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Top 10 Places to Visit in Colombo - The Ultimate Guide

9 mins. read

With its rich colonial history, bustling urban еnеrgy, and beautiful natural landscapes, Colombo is a top destination for any travеllеrs. As the capital and largest city of Sri Lanka, Colombo offers an array of attractions that showcase the city's unique culture and heritage. Wandering the cobblestone strееts of the Fort district transports you back to the city's days as a Portuguese, Dutch, and British hub.

Further, the temples, mosques, and churches throughout the city provide a window into its diverse religious influences. Bounded by the urban core, еxpеriеncе like strolling through sprawling Viharamahadеvi Park or lounging on the golden shores of Mount Lavinia beach show Colombo's natural beauty. From savouring fiery curries and hoppers to perusing the packed bazaars, Colombo immerses you in the sights, sounds, and flavours that make it an еssеntial stop on any Sri Lankan itinerary.  With something for еvеry type of travеllеrs and places to visit, Colombo is undoubtedly a must-sее destination.

Top Places to Visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Here are the places that you must visit when in Colombo: -

  • Gangaramaya Temple
  • Sri Lanka Planetarium
  • National Museum of Colombo
  • World Trade Center
  • Beira Lake
  • Galle Face Green
  • Viharamahadevi Park
  • Dutch Period Museum
  • Paradise Road
  • Pettah Floating Market

Gangaramaya Temple

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most popular Buddhist temples & places of interest in Colombo, Sri Lanka for visitors. Founded in the late 19th century, this vibrant temple has fascinating architecture that mixes Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese styles. The temple grounds house a renowned museum with thousands of Buddhist artefacts and relics on display. Visitors can see rare collections of gifts received by the temple over the years, including Buddha statues in different poses, ancient scrolls, intricately carved tusks, and historic coins. Besides the museum, major highlights include the main shrine with its bodhi tree, the serene Seema Malaka meditation island, and the many resident monks continuing centuries-old rituals. Exploring the temple’s peaceful environs filled with decorated buildings, statues, and ponds provides insight into Buddhism’s role in Sri Lankan society. For its religious significance, rich history, and unique sights, the Gangaramaya Temple is an important place to visit to understand Buddhism in Colombo.

Sri Lanka Planetarium

The planetarium is located in Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, near the Colombo Zoo. It is famous as a Colombo tourist spot, where you can attend public shows held on weekends and holidays. You can also participate in sky observation events, workshops, camps, and programs for students hosted here. There are also exhibits that explain astronomical concepts and the history of astronomy in Sri Lanka. The planetarium serves as an interactive way as well as the best place in Colombo to visit for visitors to learn about astronomy and appreciate the astronomical achievements of the country.

National Museum of Colombo

Another destination that is the best place in Colombo to visit is the National Museum of Colombo located in the heart of the city. The Museum building itself is an impressive colonial structure dating back to 1877. Originally it served as the Colombo Municipal Council building during the British Ceylon period. Once inside, you will be able to explore the vast collections spanning over 150 years of accumulation. The Museum houses over 4000 cultural artefacts and objects showcasing Sri Lanka's heritage. You can find archaeological exhibits, demon masks, ancient and mediaeval jewellery, colonial-period weaponry, Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, and other historical items. The Museum stands as an important institution promoting Sri Lankan heritage.

World Trade Center

The World Trade Center in Colombo is a prominent landmark & attractive place in Colombo located in Echelon Square, Fort. When you enter the World Trade Center towers, you will be able to access facilities for commerce and trade. The Center aims to promote private sector businesses and act as a platform for trade, exhibitions, conferences, and other events. Some key attractions at the World Trade Center for you to experience include the heights of the towers, the panoramic views of Colombo from the rooftop, restaurants like the Vertical Bar, and the interconnected sky bridges on multiple floors.

best place in Colombo to visit

Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green is an iconic seaside urban park situated along the coast of Colombo. This 12-acre oceanfront green space has been used recreationally for centuries since colonial times. When you visit Galle Face Green, you are treated to fresh ocean breeze and views of the sea making it a definite place to go in Colombo. The open space allows you to relax, jog, join games and sports, and enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere. There are benches, snack stalls, and amusements that cater to families. You can watch the sunset over the ocean in the evenings.

Viharamahadevi Park

When you visit Viharamahadevi Park, you are treated to lush greenery, trees, gardens, and lawns spread across nearly 15 acres. The expansive grounds allow you to relax, stroll, jog, or picnic. You can spot a variety of native and foreign plant species that have been cultivated here. Some key attractions in the park include the large Buddha statue, the ornate ceremonial Thai Pongal cart, the deer enclosure, the suspension bridge, and the central lake. You may even catch impromptu performances, vendors, and craft markets frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Beira Lake

The next destination in our Sri Lanka travel guide is Beira Lake, an iconic landmark of Colombo. You can find it next to major city sites like the World Trade Center. This lake has a rich history dating back to the Portuguese colonial era in the 16th century. The Portuguese named it the Lagoon of Colombo. The British later modified the lake and called it Lake Beira after a town in Mozambique. There are recreational spaces, restaurants, art galleries, and religious monuments around the lake that you can experience. Some best places to visit around Beira Lake in Colombo, Sri Lanka for you to visit include Seema Malaka Temple, the Colombo Rowing Club, and the Nelum Pokuna Performing Arts Theatre.

Dutch Period Museum

The Dutch Period Museum is located in Pettah, Colombo right near the Wolvendaal Church. The museum showcases furniture, ceramics, coins, weaponry, maps, and other artefacts from 1600 to 1795 when Sri Lanka was ruled by the Dutch. You can see four-poster beds, an ancient printing press, cannons, tombstones, and more. For any visitor interested in Sri Lanka's colonial past, this museum provides a window into the 17th and 18th centuries on the island.

Paradise Road

When you explore Paradise Road, you are surrounded by a mix of Dutch and Portuguese architecture. The brick facades, verandas, courtyards, and antique interiors provide a glimpse into the past while now housing branded stores, design houses, and eateries. Key attractions along Paradise Road for you to experience include shopping at high-end stores like PR, Ka Ka Du, and Cotton Collection. You can also relax at one of the many cafes or have a meal at an international restaurant like Gallery Cafe or Upali's.

Pettah Floating Market

The Pettah Floating Market is a vibrant open-air market and for shopaholics, it is one of the best places to visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This lively market was constructed on water and floats on pontoons, providing a unique shopping experience. When you visit the Pettah Floating Market, you are surrounded by local traders and stalls selling fresh produce, spices, fruits, vegetables, traditional foods, and handicrafts. The sounds, colours, and bustle of a local marketplace come alive on top of the water.

The Best Time to Visit Colombo

The ideal time to visit Colombo is during the months of December to February when the weather is typically sunny and mild enough for outdoor activities. The monsoon season falls between April and October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring from June through September. Tourism slows down during this wet period. March and April can be hot and dry, which makes sightseeing and exploring the city more challenging and unpleasant. However, you can find good travel deals on flights and hotel accommodations during these hot months.

So, Why wait? Book an ideal Colombo tour package to visit these tourist destinations and enjoy a memorable time in this beautiful land!

December 23, 2023


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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