A Scenic Hill Country Haven

Ella, a charming town nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, and serene atmosphere. Surrounded by tea plantations, misty mountains, and cascading waterfalls, Ella offers a perfect escape for nature lovers, hikers, and those seeking tranquility. The town’s relaxed vibe and stunning scenery make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Sri Lanka’s central highlands.

Things to Do

Hike to Ella Rock

  • Scenic Trek: Embark on a hike to Ella Rock, one of the most popular trekking destinations in Sri Lanka. The trail takes you through tea plantations, forested areas, and open grasslands, offering stunning views at every turn.
  • Panoramic Views: Reach the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and the distant southern plains. The hike is moderately challenging, but the rewarding vistas make it well worth the effort.

Visit the Nine Arches Bridge

  • Architectural Marvel: The Nine Arches Bridge, also known as the Bridge in the Sky, is an iconic landmark in Ella. This beautifully constructed stone bridge, surrounded by lush greenery, is a marvel of colonial engineering.
  • Scenic Spot: Walk along the railway tracks to the bridge, where you can take in the scenic views and watch the trains pass by. The bridge is particularly picturesque at sunrise and sunset.

Explore Diyaluma Falls

  • Second Highest Waterfall: Diyaluma Falls, the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka, is a breathtaking natural wonder located about an hour’s drive from Ella. The waterfall cascades down a steep rock face, creating a series of natural pools.
  • Swimming and Relaxation: Hike to the top of the falls to swim in the natural pools and enjoy the stunning views. The area around the falls is perfect for picnics and relaxation.

Visit the Ravana Falls

  • Mythical Significance: Ravana Falls, named after the legendary King Ravana from the Ramayana epic, is a popular tourist attraction near Ella. The falls cascade down a series of rocky steps, creating a beautiful and refreshing sight.
  • Swimming Spot: Take a dip in the cool, clear waters of the pool at the base of the falls. The surrounding area is perfect for a relaxing break amidst nature.

Explore the Ella Spice Garden

  • Culinary Tour: Visit the Ella Spice Garden for an informative tour on Sri Lanka’s rich culinary heritage. Learn about the various spices used in Sri Lankan cuisine, including cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
  • Cooking Classes: Participate in a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Sri Lankan dishes using fresh, local ingredients. Enjoy the delicious results of your culinary efforts.


Relax at Lipton’s Seat

  • Tea Country Views: Lipton’s Seat, named after the famous tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton, offers some of the most stunning views in Sri Lanka’s hill country. The viewpoint is located on a high ridge overlooking lush tea plantations.
  • Scenic Hike: Take a scenic hike through the tea estates to reach Lipton’s Seat. The early morning is the best time to visit, as the views are often clear and the light is perfect for photography.

Visit the Ella Tea Factory

  • Tea Production Tour: Gain insights into the tea production process with a visit to the Ella Tea Factory. Learn about the different stages of tea processing, from plucking the leaves to packaging the final product.
  • Tea Tasting: Enjoy a tea tasting session to sample various grades of Ceylon tea and learn about the unique flavors and characteristics of each type.

Explore the Demodara Loop

  • Engineering Feat: The Demodara Loop is a fascinating railway engineering marvel located near Ella. The loop allows trains to make a complete 360-degree turn and pass through a tunnel located directly beneath the railway station.
  • Scenic Train Ride: Take a train ride from Ella to Demodara to experience this unique railway loop and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way.

Relax at a Hill Country Resort

  • Scenic Accommodation: Ella offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury hill country resorts. Stay in a resort with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys for a truly relaxing experience.
  • Wellness and Spa: Many resorts in Ella offer wellness and spa services, including Ayurvedic treatments and massages, to help you unwind and rejuvenate.

Visit the Dhowa Rock Temple

  • Ancient Temple: The Dhowa Rock Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located near Ella. The temple is famous for its large, unfinished rock carving of a Buddha statue, which dates back over 2,000 years.
  • Peaceful Atmosphere: Explore the temple’s serene surroundings and admire the intricate rock carvings and murals that depict various Buddhist stories.

Take a Day Trip to Haputale

  • Hill Country Views: Haputale, a small town located about an hour’s drive from Ella, offers some of the most breathtaking views in Sri Lanka’s hill country. The town is surrounded by tea plantations and lush greenery.
  • Adisham Bungalow: Visit the Adisham Bungalow, a beautiful English Tudor-style mansion set amidst stunning gardens. The bungalow, now a monastery, offers guided tours and the opportunity to purchase locally made jams and preserves.

Enjoy a Traditional Sri Lankan Meal

  • Local Cuisine: Savor the flavors of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine at one of Ella’s many restaurants and cafes. Must-try dishes include rice and curry, hoppers, and kottu roti.
  • Dining with a View: Many eateries in Ella offer stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys, providing a scenic backdrop for your meal.

Explore the Little Adam’s Peak

  • Popular Hike: Little Adam’s Peak is a popular hiking destination in Ella, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The hike is relatively easy and suitable for all fitness levels.
  • Panoramic Views: Reach the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the Ella Gap, tea plantations, and distant mountain ranges. The sunrise and sunset hikes are particularly rewarding.

Visit the Rawana Cave

  • Historical Site: According to local legend, the Rawana Cave is where King Ravana hid Princess Sita after abducting her in the Ramayana epic. The cave, located near Ella, offers a fascinating glimpse into Sri Lanka’s mythical history.
  • Cave Exploration: Explore the cave’s dark and mysterious interior, which features narrow passages and chambers. The hike to the cave is short but steep, offering a bit of adventure.

Relax at the Ravana Pool Club

  • Leisure Spot: The Ravana Pool Club is a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploration. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool, lounge on the sunbeds, and savor delicious food and drinks.

  • Scenic Views: The pool club offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys, making it a perfect spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of Ella.

Take a Yoga Class

  • Wellness Retreat: Ella is a popular destination for wellness retreats, offering a range of yoga and meditation classes. Join a class to practice yoga in a serene and picturesque setting.
  • Holistic Experience: Many wellness centers in Ella offer holistic experiences, including Ayurvedic treatments, healthy meals, and mindfulness practices.

Visit the Lipton’s Tea Factory

  • Tea Heritage: The Lipton’s Tea Factory, located near Haputale, is another significant site in Sri Lanka’s tea heritage. Learn about the history of Lipton tea and the legacy of Sir Thomas Lipton.
  • Tea Tasting: Enjoy a guided tour of the factory and participate in a tea tasting session to sample some of the finest teas produced in the region.

Explore the Ella Town

  • Local Markets: Stroll through the local markets in Ella to shop for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and souvenirs. The town’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals make it a pleasant place to explore.
  • Cafes and Boutiques: Visit the town’s charming cafes and boutiques, which offer a range of local and international cuisine, artisanal products, and unique gifts.

Take a Scenic Train Ride

  • Iconic Journey: The train ride from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. The route takes you through lush tea plantations, misty mountains, and picturesque villages.

  • Photographic Opportunities: The train ride offers numerous photographic opportunities, with breathtaking views at every turn. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the stunning scenery. 

Visit the Monaragala District

  • Cultural Experience: Take a day trip to the Monaragala District, located south of Ella, to explore its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Visit ancient temples, archaeological sites, and traditional villages.
  • Scenic Drives: Enjoy scenic drives through the district’s rolling hills, dense forests, and lush farmland. The area is known for its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife.

Practical Tips for Visiting Ella

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Ella is during the dry season, from December to March, when the weather is most favorable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
  • Transportation: Ella is accessible by road and rail. The scenic train ride from Kandy to Ella is a popular option, offering beautiful views along the way.
  • Accommodation: Ella offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Staying in a hill country resort provides stunning views and a tranquil environment.


Ella is a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and relaxation. Whether you’re hiking to scenic viewpoints, exploring ancient temples, or enjoying a cup of Ceylon tea, Ella promises a memorable and enriching travel experience. Plan your visit to this scenic hill country haven and discover the many treasures of Sri Lanka’s central highlands.