One Week in Sri Lanka: Your Best Itinerary Decoded

Shivani Garg

Last updated: Dec 5, 2018

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Try a fresh isso wade, a shrimp fritter with the shrimp still whole and cooked to perfection at Nana’s in Colombo.


The Galle Fort, a Portuguese fort with its old-world charm absolutely intact. It’s just ahead of Bentota.


Trace Hanuman’s quest of finding Sita to Ashok Vatika though Sita Eliya and Newark Eliya (Eliya means ‘village’ in the local language).


Sri Lankan sapphires from the Gem Museum in Kandy.


Capture a bird’s eye view of Sri Lanka from a sea plane. Glide over the pristine landscapes, the sweeping coastline, and the dense green forests of this fascinating island country.

Want To Go ? 

Stunning temples, intriguing history, local markets, pristine beaches and lively cities make Sri Lanka a must visit. Don’t let the stress of planning overwhelm you—here is the perfect one-week itinerary to help you make the most of your Sri Lankan sojourn.

Day 1

Discovering Colombo

Depending on the time of your arrival in Colombo, earmark one or two nights for the capital city of Sri Lanka to explore the busy and energetic city to its fullest. Go admire its impressive colonial-style buildings, like the Old City Hall and Dutch Period Museum (which also houses the Dutch Hospital building). You can also walk around the Viharamahadevi Park, known for its flowering trees (tip: visit anytime from March to May), or explore the streets of Colombo packed with local shoppers.

A night stroll along the Galle Face Green on the promenade, biting a street snack, or dining at one of the many restaurants (recommended: Ministry of Crab, Barefoot Garden Café) in the city is a perfect closure to your Colombo trip.

Read more: Shop and Rejuvenate in Sri Lanka

Day 2

Driving from Colombo to Kandy

En route your next destination, Kandy, you can visit one of the most important tourist attractions in Sri Lanka—the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Colombo. Here, caretakers and volunteers look after orphaned, abandoned and injured elephants—you can admire them during their feeding time, or take a walk with the herd to the river nearby to watch them bathe and play around in the water. To satiate your hunger, have a Sri Lankan or Thai lunch with some homemade ice cream at Channa cafe. Once in Kandy, check into a hotel and rest if you must, before heading to either the Ceylon Tea Museum or World Buddhism Museum. End your day at Kandy Lake by enjoying a leisurely walk and sunset.

Day 3

Exploring Kandy

A picturesque city amidst the hills, Kandy is a must-visit destination for its immense beauty and heritage. No wonder it is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. Start your day with exploring the world-famous Temple of Tooth Relic (or Dalada Maligawa, as it is known locally). The temple is recognized as a world heritage site, and a sacred place for Buddhists all over the world, as it is home to a tooth of Buddha himself. The next stop on your list should be the Gem Museum, evidence to the richness of Sri Lanka. If you’re looking to buy souvenirs and precious stones for yourself, there’s no place better than this. Check out semi-precious gems, especially Sri Lankan sapphires in various colours, exclusive to this region. Dabble in Sri Lanka’s rich culture by witnessing a traditional Kandyan dance performance in the evening at the Kandy Lake Club, followed by sampling a few traditional dishes for dinner.

Read more: Sri Lanka: A Quick and Handy Travel Guide

Day 4

Going on a Temple Trail

Start your day early and proceed to Nuwara Eliya, often called the ‘England of Sri Lanka’, for its picture-perfect beauty. En route, visit the Sri Baktha Hanuman temple which is approximately one-and-a-half-hours drive from Kandy. The temple stands on the hills of Ramboda, where Hanuman was searching for Sita, as told in the Hindu epic of Ramayana. The Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka later built this Hanuman temple at the very site. If your visit happens to coincide with a full moon day, you can opt to witness special poojas conducted here, which are attended by large numbers of devotees. You can also visit the Seetha Amman Temple, approximately 20-minute-drive from here. As the epic has it, Sita is said to have bathed in the stream that runs from the hill at the village Sita Eliya, where this temple is located. A temple has now been built in the name of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman, beside this stream. It is interesting to see the foot prints that are said to be Lord Hanuman’s here.

Upon reaching Nuwara Eliya, check-in to your hotel and relax for a while. In the evening, visit the Gayathri Pedam, which is believed to be the place from where King Ravana’s son Meghnad propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and prayers. It is said that at this location Lord Shiva granted super natural powers to Meghnad. End your day with a Pizza at Salmia or some Indian food at Indian Summer. Stay overnight at Nuwara Eliya.

Day 5

Exploring Bentota

Upon reaching Bentota, head to Bentota River to admire its mangroves and calm waters (carry a picnic hamper along to spend a few hours at the riverside). For a more exclusive experience, visit the Turtle Hatchery, a prime turtle-nesting site opened to the public by Wildlife Protection Society in 1981. Here you’ll see huge tanks filled with newborn turtles. In the evening, hit the clean and pristine Bentota beach for some water sports! Enjoy the beautiful sunset on the beach, and finish off with a plate of fresh seafood for dinner.

Read more: Top 5 Adventure Activities in Sri Lanka

Day 6

Shopping in Colombo

Once you’re back in Colombo to board your flight back home, you can indulge in some retail therapy. Buy batik and other handicrafts at Laksala (the state-run handicrafts emporium), or apparel from the factory outlets in Odel. Tea connoisseurs can stock up at the Dilmah Tea Outlet at Crescent Boulevard.

Read more: Driving Down the West Coast of Sri Lanka

Where to Stay

In Colombo

Ocean Edge Suites & Hotel

Location: 24, 10th Lane, Marine Drive, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka

Tariff: Starting INR 6000*

Features: Ocean-View Rooms| Free Wi-Fi| Fitness Centre| Indoor Swimming Pool| Spa And Wellness Centre| In-House Restaurant| 24-Hour Front Desk

Book Your Stay at Ocean Edge Suites & HotelBook Your Stay at Ocean Edge Suites & Hotel

In Kandy

Mahaweli Reach Hotel

Location: 35, P.B.A.Weerakoon Mawatha, P.O. Box 78, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Tariff: Starting INR 7,651*

Features: Gymnasium | Full-size Tennis Court| Ayurvedic Spa| Games Room| Restaurant| Lounge Bar| Parking| 10  minutes away from Temple of Tooth Relic

Book Your Stay at Mahaweli Reach HotelBook Your Stay at Mahaweli Reach Hotel

In Nuwara Eliya

Heritance Tea Factory

Location: Kandapala Nuwara Eliya, Srilanka

Tariff: INR 10,545*

Features: Gym| Spa| Library| Conference Room| Wi-Fi| On-site Restaurants & Bars

Book Your Stay at Heritance Tea FactoryBook Your Stay at Heritance Tea Factory

In Bentota

Club Villa Bentota

Location: No. 138/15 Galle Road, Bentota, Sri Lanka

Tariff: INR 6,482*

Features: Outdoor Swimming Pool| Massage Centre| Lounge| Restaurant| Walking Distance from Bentota Beach| Separate Living Area, Private Garden and Jacuzzi in Club Suite

Book Your Flight to Colombo

Book Your Flight to Colombo

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