Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Why should you visit?

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Discover the list of Things to do in Colombo City, the vibrant heart of Sri Lanka with the help of our Sri Lanka Tour Package! Nestled along the Indian Ocean, Colombo offers a fascinating blend of rich history, diverse cultures, and modern attractions. From exploring ancient temples to indulging in delectable cuisine, there’s something for every traveler in this bustling metropolis.

Discover the city’s storied past with visits to iconic landmarks such as the Gangaramaya Temple and the Independence Memorial Hall, where echoes of Sri Lanka’s independence resonate. Lose yourself in the colorful list of things to do in Colombo City like visiting Pettah Market, where bustling streets are alive with the sights, sounds, and smells of local life.

For those craving a taste of nature, escape to the lush greenery of Viharamahadevi Park or take a leisurely stroll along the Galle Face Green promenade, where breathtaking sunsets paint the sky. Food enthusiasts will delight in Colombo’s culinary scene, from mouth watering street food stalls to upscale dining experiences offering tantalizing flavors of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.

Colombo, Sri Lanka: An Overview


Colombo, the dynamic capital city of Sri Lanka! Situated on the west coast of the island nation, Colombo is a melting pot of cultures, history, and modernity. With its bustling streets, vibrant markets, and rich heritage, this coastal metropolis offers a myriad of experiences for travelers to explore.

Colombo attractions, ranging from ancient temples and colonial-era architecture to modern skyscrapers and bustling markets and many more things to do in Colombo city . Wander through the narrow streets of Pettah, where colorful stalls sell everything from spices and textiles to electronics and souvenirs, offering a glimpse into daily life in the city.

For history enthusiasts, Colombo is home to numerous landmarks that reflect its colonial past, including the Old Parliament Building, the National Museum, and the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Gangaramaya Temple, a vibrant Buddhist complex that showcases a blend of architectural styles and religious practices.

Top 20 Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Go through our list of Best things to do in Colombo so you don’t miss out on any timeless experience. This complete Colombo travel guide will help you understand the city better.

Gangaramaya Temple: 


This iconic Buddhist temple is a must-visit in Colombo, showcasing a blend of architectural styles and religious practices. Explore its intricate shrines, statues, and museum, and witness devotees engaging in spiritual rituals.

Pettah Market:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant chaos of Pettah Market, where narrow streets are lined with colorful stalls selling spices, textiles, electronics, and a variety of goods. Experience the hustle and bustle of daily life and haggle for souvenirs.

National Museum of Colombo:

Delve into Sri Lanka’s rich history and cultural heritage at the National Museum. Housing a vast collection of artifacts, including ancient regalia, royal thrones, and traditional masks, it offers insights into the island’s past.

Viharamahadevi Park:


Escape the city’s hustle and bustle at Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo’s largest green space. Stroll along its tree-lined paths, relax by the tranquil lake, and admire the lush flora and fauna.

Galle Face Green: 

Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque Galle Face Green promenade, stretching along the coastline. Enjoy stunning ocean views, fly kites, indulge in street food, or simply watch the sunset against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean.

Old Parliament Building:

Discover the colonial-era charm of the Old Parliament Building, an architectural gem located in the heart of Colombo. Although no longer in use for parliamentary sessions, its grand facade and neoclassical design make it a notable landmark.

Independence Memorial Hall:


Explore the diverse exhibits at the Colombo National Museum, showcasing artifacts, artwork, and natural history specimens. From ancient artifacts to colonial relics, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage.

Pay homage to Sri Lanka’s struggle for independence at the Independence Memorial Hall. This imposing structure, designed by renowned architect Tom Neville Wynne-Jones, commemorates the country’s liberation from colonial rule.

Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct:

Browse through chic boutiques, cafes, and restaurants in Sri Lanka housed within the historic Dutch Hospital complex. Dating back to the Dutch colonial period, this renovated precinct offers a blend of shopping and dining experiences.

Colombo National Museum: 

Explore the diverse exhibits at the Colombo National Museum, showcasing artifacts, artwork, and natural history specimens. From ancient artifacts to colonial relics, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage.

Beira Lake:


Enjoy a tranquil boat ride on Beira Lake, located in the heart of Colombo. Admire the scenic surroundings, including lush greenery, elegant bridges, and the serene Temple of the Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya.

Wolvendaal Church:

Step back in time at Wolvendaal Church, one of the oldest Dutch colonial churches in Sri Lanka. Marvel at its striking architecture, intricate woodwork, and historic gravestones, reflecting centuries of colonial influence.

Colombo Fort:

Explore the historic Colombo Fort area, once a strategic hub for trade and commerce during colonial times. Wander through its narrow streets, admire colonial-era buildings, and soak up the area’s bustling atmosphere.

Galle Face Hotel:


Indulge in a taste of colonial luxury at the Galle Face Hotel, one of Colombo’s most iconic landmarks. Dating back to 1864, this historic hotel exudes old-world charm and offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean.

Mount Lavinia Beach:

Escape the city and unwind at Mount Lavinia Beach, located just a short drive from Colombo. Relax on its golden sands, swim in the azure waters, and enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of the beachfront restaurants.

Gangaramaya Park and Seema Malaka:

Explore the serene oasis of Gangaramaya Park and Seema Malaka, an island temple located on Beira Lake. Admire the temple’s unique architecture, tranquil surroundings, and collection of religious artifacts.

Colombo City Tour:


Embark on a guided city tour of Colombo to discover its highlights and hidden gems. Visit key landmarks, explore local neighborhoods, and gain insights into the city’s history, culture, and daily life.

Diyatha Uyana:

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Diyatha Uyana, a recreational park located beside the picturesque Diyawanna Oya. Stroll through its landscaped gardens, enjoy boat rides on the lake, and savor delicious street food at the night market and experience the nightlife in Sri Lanka.

Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil:

Marvel at the intricate architecture and vibrant Hindu rituals at Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil, one of Colombo’s oldest Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. Explore its ornate shrines, colorful statues, and sacred rituals.

Colombo Zoological Gardens:


Delight in a day of family-friendly fun at the Colombo Zoological Gardens, home to a diverse array of wildlife species. Wander through lush habitats, observe exotic animals, and enjoy educational presentations and animal encounters.

Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre:

Experience the vibrant arts scene of Colombo at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, a state-of-the-art performing arts center. Attend a cultural performance, concert, or theatrical production showcasing local and international talent.

Best time to Visit Colombo, Sri Lanka:


The best time to visit Colombo, Sri Lanka and things to do in Colombo, largely depends on your preferences and what you aim to experience during your trip. However, generally speaking, the period between January and March and from July to September are considered the best times to visit.

January to March: 

This period marks the dry season in Colombo, characterized by sunny days and minimal rainfall. The weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring outdoor attractions, such as parks, Best beaches in Sri Lanka, and historical sites, without the interruption of heavy rains. Additionally, this time coincides with the peak tourist season, so you can expect vibrant cultural events, bustling markets, and a lively atmosphere throughout the city.

July to September:

Another favorable time to visit Colombo is during the inter-monsoon season, which occurs from July to September. While there may be occasional showers during this time, they are typically short-lived and followed by clear skies. The temperatures remain warm, and the city is lush and green from the recent rainfall, creating picturesque landscapes. July also marks the beginning of the Kandy Esala Perahera, one of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular cultural festivals, which draws visitors from around the world to witness traditional dances, processions, and ceremonies.

Best Places to visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Check out this list of best places to visit in Colombo and things to do in Sri Lanka so you can make the most out of this adventurous trip. This comprehensive Colombo travel guide will help you at every step of this journey.

Gangarama Temple Seema Malakaya Meditation Island:


Situated within the premises of the Gangaramaya Temple, this tranquil meditation island offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking Beira Lake, it provides a peaceful setting for contemplation and relaxation.

Navam Perahera Parade Grounds:

The Navam Perahera Parade Grounds, located near the Gangaramaya Temple, host an annual cultural procession during the Navam Perahera festival. Even outside of the festivals in Sri Lanka, the grounds offer a tranquil space for leisurely walks and picnics amidst beautiful landscaping.

Diyawanna Oya Lakeside Park:


This picturesque lakeside park is nestled along the shores of Diyawanna Oya, offering scenic views and a peaceful ambiance. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks, birdwatching, or simply relax by the water while soaking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Colombo Lotus Tower Observation Deck: 

While the Lotus Tower itself is a well-known landmark, its observation deck often remains overlooked by tourists. Offering panoramic views of the city skyline and beyond, it’s a great spot to capture stunning photographs and gain a new perspective of Colombo.

Dutch Burgher Union Museum:

Image Source : Mapcarta

Tucked away in the heart of Colombo attractions, the Dutch Burgher Union Museum offers insights into the history and culture of the Dutch Burgher community in Sri Lanka. The museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia, providing a fascinating glimpse into this unique heritage.

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara:

Although not as famous as some of Colombo’s other temples, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara holds significant religious and historical importance. This ancient Buddhist temple boasts beautiful architecture, intricate murals, and a serene atmosphere conducive to meditation and reflection.

Lakpahana Handicrafts:

Image Source : The Iceland.Ik

Located in a historic colonial building, Lakpahana Handicrafts showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of Sri Lankan artisans. Visitors can browse a wide range of handcrafted items, including traditional masks, wood carvings, batik textiles, and pottery, while supporting local artisans.

Dehiwala Zoological Garden Aviary:

While the Dehiwala Zoological Garden is a popular attraction, its aviary often remains underrated. Home to a diverse array of bird species, including colorful parrots, exotic peafowl, and graceful flamingos, it offers a unique opportunity for birdwatching enthusiasts to observe these magnificent creatures up close.

Independence Square Arcade:


Adjacent to Independence Square, this modern shopping in Sri Lanka and dining complex is a hidden gem in Colombo. With its elegant architecture, landscaped gardens, and upscale boutiques, it offers a sophisticated setting for leisurely shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Colombo Dolls Museum:

Nestled within the Colombo Municipal Council premises, the Dolls Museum showcases a fascinating collection of dolls from around the world. From traditional Sri Lankan costumes to international cultural attire, the museum provides a delightful cultural experience for visitors of all ages.

Nearby Places to Visit from Colombo, Sri lanka

Kalutara Bodhiya: 


One of the main attractions in Kalutara is the Kalutara Bodhiya, a sacred Buddhist stupa located by the Kalu Ganga River. This iconic structure is believed to house a sapling from the historic Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, making it a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists.

Kalutara Beach:

With its golden sands and swaying palm trees, Kalutara Beach is perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Whether you’re soaking up the sun, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, or enjoying water sports like swimming and surfing, this tranquil beach offers a rejuvenating coastal experience.

Richmond Castle:


History enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to Richmond Castle, an elegant colonial mansion built in the early 20th century. This architectural gem features a blend of European and Sri Lankan design elements and offers insight into the region’s colonial heritage.

Kalutara Vihara:

Explore the Kalutara Vihara, a historic Buddhist temple located atop a hill overlooking the town. The temple is known for its impressive stupa and picturesque views of the surrounding landscape, making it a serene spot for meditation and contemplation.

Thudugala Ella Waterfall:


Embark on a scenic trek to Thudugala Ella Waterfall, nestled amidst lush greenery in the nearby countryside. This hidden gem offers a refreshing retreat, where you can swim in the cool waters and picnic amidst nature’s beauty.

Kalu Ganga River Safari: 

Experience the natural splendor of the Kaluganga River with a leisurely boat safari. Navigate through mangrove forests, spot diverse bird species, and witness local fishermen going about their daily routines along the riverbanks.

Asokaramaya Temple:


Pay a visit to the Asokaramaya Temple, a tranquil Buddhist monastery renowned for its serene ambiance and intricate architecture. Take a moment to admire the ornate sculptures, colorful murals, and serene meditation spaces within the temple complex.

Kalutara Basket Centre:

Delve into the local culture and craftsmanship at the Kalutara Basket Centre, where skilled artisans create intricately woven baskets and handicrafts using traditional techniques. Browse through the collection of souvenirs and support local artisans.

Kalutara Chaitya:


Discover the Kalutara Chaitya, a modern Buddhist stupa adorned with colorful frescoes and intricate carvings. Located near the Kalutara Bodhiya, this sacred site offers a peaceful setting for prayer, reflection, and spiritual contemplation.

Kalutara Fa Hien Cave:

Explore the ancient Fa Hien Cave, named after the Chinese monk Faxian, who is believed to have visited the site during his travels in Sri Lanka. The cave holds archaeological significance and features inscriptions and rock formations dating back centuries.

Interesting facts about Colombo, Sri Lanka: Things to do in Colombo

Cultural Melting Pot:


Colombo is a true reflection of Sri Lanka’s cultural diversity, with influences from various ethnic groups such as Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, and Burghers. This amalgamation of cultures is evident in the city’s architecture, cuisine, festivals, and traditions.

Colonial Legacy:

As a former British colonial outpost, Colombo bears the imprint of its colonial past in its architecture and urban layout. Buildings like the Old Parliament House and the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct stand as reminders of this heritage.

Green Spaces:


Despite being a bustling metropolis, Colombo boasts several lush green spaces, including Viharamahadevi Park and Beira Lake. These tranquil oases offer residents and visitors alike a place to relax, unwind, and connect with nature amidst the urban hustle.

Commercial Hub:

Colombo serves as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, housing the country’s major businesses, financial institutions, and government offices. Its strategic location as a port city has historically made it a vital center for trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean region.

Religious Diversity:


The city is home to numerous religious sites representing various faiths, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Gangaramaya Temple, Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil, and St. Anthony’s Shrine are just a few examples of the religious landmarks found in Colombo.

Culinary Delights:

Colombo offers a rich tapestry of flavors, with its culinary scene reflecting the diversity of its population. From spicy curries and seafood delicacies to fusion cuisine and street food delights, the city is a paradise for food enthusiasts eager to explore Sri Lankan gastronomy.

Emerging Skyline:


In recent years, Colombo has witnessed a transformation of its skyline with the development of modern high-rise buildings, including luxury hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, residential towers, and commercial complexes. This rapid urbanization is reshaping the city’s identity and economy.

Educational Hub:

Colombo is a prominent center for education in Sri Lanka, home to several prestigious universities, colleges, and schools. The city’s educational institutions attract students from across the country and abroad, contributing to its vibrant academic atmosphere.

Cultural Events and Festivals:


Throughout the year, Colombo hosts a myriad of cultural events and festivals celebrating its diverse heritage. From the colorful Vesak lantern festivals to the vibrant Kandy Esala Perahera procession, these events showcase the city’s cultural richness and traditions.

Resilience and Rejuvenation:

Despite facing challenges such as civil unrest and natural disasters in the past, Colombo has demonstrated resilience and undergone significant rejuvenation in recent years. Infrastructure development projects, tourism initiatives, and efforts to preserve its cultural heritage are driving the city towards a brighter future.

How to Get there?

Flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Direct Flight:

IGI Airport Terminal-3, New Delhi → Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo

Cost: ₹ 24,249 Onwards (Oneway)

Connecting Flight:

IGI Airport Terminal-3, New Delhi →  Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore( 1h, 45 Mins Layover) → Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo

Cost: ₹ 10,041 Onwards (Oneway)

What are the top attractions to visit in Colombo?

Gangaramaya Temple, Pettah Market and Viharamahadevi Park are a few of the many top tourist attractions to visit in Colombo.

Are there any unique shopping experiences in Colombo?

For an authentic and bustling shopping experience, head to Pettah Market. This vibrant bazaar is a maze of narrow streets filled with stalls selling a diverse array of goods, including textiles, spices, electronics, and more.

Can visitors experience local cuisines in Colombo, and where should they go?

Hopper’s, Ministry of Crab and Galle Face Green are few of the best places to go to if you want to taste Sri Lanka’s local cuisine.

What cultural experiences can visitors enjoy in Colombo?

Colombo, Sri Lanka has many cultural experiences, including visiting historical sites, taking a walking tour, and learning about tea.

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