33 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

33 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

33 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Boston
Fly:  21 h 45 min
1
Colombo
— 5 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
2
Hikkaduwa
— 4 nights
Fly + Taxi:  2 h
3
Nuwara Eliya
— 4 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
4
Kandy
— 5 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
5
Polonnaruwa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h
6
Anuradhapura
— 3 nights
Drive:  1 h 15 min
7
Dambulla
— 5 nights
Fly:  23 h 15 min
End: Boston

5
nights
Colombo

Colombo ©
The commercial capital of the country, Colombo has added modern touches to its colonial-era core, creating an exciting and eclectic coastal city.
Let the collections at Colombo National Museum and The Bandaranaike Museum capture your imagination. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Ranjiths Carving and Batik Museum and West Coast Tattoo Studio. Change things up with these side-trips from Colombo: Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya (in Boralesgamuwa), Sri Lanka Air Force Museum (in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia) and Negombo Beach (in Negombo). Spend the 7th (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. And it doesn't end there: explore the world behind art at The Galleries of Sapumal Foundation, take in the spiritual surroundings of Chabad House, see the interesting displays at Central Bank Currency Museum, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Viharamahadevi Park.

To see photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Colombo journey planner .

Boston, USA to Colombo is an approximately 22-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train, flight, and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 10 hours traveling from Boston to Colombo. In February, Colombo is much warmer than Boston - with highs of 89°F and lows of 74°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Sun) to allow time to take a train to Hikkaduwa.

Things to do in Colombo

Museums Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Sri Lanka Air Force Museum, Negombo Beach, Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya, Ranjiths Carving and Batik Museum
Highlights from your plan
Colombo National Museum ©
Colombo National Museum
Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple ©
Sri Lanka Air Force Museum ©
Sri Lanka Air Force Museum

4
nights
Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa ©
One of the most scenic beach resorts in Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa features a number of long white sand beaches with palm trees and gentle waves.
Museum-lovers will get to explore Tsunami Photo Museum and EXOTIC ROOTS. Do some cultural sightseeing at Galle Fort and Genuine Batik. Venture out of the city with trips to Mirissa (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Mirissa Beach), Kowilawatta Temple (in Balapitiya) and Galle (Pilgrims Lounge Chrishtopher Handicraft and Paint Gallery, Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex, & more). There's lots more to do: see the interesting displays at Community Tsunami Museum, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sri Vijayarama Viharaya, make a trip to Tsunami Honganji Vihara, and explore the galleries of Saffron Robes Gallery and Studio.

To find more things to do, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read Hikkaduwa visit planning tool .

Getting from Colombo to Hikkaduwa by train takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive. In February, daily temperatures in Hikkaduwa can reach 89°F, while at night they dip to 74°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Nuwara Eliya.

Things to do in Hikkaduwa

Museums Outdoors Shopping

Side Trips

Galle, Mirissa, Ambalangoda, Kowilawatta Temple, Tsunami Photo Museum
Highlights from your plan
Tsunami Photo Museum ©
Tsunami Photo Museum
Galle Fort ©
Galle Fort
Sri Vijayarama Viharaya ©
Sri Vijayarama Viharaya

4
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.
Do some cultural sightseeing at R. M. S Antique And Brassware and Sita Temple. Popular historic sites such as Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery Bandarawela and St. Xavier's Church are in your itinerary. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Nuwara Eliya: Little Adam's Peak (in Ella), Udawalawe National Park (in Uda Walawe National Park) and Horton Plains National Park (in Ohiya). There's more to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Horton Plains National Park and explore the activities along Gregory Lake.

For maps, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Nuwara Eliya trip maker site .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Hikkaduwa to Nuwara Eliya in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train, bus, and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Mon) early enough to drive to Kandy.

Things to do in Nuwara Eliya

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Ella, Udawalawe National Park
Highlights from your plan
Little Adam's Peak ©
Little Adam's Peak
Sita Temple ©
Sita Temple
Mahamevnawa Monastery ©
Mahamevnawa Monastery

5
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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Commonwealth War Cemetery. Museum-lovers will get to explore National Railway Museum and National Museum Kandy. Take a break from Kandy with a short trip to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala, about 1h 15 min away. There's much more to do: examine the collection at World Buddhist Museum, tour the pleasant surroundings at Royal Botanical Gardens, explore the different monuments and memorials at Kandy Garrison Cemetery, and step into the grandiose world of Royal Palace of Kandy.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Kandy route planner.

Traveling by car from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy takes 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) to allow time to drive to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Kandy

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trips

Royal Botanical Gardens, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, National Railway Museum
Highlights from your plan
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ©
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Kandy Lake ©
Kandy Lake
Kandy Garrison Cemetery ©
Kandy Garrison Cemetery

4
nights
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Polonnaruwa and King’s Council Chamber. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Sigiriya World Heritage Site and Polonnaruwa Archaeological Ruins. Go for a jaunt from Polonnaruwa to Habarana to see Kaudulla National Park about 52 minutes away. There's still lots to do: explore the ancient world of Polonnaruwa Vatadage, don't miss a visit to Gal Vihara, steep yourself in history at Dalada Maluwa, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Gal Potha.

To find ratings, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Polonnaruwa road trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Kandy to Polonnaruwa takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Anuradhapura.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Sigiriya, Kaudulla National Park
Highlights from your plan
Sigiriya ©
Sigiriya
Polonnaruwa ©
Polonnaruwa
Lankathilaka Image House ©
Lankathilaka Image House

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.
Get some cultural insight at Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba and Ritigala Forest Monastery. Mihintale and Sri Maha Boodhi Temple will appeal to history buffs. Take a break from Anuradhapura with a short trip to Dambulla Cave Temple in Habarana, about 30 minutes away. There's lots more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, delve into the distant past at Sakwala Chakraya (Star Gate), don't miss a visit to Jethawanaramaya Dagoba, and take in the views from Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Malwathu Oya.

For reviews, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Anuradhapura trip planner .

You can drive from Polonnaruwa to Anuradhapura in 2 hours. Another option is to take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sat) to allow time to drive to Dambulla.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Dambulla Cave Temple
Highlights from your plan
Ruwanwelisaya ©
Ruwanwelisaya
Mihintale ©
Mihintale
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi ©
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

5
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.
Let the collections at Arankelle Ancient Monastery and Pethikada capture your imagination. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Golden Temple of Dambulla and Sigiriya Museum. Explore Dambulla's surroundings by going to Minneriya National Park (in Habarana), Matale (Ranweli Spice Garden, Euphoria Spice and Herbal, & more) and Sigiriya (Pidurangala Rock & Lanka Silks). Next up on the itinerary: take an in-depth tour of Yapahuwa Ancient Kingdom, contemplate the long history of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, and make a trip to Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Dambulla online travel planner .

Traveling by car from Anuradhapura to Dambulla takes 1.5 hours. On the 7th (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Dambulla

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Sigiriya, Matale, Yapahuwa, Arankelle Ancient Monastery, Minneriya National Park
Highlights from your plan
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Yapahuwa Rock Fortress ©
Yapahuwa Rock Fortress
Sigiriya Museum ©
Sigiriya Museum

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