In Sri Lanka, you can feel the rush of a commercial hub the most in Colombo. This city is situated on the west coast of Sri Lanka while nearly a hundred thousand people actively live in the city. Not only is it the most developed part of the country but it is also the liveliest. As you visit the city, you will be able to find a jolting blend of old and new. At the city’s center, it is very easy to notice the high-rise constructions which are office blocks including hotels. These constructions overshadow the structures of a bygone colonial era. Of course, it is not the only place you can visit. For your convenience, we have made a list of the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
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Top 30 Places to Visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka
1. Galle Face Green
This is a wonderful extend of a well-spread space. It is the perfect definition of a sandwich. The reason being, it falls between the bustle of Galle road and the Indian Ocean. Few places in Colombo areas suitable for enjoying a picnic as Galle Face Green. You can find plenty of vendors looking to sell toys to the young kids around this location. In fact, this is one of the prime spots to try Colombo’s street food since the vendors line up one after the other.
2. Gangaramaya Temple
As far as religious destinations are concerned, there are few as great as Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple. The location for this temple is quite close to Lake Beira. You will surely see fellow tourists strolling towards this beautiful structure. There is overall religious importance surrounding this temple which will easily attract all types of tourists. You can learn about the temple’s history as it fused elements from the Chinese, Indian and Thai-based construction. In addition, there is much information you can access by looking at the wall paintings around the temple. Among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo, it is perhaps the most informative.
3. Viharamahadevi Park
The naming of the largest park in Colombo was done in honour of Queen Viharamahadevi. This is an interesting place to visit since it combines picnic locations, waterfall as well as a public park. There is hardly any better place to relax than the Viharamahadevi Park. It will be able to give you surprises each time you visit. In fact, the combination of adventure-filled rides and calming vibes results in one of the top tourist spots in Colombo. Not only do kids enjoy the park but, it is also the perfect escape for people who enjoy the quietness of nature.
4. National Museum, Colombo
There are no bigger museums inside this island nation than the National Museum. This stunning piece of architecture was built in 1877 and the country takes great pride in it. Once inside, you can gaze upon rare artefacts that belonged to the bygone Kandyan dynasty rulers. As for the structure itself, there is an amazing resemblance with Italian-styled architectures. Not only does it contain artefacts from the Kandyan dynasty but also countless ones from the last few centuries. Naturally, these artefacts will help you in understanding culture-based nuances existing in the country. With only INR 30, you can get inside one of the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
5. Beira Lake
There is a previous mention of this wonderful lake being close to the Gangaramaya Temple. By visiting both these places on the same day, you can feel the vibes of a picnic and holy expedition. At the centre of this beautiful lake is the Seema Makala temple. This temple adds a touch of grace to the entire view of the lake. You can find wonderful icons resembling Hindu and Buddhist deities alike. The lake spans across 160 acres. In addition, it is well known for activities such as rowing.
6. Independence Memorial Hall
It is one of those tourist places in Colombo that has never had any decline in popularity. When it was established in 1953, it was done to commemorate the country’s liberty. This came after staying a long time under British rule. If you visit this hall on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, you can witness many patriotic events. It even sets up the perfect space to go and jog. Other than that, you can find people regularly cycling as well as other workouts to stay fit. In addition, there is another museum that sits just at the middle of Cinnamon Gardens. The main purpose of this museum is to honour the brave people that laid their lives for the country. With a strong touch of patriotism, it is one of the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
7. Seema Malaka
Seema Malaka is going to introduce the unique concept of an island temple to you. Many tourists become surprised when they first lay eyes on this stunning structure. When you get tired of the mad rush within the city, visit this temple for some peace of mind. Since it also gives off a tropical vibe, you may visit the temple with your significant other. With the lush greenery that surrounds the temple, you can view the collaboration of different architectural styles. The most predominant among these styles is the Chinese, Thai and Sri Lankan ones.
8. Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
As soon as you visit the Second Cross Street in Colombo, you will notice this magnificent structure. The stand out feature of the mosque is its red and white stripes of colour. So, it looks quite similar to a giant candy. This mosque is a fine representative of the cultural richness of Colombo. In fact, the structure represents Indo-Islamic, Neoclassic as well as Gothic architectural styles. So, there is no doubt it deserves to be one of the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
9. Old Parliament Building
By now, you know that every important structure in Colombo represents a different architectural style. This building is no different because it represents the Neo-Baroque style. You can hear about many historical and political stories which helped build the stature of this building. Originally built in 1930, the government went onto declare it as the Parliament in 1977. Not so long after that, there was a shift of the Parliament to a newer office. Now, it serves as a residence for the Presidential Secretariat. You will be able to see statues made of bronze inside the premise. So, it is the perfect spot for history lovers.
10. Dutch Period Museum
At the core of the Pettah market, you can find this very interesting museum. There is a uniqueness to its architecture that helps it stand apart from other historical structures. The museum is full of numerous possessions owned by Dutch rulers. It is enough to endear this museum to people who patronize history as well as culture. During 1977, the Government of the Netherlands lent a helping hand to convert the mansion to a public museum. This architecture stands the test of time and ranks among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
11. Paradise Road
If you are fond of boutiques, then you must visit Paradise Road. This boutique concerns itself with standard present-day clothing. Nearly every one of these clothes is made by the local people. Its journey began in 1987 as a tiny label inside the Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo. In recent times, it has grown to become a leading light for design brands. Moreover, you can find the classiest hotels of Colombo at Paradise Road and is close to the bus stand. So, it is the perfect place for tourists to stay.
12. Pettah Floating Market
Just as you reach the Colombo bus stand, the sight of this floating market will mesmerize you. It is quite the seasonal shopping spot within the city. Initially, the entire area was presumed to be dangerous as there were clusters of the rundown warehouse insight. The marketplace underwent a transformation afterwards thanks to joint efforts from the UDA and architect Thushari Kariyawasam. Once it used to resemble a swamp but now, it is full of life and colour. You will be able to find numerous salesperson selling just about everything at the Floating Market.
If you are looking to refresh your mind and shop enthusiastically, visit Laksala. This is the only souvenir shop which the state runs. In general, it is a huge chain of 13 centres spanning across the entire country. There is no shortage of native items on sale in Laksala. Among all the souvenirs you can buy, it is best to select organic tea, spice and conventional jewellery pieces.
If Laksala is not enough to showcase the cultural richness of Sri Lanka then Barefoot surely is. It is a very elegant boutique which has grown in stature with each passing year. The boutique carries magnificent handloom cotton textile. However, it is more famous thanks to the unique outlines which show an influence of land and seascape. There is no better way to observe the biodiversity of Sri Lanka than to visit Barefoot. It truly captures the beauty of all the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
15. Attidiya Bird Sanctuary
Since we did mention biodiversity, we must also take the name of this lovely bird sanctuary. It is the home for more than fifty species of birds and includes insect and butterflies too. You can take a short walk around the sanctuary to truly appreciate the magnificence of the place. However, if you are a bird lover and want to watch them in their full glory, then visit it during January. During January, a lot of migratory birds take flight and their eventual destination is this Bird Sanctuary.
16. St Anthony’s Church
You can find St. Anthony’s Church at the heart of Colombo. It does not matter what religion or caste you hail from, everyone is welcome there. If you stop by the church on a Tuesday, you will be in the presence of hundreds of devotees. All of them await their turn for offering prayers as well as seeking blessings. They seek the blessings from the statue of St. Anthony. Not so long ago, St. Anthony’s Church had been declared a national shrine. There is no shortage of tourists visiting this wonderful church. It is a must-visit spot for all the tourists who come to Colombo.
17. Mount Lavinia
When tourists visit Colombo, they mostly stay at this wonderful heritage hotel. Firstly, the hotel consists of rooms that bring you an incredible view of the ocean. At the time of festivals, Mount Lavinia offers a number of alluring deals. The rooftop will open to a magnificent view of the Laccadive Sea. It is the perfect getaway, specifically when the sun rises and sets. It is a place of great comfort among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
18. Dehiwala Zoo
The first place that locals in Colombo will recommend you to visit is the Dehiwala Zoo. The zoo currently is home to more than 2,500 animals. All the officials and staff at the zoo work towards preserving life at the zoo. If you are enthusiastic about wildlife, Dehiwala Zoo is going to make a special place in your heart. The zoo itself strongly promotes breeding. So, it takes part in animal trading programmes.
19. Old Dutch Hospital
The residents of Colombo take great pride in preserving the Old Dutch Hospital. The main purpose of this structure was to provide medical help for those who worked for the Dutch East India Company. In recent times, it has undergone some transformation and is now a shopping mall. A mall is an exciting place for food lovers as there are many cafes and food joints with a range of food. There is no doubt that it is one of the liveliest among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
20. Old City Hall
As you roam across the streets of Colombo, you will find an abundance of historical sights. Old City Hall is one of the more magnificent structures located on Main Street. Being more than two hundred years old, it is an accurate representation of extraordinary architectural remnants of a bygone era. To be precise, the Old City Hall is like a treasure chest full of knowledge. Remember that, if you are looking to take a full tour of this place and gather information, you need to pay a hefty tip.
21. Old Galle Buck Lighthouse
You can enjoy the view of Galle Beach from this renowned Lighthouse. The best part about the Old Galle Buck Lighthouse is that it is not too far from the city. So, you can always take a break during the tour of Colombo by visiting the Lighthouse. To add to that, this enormous structure can afford you a serene view of the Indian Ocean. It is one of the more desirable tourist spots among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo. The reason for that is, there is a much smaller crowd around the area.
22. Traditional Puppet Art Museum
If you did not know before, be aware that puppet shows are well integrated into the Sri Lankan culture. So, the Traditional Puppet Art Museum takes full responsibility to uphold folk value and tradition. There is a great demand for the puppet shows held here. If you want to watch one, you need to book a ticket early. The sight inside the museum is a virtual treat for people of all ages. For this reason, people always look to come here first among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
23. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara
Visitors from all over the world applaud this great Buddhist temple as it is home to magnificent sculptures. You have to move 10 kilometres away from Colombo to visit the temple. Once you reach there, the sight of the temple standing tall will mesmerize you. Back in the day, there have been attempts made to demolish the structure courtesy of antagonistic forces of India and Portugal. However, it still stands proudly as ever on the bank of river Kelaniya.
24. Colombo Port Maritime Museum
You can easily understand from the name that this museum is in close proximity of the Colombo Port. Originally a Dutch jail, the Maritime Museum had been constructed around 1676. When you reach the museum, you can observe a number of valuable artefacts and items with historical significance. Almost all of the artefacts represent the history of old Sri Lankan ports while also housing historical sculptures. Of these, you can find a sculpture of King Vijaya as well. If you are a patron of history, the museum will surely attract you.
25. Royal Colombo Golf Club
Few golf courses inside Asia rank as highly as the Royal Colombo Golf Club. If you are looking for a little getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle, this is the prime spot to visit. It does not matter whether you are a rookie or a professional. There is always a chance to brush up your golfing expertise. Once you have played to your heart’s content, you visit the inhabitant bars and restaurant to fill your appetite. Without a doubt, it is one of the more relaxing locations among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
26. Number-11 Geoffery Bawa’s Home
With a stunning design, Geoffrey Bawa’s residence is one of the more popular places in Colombo. There are a number of beautiful piece of painting while also including interesting artefacts. These artefacts were the prized possession of the Late Geoffrey Bawa. Keep in mind that it is not a hotel by any means. Instead, it serves as a suite since there are two rooms up for grabs. The rooms are good enough to host a delightful party for a family or friends in a group.
27. Khan Clock Tower
Just as you look to enter the Pettah Market, you will find the Khan Clock Tower standing tall. This beautiful clock tower had been established during the earlier parts of the twentieth century by a Paris family. The name Khan Clock Tower originates from the family itself, with the last name being Khan. As a family, there were active with a number of trades within the country. Of course, the original reason for erecting the clock tower was to pay tribute to Frame Bhikajee Khan. It is surely an interesting place of historical value among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo.
28. Bally’s Casino
Just 4 kilometres from the Colombo bus stand is one of its biggest attractions- the Bally’s Casino. There is no finer casino in the city than this one and it offers a number of deals for tourists. The Bally’s Casino will even cosset you with many complementary food items. You will also have the chance to enjoy a fantastic spa if you choose to stick around.
29. Wolvendaal Church
With the translation for “Wolvendaal” being “Dale of Wolves”, this church has a lot of prominences. It had been established around 1749 and is full of rich history. Sometime during the nineteenth century, complete wilderness had engulfed the entire area. Of course, what helps the church stand out is the fact that it takes the shape of a Greek cross. There are a lot of reasons to include it among the top 30 places to visit in Colombo. However, the most important aspects of the church are the combination of rich history with a unique architectural design.
30. Slave Island
You can already understand from the name, it was once a prison made by the Dutch. In recent times, it has undergone some drastic changes and houses a military base and beautiful gardens. The Slave Island has its place in history as one of the more ancient colonies within Colombo. Furthermore, you can view the island sitting at the centre of Beira Lake which makes it look that much stunning.
Colombo is now a fine mesh of culture and the rush of a super city. Even so, it manages to uphold traditional values and beliefs. For that reason, it is so colorful and vibrant. As a result, tourists come from all over the world to visit Colombo.