife, Yala National Park features picturesque landscapes, including pristine beaches and rocky outcrops. Take a moment to relax and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings, marveling at the harmony between land and sea. After a thrilling day of exploring the wonders of Yala National Park, head back to your accommodation, where you can unwind and reflect on the incredible wildlife encounters you’ve experienced. Prepare for the next leg of your journey as you make your way to the coastal city of Galle. Note: It’s important to respect the wildlife and follow the rules and regulations set by the park authorities to ensure the preservation of the park and the safety of both the visitors and the animals.


Day 7: Galle

Welcome to the historic city of Galle, located on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture, charming streets, and vibrant atmosphere. Begin your day by exploring the iconic Galle Fort, a 17th-century fortification that stands as a testament to Galle’s colonial past. Take a leisurely stroll along the fort walls, enjoying panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and the vibrant city below. Explore the narrow streets lined with quaint shops, trendy cafes, and art galleries, offering a blend of local craftsmanship and contemporary design. Visit the National Maritime Museum housed within the fort, where you can learn about Galle’s maritime heritage, including its history as a major trading port. Marvel at the artifacts on display, ranging from ancient navigation tools to shipwreck relics. Next, immerse yourself in the cultural scene of Galle by visiting the charming neighborhoods of the fort, dotted with boutique hotels, stylish boutiques, and cozy restaurants. Explore the Dutch Reformed Church, the All Saints’ Church, and the Meera Mosque, representing the city’s multi-cultural heritage. In the afternoon, head to the nearby Unawatuna beach, one of Sri Lanka’s most popular and picturesque beaches. Relax on the golden sands, swim in the clear turquoise waters, or try your hand at various water sports such as snorkeling or surfing. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in some delectable seafood at a beachside restaurant, savoring the local flavors and enjoying the stunning sunset views over the ocean. As evening sets in, Galle comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. Explore the lively streets, filled with live music venues, trendy bars, and bustling night markets. Immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere, sipping on refreshing cocktails or enjoying a traditional Sri Lankan dance performance. After a day filled with exploration and cultural immersion, retire to your accommodation in Galle, cherishing the memories of this charming coastal city. Get a good night’s rest as you prepare for the next day’s adventure in the beautiful coastal town of Mirissa.


Day 8: Mirissa

Welcome to Mirissa, a tropical paradise nestled along Sri Lanka’s stunning southern coastline. Day 8 of your adventure takes you to this laid-back beach town, known for its scenic beaches, crystal-clear waters, and relaxed vibe. Start your day with a visit to the famous Mirissa Beach, where you can soak up the sun, go for a swim, or simply unwind on the sandy shores. Enjoy the gentle waves and the refreshing ocean breeze as you take in the panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. For the adventurous souls, Mirissa offers exciting activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, allowing you to explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with marine life. Dive into the turquoise waters and witness colorful coral reefs, exotic fish, and even majestic sea turtles. Afterwards, embark on an exciting whale watching tour. Mirissa is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Set sail on a boat and keep your eyes peeled for sightings of graceful blue whales, playful dolphins, and other marine species. The experience of witnessing these gentle giants in their natural environment is truly awe-inspiring. In the afternoon, visit the nearby Secret Beach, a hidden gem known for its secluded and tranquil atmosphere. Relax on the pristine shores, surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery, and take a dip in the calm waters that lap gently against the shore. As evening approaches, head to the Mirissa Harbor and indulge in a delightful seafood dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants. Feast on freshly caught fish, prawns, and other delicious seafood delicacies, enjoying the flavors of the ocean while overlooking the breathtaking sunset. End your day in Mirissa by experiencing the vibrant nightlife scene. Explore the beachside bars and restaurants, where live music plays and the atmosphere is lively. Dance the night away or simply unwind with a tropical cocktail in hand, enjoying the relaxed and festive ambiance. As you bid farewell to Mirissa, cherish the memories of the stunning beaches, unforgettable marine encounters, and the laid-back coastal charm. Rest up for the next part of your journey as you make your way to the tranquil coastal town of Bentota.


Day 9: Bentota

Welcome to Bentota, a paradise nestled along Sri Lanka’s beautiful southwestern coast. Day 9 of your adventure takes you to this idyllic coastal town, known for its pristine beaches, lush greenery, and serene waterways. Start your day by exploring Bentota’s stunning beaches. Relax on the golden sands, take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters, or simply bask in the warm tropical sun. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at thrilling water sports such as jet skiing, windsurfing, or banana boat rides. For those seeking a more tranquil experience, take a leisurely boat ride along the Bentota River. As you glide through the calm waters, surrounded by lush mangroves and scenic landscapes, keep an eye out for exotic bird species and local wildlife. Visit the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, a conservation project aimed at protecting endangered sea turtles. Learn about the various species of turtles found in Sri Lanka and witness the hatchlings being released into the ocean. It’s a heartwarming experience that highlights the importance of conserving these magnificent creatures. In the afternoon, explore the nearby Brief Garden, a beautifully landscaped garden originally owned by Bevis Bawa, the brother of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Take a leisurely walk through the lush gardens, adorned with tropical flora and artistic sculptures, and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem. For a cultural immersion, visit the nearby Galapatha Raja Maha Viharaya, a Buddhist temple dating back to the 12th century. Marvel at the intricate carvings, ancient statues, and vibrant wall paintings that adorn the temple, offering a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich religious heritage. As evening sets in, take a relaxing river cruise along the Bentota River. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance and abundant wildlife as you cruise through the mangroves, witnessing the stunning sunset over the water. It’s a perfect way to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of Bentota. End your day by feasting on fresh seafood at a beachside restaurant, savoring the flavors of the coastal cuisine. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes such as grilled prawns, crab curry, or buttered lobster, complemented by breathtaking views of the ocean. As you bid farewell to Bentota, take with you the memories of the serene beaches, the mesmerizing river cruises, and the rich cultural heritage. Rest up and prepare for the final day of your Sri Lankan adventure in the charming coastal town of Negombo.


Day 10: Negombo

Welcome to Negombo, a vibrant coastal town located just a short distance from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Day 10 of your Sri Lankan adventure takes you to this charming town that offers a perfect blend of cultural heritage, stunning beaches, and a bustling fishing industry. Start your day by exploring the historic Negombo Dutch Fort, a 17th-century fortress built by the Dutch during their colonial rule. Wander through the fort’s narrow streets and admire the well-preserved architecture, reflecting the town’s colonial past. Visit the St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest and most prominent Catholic churches in Sri Lanka, known for its striking architecture and intricate frescoes. Next, visit the lively Negombo Fish Market, where you can witness the bustling activity of fishermen bringing in their fresh catches. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as traders and locals negotiate prices, showcasing the thriving fishing industry that is a significant part of Negombo’s culture. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll along the palm-fringed Negombo Beach. Enjoy the soft sands, swim in the calm waters, or simply relax under the shade of a beach umbrella. Take in the picturesque views and soak up the tranquil ambiance, bidding farewell to the stunning Sri Lankan coastline. In the afternoon, explore the local markets and shops in Negombo. Pick up some souvenirs, such as handmade crafts, batik clothing, or traditional Sri Lankan spices, before heading to a cozy restaurant for a delightful seafood lunch. Sample some of the town’s famous seafood dishes, such as jumbo prawns, grilled fish, or spicy crab curry, bursting with flavors unique to the coastal cuisine. As the day draws to a close, take a tranquil boat ride along the Muthurajawela Marsh, one of Sri Lanka’s largest wetland areas. Cruise past mangroves, lush vegetation, and a variety of bird species, taking in the serene beauty of this natural reserve. In the evening, savor a delicious farewell dinner at one of the seafood restaurants or beachside cafes, enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and live music performances. Reflect on the incredible journey you’ve had throughout Sri Lanka, immersing yourself in its rich culture and natural wonders. As your Sri Lankan adventure comes to an end, bid farewell to the beautiful coastal town of Negombo and the enchanting island nation that has captivated your heart. Take with you the cherished memories and a longing to return, knowing that Sri Lanka will always welcome you back with open arms.



As we come to the end of this 10-day Sri Lankan adventure, we hope that you have fallen in love with the mesmerizing island nation, its diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. From the vibrant city of Colombo to the serene coastal town of Negombo, each destination offered a unique experience that will stay with you forever. Throughout your journey, you have explored ancient temples, climbed ancient rock fortresses, hiked through lush tea plantations, witnessed breathtaking wildlife, and relaxed on pristine beaches. You have immersed yourself in the rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality that Sri Lanka has to offer. From the bustling streets of Colombo to the tranquil wilderness of Yala National Park, from the colonial charm of Galle to the serene beaches of Mirissa and Bentota, you have witnessed the incredible diversity Sri Lanka has to offer in just 10 days. The memories you have made – the taste of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, the sounds of drumming and dancing, the warm smiles of the locals – will remain etched in your heart. We hope this itinerary has allowed you to experience the best of Sri Lanka while providing ample time for relaxation and exploration. But remember, this beautiful country has so much more to offer. Discover hidden gems, traverse untouched landscapes, and create your own unforgettable experiences. As you bid farewell to this enchanting island, carry with you the spirit of Sri Lanka – vibrant, diverse, and full of wonder. Until we meet again, may your journey be filled with adventure, joy, and the magic of Sri Lanka. Safe travels, and Ayubowan!