A tiny jewel in the Indian Ocean, the island of Sri Lanka is often overshadowed by its Indian neighbor. But the country formerly known as Ceylon is packed with fantastic things to do including a diverse cultural experience, stunning landscapes from seas to summits, water sports to ancient history. We packed this Sri Lanka travel guide with top places to visit in a Sri Lanka 2-week itinerary, with outdoor activities for the adventurous spirits.

We spent three months in Sri Lanka, mostly kiteboarding in Kalpitiya, but also enjoying the other parts of the country. Have you been to Sri Lanka? Do you have any other Sri Lanka travel suggestions or recommendations to add to ours? Feel free to comment – we would love to hear from you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a percentage if you make a purchase using these links – at no cost to you. Our opinions are our own and are not impacted by these partnerships.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Sri Lankan stilt fisherman in Koggala

Sri Lankan stilt fisherman in Koggala

Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary

Before headed to Sri Lanka, make sure to check our Travel Tips to Sri Lanka! Some might surprise you, as they did surprise us.

  • Day 1: Colombo
  • Day 2: Kalpitiya Fishing Village & Kiteboarding
  • Day 3: Anuradhapura
  • Day 4: Trincomalee
  • Day 5: Sigiriya
  • Day 6: Batticaloa
  • Day 7: Arugam Bay Surfing
  • Day 8: Yala National Park Leopards & Elephants
  • Day 9: Matara / Mirissa
  • Day 10: Galle
  • Day 11: Horton Plains National Park Hiking
  • Day 12: Ella
  • Day 13: Train to Kandy
  • Day 14: Kandy
  • Day 15: Colombo

Below we are detailing what you can do and see during that our 2 weeks in Sri Lanka itinerary. You can go for shorter trips, which are other popular options for travelers to Sri Lanka:

  • a 10-day Sri Lanka itinerary: skip Kalpitiya, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay, and Hortons Plains,
  • or 1 week in Sri Lanka itinerary: focus on Anuradhapura, Yala, train to Kandy, Ella, and Galle

Day 1: Colombo

Depending on what time you arrive in Colombo, and on whether you are a city enthusiast or not, you might want to spend some time in Colombo, or none at all.

The airport is actually in Negombo about one hour north of Colombo, so if you are not planning on going to Sri Lanka’s capital, you might decide to start your itinerary right there.

As we were headed to Kalpityia for our kiteboarding trip, we did not spend too much time in the city as we had our kiteboarding gear with us. We did visit Colombo a bit when we went for our visa extension and enjoyed walking around. We saw many places for coffee, if you are interested!

However, if you are planning on spending some time in town, there is definitely plenty to do and see.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Buddhist Ceremony

Buddhist Ceremony

Things to do in Colombo:

  • National Museum of Colombo (also called the Sri Lanka National Museum)
  • Sri Lanka Parliament
  • Beira Lake
  • Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque/li>
  • The Fort and surrounding Colonial buildings
  • Gangaramaya Temple
  • Town Hall
  • Dawatagaha Jumma Mosque
  • Old Dutch Hospital
  • Pettah Floating Market
  • Sri Kailawasanathan Temple
  • Independence Square Memorial Hall

If you like to support local art and crafts, check Isle of Artisans in the heart of Colombo: a community mural and a store packed with unique gifts created by these local artists.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Fishing Village in Sri Lanka

Fishing Village in Sri Lanka

Day 2: Kalpitiya Fishing Village

If you wanted to spend more time in town, and are not interested in water sports or fishing village life, you can skip Kalpitiya and spend Day 2 in Colombo as well.

Otherwise, head to Kalpitiya on the Puttalam Peninsula about 4 hours north of Colombo. The road passes by small villages, and once you arrive in Kalpitiya, head to where the fishermen dry their fish, take a boat ride in the Kalpituya lagoon or out to Dutch Bay, and the Indian Ocean, among other things.

During the windy seasons, you can also learn to kite. It usually takes a week for learning and start riding. But you can probably take a lesson for the day.

Things to Do in Kalpitiya:

  • Watch the fishermen dry fish and sell the day’s catch, or repair their nets
  • Try paddleboarding on the flat lagoon
  • Go kiteboarding in Kalpitiya lagoon for a few hours, or learn how to do that exciting water sport
  • Depending on the season, and if you arrive the night before, you can go on an early morning trip to try and see dolphins
  • Go scuba-diving. Check our friend Shanaka who is the owner and scuba master at Ocean Lanka.
  • Kayak along the lagoon mangroves searching for crabs and birds

Day 3: Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka and features well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sinhala civilization. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest cities in the world to be continuously inhabited and has been the center for Buddhism teaching for centuries.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura

The site of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka is actually rather large and spread out, with many areas still unearthed. Be prepared for a long day and several hours of wandering around. Consider renting a bike or a scooter as either will make for a more enjoyable exploration while allowing you to spend more time visiting rather than walking.

Travel Tips:

  • Search for leopards at the Wilpattu National Park close to Anuradhapura. Not as famous as Yala National Park Leopards & Elephants, Wilpattu is also less crowded with still a good chance of seeing leopards.
  • Rent a tuk-tuk or a scooter to explore the area for a local experience
  • Watch for the monkeys that roam the site. They are especially interested in anything shiny, and even more so by any kind of food you might be willing (or not) to share.
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Traveling by Tuk-Tuk

Traveling by Tuk-Tuk

Day 4: Trincomalee

Also known as Gokanna or Gokarna, Trincomalee is the heart where Tamil culture has been living for over two millennia. Today, the town’s main attractions include various Hindu historical sites, the Koneswaram temple, the Ravana’s Cleft, and the Dutch Fort which was actually built by the Portuguese in 1623 and then captured by the Dutch in 1639. Of note are also the scenic beaches, especially Marble Beach.

Things to See in Trincomalee:

  • Koneswaram Temple
  • Marble Beach
  • Sri Pathrakali Amman Temple
  • Uppuveli
  • Fort Frederick (Dutch Fort)
  • Trincomalee British War Cemetery
  • Kanniya Hot Springs
  • Cliff of Trincomalee
  • Ravana’s Cleft (Rawana Abyss)

Day 5: Sigiriya

Probably one of the most iconic sites in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is a 660-feet (200 m) ancient rock fortress dating from the 5th century. A royal palace was first built at that time, but at the King’s death, the place became a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Today, Sigiriya is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see while in Sri Lanka.

Make sure to visit the Lion Gate, the frescoes, the water gardens. The rock tends to get busy, so head there as early as you can to try to beat the crowd.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Sigiriya

Sigiriya

Day 6: Batticaloa

A major commercial hub in Sri Lanka, the city is actually on an island.

Things to see in Batticoloa:

  • Shri Mamangeshwarar Kovil
  • Church of Our Lady of Presentation
  • Jami-Us-Salam Jummah Masjid
  • Batticaloa Fort
  • Kallady Bridge and Beach
  • Batticoloa Lighthouse
  • Gandhi Park and Batticaloa Gate
  • Kuthu Traditional dance during Hindu festivals

Day 7: Arugam Bay Surfing

The most famous surf spot in Sri Lanka, the moon-shaped Arugam Bay appeals to whoever is looking for a chill beach to relax. But there is more to it if you are so interested:

  • Arugam Bay Surfing
  • Pottuval ruins
  • Lagoon kayaking
  • Birdwatching in the mangroves
  • Kumana National Park, known for its migratory waterfowls and birds
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Surfing

Surfing

Beware that crocodiles call the area home as well, so be careful and ask around for advice.

Day 8: Yala National Park

Probably the better known of Sri Lanka national parks, Yala is a popular park to see elephants, bears, leopards among other wildlife. But with this popularity comes the crowd. While the park offers plenty of wildlife watching opportunities, the number of cars that would gather once an animal has been spotted can be offputting. If you can, try going in the shoulder seasons and as early as you can in the morning.

Other alternatives for leopards would be Wilpattu and for elephants, Udawalawe National Park.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Elephant at Wilpattu National Park

Elephant at Wilpattu National Park

Day 9: Mirissa

Mirissa is known for its beach, where snorkelers and diving will enjoy it. Surfing is also popular there.

Things to Do in Mirissa:

  • Mirissa Beach for relaxing, snorkeling, and surfing
  • Whale Watching
  • Sri Sunandarama Temple

If you are a fan of stunning beaches, consider the remote Mannar peninsula. Few visit the area, and the turquoise water against the white sand is simply incredible.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Beach around Mannar

Beach around Mannar

Day 10: Galle

The city saw an increase in expansion after the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century and the Dutch colonial period of the 18th century. Today, the Portuguese fort, also called Galle Fort, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most massive fortresses still standing that was built by the Europeans in Asia.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Galle

Galle

Things to See in Galle Sri Lanka:

  • Galle Fort
  • National Maritime Museum
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral
  • Shiva Hindu Temple

Day 11: Horton Plains National Park Hiking

Also referred to as Nuwara Eliya, the protected area of the Horton Plains National Park features grassland and cloud forest. The plateau sits at over 6,900-ft (2,100 m) and is a paradise for outdoor activities.

Things to Do in Horton Plains National Park Sri Lanka

  • World’s End – a 2,854-ft (870-m) precipice
  • Baker’s Falls – a 66-ft (20-m) waterfalls
  • Hakgala Botanical Garden
  • Bambarakanda Falls

An 11-km hike takes you to World’s End through plains and forests and is a must-do while in the area.

Day 12: Ella

The charming village of Ella is an excellent hub for hiking and exploring the forests around. From there, you can also visit different tea plantations, go ziplining or swim in one of the several waterfalls.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Sri Lanka Tea Plantations

Sri Lanka Tea Plantations

Day 13: Train to Kandy

Crowded and slow-going the train from Kandy to Ella is a must-do experience. Passing by tea plantations, small villages, and quaint train stations, you will love it!

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Train to Kandi and Ella

Train to Kandi and Ella

Things to see in Kandy:

  • Nine Arch Bridge
  • Little Adam’s Peak hike
  • Lipton’s Seat
  • Diyaluma Falls
  • Spice Garden
  • Ella Rock for incredible viewpoint
  • Ravana Waterfall
  • Udawalawe National Park

Travel Tips:

Book ahead as it gets crowded. Go for a 2nd-class ticket for the most local experience, or 1st if you want a seat guaranteed. The ride will take you most of the day but is worth every second of it.

Day 14: Kandy

Standing by tea plantations of the Kandy Plateau, Kandy is where the Temple of the Tooth relic is located. Considered one of the most sacred Buddhism sites, the UNESCO World Heritage site.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // View from Adam's Peak at Sunrise

View from Adam’s Peak at Sunrise

Things to do in Kandy:

  • Royal Palace of Kandy (Wace Park)
  • Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa)
  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • World Buddhism Museum
  • Lankatilaka Temple
  • Kandy Lake
  • Gadaladeniya Temple
  • Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya
  • The Knuckles Mountain Range and Alagalla Mountain Range provide excellent trekking opportunities

Day 15: Colombo

Back to Colombo for your departure flight. Depending on when your plane leaves, you might be able to visit the city’s attractions.

Travel Tips:

  • The Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) is actually located in the city of Negombo, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Colombo. The ride takes about one hour, so plan accordingly if you are leaving from the capital to their airport.

Our 2-week Sri Lanka itinerary is quite packed but you can also, of course, skip a few places to chill and relax in one you like. Since we were actually spending there several months, we enjoyed spending a few days south of Galle by the ocean.

Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Defining the best places to travel in Sri Lanka depends on what you like. Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or into wildlife watching, you are sure to find something to like in Sri Lanka.

Ancient Historical Sites in Sri Lanka

  • Anuradhapura
  • Sigiriya
  • Galle
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Danbulla
  • Jaffna
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Jaffna Fort

Jaffna Fort

Sri Lanka Adventurous Activities

  • Kiteboarding Sri Lanka: Kalpitiya and Mannar
  • Scuba-Diving
  • Dolphin Cruise
  • Surfing in Arugam Bay
  • Hiking to Adam’s Peak
  • Sri Lankan wildlife safari
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Dolphins

Dolphins

Sri Lanka National Parks Wildlife

Going on a Sri Lanka wildlife safari is a must-do while in the country! Finding the best national park in Sri Lanka can be tough but here is the top of the list:

  • Yala National Park
  • Wilpattu National Park
  • Udawalawe National Park: the best place to see elephants in Sri Lanka!
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
  • Horton Plains National Park
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Leopard at Wilpattu National Park

Leopard at Wilpattu National Park

When is the Best Time to Travel to Sri Lanka

You can visit Sri Lanka almost all year round, it just depends on what you are looking for.

Two Monsoons

However, Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons, which might make traveling somewhat tricky. In the northeast, the monsoon lasts from December to March, and in the southwest, from June to October.

Wind sports would be summer and winter, other water sports like diving would be winter.

Kiteboarding Seasons

If you are going to Sri Lanka as part of a kiteboarding trip, you might want to time your travel with the windy seasons, in the Summer and Winter months.

  • The Summer season runs from May to October
  • The Winter season is from December through February.
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Windmills

Windmills

Water Sports 

For other Water sports like Scuba-Diving, whale-watching, or dolphin-watching, consider the winter months when the winds are steadier and the water flatter.

How to Arrive in Sri Lanka

Being an island, Sri Lanka would, in theory, be accessible by boat or by air. There are actually no ferry services from India, and even commercial ships or private boats need special authorization before being able to reach Sri Lanka.

So like most visitors, you will fly into Sri Lanka. As mentioned, the main Sri Lanka airport is Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Negombo Sri Lanka. Since the small city is around 20 miles (32 km) north of Colombo, plan for an hour ride from the city to the airport.

Airlines with flights to Sri Lanka include of course the national airline, SriLankan Airlines, but also Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air India, and any major airlines.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Riding Train in Sri Lanka

Riding Train in Sri Lanka

Best Hotels in Sri Lanka

You can find hotels for all budgets and expectations in Sri Lanka. From small guest houses to budget hotels or luxury resorts, you can find it all.

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Tropical resort

Tropical resort

We used Booking.com to book most of our hotel rooms and can only recommend using them to plan your Sri Lanka itinerary trip.

Sri Lanka Travel Tips

  • Most Sri Lankans speak some English, but you might want to learn some Sinhalese and Tamil, which are both the official languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese is spoken by around 87% of the population, Tamil 28%, and mostly in the northern part of the country.
  • Beware of the two monsoons. As mentioned in our section about when to visit Sri Lanka, the country has two monsoon seasons which can make traveling a challenge.
  • ATMs are widely available in Sri Lanka, though the Bank of Ceylon is probably the one that will accept foreign cards the most.
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to try one of Sri Lanka’s famous ayurvedic massages.
What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Relax with an ayurvedic massage

Relax with an ayurvedic massage

  • If you are traveling independently, consider renting a scooter or a car. Remember that people drive on the left!
  • Watch for tuk-tuk scams. Make sure to negotiate the prices before, and don’t be surprised if the driver tries to renegotiate en route and at arrival.
  • Beware of Mosquitoes. Sri Lanka has seen Dengue Fever outbreaks among other mosquito-bred diseases.
  • Stay away from dogs. The dog population is somewhat out of control in Sri Lanka, and rabies is present. Don’t touch unknown dogs as the deadly disease can be transmitted by saliva as well as bites.
  • Dress conservatively, especially when visiting any religious sites. Bring a sarong to cover legs and shoulders.
  • Universal Adapter. Three different plugs are used across the country, so bring an adapter!
  • Language understanding: Like Indians, Sri Lankans shake heads sideways to say “Yes”, in what Westerners might understand as “No”. Equally, the left hand is considered “unclean” so only use your hand to eat and touch things.
  • Check out our Travel Tips to Sri Lanka for more tips!
  • Grab a copy of Lonely Planet Sri Lanka and a phrasebook English – Sinhalese – Tamil before leaving.

Do you have any other Sri Lanka itinerary suggestions or other things to do in Sri Lanka? Feel free to add your feedback in the Comments section – we would love to hear from you!

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What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Tuktuk Train Ella Temple

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Anuradhapura Buddhist Temple

What Places to Visit in Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary // Tuktuk Train Ella Temple Wilpattu Leopards

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