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Top Things To Do in Colombo for a Memorable Trip Experience

9 mins. read

The gateway to Sri Lanka and the port city, Colombo, is the largest city on the island. It is home to a diverse population with a rich tapestry of culture influenced by Indian, Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese and Malay cultures. It is a city with traditional and cosmopolitan vibes, a thriving culinary scene and a vibrant nightlife. From striking beaches to majestic mountains, ancient trees to colonial buildings and urban parks to bustling street food markets, Colombo has never-ending options for travellers. Whether you are a tourist interested in history or someone interested in wildlife, or a photography enthusiast looking for mesmerising sights, the city has many attractions to impress you.

Best Things to Do in Colombo

Here is the list of some exciting things to do in Colombo on your next vacation:

  • Visit Gangaramaya Temple
  • Unwind at the Galle Face Beach
  • Visit the National Museum of Colombo
  • Seek Blessings at Seema Malaka
  • Go Back in History with Colombo Fort
  • Visit Kelaniya Temple
  • Serene Escape with Viharamahadevi Park
  • Discover the Grandeur of Lotus Tower
  • Shop at Pettah Floating Market

Visit Gangaramaya Temple

Located on the banks of the Beira Lake, Gangaramaya is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo. Set up in the late 19th century by the monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera, the temple has a unique blend of different architectural styles, including Thai, Indian, Chinese and Burmese. The walls and ceilings of this striking temple feature images and paintings from the Buddhist religion. Also, the corridors leading into the main sanctum encompass intricately carved sculptures. There is a huge Buddha statue situated in the main sanctorum, giving a sense of serenity. The temple also has a museum, exhibiting statues of different Hindu deities and offering insights into Sinhalese life in Colombo. Definitely, visiting this temple is one of the best things to do in Colombo.

Unwind at the Galle Face Beach

One of the best places to visit in Colombo, Galle Face Beach is a prime attraction for tourists in the city. Spread over around five hectares, Galle Face Beach makes an ideal place to spend the perfect evening sitting on the coastline next to the beach. The area was laid out by Governor Sir Henry George Ward in 1859, and used for golf and horse races. Today, it has been converted into a park known for offering incredible ocean views. Here, you can enjoy many sports activities like jogging, kite flying, football, fishing, volleyball, etc.

Visit the National Museum of Colombo

The most prominent museum in Sri Lanka, the Colombo National Museum, is one of the best things to see in Colombo. Designed in the Italian architectural style, it is a two-storey museum comprising of three main sections - cultural galleries, natural science and a gift shop. Built in 1877, the National Museum of Colombo showcases many significant antique and cultural entities, giving a glimpse of the rich history and heritage of this island nation. Here, you can see more than thousands of artefacts, statues, paintings, thrones and crowns from the royal era. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Colombo.

Seek Blessings at Seema Malaka

Famous as the Zen Paradise, Seema Malaka is definitely a sanctuary of tranquility amidst the bustling chaos of the city. Designed by architectural Genius - Geoffrey Bawa, the Seema Malaka temple features gorgeous artwork, beautiful paintings and intricate carvings portraying stories and themes of Buddhism. Inspired by the ancient monasteries of Ritigala and Anuradhapura, this temple houses a wooden shelter for meditation, a sacred Bodhi tree, a collection of Buddha statues and vibrant flags with devotees’ wishes. One of the best things to see in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Seema Malaka Temple is a spiritual haven and a blissful escape from the busy lives.

Go Back in History with Colombo Fort

Next on the list of the best things to do in Colombo is to get a glimpse into the city's multifaceted history with the Fort. Established in the 16th century by the Portuguese, the Fort was later developed to its modern design by the Dutch and British. The modern-day Colombo Fort houses financial institutions, government offices, and bustling markets. The area is also home to major transport hubs like the railway station and the bus station in the city. Amidst the present-day hustle, fragments of the history, like the Old Parliament Building and the Clock Tower, provide a quick tour of the multifaceted history of Colombo. So, whenever you plan to visit Colombo, do not miss the chance to explore this historical building.

Sri Lanka Cliff scaled

Visit Kelaniya Temple

Around 10 km to the northeast of Colombo, Kelaniya Temple or Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a sacred Buddhist temple. It is the place visited by Lord Buddha on their third visit to Sri Lanka, along with 500 monks on the request of King Maniakkhikha to preach the dharma to the people in Kelaniya. Located on the banks of the Kelaniya River, the temple was built in the 5th century BCE, but destroyed by many invaders in different times. The present-time structure was rebuilt by King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha in 1967 with many new features. Visiting this temple is one of the most gratifying things to do in Colombo City with your family or friends.

Serene Escape with Viharamahadevi Park

One of the largest and oldest parks in Colombo, the Viharamahadevi Park offers a perfect setting to relax for locals and tourists. Named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the park is a calm haven amidst the bustling cityscape. This majestic green park comprises of a war memorial statue, a library and a 15-foot-long brass statue of Lord Buddha. With vibrant flower beds, scenic ponds, and towering trees, the Viharamahadevi Park makes a tranquil space to unwind and reconnect with nature. The central location makes it the most popular urban retreat for people in Colombo. This park is definitely one of the most beautiful things to see in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Discover the Grandeur of Lotus Tower

Known as an outstanding landmark of Sri Lanka, the Lotus Tower is the biggest tourist attraction in Colombo. With 356 metres of height, this architectural marvel has a multifunctional building designed like a lotus, featuring a hotel, a shopping complex, and observation decks. One of the most striking structures in the city, this tower is observable from great distances, especially in the morning hours. Famous as the tallest skyscraper in the country and a self-supported building in South Asia, the Lotus Tower offers a majestic panoramic view of the city, depicting innovation and progress in Colombo. The ultimate culmination of creativity and innovation, the Lotus Tower must be on your list of best things to see in Colombo.

Shop at Pettah Floating Market

Shopping at Pettah Floating Market is one of the best activities to do in Colombo. The most exciting place for shopaholics, Pettah Floating Market, is located on Bastian Mawatha in Pettah, a locality in Colombo. Opened in 2014, this market is at the far end of the Beira Lake. A unique destination for tourists, this floating market is a series of pavilions with around 92 trade stalls, shops and vendors selling flowers, fruits, vegetables etc., on the wooden boats floating on the lake. There are many restaurants and eating joints in the market, serving many local dishes of Sri Lanka. Here, you can find beautiful art pieces that you can bring home as souvenirs. Pettah Floating Market is one of the must-visit places during your Colombo trip.

With so many things to do in Colombo, you should plan your vacation now! The culture, food, architecture and beaches – everything is magical here, making Colombo a major attraction for tourists across the globe. With the best Colombo tour packages from Veena World, you can cover all key destinations here and make your trip an unforgettable experience.

March 16, 2024


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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