While you’re visiting the vibrant city of Colombo, step outside and explore the many wonders the city has to offer. Colombo is a city rich with history, influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese and the British. The city is a perfect marriage of old and new, where the old colonial charm is blended beautifully with the cosmopolitan lifestyle. Take a city tour to discover the exquisite places in Colombo. Take a peek into the rich history at the National Museum, be enchanted by the art galleries and feel spiritual at the glorious temples.
Feel the cultural diversity Colombo has to offer, as you explore the beautiful temples, churches and mosques.
With many different attractions, this charming city is an explorer’s gateway to many hidden wonders waiting to be discovered.
Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Daily 9AM – 6PM
Known as Sri Lanka National Museum. One of the largest museums in Sri Lanka. It boasts with collection of fine relics from the kingdoms that ruled over numerous regions of the island and house artifacts from the prehistoric ages. It was built when Sir William Henry Gregory served as British Colonial Governor of Ceylon.
Horton Place, Colombo 7,
Daily except Fri 9AM – 5PM
National Museum of Natural History which reflects the Natural heritage was established in 1986. This museum is on situated same premises of Colombo National Museum. Special feature here is their representation of plants and animal specimens which are endemic to Sri Lanka, some of them rare and threatened with extinction. Discover their large collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish, amphibians of various kinds of plants and geological rocks.
106, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha Cinnamon Gardens,
Colombo 7 | Daily 9AM – 5PM
The National Art Gallery, the three wing gallery space is situated next to the National Museum. The main gallery has a permanent collection of portraits and landscapes. The other two wings have a change of temporary exhibitions by Sri Lankan artists.
Basement of the Independence memorial Hall.
Early days known as Torrington Square. Was built in commemoration of Sri Lanka’s Independence from the British in 1948. It displays many statues of national heroes who contributed to the freedom fight with the British the government. Surroundings here is idyllic for evening walk. Located close by is The Arcade, a new complex filled with restaurants and shopping.
Colombo 1, Fort Built 1954. It’s surrounded by old canons. Great sea view.
Good place to take a look of port area development. Can only imagine how this place will look in next few years. While at lighthouse, go also see Sambodhi Chaitya, unusual buddhist temple.
No. 69, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 1
The last jail cell of the last King of Sri Lanka is absurdly nestled in the shadow of the Ceylinco Building. Inside the cell there are portraits of the King (Sri Vikrama Rajasinha), his wife (Queen Venkata Rengammal), the first Prime Minister to betray them (Pilimatalawe) and the British Governor General who took over (Robert B rownrigg). There is also images of the ship that took him (the King) away and his final resting place in South India.
The main entrance to this museum is from the Chaithya Road. The museum is located in the old Dutch prison built in 1676 which is the only surviving Dutch period building at the Colombo Port premises.
Various items of historical significance relating to the Ports of the country, its maritime industry and the ocean around Sri Lanka are on display. Sculptures of King Vijeya and other significant characters are also on display along with model exhibits of ships.
There are also art works, and models symbolizing the systematic development of the Colombo Port and equipment used in Port operation during various times.
Located in Colombo Fort
The Cargill’s millers building is one of the oldest department stores in Sri Lanka, established in 1844 by William Miller and David during British colonial style. The red and white façade of the Cargills and Millers department store complex is one of Forts’s most famous landmarks. Millers specializes in photographic supplies, while the generally-stocked Cargills opened in 1906. This extraordinary complex is protected in order to maintain Fort’s heritage.
Sri Jinarathana Road, Colombo
This is the main Buddhist center in Colombo.
The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is
situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagoda) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka
(assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises.
Today Gangarama serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship but also as a center of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples' homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions.
2nd Cross Street in Pettah.
The popular tourist site in the city with stunning architecture. Jami-Ul-Alftar Mosque was built in 1909 by the Pettah Muslim community to fulfill their required five-times-daily prayer and Jummah on Fridays. It is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo.
Before other landmarks were built, some claim that Jami-Ul-Alftar Mosque was recognized as the landmark of Colombo by sailors approaching the port.
1740s Governor Julius Valentin Stein van Gollenesse – a staunch calvinist- decided to increase efforts to promote the Protestant religion among the local inhabitants of the Maritime Provinces. Following the nomination of Sinhalese and Tamil speaking
Predikants, his efforts were not without success. He also decided to build new church outside the Fort of Colombo, the Wolvendaal church, which was specifically meant for local Protestant Christians, despite its typically Dutch architecture.
Wolvendaal Church is the most important Dutch building in Sri Lanka. When the church was built, this area was a wilderness beyond the city walls. The Europeans mistook the packs of roaming jackals for wolves and the area became known as Wolf’s Dale,
or Wolvendaal in Dutch. This church is in the form of Greek cross, with walls 1.5m thick, but the real treasure is found inside; its Dutch furniture.
Located on the Sea Street, Bambalapitiya,
Open daily: 5:30AM – 10:30AM and 5:30 to 8PM
Dedicated to the war God Murugan (Skanda). Starting point for the annual Hindu Vel festival held in July/August. The kovil has both old and new sections, some parts in bright colors and some in gold paint. At the back of the premises to the left are the Kathiresan Hall and further in Manikka Pillaiyar Kalai Rangam, halls where
weddings are often carried out. Check from kovil care takers if taking pictures is accepted.
Located South of Colombo, drive south along Galle Road
Famed for its "Golden Mile" of beach, it has often been a hot spot for tourism and laid back nightlife. It is one of the most liberal regions in Sri Lanka and plays host to the island's annual gay pride and Rainbow Kite Festival.
This area offers lot of shopping and restaurants. One of the must see places is definitely Mt. Lavinia Hotel with its Victorian-era ambiance and gourmet cuisine.
No.11, 33rd Lane, Colombo 3 (Off Bagatelle road)
Mon-Fri Tours 10 AM, 12PM, 2PM & 4PM Rs. 1000
Former residence of the architect Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003). Get
familiar with the style and story behind the biggest name of
Sri Lanka’s architect artist. Tour takes about 45 minutes.
18 Guilford Crescent, Colombo 7. M-F 9AM-1PM and 2-4PM
The Art Center provides a multi-functional creative experience with exhibitions, art shows and stage events. Visitors to the Art Center area also able to purchase various antiques as well as paintings and crafts by contemporary Sri Lankan artists.
9km towards the south west of the city, Colombo-Horana Rd, Boralesgamuwa
The wet land is rich with natural biodiversity and is a resting place for many types of birds. The vegetation of this wetland is dominated by sedge and grasses. Around 43 species of waterfowls live in the area. Most common among them are Indian Shag, the
Blue breasted Banded Rail etc. If you are an enthusiastic bird watcher or an eco friend, then it is worthwhile to spend sometime in the Attidiya bird sanctuary during one of your leisurely evenings during your stay in Colombo. Wear boots if you are planning to
take the muddy path. Take precautions against mosquitos if you are going there in the evening. Better to go in a group than alone.
Next to Kanatta junction, Borella
Walk around on this large cemetery and take a look at different styles of memorials. Beautiful angel statues and tombs. The cemetery was established in 1840. There is a section dedicated to the dead of the two world wars.
It stretches for a half kilometer along the coast in the heart of financial and business district of Colombo. It is situated next to the old parliament of Sri Lanka and biggest hotels in Colombo. Can do strolling around or just sit down to see how locals spend their
family time playing on the greenery. You will also find food and snack stalls here.
Pettah Market is considered as Colombo’s largest and most chaotic market. Famous for its open air bazaar and markets and fresh foods as well. Goods from fresh food to wholesale clothing. Great preview of the busy side of Colombo.
The Pettah Floating Market opened on the 25th of August 2014.
It is series of pavilions constructed on the far end of the restored Beira lake between Pettah bus station and railway station. Nice area to spend time in the afternoons even if you aren’t in the mood for shopping.
Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7
The place is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. The first purpose -built convention center in Asia. Comprises high-tech equipment, modern convention halls and rooms.
Located on Nelum Pokuna Mawatha, Cinnamon Gardens
A fully-equipped state-of-the-art performance center for large productions. It does consist of an auditorium and an open-air amphitheater. A 21st century architectural masterpiece that offers access for both local and foreign producers. If you have interest for architecture, take a look around.
Located in Colombo 7 - Daily 6AM – 6 PM
Formally known as the Victoria Park is the largest, oldest and most colorful park situated in the heart of Colombo (Cinnamon Gardens), just opposite the colonial style Town Hall building. The park was built during the British rule of Sri Lanka as Victoria Park and remained as Vihara Maha Devi Park, in honor of a famous historical Sinhalese queen, mother of the hero of the nation, King Dutugamunu. This place is good visit with kids. Park offers large playground, ponies and small aquarium.
Located on Stanley Wijesundara Mw, Cinnamon Gardens,
It was established in 1965 by the state engineering corporation and declared open on 1st of February 1965 for Ceylon Industrial Exhibition to introduce the latest technologies, specially to show the capability of creating a night sky. A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy, space science and the night sky. It is in a shape of lotus in full bloom and seats 500 visitors. It features an artificial sky to glimpse the night-time sky during the
day through a colossal universal projector.
No:95, Biyagama Rd, Daily 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Located on the banks of the Kelani River, Water World is an aquatic wonderland which is home to a diverse collection of over 500 varieties of fish and invertebrates. Exciting attractions like underwater tunnel, sharks and rays. There is also a bird park and
playground so this is a good stop for family day.
Located in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte
The Sri Lankan Parliament Complex (also known as the New Parliament Complex) is a public building and landmark that houses the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Situated in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka. It is built on an island,
surrounded by the Diyawanna river. It was designed by Geoffrey Bawa. You must admire from distance because without special permit you can’t enter the premises.
Located in Sri Jayawardenerapura Kotte
Tickets 600 rupees, Open daily 9AM – 9PM
Ape Gama is a theme park replicating the yesteryear traditional agro-economy village life style in Sri Lanka. When you walk through the village path you’ll see clay huts built in traditional way and you get a glimpse of way of living in rural parts of the country.
There is also a craft museum, mini zoo and Laksala gift shop.
Diyatha Uyana at Battaramulla is a lovely market area with green
surroundings. Especially Thursdays this place makes a good spot
when voluntarily run ‘The Good Market’ is happening. Local foods
and crafts for sale. Kids will love the aquarium circle in the middle
of the market. See also the restaurant by the lake and Waters Edge
Majestic City - Bambalapitiya
Liberty Light – Opposite to Liberty Plaza, Kollupitiya
Empire Cineplex – Arcade, Cinnamon Gardens
Savoy – Galle road, Wellawatte