19 Best Things To Do Ella, Sri Lanka In 2024 - Feel Free Travel Blog
19 Best Things To Do Ella, Sri Lanka In 2024 19 Best Things To Do Ella, Sri Lanka In 2024

19 Best Things To Do Ella, Sri Lanka In 2024


Written by Josh Band

Posted, 14th February 2024

Ready to find some fun things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka?

Then you’ve come to the right place as we are experts in all things Ella – we even run group tours throughout Sri Lanka so we know all of the best things to do in Ella!

Ella is a captivating little town nestled in the hills of the southern half of Sri Lanka. The area has so much natural beauty, but what is there to do?

From getting active and hiking to relaxing by a waterfall, you won’t be short of things to do in nature here- that’s for sure.

So without further ado, let’s get on with our favourite things to do.

Best Things To Do In Ella

Ella is one of the most popular destinations in the country and it is most well known for the breathtaking landscape that it is located in, but many travellers also know of the town as it receives such high praise from others for having such friendly locals!

There are plenty of things to do in Ella that suit all interests and abilities and overall. If you ask us, the town is up there with the must-see destinations in Sri Lanka! Which is why it’s a key stop on our tours.

Here are just some of the great things that you can do in Ella:

1. Hike to Little Adam’s Peak ⛰

Our number one choice and the best thing to do in Ella is to hike to the top of Little Adam’s Peak.

The hike to Little Adam’s Peak is quite a leisurely one. It’s not overly challenging even for the least experienced trekker, but it can definitely get your blood pumping in parts.

The reward for completing the trail is some incredible panoramic views which extend far beyond the town of Ella to the lush green surroundings. 

The climb only takes around 30 minutes and the view makes it very worth it. Hiking to Little Adam’s Peak should definitely be on the list of adventurers and anyone looking for an incredible photograph of the town.

It’s one of our concrete activities that makes up every group trip we run in Sri Lanka! In fact, it’s one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka as the whole country, let alone in Ella.

2. Take a cooking class at Matey Hut 🍚

Matey Hut in Ella is the perfect spot to not only grab a spot of lunch but also to learn how to cook some traditional Sri Lankan dishes that you can enjoy even when you’re back home.

Matey Hut is in a great location if you’re coming back from a hike at Adam’s Peak and need refuelling – the dishes are absolutely incredible. The Sri Lankan curries and rotis on offer taste so much better when you’re exhausted from a hike!

The cooking classes at Matey Hut are a great activity too and run in the morning so that you can make your lunch meal and also at 4.30 pm allowing you to cook up a storm in time for dinner.

The cost of the cooking class makes it that much more appealing at only £5.10 per person – not bad considering you get a meal at the end of it!

The friendly owners love taking the classes and are very good at teaching. All that they ask is that you stop by to book your lesson in advance, you show up on time and that you ask as many questions as you want!

3. Hike the Trail to Ella Rock 🪨

Ella Rock is a much more challenging adventure than the hike to Little Adam’s Peak but who doesn’t love a challenge?

This trek is a lot longer than the other but it takes you through tea plantations and dense forested areas and gives incredible views of the valleys surrounding Ella. It’s like a mini jungle trek almost.

You’ll have a real sense of achievement after completing this hike and the views are a great reward for the effort. The entire hike will likely take you between three and five hours and you’ll likely meet plenty of other adventurers on the way as it is such a popular route.

If you fancy a challenge of either climbing up or down in the dark, why not aim to be at the top for sunrise or sunset? We promise you won’t regret it.

A group of smiling hikers at the summit during sunrise with expansive mountain views in the background

4. Cross the Nine Arch Bridge 🚂

The Nine Arch Bridge is one of the top attractions in the Ella region and you simply can’t skip it while you’re staying there. The Nine Arch Bridge is a structural masterpiece which stands proudly in Ella’s beautiful landscape.

It’s the definition of an Instagrammable shot!

Surrounded by bright greenery and aromatic tea plantations, the iconic bridge is best experienced by train, where you can feel what it’s like to be on the bridge itself.

If you’d prefer to walk from Ella Town and take some amazing photographs of the bridge towering in the mist, then the walk is only around one hour from the centre. You could also take a tuk-tuk ride to the bridge.

5. Experience the Demodara Loop 🛤

The Demodara Loop is another landmark that cannot be missed while in Ella. The Demodara Loop is a circular construction of a railway line that allows the train to complete a loop and then pass over itself before emerging from a tunnel beneath the Demodare Loop.

The construction is unlike anything else in the world and truly is something to watch and admire.

Or if you want to experience what it’s like to go around a loop in a train, the price of tickets for the train between Ella and Demodara to complete the loop is incredibly cheap at around £0.11! This makes the activity even more worthwhile.

There is also a viewing platform at Demodara to watch the train complete the loop if you are boarding at Demodara Station.

6. Visit Ravana Falls and Caves

Ravana Falls is a natural wonder located not too far from Ella and has a magical story behind it. Ravana Falls is named after a mythical king who stems from Hindu legend. Locals believe that the waterfall is a part of Ravana’s palace and that his daughter lives in the adjacent caves.

The waterfall is the perfect spot for a quick swim but as is always the case with swimming in waterfalls, you need to watch out for sharp and slippery rocks. The waterfall is a natural spa with a humid climate combined with a quick cool down in the water spiking your energy levels for further exploration of the area, and you’ll want to explore as much as possible because it is stunning.

Ravana’s Cave is a great stop further up the waterfall where you can explore the story further for a small cost. Many pilgrims venture to the caves every year making it more and more popular with tourists. 

7. Relax at Ravana Pool Club by 98 Acres Resort

Located just 2.5km from Ella Town, Ravana Pool Club is becoming one of Ella’s biggest hits with tourists. It is the first-ever and only, international pool club located in Sri Lanka and is the perfect spot for a bit of relaxation.

The scenic club overlooks some of Ella’s most beautiful mountain regions giving it a luxurious atmosphere. You can enjoy high-quality facilities at the pool club such as heated pools, infinity pools, day beds and high-end bars serving the finest refreshments.

Lounging by the pool makes a great change from hiking through the tea plantations and Ella’s mountainous trails and Ravana Pool Club is the best pool location in all of Ella.

With Balinese-style architecture and plenty of restaurant and spa spaces, a day at the Ravana Pool Club promises an unforgettable, relaxing and enjoyable experience.

8. Travel to Kandy by Train

One of the best things to do in Ella and one of the best ways to experience the wonderful greenery that surrounds Ella is by travelling through it by train. Heading to Kandy or another nearby town is a cheap journey and one that is bound to excite everyone, whether you’re a nature lover or not.

But let’s be honest, would you really be planning a trip to Ella if you don’t love the outdoors?

The most exciting way to travel by train is by third class – although this has become a lot more popular and busy in recent years as backpackers especially have caught on to the perk that the lower cost tickets offer.

Third-class tickets allow you to hang out on the train to get the best views over the valleys and hills and getting an Instagram-worthy picture is on the bucket list of many tourists. 

As we mentioned, this activity has become quite popular in recent years so you’ll definitely want to make sure to book your ticket in advance if you’re travelling during peak season and ensure that you’re ready to fight your way onto the train when on the platform!

And of course, make sure you are careful and safe…no one wants to fall off a moving train.

9. Enjoy Ella Town’s Nightlife

While Ella may be best known for its luscious greenery and natural landmarks which surround Ella, the town itself should not be ignored or skipped over.

Sri Lanka is unlike many other Southeast Asian countries in that you’ll not find as many party locations or spots to drink heavily and dance the night away. But Ella Town does offer a slightly more lively atmosphere than other towns across Sri Lanka.

You’ll find a few more options for Western-style food in Ella Town (although food in Sri Lanka is great). So fear not, the opportunity for a night out can be found if you’re determined. Ella Town has a range of lively restaurants and bars which provide a more vibrant atmosphere similar to other Southeast Asian locations.

10. Witness the Views from Lipton’s Seat

Making a visit to Lipton’s Seat is one which takes you right into the heart of the tea-making region. The view that you get from Lipton’s Seat is incredible and highlights the huge expanses that are covered in tea plantations around Ella.

Just like with Ella Rock, vsiting Lipton’s Seat at sunrise and sunset makes the location so much more enchanting and the views of the bright green fields stand out against the backdrop of yellow, pink and orange.

Lipton’s Seat is named after the Scottish baron St. Thomas Lipton who forged a tea empire using Sri Lanka’s leaves and whose company is still popular today with iced teas being their most-bought product.

11. Test Your Nerves on the Ella Zip Line

The Ella zip line, Flying Ravana, is definitely a location for adrenaline junkies that are in search of a good kick. The zip line is the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka and offers an exhilarating experience to all those brave enough to try it.

The zip line offers a unique vantage point which allows you to take in the lush green landscape from a bird’s eye view and experience a rush of excitement as you fly above the trees.

Taking on the zip line is guaranteed to be a memorable experience and one that will help you cherish the beautiful landscapes of Ella forever.

Going on a zip line is always fun, but with views as breathtaking as you get here, it’s simply phenomenal.

12. Explore Ella Town

Even though we’ve already told you to enjoy Ella Town’s nightlife, you shouldn’t ignore the town during the daytime either.

The town has so much to offer such as the abundance of top-quality restaurants or the many cafes offering locally-sourced teas and if nothing else, it’s incredibly pretty to the eye.

If you happen to be in Ella on a Wednesday, you should definitely check out the Wednesday Market on Passara Road. It’s a great place to pick up some local foods and handcrafted items.

Even if you choose not to buy anything, simply exploring the market is pretty fun in itself!

A lively outdoor market scene with a young traveler interacting with a local vendor amidst colorful stalls

13. Visit Sri Lanka’s Tallest Waterfall

Sri Lanka is quickly becoming the next Bali and Bambarakana Falls is the perfect example of why. It’s the tallest waterfall in all of Sri Lanka and it is just a short trip from Ella Town. The waterfall is very impressive and the size of it is sure to leave you in awe. 

The drop of the waterfall is a breathtaking 236 metres in height and the amount of water toppling over the edge is mesmerising – particularly in the summer.

The best way of getting to Bambarakana Falls is to take a guided tour as this will also help ensure that you explore the waterfalls safely and you’ll also likely get the opportunity to take part in other activities such as guided hiking to the top viewing platform and a chance to swim at the waterfall.

14. Head on an Elephant Spotting Safari

Some of the best things to do in Ella involve going somewhere else, and using the town as a base, and this is the perfect example.

Udawalawe National Park is famous for its thriving elephant population, and Ella is a good location to have as your base to visit the park. Many full-day tours run between Ella and Udawalawe which is very handy and allows you to forget the hassle of travelling yourself.

Udawalawe is full of natural wonders including buffalo, crocodiles and deer but the most impressive animal that roams the land is the huge herds of elephants.

Taking a safari allows you the best chance to spot the animals as they roam free and is an animal-conscious way of viewing them. You have quite a high chance of spotting elephants in Udawalawe as not only are your guides experienced in finding them but there are over 500 of them living in the park!

15. Horton Plains National Park

Ella is a great starting location for exploring the Horton Plains National Park. The park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often cited as being one of the most beautiful spots in all of Sri Lanka.

Taking a day trip to the park from Ella will guarantee you some great photographs and unforgettable memories as Horton Plains National Park has so much natural beauty. 

The biggest attraction in the park is the “World’s End” which is a huge cliff face measuring 880 metres tall and offers some stunning panoramic views of the luscious plants and trees across the park.

There are many hiking trails at Horton Plains allowing travellers of all abilities to enjoy the park or spend shorter periods of time there while still completing a full loop.

16. Enjoy a Drink at Cafe Chill

Cafe Chill is a remote, local cafe that has had a strong reputation amongst those travelling in Ella over the years as being a lovely spot due to its relaxed atmosphere. Now, thanks to the internet and social media, it has grown to be even more popular and not many people will leave Ella without stepping foot in the cafe.

Cafe Chill serves a full menu of dishes but most people rave about their drink selection – us included. From fresh fruit smoothies to chai lattes Cafe Chill has a huge selection of drinks on offer.

As it is surrounded by tea plantations, it’s only right that you also try some traditional Ceylon tea while at Cafe Chill.

The cafe lives up to its name and has a very laid-back atmosphere with friendly staff. The value of the food and drinks is really good and the service is also incredible

An overhead view of a colorful meal on a plate, with a refreshing drink on a rustic table, suggesting a tropical dining experience.

17. Visit Dowa Rock Temple

A visit to Dowa Rock Temple, just a few kilometres from Ella, gives a great insight into Sri Lankan culture and history and is an activity that we recommend adding to your to-do list while in the town.

The Buddha statue that has been carved into a massive rock face is the main attraction at the temple. It is incredibly detailed considering it was done with the most basic of tools, and at 12 metres tall and an estimated 2000 years old, it just gets even more impressive! For reference, that’s the same age as the Colosseum.

Legend says that King Walagamba carved the statue but an enemy attack made him have to urgently flee, hence why the Buddha carving isn’t complete.

18. Take a Trip to Diyaluma Falls

Chasing waterfalls in Ella is pretty inevitable (sorry TLC) and Diyaluma Falls is the perfect one to track down. While there are many other waterfalls closer to Ella Town, Diyaluma Falls is well worth the trip and the waterfall can be easily accessed by car or tuk-tuk.

From the bridge below Diyaluma Falls you can get some amazing photographs of the entire landform, and embarking on a short 10-15 minute walk will allow you to ascend to see the base.

Many locals may offer to take you to the top but be aware that the trek can take over an hour and is very steep and challenging. Only accept their offer if you’re sure that you have the energy to make it. You can also opt to climb to the top of the falls on your own, but this is a more dangerous option and we don’t recommend it.

However, whichever way you choose to go up, you’ll be rewarded for your climb with a relaxing swim in the natural infinity pools at the top and a view for miles on end!

A majestic waterfall cascading down a rugged cliff face surrounded by lush vegetation and moss

19. Drink Lion Beer in Ella Town Like a Local

Last but by no means least of the best things to do in Ella is to enjoy a nice alcoholic drink.

Lion Beer is one of Sri Lanka’s most loved and iconic beers and after a long day completing the activities on this list, you deserve an ice-cold drink! Brewed and bottled in Sri Lanka, Lion Beer is a favourite among both tourists and locals.

There are plenty of cool bars and pubs lining the streets of Ella Town where you can enjoy a Lion Beer. Sunset is the best time to enjoy one at a bar when the atmosphere is just right and the locals are also winding down for the day. Although does Sri Lanka ever really go to sleep?

The price for a Lion Beer varies depending on where you go but you should expect to pay anywhere between £0.70 and £1.25.

Is Ella Sri Lanka Worth Visiting?

Ella has proven very popular among travellers in recent years and it is simple to see why – the town is beautiful and so unique! It is definitely a town worth visiting!

Ella’s elevation and hiking trails are some of the most popular reasons that travellers come from far and wide to the town to marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds it. Even beginner hikers can enjoy the trails in Ella with some relatively flat routes.

The town’s location means that it has a cooler climate even in the warmer seasons which makes it a great spot for a retreat from the heat. 

The climate allows the perfect conditions for growing tea and tea plantations are another top attraction around Ella with many spots offering tea tastings and tours.

Ella is definitely a spot worth visiting if you find yourself in Sri Lanka as the town’s beauty, culture and activities make it the perfect location for a bit of respite from the bigger and busier cities.

Is Ella Sri Lanka Safe?

Yes, Ella is a safe destination for travellers and tourists. The town is even considered safe for solo female travellers, even at night but as with every location you will want to take some precautions to limit accidents and unsafe encounters. 

As with anywhere in the world, make sure you always keep your belongings safe and that valuables are secure in your bag. Don’t put all of your payment methods in the same pocket or bag to ensure that you always have a way of buying things if one card is lost or stolen. Make sure to always carry some cash too.

The locals in Ella are considered to be very friendly towards tourists but it doesn’t do you any harm to stay aware of your surroundings. In any new location that you are visiting, it is when you are most relaxed that something bad is likely to happen.

Make sure to always be aware of routes back to your accommodation before setting off, especially when you are returning at night. And unfortunately for women, you may experience some catcalling.

A group of eleven cheerful hikers posing for a photo with a panoramic view of a mountainous landscape, under a clear blue sky


Below are some common questions related to things to do in Ella along with our expert answers to each question.

How long should I spend in Ella?

We’d recommend spending around 2 or 3 days in Ella. This amount of time allows you to explore the scenic landscape, hike some beautiful trails, visit top attractions and sights and soak in the relaxed atmosphere.

Why do people visit Ella?

People visit Ella to experience its magical, lush landscapes full of hiking spots and tea plantations. The town and surrounding areas have some very beautiful viewpoints which allow you to see for miles. On top of the natural beauty, Ella is a location rich with cultural experiences and there is a wonderful atmosphere.

Is there more to do in Kandy or Ella?

Both Kandy and Ella are great spots for travellers and you should make an effort to pass through both. There are equal opportunities in both locations but Kandy is more known for its cultural locations such as temples while Ella is famous for its natural environment.

Things To Do In Ella: The Wrap Up

Ella is a wonderful town in southern Sri Lanka and a stop that can’t be missed out on by people travelling the beautiful country.

There are plenty of things to do in Ella and also a number of day trip opportunities from which Ella is the perfect base for. 

Whether you’re the sporty type and love to hike or prefer to absorb the local cultures and try your hand at something new, there is something for everyone in Ella.

And if you want to take all the stress of planning a trip away, join us on one of our Sri Lanka group tours which includes a night in Ella!

Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in South East Asia & Australia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure, chill time & nightlife. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends.

Here are a few useful links to help with that planning;
👉🏼 View all Trips
👉🏼 Frequently Asked Questions
👉🏼 Check out our Reviews
👉🏼 Why choose us?
👉🏼 How does it all work?

If you’ve got any burning questions or just need a little travel inspo… jump in the DM’s with the team via either Whatsapp, Livechat or Instagram.


Written by Josh Band

I'm a passionate budget traveller, fuelled by a thirst for adventure and new experiences. With a backpack slung over my shoulder and a flight ticket in hand, I navigate the world. From bustling cities to hidden gems, I'm keen to explore every corner of our planet.

Posted, 14th February 2024


Written by Josh Band

I'm a passionate budget traveller, fuelled by a thirst for adventure and new experiences. With a backpack slung over my shoulder and a flight ticket in hand, I navigate the world. From bustling cities to hidden gems, I'm keen to explore every corner of our planet.

Posted, 14th February 2024

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