Most people are in town to hike, or just chill, but when it's time to rest your boots, you'll find cooking classes too.
Ella is a great place for walking. Most accommodation can give you a hand-drawn map of local paths. Kick off with a stroll to what is locally dubbed Little Adam’s Peak. Go down Passara Rd until you get to the Ella Flower Garden Resort, just past the 1km post. Follow the track past guesthouses The Chillout and The One; Little Adam’s Peak is the biggest hill on your right and is clearly signposted. Take the second path that turns off to your right and follow it to the top of the hill. Part of this path passes through a tea estate. The approximately 4.5km round trip takes about 45 minutes each way. The final 20 minutes or so is uphill, but otherwise it’s an easy walk. Get an early start from your guesthouse – around 7am – and you’ll meet Tamil families heading off to work in the tea plantations along the way. From atop Little Adam’s Peak, waterfalls and a couple of tea factories shimmer from out of the mist that’s often welded persistently to the surrounding hills.
Walking to Ella Rock is more demanding and a guide is a very good idea (it’s easy to miss the turn-off from the railway track and get lost in the forest that covers the upper slopes). Most guesthouses can organise a guide for Rs 1800 per group. It’s a three- to four-hour round trip and the views from the top are extraordinary. If you do decide to attempt it yourself, go in a group. Follow the train tracks in the direction of Bandarawela for 45 minutes. Just after the black bridge there's a small shrine on the left. Turn left a metre or so after this and down a short embankment. Cross a concrete bridge over the Rawana Falls and then go right up the dirt track immediately after the bridge. Now start climbing uphill. From here on it's easy to get lost, especially on misty or cloudy days. Watch for the occasional faded blue way-marker. There's often someone selling overpriced tea and other drinks at the summit.
For an easier walk (2.5km from town) without a guide, follow the route to Ella Rock, but only go as far as the small Rawana Falls.