Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary
Sri Lanka Route Guide: a 3-week travel itinerary
Sri Lanka owns a lot of interesting destinations you shouldn’t miss on your trip. Three weeks is ideal for this Sri Lanka route. This island is easy to travel although getting from A to B can be time-consuming because of the traffic conditions. Get around by bus, train, tuk-tuk, motorbike, taxi or Uber. We created a 3-week Sri Lanka route guide but give you some additional options to add to your route through Sri Lanka.
Quick jump guide:
- Flight Tickets Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Route
- Optional routes
- Sri Lanka Visa
- Costs of traveling through Sri Lanka
- Vaccinations Sri Lanka
Flight Tickets Sri Lanka
It can be hard to find cheap flight tickets to Sri Lanka. Depending on the date of your visit, you can pay double the price of a ticket in low season. We found our ticket deal via SkyScanner. We paid €410 for a return from Amsterdam which is around $440. With a 7-hour layover in Abu Dhabi. The layover was a tough one but worth it once we hit our beds in Negombo.
Read more about the Sri Lanka route
Sri Lanka Route Guide
We improved our own 3-week itinerary through Sri Lanka and created a day by day Sri Lanka route. We did lose 1,5 day just by getting in Colombo from Amsterdam. Also, notice that time is 5,5 hours ahead from Amsterdam. Please change your days based on your time of flying.
Some days contain links to much larger articles about that specific location.
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Day 1 – 2: Flying and relaxing (Negombo)
Save one or two days for your trip to Negombo or Colombo. Negombo is a better to stay because it’s much closer to the airport.
Day 3: Kandy
Make sure to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens on your way to Kandy! Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, walk around the lake or do something more cultural. We made a list of things to do in Kandy.
Read more: Things to do in Kandy
Day 4: Sigiriya
Climb up the Lion Rock or his little brother that’s on the opposite side of the Lion Rock. And a much better affordable place to visit.
Day 5: Kandy
Head back to Kandy to catch one of the most beautiful train rides you’ll ever get.
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.
Read more: Beautiful greens of Tea in Nuwara Eliya
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 more: Things to do in Ella
Day 11 – 13: Arugam Bay
Ready to catch some waves? Arugam Bay is one of the best surfing points in Sri Lanka. Many surfers make this their home from April to October.
Read more: The 7 paradise Sri Lanka Beaches
Day 14: Visit a National Park
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 more: Best place to see Elephants in Sri Lanka
Day 15 – 16: Mirissa
Mirissa is all about the beach, relaxing and great restaurants. We’ve had some of our best Sri Lankan sunsets at Mirissa.
Read more: Things to do in Mirissa
Day 17 – 19: Unawatuna
The Unawatuna area has the most famous beaches in Sri Lanka. From there you can easily visit Galle Fort, Koggala Lake, and many other places.
Read more: Things to do in Unawatuna
Day 20: Colombo
Finish your trip and stay close to the airport in Colombo. Make sure to visit Barefoot and the restaurant on the back.
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 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.