Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary
Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary
Sri Lanka is a great country that owns countless beautiful sights. Three weeks is an ideal length for a Sri Lanka route. The island is easy to travel although getting from A to B can be time-consuming due to traffic conditions. Get around by bus, train, tuk-tuk, motorbike, taxi or Uber. We created a 3-week Sri Lanka route guide and give you some additional options to add if you have more time during your route through Sri Lanka.
Quickly jump into the guide:
- Sri Lanka Route
- Optional routes
- Sri Lanka Visa
- Costs of traveling through Sri Lanka
- Vaccinations Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka Route Guide
This 3-week itinerary through Sri Lanka is a day by day Sri Lanka route. Note that most days contain links to much larger articles about that specific location.
Day 1 – 2: Relaxing in Negombo or Colombo
Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital city. This city is not the closest to the airport. Negombo is usually a better and more laid back city to stay. Take about one or two days to relax from your flight.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Kandy
Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second largest city. During your way to the city, make sure to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens. In Kandy, walk around the lake or do visit one of the temples in the city.
➳ Read: Things to do in Kandy
Day 4: Sigiriya
Lion Rock in Sigiriya is one of the country’s most popular landmarks. Climb up the enormous 200m square shaped rock. Lion Rock is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sights in Sri Lanka and a must visit.
➳ Read: Climb up Lion Rock in Sigiriya
Day 5: Back to Kandy
Head back to Kandy to catch the most beautiful train ride of Sri Lanka. It takes you on an unforgettable 5-7 hour ride through the beautiful hilltops filled with tea plantations.
Day 6 – 7: Nuwara Eliya
Get off the train in Nuwara Eliya and see little England in Sri Lanka. Visit the beautiful tea plantations and factories.
In the middle of all this reading, sit back and enjoy our Sri Lanka video.
Day 8 – 10: Ella
Visit one of the most chilled out places in Sri Lanka. Climb to higher levels on Mini Adams Peak or Ella Rock.
➳ Read: Things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka
Day 11 – 13: Arugam Bay
Ready to catch some waves or fully relax? Arugam Bay has the best surfing points in Sri Lanka. Many surfers make this their home from April to October. It is one of those areas in the world you have to visit at least once in a lifetime.
➳ Read: 7 Things to do in Arugam Bay
Day 14: Visit one of the National Parks in Sri Lanka
Go and find huge groups of wild elephants and other wildlife in Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park or one of the other many beautiful national parks in Sri Lanka.
➳ Read: Best places to see Elephants in Sri Lanka
Day 15 – 16: Mirissa
Mirissa is all about the beach, relaxing and great restaurants. This part of the country has some of the best Sri Lankan sunsets! Tip: Are you the person that likes to escape busy beaches? Find your perfect beach in the list of 10 x Best Beaches in Sri Lanka.
➳ Read: 9 Great Things to do in Mirissa
Day 17 – 19: Unawatuna
The Unawatuna area has the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka. The town itself is small, has great shopping, guesthouses, trendy restaurants and a quite some activities and sightseeing nearby. From there you can easily visit Galle Fort, Koggala Lake, and many other towns.
➳ Read: Mini-Guide: Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Day 20: Back to Colombo
Finish your trip and stay close to the airport in Colombo. If you have a little extra time, visit Barefoot handicraft and its fantastic restaurant.
Day 21: Return home
Do you have even more time than 3 weeks in Sri Lanka? Extend the route and visit the northern part of Sri Lanka. These are other popular places to visit.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. There isn’t a perfect period to visit because each side of the island has it’s own “best time to visit”. ☀️
- North – May to September
- Center – January to April
- South – December – March
Sri Lanka Visa
You need a Sri Lanka visa to be allowed into the country. Arranging a visa isn’t difficult at all. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months. You have several options for obtaining a visa for Sri Lanka.
Online visa to Sri Lanka
The first option is applying for your Sri Lanka visa online at www.eta.gov.lk. It’s wise to apply at least a few days before your arrival. Usually, the applications are approved within a few hours and you will receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). This 30-day visa will cost you $30 and can only be paid by credit card.
If you don’t have a credit card then head over to a visa bureau. You will pay a little extra but they will arrange this for you without having to own a credit card.
Visa on Arrival
Even if you have not applied for ETA can get a Visa on Arrival on arrival for Sri Lanka. There is a counter at the airport in Colombo where you can go to. For this service, you will pay $5 extra and you have to wait long.
Costs of traveling through Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, they pay in Rupee. The Sri Lankan Rupee is not the same as in India. At this time, 150 rupees is equal to 1 dollar.
Cost of a room in Sri Lanka
It is quite difficult to find a room for under $10 per night. If you’re looking for a pretty good room in a nice guesthouse go quickly towards the $15 to $20 per night for a double room. Dorms are hardly in Sri Lanka and those that do exist are quite expensive.
Costs of transportation
It’s not typical in Sri Lanka, but to hire a car + driver will usually cost about $50 per day. Buses are a very cheap option. It’s just a few dollars for a full day of traveling by bus, most of the time they are packed and you will have to stand. Don’t expect an air conditioning but luckily there’s a TV with Sri Lankan music videos on it.
Taking the train is a must in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka owns some of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The price for a second-class cabin varies from $1.50 to $4. Sometimes they run out of seats, meaning you have to stand or sit on the floor. But this a beautiful experience itself.
Costs of food & drinks
Sri Lanka has a delicious kitchen. A local rice and curry cost about 100-400 Rupee which is $1 – $3. Alcohol can be hard to get in some parts of Sri Lanka because of their religions. The price of a Tiger beer is around $2.
Vaccinations Sri Lanka
Whatever the length of your trip is, it’s recommended to get two vaccines:
- DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio)
- Hepatitis A
Staying away for several months? Then you probably should get vaccinations against Hepatitis B and rabies. Malaria occurs in the north of Sri Lanka. It is wise to always use DEET.