Galle Face Green beach

Best 10 Places To Visit In Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Capital City

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Colombo is the vibrant capital city of Sri Lanka. It offers an intriguing mix of history, culture, and contemporary elements, lending itself to a unique experience for every traveler. Like several other places in Sri Lanka, Colombo has something for everyone, whether it’s colonial structures, bustling markets, tranquil temples, mesmerizing coast views, and more. In this blog, we take you through the top 10 best places you should visit in Colombo.

Best Places To Visit In Colombo

1. National Museum Of Colombo

Colombo national museum

Established in 1877, the Colombo National Museum was founded by Sir William Henry Gregory, the Governor of Ceylon. The colonial mansion is designed using the Italian architectural style. Being Sri Lanka’s largest museum, it is home to about 100,000 collections that preserve the history, culture, art, and natural heritage of the region.

The lower gallery showcases the pre & proto-historic periods, including the Anuradha period, the Polonnaruwa period, the transitional period, and the Kandy period. You’ll find a few antiques here too. The upper gallery showcases paintings, coins, currencies, standards and banners, arts and crafts, and arms and armaments, to name a few.

  • Timings: 9 Am – 5 PM, closed on public holidays.
  • Entry fee: LKR 100 for Sri Lankan adults and LKR 1200 for foreign nationals. You can also buy a combo ticket for Colombo National Museum & National Museum of Natural History for LKR 120 for Sri Lankans and LKR 1500 for Foreigners. Half price for children.
  • Photography is allowed. Additional charges for the camera.

2. Independence Square

Independence square, Colombo

Also known as the Memorial Hall, Independence Square is a national monument in Sri Lanka. The campus comprises gardens, houses, decorated pillars, and more. Besides these, one of the key highlights of the site is the tall statue of the first prime minister of Sri Lanka – Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake. The man was titled ‘The Father of the Nation.’ The vintage-looking complex is lit after sunset and is a very peaceful place to be in.

  • Timings: Open 24 hours, on all days.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Photography is allowed.

3. Walking Tours

Colombo fort railway station

Take a stroll in the heart of the city, around Colombo Fort Railway Station and the vibrant streets of Pettah Market. Colombo Fort is the main railway gateway to the capital city of Sri Lanka. Pettah Market is the largest one in Sri Lanka. Imported fruits and vegetables are distributed to different corners of the country from this place, making it a hub. You can find a lot of wholesale shops that sell pretty much everything, like clothes, electronics, groceries, gold, etc. 

4. Red Mosque

Terrace of the Red Mosque, Colombo

Do not miss the Red Mosque while exploring Pettah Market. You will easily identify it as the structure, and the architectural style stands out from other buildings in the area. Furthermore, it is one of the very few mosques in the country accessible to tourists and visitors. Want to know about the history, significance, dress codes, timings, cost, and more? Check out the detailed blog on the Red Mosque.

5. Pettah Floating Market

Pettah Floating Market is very different from the Pettah Market. Located opposite the main bus stand, Pettah Floating Market was once an industrial canal. Today it has about 100+ trade stalls with cozy cafes, restaurants, and handicraft shops near the Beira Lake waters. The area has a relaxing vibe where you can click pictures for the Gram with the ducks in the background.

  • Timings: Open 24 hours, on all days.
  • Entry fee: Free

6. Colombo Lotus Tower

Colombo lotus tower

The iconic landmark of Sri Lanka stands tall at 350 m and is also called Nelum Pokuna. The Colombo Lotus Tower is the tallest self-supported structure in South Asia and offers a panoramic view of the entire city. Its design is inspired by the lotus flower, symbolizing purity and progressive development in the country. 

The tower’s functionalities include communication, observation, and even leisure. Each deck offers different sets of activities different activities to engage tourists. These include VR adventure, 9D cinema, digital art museum, modern state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, revolving restaurants, luxury suites, pubs, restaurants, and so much more.

You can visit the observation deck on the seventh floor (244 m) of the tower house. At night, you’ll see the color of the tower changes frequently.

  • Entry Fee: LKR 500 for Sri Lankan nationals, LKR 200 for students, USD 20 for foreign adults, USD 10 for foreign children between 3-10, and free for kids below 3 years.
  • Timings: 9 AM – 10 PM on weekdays, 9 AM – 11 PM on weekends. Tickets are issued until one hour before the closing time.

Note: The tickets purchased are valid only on the date of purchase. It also entitles a single entry.

7. Gangaramaya Temple & Park

Gangaramaya temple and park

Gangaramaya Park is located close to the popular Gangaramaya Seema Malakaya and Beira Lake. An excellent place where you can relax by the still waters or take a stroll around the lake. The suspension bridge, ducks, and swan boat rides enhance your experience and create a serene atmosphere revitalizing your energy levels.

You can also visit the famous Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple located close by. The temple dates back over 2000 years and is home to a bo tree image house, a relic chamber, a library, and a museum that comprises sculptures, artifacts, relics, furniture, and antiques.

  • Entry Fee: LKR 400 for foreigners, free for Sri Lankan nationals. The ticket is valid for all three entrances – Gangaramaya Temple, Gangaramaya Park, and Gangaramaya Seema Malakaya.
  • Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM for the Gangaramaya Temple and 7 AM – 4:30 PM for the park and Gangaramaya Seema Malakaya.

Note: Dress conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees if you plan to visit the temple.

8. Galle Face Green

Galle face green Colombo

The long stretch of seaside walkway and park overlooking the Indian Ocean is the Galle Face Green. People flock here during sunset, and the place thrives with tourists, explorers, and locals. You will find numerous food vendors, kite flyers, couples, friends, and families having a good time at the park. There is a One Galle Face Shopping Mall located just opposite the road that is home to many international brands.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: Open 24 hours on all days
  • Timings for One Galle Face Mall: 10 AM – 11 PM

9. Port City

Port city Colombo

At the start of Galle Face Green, a special economic zone and international financial center is under construction. A small gate leads you to the pathway where you can go for a relaxed evening walk. Entry is allowed until the port city footbridge. You can see the entire skyline of Colombo city, including the Lotus Tower and the shores of Galle Face Green.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday – 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM, Friday to Sunday – 3:30 PM to 8 PM

10. Dutch Hospital – A Shopping Precinct

Dutch hospital - shopping precinct

The 17th-century Dutch Hospital is the oldest heritage building in Colombo. Due to its proximity to the harbor, the hospital used to treat injured seafarers. However, during the 80s, the building served as a police station, and today it is a dining and shopping hub. Located close to the World Trade Center, it is a nice hangout spot with food, drinks, live music, and a common area in the middle where you can just relax.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: 10 Am – 10 PM on all days

Which is your personal favorite place in Colombo among these? We’d love to hear from you. Drop in the comments section below.

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