View of mountains in the distance, covered in green jungle

Ella – The Most Popular Hill Station in Sri Lanka

This post was last updated on April 10th, 2020 at 09:37 am


Ella is the most popular hill station in Sri Lanka. It is the ideal place to take a moment from your busy travel schedule and plan a few relaxation days. That’s possible in Ella with a few of the best hotels in the country and spectacular views. The nature around Ella is wonderfully beautiful!

 

Ella is an Old Hill Station

Ella is located in the south of the Uva province and is one of the most beautiful destinations in Sri Lanka. It is a typical hill station with English architecture and a cool climate. The area is surrounded by green hills and tea plantations.

 

For nature walks this is the place to be. Although you can really relax here, it is advisable not to linger in relaxation mode for too long.

 

The Reason to Visit Ella

Walks to and through the tea plantations are a must here. And it is not only the tea plantations that are worth visiting here because in addition to the plantations you can also visit temples, waterfalls, mountains, and viewpoints.

 

With clear weather you even have a beautiful view of the south coast. In addition, this town is known for its delicious food. After a long walk you can relax with a beer and try one of the tasty homemade dishes.

 

Ella is such a destination where you plan to stay for one or two days and ultimately stay longer because nature and the laid-back atmosphere are so enchanting. This also has adverse consequences.

 

More and more accommodations are being built here which are not always beautiful and sometimes ruin the view. The same happened in Sapa in Vietnam.

 

Green rice fields halfway in the sun
Besides tea plantations, you can also find beautiful rice fields here

 

5 Fun Things to Do in Ella

There is more than enough to do in and around Ella! Until now Ella remains a small town, although that has changed rapidly in recent years due to the arrival of many tourists. That is not without consequences.

 

There is a rumor that there will be a cable car between Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, but luckily that is only a rumor so far. Let’s hope it stays that way (to preserve more of the beautiful nature).

 

1. Tea Factories

Ella is known for the tea plantations and so you can also visit tea factories. It is nice to see how the process goes to make actual tea from plants. The Newburgh Green Tea factory is one of the factories where you can follow a route.

 

TIP – This will cost you 300 Sri Lankan rupees (US$2). The factory is owned by Finlay’s, one of the largest tea manufacturers in the world.

 

Green tea plantation with clear blue sky in Ella
Tea factory and plantation in Ella, huge and beautiful area!

 

2. Hiking/Walking

The area around Ella is great for walking and hikes. At most accommodations, you can get a map of the area so you can go out on your own. Of course, you can also book organized tours.

 

Something you should visit if you are going to take a hike is Little Adam’s Peak. It is a nice vantage point looking over the region. The road to Little Adam’s Peak runs through a tea plantation so it is also a nice walk.

 

Make sure you wear good, comfortable shoes. It is a tough walk.

 

TIP – If you leave around 7:00 a.m. you will see different locals starting their work.

 

View of the green mountain range from a peak
Amazing view from Little Adam’s Peak

 

3. Ella Rock

Ella Rock is something you should not miss. The trip there is slightly harder than going to Little Adam’s Peak and hiring a guide is recommended.

 

A tour to Ella Rock will cost you around 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees (US$8.50) for a group. So the more people the better. It is a pretty long walk of 3 to 4 hours, but it is well worth it. The view is so breathtakingly beautiful! Along the way, you will come across a bridge with a view of the Rawana Falls. From here the way up becomes heavier and more difficult.

 

Be careful not to get lost!

 

Waterfall in a green forest
Viewing the Kithal Ella Falls on the way to Ella Rock

 

4. Visit Adam’s Peak

Little Adam’s Peak is named this way because, according to locals, it resembles the well-known Adam’s Peak. This 2,243-meter high mountain has been an important place of pilgrimage for more than 1000 years.

 

TIP – We have created a separate page about Adam’s Peak.

 

5. Travel to Kandy by Train

One of the most beautiful train rides in the world can be found in Sri Lanka between Kandy and Ella (or vice versa). This train journey takes you through the beautiful landscape of the country past tea plantations, green valleys, old bridges, and misty forests.

 

It is really a must and everyone who goes to Sri Lanka must make this trip.

 

The train journey costs you at most US$20 per person if you complete the entire journey and travel in 1st class. It is even cheaper if you travel in the lower classes. You can also get off on the way in Nuwara Eliya or in Hatton to visit Adam’s Peak.

 

Green trees and bushes with a train
Beautiful nature between Kandy and Ella can be seen from the train

 

How to Get to Ella

Ella is fairly easy to reach. Just like almost all other highlights in Sri Lanka, you can also come here by bus or train. Although both options are easy to do, we recommend the train because this route is considered one of the most beautiful train routes in Asia.

 

To Ella By train

The train is an absolute must because it runs through the beautiful surroundings. It will not be a comfortable ride since the railways in Sri Lanka are not too great (yet). However, once you look outside you forget the uncomfortable ride and you will be enchanted by the beautiful surroundings.

 

Ella is an hour from Haputale and Badulla and is on the Colombo-Badulla line. So you can enter the train in Colombo and go all the way to Ella. Ella station is just as beautiful as the route since it won the “Best Kept Station” award in 2013. Ticket prices vary enormously.

 

TIP – The train journey from Kandy to Ella is one of the most beautiful in the world. We recommend making a place in your schedule to follow this trail.

 

Train riding over a bridge through nature in Ella
One of the most breathtaking train rides in the world!

 

To Ella By bus

The road to Ella is not as beautiful as the train tracks. Buses run quite frequently, but times and prices often change. Ask your accommodation for current times and prices. Buses run to Badulla (55 Rupees), Bandarawela (35 Rupees) and Wellawaya (67 Rupees).

 

Buses do not run directly to other places so you will always have to transfer to one of the above places.

 

Of course, you can also book minivans, VIP buses or a tuk-tuk that will take you to Ella. Prices depend on where you start and your negotiating talent 😉

 

Accommodations

When you visit Sri Lanka, it is very likely that you will come to Ella. Because the city is so popular with travelers, the range of accommodations is very large. There are actually hundreds of accommodations to choose from.

 

There are many real backpackers hostels where you can spend the night cheaply. There are also luxury resorts with all the trimmings in the area. In short, everything is possible in terms of accommodation in Ella.

 

TIP – Take a look here for an overview of all accommodations in Ella.

 

Best Time to Visit Ella

The best time to visit the west coast and the mountainous center of Ella is from December to April. These are the driest months; this dry weather continues from April to September to the east coast. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate so the average temperature is around 27°C (about 81°F).

 

Average temperature and rainfall in Ella
Average temperature and rainfall in Ella

 

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