21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Colombo
Fly:  1​h
1
Kandy
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Anuradhapura
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Trincomalee
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Polonnaruwa
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 30​min
5
Netolpitiya
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
Galle
— 5 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
End: Colombo

3
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.
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Ceylon Tea Museum are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Do your shopping at Jayamali Batiks Studio and Kandy City Center. When in Kandy, make a side trip to see Victoria Golf & Country Resort in Rajawella, approximately 54 minutes away. The adventure continues: contemplate the waterfront views at Kandy Lake, admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanical Gardens, look for gifts at Prestige Selections - Batiks, Handicrafts and Gift Items, and explore the different monuments and memorials at Commonwealth War Cemetery.

To see maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Kandy road trip website .

Colombo to Kandy is an approximately 1-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of taxi and train; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can drive to Anuradhapura.

Things to do in Kandy

Golf Outdoors Shopping

Side Trips

Victoria Golf & Country Resort, Royal Botanical Gardens
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Kandy Garrison Cemetery ©
Kandy Garrison Cemetery
Royal Botanical Gardens ©
Royal Botanical Gardens
Kandy War Cemetery ©
Kandy War Cemetery

3
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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Sri Maha Boodhi Temple. Get a sense of the local culture at Isurumuniya Temple and Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba. Next up on the itinerary: don't miss a visit to Jethawanaramaya Dagoba, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Mihintale, delve into the distant past at Ranmasu Uyana, and appreciate the history behind Samadhi Statue.

To see where to stay, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Anuradhapura holiday planner .

Getting from Kandy to Anuradhapura by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a train. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) early enough to go by car to Trincomalee.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites Nature Parks
Find places to stay Jul 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Isurumuniya Temple ©
Isurumuniya Temple
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi ©
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Mihintale ©
Mihintale

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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Trincomalee War Cemetery and Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara. Get outdoors at Trincomalee Beach and Pigeon Island National Park. There's still lots to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Koneswaram Temple, examine the collection at Hoods Tower Museum, and see some colorful creatures with Sail Lanka Charter.

To see maps, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Trincomalee online itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Anuradhapura to Trincomalee takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to drive to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Trincomalee

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Pigeon Island National Park
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Trincomalee War Cemetery ©
Trincomalee War Cemetery
Sail Lanka Charter ©
Sail Lanka Charter
Pigeon Island National Park ©
Pigeon Island National Park

4
nights
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
Get outdoors at The Golden Temple and Minneriya National Park. Popular historic sites such as Polonnaruwa Vatadage and Lankathilaka Image House are in your itinerary. Change things up with these side-trips from Polonnaruwa: Pethikada (in Sigiriya) and Karu Arts & Crafts (in Naula). There's much more to do: explore the ancient world of Polonnaruwa Archaeological Ruins, take an in-depth tour of Archaeological Museum, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Polonnaruwa.

To find reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Polonnaruwa road trip planner.

Traveling by car from Trincomalee to Polonnaruwa takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Netolpitiya.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Karu Arts & Crafts, Golden Temple of Dambulla, Minneriya National Park, Pethikada
Find places to stay Jul 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Lankathilaka Image House ©
Lankathilaka Image House
Polonnaruwa Vatadage ©
Polonnaruwa Vatadage

3
nights
Netolpitiya

Netolpitiya ©
Most people take a trip to Netolpitiya to enjoy a classic beach holiday.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sun): explore the striking landscape of Bundala National Park. Keep things going the next day: contemplate the waterfront views at Tangalle Lagoon & Kayak, then take in the exciting artwork at Indika Art Gallery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Goyambokka Beach (Sriyanga Sanjeewa).

For other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Netolpitiya day trip planning website .

Getting from Polonnaruwa to Netolpitiya by car takes about 6 hours. In July, daily temperatures in Netolpitiya can reach 39°C, while at night they dip to 30°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) so you can travel to Galle.

Things to do in Netolpitiya

Parks Nature Beaches

Side Trips

Tangalle, Bundala National Park
Find places to stay Jul 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Bundala National Park ©
Bundala National Park
Goyambokka Beach (Sriyanga Sanjeewa) ©
Tangalle Lagoon ©
Tangalle Lagoon

5
nights
Galle

Galle ©
The southernmost city on the island, Galle combines colonial-era history with a tropical feel and climate.
Tsunami Photo Museum and Galle Fort are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Shop till you drop at Dara Gems & Jewellery and Embark. Venture out of the city with trips to Victor Hasselblad Sea Turtle Research & Conservation Center (in Kosgoda), Mirissa Beach (in Mirissa) and Community Tsunami Museum (in Hikkaduwa). The adventure continues: stop by Orchid House, pause for some serene contemplation at Dutch Reformed Church, gain a rich perspective with a tour of cultural highlights, and experience rural life at Handunugoda Tea Estate.

For traveler tips, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Galle online journey planner .

Traveling by car from Netolpitiya to Galle takes 2 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can go by car back home.

Things to do in Galle

Outdoors Parks Shopping

Side Trips

Mirissa Beach, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Community Tsunami Museum, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Victor Hasselblad Sea Turtle Research & Conservation Center
Find places to stay Jul 31 — Aug 5:
Highlights from your plan
Tsunami Photo Museum ©
Tsunami Photo Museum
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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