20 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

20 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Sri Lanka trip builder

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Route & dates

20 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Chennai
Fly:  4 h 15 min
1
Colombo
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
2
Anuradhapura
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h
3
Trincomalee
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
4
Polonnaruwa
— 3 nights
Drive:  1 h 15 min
5
Sigiriya
— 2 nights
Drive:  30 min
6
Dambulla
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
7
Kandy
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h 30 min
8
Nuwara Eliya
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  6 h 45 min
End: Chennai

1
night
Colombo

The commercial capital of the country, Colombo has added modern touches to its colonial-era core, creating an exciting and eclectic coastal city.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): kick back and relax at Negombo Beach, don't miss a visit to Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, stroll through Mount Lavinia Beach, see the interesting displays at Colombo National Museum, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple, and finally walk around Galle Face Green. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed): let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour and then take an exotic tour of a safari tour.

To find maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Colombo trip builder app.

Chennai, India to Colombo is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from Chennai in September, you will find days in Colombo are slightly colder (36°C), and nights are about the same (30°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) early enough to drive to Anuradhapura.

Things to do in Colombo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Negombo Beach
Find places to stay Aug 31 — Sep 2:
Highlights from your plan
Food Tours
Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple ©
Safaris

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.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Mihintale, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Dagoba of Thuparama, don't miss a visit to Jethawanaramaya Dagoba, appreciate the history behind Samadhi Statue, then explore the activities along Twin Baths (Kuttam Pokuna), and finally admire the landmark architecture of Ruwanwelisaya. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the spiritual surroundings of Nellikulama Temple, don't miss a visit to Thanthirimale Rajamaha Viharaya, don't miss a visit to Isinbassagala, contemplate the waterfront views at Kalu Diya Pokuna Natural Black Water Pond, then appreciate the history behind Short Handed Statue, and finally contemplate the long history of Nakha Vehera.

For where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Anuradhapura day trip planner.

You can drive from Colombo to Anuradhapura in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and taxi; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) so you can drive to Trincomalee.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Thanthirimale Rajamaha Viharaya
Find places to stay Sep 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Mihintale ©
Mihintale
Ruwanwelisaya ©
Ruwanwelisaya
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi ©
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

3
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.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Trincomalee Beach, then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Pigeon Island National Park, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sri Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Kovil, and finally witness a stunning natural landmark at Kanniya Hot Springs. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 6th (Sun): brush up on your military savvy at Sri Lanka Navy Museum, don't miss a visit to Fort Frederick, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Koneswaram Temple, pause for some serene contemplation at Saint Mary's Cathedral, then stroll through Nilaveli Beach, and finally discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see reviews, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Trincomalee driving holiday planner.

You can drive from Anuradhapura to Trincomalee in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Trincomalee

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Nilaveli
Find places to stay Sep 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Pigeon Island National Park ©
Pigeon Island National Park
Nilaveli Beach ©
Nilaveli Beach
Koneswaram Temple ©
Koneswaram Temple

3
nights
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Polonnaruwa: Kalkudah (Coconut Cultural Park & Passikudah Beach) and Batticaloa Fort (in Batticaloa). Next up on the itinerary: get to know the fascinating history of Polonnaruwa, explore the activities along Samudra Parakrama, contemplate the long history of Lankathilaka Image House, and delve into the distant past at King’s Council Chamber.

To find photos, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, read Polonnaruwa itinerary maker site.

Traveling by car from Trincomalee to Polonnaruwa takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Sigiriya.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Historic Sites Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Kalkudah, Batticaloa Fort
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Polonnaruwa ©
Polonnaruwa
Gal Vihara ©
Gal Vihara
Passikudah Beach ©
Passikudah Beach

2
nights
Sigiriya

Sigiriya ©
The historic rock of the same name dominates the landscape of World Heritage-listed Sigiriya, where the steep and striking lava plug contains the ruins of an ancient empire.
On the 11th (Fri), explore the ancient world of Sigiriya, then don't miss a visit to Pidurangala Rock, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Minneriya National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Sat): examine the collection at Sigiriya Museum and then explore the striking landscape of Kaudulla National Park.

To find maps, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Sigiriya tour itinerary tool.

You can drive from Polonnaruwa to Sigiriya in 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can drive to Dambulla.

Things to do in Sigiriya

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Kaudulla National Park, Minneriya National Park
Find places to stay Sep 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Sigiriya ©
Sigiriya
Minneriya National Park ©
Minneriya National Park
Pidurangala Rock ©
Pidurangala Rock

3
nights
Dambulla

Dambulla ©
On a trip to Dambulla, visit the largest and best-preserved cave temple complexes in the country, declared a World Heritage Site.
Change things up with these side-trips from Dambulla: Matale (Regent spice garden, Ranweli Spice Garden, &more) and Avukana Buddha Statue (in Kekirawa). And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Golden Temple of Dambulla, browse the fresh offerings at Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre, delve into the distant past at Rangiri Dambullu Maha Viharaya, and soar above the sights with a balloon tour.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Dambulla trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Dambulla is just a short distance from Sigiriya. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Kandy.

Things to do in Dambulla

Parks Historic Sites Tours

Side Trips

Matale, Habarana, Avukana Buddha Statue, Kala Wewa Reservoir
Find places to stay Sep 12 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Avukana Buddha Statue ©
Avukana Buddha Statue
Euphoria Spice and Herbal ©
Euphoria Spice and Herbal

1
night
Kandy

Kandy ©
Nestled between mountains in inland Sri Lanka, Kandy proudly bears its World Heritage Site designation while remaining culturally independent and colorfully picturesque.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Wed): appreciate the history behind Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue, stop by Prestige Selections - Batiks, Handicrafts and Gift Items, contemplate the waterfront views at Kandy Lake, stroll the grounds of Kandy Garrison Cemetery, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and finally examine the collection at World Buddhist Museum.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Kandy trip website.

You can drive from Dambulla to Kandy in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) early enough to drive to Nuwara Eliya.

Things to do in Kandy

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Peradeniya
Find places to stay Sep 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ©
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Royal Botanical Gardens ©
Royal Botanical Gardens
Kandy Lake ©
Kandy Lake

2
nights
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya ©
Sitting high up in the hills, the green and pleasant Nuwara Eliya offers both a rich history and proximity to pristine natural areas.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Thu): admire the sheer force of Baker's Falls, explore the striking landscape of Horton Plains National Park, hike along Thotupola Kanda Nature Trail, make a trip to Pedro Tea Factory , then get to know the fascinating history of Nuwara Eliya and Tea Country, and finally walk around Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya. On the 18th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: experience rural life at Bluefield Tea Gardens, take in the dramatic scenery at Ramboda Waterfall, stop by Mackwoods Tea Centre, take in the dramatic scenery at Dunsinane Falls, then admire the sheer force of St Clair's Falls, and finally admire the natural beauty at Hakgala Botanic Gardens.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Nuwara Eliya using our trip planner.

You can drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya in 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Nuwara Eliya

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Baker's Falls, Ramboda Waterfall, Thotupola Kanda Nature Trail, Dunsinane Falls
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Horton Plains National Park ©
Horton Plains National Park
Hakgala Botanic Gardens ©
Hakgala Botanic Gardens
Gregory Lake ©
Gregory Lake

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