Sri Lanka: 4-week itinerary

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, filled with stunning nature, kind people and delicious food. It’s a small island, which makes it easy to travel while still having a lot of things to see and do. Since the main highlights are in close proximity, Sri Lanka is a great country to explore in 2 weeks, but also has enough to linger around for 4 weeks. In this post, we will share our 4-week itinerary, as well as some tips and tricks to make your travels as comfortable and well-prepared as possible, or to get your wanderlust tingling ;-).

If we have the time, we like to get the most of our trips and try to explore a country as a whole. That’s why we decided to go for 4 weeks. We started in Colombo and went South to the beaches. Since we were going to the beach in Trincomalee and Arugum Bay at the end of our trip, we only stayed for a couple of days at the South coast and went inland to the Hill Country. After a few days there we went up North and back to the Culture Triangle. After 2,5 weeks of traveling at a high pace, it was time for some relaxation and so we spent more than 1 week at the East coast. A more detailed itinerary is as following:

  • Colombo – 1 day
  • Galle/Unawatuna – 2/3 days
  • Mirissa -1 day
  • Tangalle – 1/2 days
  • Udawalawe – 1/2 days
  • Ella – 3 days
  • Kandy – 1 day
  • Anuradhapura – 1 day
  • Jaffna – 2 days
  • Sigiriya – 1 day
  • Trincomalee – 4 days
  • Arugam Bay – 5 days
  • Negombo – 1 day

It was perfect since the first weeks were full of activities and the last week we really had the time to relax and reflect on all the things we had seen and experienced. To get an idea of what this route looks like, we’ve included the map of Sri Lanka and the route below. Tip: you can save places on Google Maps and download a map so you can use it offline, a feature that really comes in handy when travelling!

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If you are a bit short on time, it is easy to shorten this itinerary to two or three weeks by skipping Jaffna in the North, and choosing between the South coast or East coast. You can also do the trip the other way around, starting in the Hill country and ending it on the South coast, depending on the season you’re visiting.

Some tips:
– Sri Lanka has two monsoons, one in the South-West from May to July, and one in the North-East from October to January. This means that you can visit the island any time of the year but you’ll have to take into account that some parts might not be as nice or even accessible compared to other times of the year. We were in Sri Lanka in August and the weather at the South Coast was perfect beach weather, with only one or two short showers a day. The high season is mainly in December/January.

– When it comes to backpacking, Sri Lanka does not facilitate backpacking like Thailand or Vietnam does. This has it up- and downsides, though for us the upsides definitely outruled the downsides. There are for example few to none hostels, but instead you have many guesthouses which might be even more fun because you get to stay with locals (who often cook amazing food for you!). Also, there are places where it’s easy to meet other people (especially in Ella and Arugam Bay) but you notice that there are many families and couples which are sometimes not as open as solo travellers. Traveling solo is however very doable in SL. We must say we did hear some stories of female solo travellers who at times did not feel very comfortable on their own but did not hear of any accidents. Transport is however easy and the people are very willing to help. The only thing is that guesthouses often only have double rooms which will cost you more than a single room or a dorm bed.

If you have any questions or thoughts you want to share, please do so by leaving a comment! We love to hear your experiences and tips!

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