Colombo, Kandy and Ella in 1 Weekby: Nicole Louisea
Starting your trip
Looking for the best 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary? You can do so many exciting things in Colombo – Kandy -Ella. If you’ve got a limited amount of time to travel Sri Lanka and want to experience an interesting mix of culture and nature without spending too long traveling between destinations, why not try Kandy and Ella?
Kandy and Ella have convenient transport links to Colombo, meaning you don’t need to worry about commuting to and from the airport. They are the perfect choice for visitors who want to experience some of the many wonders of Sri Lanka, in a short space of time.
I recommend spending at least 7 days in this region to fully take advantage of all it has to offer- majestic temples, endless tea fields, amazing hikes, beautiful lakes and botanical gardens. Pair all of this with delicious food and extremely kind locals and your trip to Sri Lanka can become the trip of a lifetime.
Colombo (Day 1 of 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary)
After your long journey to Colombo, you no doubt want to relax a little bit before your action packed trip really begins. Spend the afternoon strolling across the Galle Face Green, a coastal park overlooking the Indian Ocean.
This is a great place for people watching and you’ll be sure to see people participating in different sports. There’s a high chance you’ll even get to see an amateur Sri Lankan cricket match.
Make sure to check out the markets while you’re there and sample some delicious and reasonably priced street food. This is also a good area to stay, with accommodation choices to suit most budgets.
Gangarama Temple in Colombo
Kandy (Day 2,3 of 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary)
Arriving in Kandy
You can get to Kandy easily by train. The trains leave regularly from Colombo and the journey takes around 3 hours. I recommend that you book your train prior to arriving in Sri Lanka, as this is a popular route that sells out quickly.
If you can’t get a train, don’t worry! Make your way over to the main bus terminal, located right across the road from Fort Station. Here there are frequent buses to Kandy, which take around 4 hours. So most of the excitement starts in Kandy from the 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary.
Temple of the tooth -Kandy (something must-see in Sri Lanka)
See things to do in Kandy
Kandy is a relatively compact town, so getting around the main city can easily be done on foot. For the best rates, and an amazing view, have a look at some of the hotels on the hillside, south of Kandy Lake.
I recommend getting up early and taking one of the earlier trains to Kandy, giving you the full day to explore the city. The first stop of your day should be Dalada Maligawa, a temple not to be missed in Kandy, as it is home to a tooth of Buddha. If you are interested in dancing, there is also the opportunity to watch a traditional kandyan dance show near the temple.
After checking out the temple, you should head to nearby Kandy Lake which is a really pleasant place for an afternoon walk.
The Kandy Garden Café is a popular lunch spot along the lake which serves authentic curries and amazing fruit juices.
Later, visit the Bahiravokanda Vihara, a statue of Buddha which overlooks the whole city. You can even go inside the statue which houses a museum and souvenir shop. Naturally, this is the perfect place for city views and would be great around sunset!
End your night in Kandy city centre, where you can find a variety of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes- those with British tastebuds, looking for some home comforts will be pleased to stumble across the aptly named restaurant, “The Pub”, which serves a range of traditional British dishes.
Things to see in Kandy
- Today, it’s time to go further afield and explore the outskirts of the city. Just 3.5 km from the city center, you’ll find the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, the best botanical garden in Sri Lanka. Here you can see a wide variety of trees and plants, some of which are the oldest, or largest of their kind in the world!
- This is an extremely popular tourist attraction so all tuk-tuk drivers should be able to take you there. After you’ve got your flora fix for the day, head across the road to the Tea Fortress restaurant for a spot of lunch and some souvenir shopping- this is a great place to pick up tea for your family back home.
- Now, if you want to learn a bit more about some of the spices you are going to become familiar with eating during your time in Sri Lanka, I recommend you pay a visit to the New Ranwelli Spice Garden.
A spice expert will take you on a one hour tour around the gardens and explain the medicinal benefits and uses for all of the herbs and spices. A really interesting and educational end to your last day in Kandy! Before going to bed, head back into Kandy for one last dinner in the charming, colonial-style city center. Feel free to extend 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary to one extra day to Dambulla
Ella (Day 4,6 of 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary)
Arriving at Ella
You know the saying, “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.” The journey between Kandy and Ella truly epitomises this! That’s not to say that Ella is a sub-par destination- quite the opposite actually.
But the train journey between will probably be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful journeys you will ever take in your life.
The train journey from Kandy to Ella is everyone’s favorite (Credit to Instagram)
Things to see on your way
Expect to see tea pickers wearing colourful, beautifully beaded saris against a backdrop of endless green fields. For the best views, I recommend the 1st class observation car, which is located either at the front or rear of the train, and offers unrivaled views.
The service is only available on one or two of the trains during each day, and should be booked in advance due to popularity. All these bookings need to be done from Colombo main rail station.
Most of the accommodation in Ella is located on the hillside road towards Ella Rock. Here you can find a mix of hotels, B&Bs & homestays.
You’ll spend most of your day travelling between Kandy and Ella. Get to bed early, so you can get up and explore this beautiful gem of the Sri Lankan hill country.
I hope you’re feeling rested after yesterday’s journey. Today you’ll climb Little Adam’s Peak, undoubtedly the most popular hike in Ella. The peak gets its name from its brother peak, Adam’s Peak, due to their similarity in shape and size.
Little Adam’s Peak is 1444 meters high and the hike should take about 4 hours in total. This might seem like a strenuous day, but you’ll be so glad when you reach the top to be awarded the most amazing views over Ella. In the evening reward yourself with dinner and cocktails at Café Chill, one of the most popular tourist spots in town.
No visit to the Sri Lanka is complete without getting to experience its biggest export- tea! The hill country is at the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea production. Go on a tea plantation tour, and learn for yourself how those endless rows of green tea end up in little white bags in households across the United Kingdom.
Make sure to sample some tea for yourself while you’re there. Once you have got your tea fix head to Garden View Restaurant– a mountainside café with amazing views across Ella.
On the last day of your trip you will definitely want to take advantage of the time you have left to relax. This is the perfect place to reflect on what I’m sure has been the most amazing weeks in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Sadly the day has come that you should make your way back to Colombo! The quickest and most cost efficient way to get back is by bus. First, you should take a taxi to Bandarawela. From there, you can get a bus to Colombo which should take around 6.5 hours.
Alternatively, if you have spare time and want the comfort of the train, you could take the train from Ella to Kandy and enjoy the views in reverse, then take a train to Colombo from Ella.
So, as you can see, Sri Lanka really does pack a punch! Even in a week you can see so much-a bustling city, temples, a huge seated Buddha, botanical gardens, spice gardens, endless rows of tea and amazing mountains!
This will be the last day of 7 days Sri Lanka itinerary. Nevermind If you have any queries please email us on [email protected]
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Photo credit: Instegram (jakmokay)