18 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

18 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Gdansk
Fly + taxi:  22​h
1
Anuradhapura
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
2
Trincomalee
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
3
Polonnaruwa
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
4
Haputale
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
Galle
— 4 nights
taxi + Fly:  1​h
6
Kandy
— 4 nights
Drive + Fly:  21​h
End: Gdansk

2
nights
Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura ©
Explore the well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization and its former capital at Anuradhapura, a World Heritage Site and erstwhile center of Theravada Buddhism set amidst peaceful green parks.
Popular historic sites such as Isurumuniya Temple and Ruwanwelisaya are in your itinerary. Discover out-of-the-way places like Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Abhayagiri Dagaba. Step out of Anuradhapura with an excursion to Balloon Rides in Dambulla--about 1h 20 min away. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the long history of Ritigala Forest Monastery, pause for some photo ops at Samadhi Statue, and make a trip to Jethawanaramaya Dagoba.

Plan a Anuradhapura trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Gdansk, Poland to Anuradhapura is an approximately 22-hour combination of flight and car. Traveling from Gdansk to Anuradhapura, you'll lose 4 hours due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Trincomalee.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Balloon Rides
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Isurumuniya Temple ©
Isurumuniya Temple
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi ©
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Ritigala Forest Monastery ©
Ritigala Forest Monastery

2
nights
Trincomalee

Trincomalee ©
A center of Tamil culture and language, Trincomalee suffered greatly during the 30-year civil war, but the troubles haven't dimmed the natural and cultural charms of the place.
On the 12th (Sun), take in the spiritual surroundings of Mamangam Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Koneswaram Temple, then make a trip to Fort Frederick, then enjoy the sand and surf at Uppuveli, and finally explore the different monuments and memorials at Trincomalee War Cemetery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Nilaveli Beach, brush up on your military savvy at Sri Lanka Navy Museum, and then kick back and relax at Marble Beach.

For photos, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Trincomalee trip maker tool .

Getting from Anuradhapura to Trincomalee by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to drive to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Trincomalee

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Nilaveli Beach
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nilaveli Beach ©
Nilaveli Beach
Trincomalee War Cemetery ©
Trincomalee War Cemetery
Marble Beach ©
Marble Beach

3
nights
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
Polonnaruwa Vatadage and Hetadage are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Visit Lankathilaka Image House and Dambulla Cave Temple for their historical value. Get out of town with these interesting Polonnaruwa side-trips: Safaris (in Habarana), Passikudah Beach (in Kalkudah) and Sigiriya Museum (in Sigiriya). Next up on the itinerary: take an in-depth tour of Archaeological Museum, explore the ancient world of Siva Devalaya (No 1), appreciate the history behind Gal Vihara, and don't miss a visit to Thuparama.

To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Polonnaruwa road trip planning website .

Traveling by car from Trincomalee to Polonnaruwa takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can go by car to Haputale.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Outdoors Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Habarana, Passikudah Beach, Sigiriya Museum
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Passikudah Beach ©
Passikudah Beach
Polonnaruwa Vatadage ©
Polonnaruwa Vatadage
Lankathilaka Image House ©
Lankathilaka Image House

1
night
Haputale

Haputale ©
Nestled atop Uva, Sri Lanka's main mountain range, lies tranquil Haputale.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Fri): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at St Benedict's Monastery - Adisham, take some stellar pictures from Lipton’s Seat, and then experience rural life at Dambatenne Tea Factory.

To find photos, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Haputale trip builder app .

Traveling by car from Polonnaruwa to Haputale takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can drive to Galle.

Things to do in Haputale

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Lipton’s Seat ©
Lipton’s Seat
St Benedict's Monastery - Adisham ©
St Benedict's Monastery - Adisham
Dambatenne Tea Factory ©
Dambatenne Tea Factory

4
nights
Galle

Galle ©
The southernmost city on the island, Galle combines colonial-era history with a tropical feel and climate.
We've included these beaches for you: Ahungalla Beach and Narigama Beach. Explore hidden gems such as Dutch Reformed Church and Community Tsunami Museum. Change things up with these side-trips from Galle: Scuba & Snorkeling (in Hikkaduwa), Art Batiks (in Matara) and Handunugoda Tea Estate (in Ahangama). There's lots more to do: kick back and relax at Mihiripenna Beach, examine the collection at Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and look for all kinds of wild species at Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Galle trip maker .

Drive from Haputale to Galle in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and train. In January, daytime highs in Galle are 37°C, while nighttime lows are 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can travel to Kandy.

Things to do in Galle

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mulgirigala Raja Maha Vihara, Art Batiks, Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Dutch Reformed Church ©
Dutch Reformed Church
Ahungalla Beach ©
Ahungalla Beach
Mihiripenna Beach ©
Mihiripenna Beach

4
nights
Kandy

Kandy ©
Nestled between mountains in inland Sri Lanka, Kandy proudly bears its World Heritage Site designation while remaining culturally independent and colorfully picturesque.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Kandy Garrison Cemetery and Kandy War Cemetery. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Nalanda Gedige and Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple. Take a break from Kandy with a short trip to Euphoria Spice and Herbal in Matale, about 1h 20 min away. There's still lots to do: examine the collection at World Buddhist Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Red Mosque, take in nature's colorful creations at New Ranweli Spice Garden, and stop by Jayamali Batiks Studio.

To see more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Kandy road trip planning website .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Galle to Kandy in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and taxi; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Kandy

Parks Historic Sites Wildlife

Side Trips

Matale, Embekke Devalaya
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kandy Garrison Cemetery ©
Kandy Garrison Cemetery
Kandy War Cemetery ©
Kandy War Cemetery
Nalanda Gedige ©
Nalanda Gedige

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