After spending weeks along the coast of Sri Lanka, enjoying some of the best beaches the country has to offer, we decided to escape the heat and head inland up to the mountains of Sri Lanka, to the Hill Country. We chose to go to Ella, a lovely sleepy hill town!

Ella is a peaceful small village in the middle of a beautiful green countryside, with spectacular views!  On a clear day, you can even see the glow from the lighthouses along the southern coast.

Ella is nestled in a valley at about 1000m elevation, surrounded by even higher mountains.

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Stunning views from Ella Town.

The hills surrounding Ella are all covered with farmland growing vegetables, tea plantations, and rice fields, all making the landscape very lush and green.

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Rice fields in Ella.

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Man selling vegetables at the road in Ella.

The sleepy town itself is not that spectacular, with not much to see or do and only a handful of small shops and some cafes.

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Having a watermelon smoothie and a banana roti at a cafe in Ella Town.

What people come to Ella for is the hiking. Ella is a spectacular place for hiking! We did three hikes; Little Adam`s Peak wich is an easy hike very close to Ella town that still provides breathtaking views, and then two days walking high up in the mountains surrounding Ella with a guide.

You can also hike to Ella rock wich is about a 4 hour fairly challenging round trip hike from Ella town depending on where you start and how fast you walk. It can be done with a guide or on your own but make sure to get detailed directions from someone you trust before setting out. The views from the top on a clear day are spectacular.

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Entering a big stone cave, after climbing a lot of steps!

Everywhere we walked, there were tea plantations with smiling men and women picking tea leaves. The tea leaf plants give the entire countryside a unique look. The patterns formed by the thousands of planted bushes stretching into the distance is a very special sight.

See our blog post about Sri Lankan tea for more about Sri Lankan tea production.

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Tea pickers in the hillside of Ella

Close to Ella is the beautiful Rawana waterfall.

Waterfall Ella Sri Lanka

Rawana Waterfall

We stayed at a really nice hotel in Ella, Ravana Heights Hotel, with breathtaking views over the Hill Country!

Ravana Heights has a great chef, and we had the best meals of our entire Sri Lanka trip (maybe in the whole of Asia…) here! The dinners consisted of about 8 dishes, each an explosion of flavors!

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Nice hotel room at Ravana Heights Hotel.

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Maria relaxing at the terrace of Ravana Heights Hotel.

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Enjoying the view from the beautiful garden at Ravana Heights Hotel.

We even got monkeys visiting us at the hotel!

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Breathtaking views from our room balcony!

We had a great time in Ella, and simply loved the place! The stunning surroundings and the lovely walks are so worth the trip to Ella in Sri Lanka!

We went on three walks while staying at Ravana Heights Hotel; Two with a guide and one without a guide to Little Adam`s Peak. They were spectacular!

From Ella, we did a fantastic train trip to Kandy.


Where To Stay In Ella

Ella has mostly small family run guesthouses but also a few higher end boutique hotels. The recent popularity surge means that there is no shortage of accommodation options for any budget. Below are some of the best accommodation options in Ella, including their address and price, starting with the place we called home for 7 nights.

We stayed at Ravana Heights
Accommodation in Ella, Sri LankaBy chance, we ended up at Ravana Heights and while we had originally intended to stay two nights we ended up staying for a full week. We especially enjoyed the new big and comfortable superior rooms with stunning views from the balcony. The location is excellent, you're just a short walk away from the main street of Ella with shops and restaurants.

The food at this hotel is fantastic! The breakfast is served on the terrace, with spectacular views over the Ella valley, mountains, and tea plantations. You are served pancakes, eggs, bread, jams, tea/coffee, juice, fruits, basically everything a good breakfast should have.

And the dinner, oh the dinner is delicious! The best food we have had in Sri Lanka, maybe the whole of Asia! It cost $15 and consists of several different tasty dishes including dessert. The dinner varies from day to day and is a fusion of Thai and Sri Lankan.

The owner Senadhi speaks perfect English (he studied at the London School of Economics). He is a great character and really makes you feel at home at Ravana Heights. He can also organize walks for you, with or without a guide, and will draw maps of hiking routes for you. We did two walks with a guide, and one without a guide. The other staff are also very sweet and couldn't do enough for us.
Click here to check the latest prices

Boutique hotels

Planters Bungalow Ella
An old converted tea planters bungalow located in a very peaceful and relaxing setting away from town. It's also one of the very few places around Ella that have a swimming pool to enjoy after a day of hiking. They have rooms set in the newly refurbished colonial bungalow as well apartment style rooms in a new building. Rooms are very comfortable and no two are alike. The staff is super friendly and the Sri Lankan style breakfast is very tasty. There is a $15 set dinner menu that changes every evening. It’s great choice if you like a place to relax and enjoy the scenery and don’t mind being 20 minutes drive away from the touristy and busy Ella town.
Click here to check the latest prices

Zion View Ella
The rooms here have floor to ceiling windows that truly let you admire the awe-inspiring view in all its's majesty. The rooms are cozy, well maintained and clean, with comfortable beds and hot water showers. Every room has a balcony with chairs for relaxing as well as a hammock. Wi-Fi is free and surprisingly fast. Despite being just a six-minute walk from Ella center, it's a quiet and relaxing place. Breakfast is plentiful and very tasty. It's a popular choice with families and there is a childrens play area with toys.
Click here to check the latest prices

Guesthouses

La Montagna Resort
This is a new small hotel located a ten-minute tuk-tuk ride away from the city center. It has 3 large and spotlessly clean rooms with hot water showers and spectacular views overlooking Ella gap. The service can rival any five-star hotel and the excellent breakfast is served on your balcony. There is free in room Wi-Fi.
Click here to check the latest prices

Ella Guest Inn
If you want a place centrally located and close to the train station then this is an excellent alternative. It’s just a five-minute walk away from the station and two minutes from Ella center with its shops and restaurants. Standard rooms are in the old section and are a little small and worn down but the newly built rooms (2017) are very nice and spacious so it is definitely worth upgrading to a new superior room. It’s family run and the owners are very friendly and helpful.
Click here to check the latest prices

Leisure Dream Inn
This family run place is very popular so reserve your room early! The view is spectacular and the rooms are well furnished, clean and comfortable with hot water showers, fridge, cable TV and free Wi-Fi. The three brothers that run it are super friendly, and the mother cooks a delicious breakfast served on the terrace. It’s located on a quiet hill about 10 minutes walk from Ella Town. All in all, its fantastic value for money!
Click here to check the latest prices

Chamodya Home Stay
Basic but large and clean rooms with amazing views make this a popular budget homestay option. Breakfast is good and they serve a delicious rice & curry dinner. Location is a 15 minute walk away from the city center.
Click here to check the latest prices

Travel Guides

We used the Lonely Planet`s Sri Lanka travel guide on our trip, which we love. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:

Sri Lanka Lonely Planet      Sri Lanka Rough Guide


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Would you like to go to Ella some day? We`d love to hear your opinion in the comment area below! If you like this blog post, and find it useful, please share and like it on social media! Thank you so much! 🙂

 

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