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15 Places to Visit in Colombo

 
  • 01National Museum

    Image Credit : rapidtravelchai
    If you are a history lover and have a keen eye for architecture, the National Museum is probably one of the first few places that you need to visit, when you come to Colombo. Established during 1877, this is the biggest museum in the island nation and is undoubtedly the pride of Sri Lanka. The place houses some of the best and personalised collections of the ancient Kandyan dynasty rulers.

    Image Credits : calamur



    Location:
     The museum built in Italian architecture style, is located right in the heart of the Colombo city. 

    Highlights:
     The museum’s library deserves special mention as it contains rich manuscripts in palm leaves in languages like Burmese, Sinhala, Telugu, Tamil and much more. 

    Timings:
    The museum is open on all days except national holidays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

    Price:  Approximate price for local adults and kids are 35 LKR and 20 LKR respectively, whereas, for foreign adults and kids, the prices are 600 LKR and 300 LKR respectively.
  • 02Dehiwala Zoo

    Image Credit : Harshana W
    Dehiwala Zoo or the National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka was set up during 1936 with the sole ambition of providing ultimate protection to a wide range of wild animals and birds. . When you are here, do not miss the impressive performances from elephants, chimpanzees and sea lions.

    Image Credits : Hafiz Issadeen

      

    Location: This zoo is located at 
    Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Dehiwala.

    Highlights:
     This place is one of the members of WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums). In order to encourage breeding, this zoo is actively involved in animal exchange programs. The place is known for its exotic varieties of mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and marine invertebrates

    Timings: The zoo is open from 8.30 AM to 6:00 PM on all days.

    Price: 
    Approximate price starts from 100 LKR for adult and 30 LKR for child, for foreigners 500 LKR for adults and 250 LKR for child.

  • 03St Anthony's Church

    St. Anthony’s Church is one of the most-visited places in the city. During weekends, Tuesdays and on major festivals, the church is flocked by devotees who come here from different parts of the world, as the place is believed to produce miracles. The church was constructed as a very small mud structure many years ago and it was made bigger during 1806.

    Image Credits : HumanityAshore



    Location: The church is located at Kochchikade. 

    Highlights:
    The main altar holds the statue of St. Anthony, which was brought all the way from Goa, in a safe bullet-proof glass container. Tuesdays are considered too special days here and there are special masses and benediction services in Tamil, English, and Sinhala all through the day. On week days, the church conducts Tamil and Sinhala Mass. During weekends, the church conducts Tamil, English and Sinhala masses.

    Timings: Open all through the day.

    Price: Entry is free of cost.
  • 04Attidiya Bird Sanctuary

    Image Credit : Madhawa Habarakada
    This is probably the only place in Colombo that provides shelter to at least 50 different species of birds (both local and migratory).

    Highlights: A large number of water monitors, butterflies, insects and other birds tend to catch your attention as you walk through the muddy paths of the sanctuary. The biodiversity of this place is highly commendable, as you cannot help but feel awe-struck at the diverse species of birds here. As the place is replete with mosquitoes, you need to be fully covered while visiting the park.

    Image Credits : Madhawa Habarakada



    Location: The sanctuary is located at Boralesgamuwa in Colombo.

    Timings: The sanctuary is open all through the day; however early mornings and evenings are best to visit migratory birds.

    Best Season to Visit: You must visit this place during the months between December and January, as this is the peak season for migratory birds to seek protection here.

    Price: Entry to the place is free of cost.
  • 05Mount Lavinia

    Mount Lavinia is a heritage hotel, which was predominantly a huge place during 1806. There are various ocean view rooms up for taking here, provided you book early. During special festivals and peak tourist seasons, the heritage hotel offers great deals for the benefit of tourists.

    Image Credits : Terry Feuerborn



    Location:
     With a spending view of the Laccadive Sea, Mount Lavinia offers luxurious services and facilities for its guests. It is located in close vicinity to the National Zoological Gardens. 

    Highlights: Sunset deals, wedding packages, national holiday deals, offers on cards of certain banks etc. are some of the promotional offers advertised by Mount Lavinia throughout the year.

    Timings: The hotel is open all through the year. It also has a children’s park, where children are treated to a variety of outdoor sports till 4PM.

    Price: 
    Approximate price starts from 1000 LKR
  • 06Traditional Puppet Art Museum

    Puppet shows are closely related to Sri Lankan culture. Hence this museum is largely responsible for upholding the folk values and traditions of the island nation even today. Since the demand for these shows is quite high, it is better to book your seats early. This place is sure to bring great joy and entertainment for tourists of all age groups. One has to visit the museum to see the expertise with which artisans manage their multi-coloured and attractive puppets.

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    Highlights
    : Local and international puppet show experts conduct shows at this venue on a regular basis to enthral people who gather here in large numbers.

    Location
    : This unique museum is located at Dehiwala, in close proximity to Galle.

    Timings
    : The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. 

    Price
    Approximate price starts from 50LKR per adult
  • 07Old Dutch Hospital

    This building is one of those areas that have preserved their charm for quite a few centuries now. Constructed during 1681, this building crossed many stages before getting converted into a shopping complex that it is today.

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    Location
    : This shopping arcade is located in the Galle Fort area, at Hospital Street.

    Highlights
    : This is the most ancient building in Colombo Fort and was set up with the main purpose of providing medical assistance to people working for Dutch East India Company. Do not miss to visit Odels, one of the most decent joints selling high-quality souvenirs and clothes. If you are interested in shopping and eating good food, you have to visit this area as it lined with lots of cafés and eating joints.


    Timings
    : It is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on all days of the week. 

    Price
    : Entry to this place is not chargeable.
  • 08Dutch Period Museum

    During the period between 1656 and 1796, Dutch rulers ruled over Sri Lanka. The Dutch Museum which tourists get to watch today was once the official residing place of Thomas Van Rhee, the former Dutch Governor of Sri Lanka.

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    Location
    : The place is located at Prince Street in the city

    Highlights
    : The museum contains two floors and it houses around 3000 personal collections of Dutch rulers who reigned over the place. This place was converted into a public museum during 1977, thanks to the able support rendered by the Government of Netherlands.

    Timings: The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday.
  • 09Old City Hall

    Image Credit : Dennis S. Hurd
    This is definitely a place that will interest any architecture or history lover. Constructed over two centuries ago, the Old City Hall is one of the brilliant architectural marvels from the bygone British era. The months of January, February, March, November and December are the best when it comes to visiting Colombo. The entry price is free of cost.


     
    Locati
    on: The hall can be found on Main Street in Colombo amidst various famous tourist spots.

    Highlights
    : There are a few attendants working in the hall, who will gladly take you around the building, provided you tip them a reasonable amount of money. The hall is literally a treasure island that contains old government equipment, transport machinery and other council chambers that were present during the earlier times.

    Timings: The place is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM ll days of the week except Sundays.
  • 10Beira Lake

    Image Credit : Sujal Shah
    If there is one place where you can get the combined benefits of adventure, pilgrimage, picnic and fun, it is the Beira Lake. This is one of the hot tourist spots in Colombo as well. One can enjoy duck paddle boat rides on the lake.

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    Location: Located quite close to the famous Gangaramaya temple, Beira Lake offers an excellent view of the temple, especially in the evenings, when the temple is fully illuminated. 

    Highlights
    : There is another temple right in the middle of the lake – Seema Malaka Temple. This temple contains lots of Buddhist statues and a few Hindu idols.

    Timings: The lake is open all through the year to enable visitors; however evenings are the best to come here to get a panoramic view of the temple.

    Price
    Approximate price is 300 LKR however if you have paid for entry into the Gangaramaya temple,that will suffice here as well.
  • 11Gangaramaya Temple

    Image Credit : Nigel Swales
    Gangaramaya Temple is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is more than a century since this temple was constructed; however even today, the temple doesn’t stop to surprise tourists and devotees. The pathways and doors that lead into the main sanctum sanctorum contain intricately carved sculptures that are simply breath-taking.

    Highlights: The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.

    Image Credits : Charaka Ranasinghe



    Location: The temple is located right on the Jinaratana Road in the heart of Colombo city.

    Timings: The temple is open from 5.30AM to 10PM.

    Price: Entry fee is LKR200 per adult.
  • 12Independence Memorial Hall

    Independence Memorial Hall in Colombo, as the name indicates, was constructed to commemorate the occasion of Sri Lankan Independence from British Rule. The construction of this memorial was completed during 1953.

    Highlights: When you come here, you ought to visit the Independence Memorial Museum as well, which honours the people who fought for Sri Lankan Independence. Currently, this hall is the venue where Independence Day celebrations and other national events are being held. Prior to the construction of the Sri Lankan Parliament, this memorial Hall served as the ceremonial assembly as well. This place currently caters to the needs of fitness enthusiasts as the open spaces here are used for jogging, cycling, public gym, aerobic sessions and other relevant activities.

    Image Credits : Chamara Sumanapala



    Location:
    The hall is located in Cinnamon Gardens and was formerly known as Torrington Square.

    Timings: This hall is open all through the year.

    Price: Entry into the hall is free of cost.
  • 13Viharamahadevi Park

    Image Credit : DennisSylvesterHurd
    Named after Queen Viharamahadevi, this park is the largest and probably the only public park in Colombo. It is one of those places that never cease to excite you irrespective of the number of times you come here.

    Highlights: There are lots of places to visit here like the aquarium, mini zoo, children’s play zone, war memorial, lake and the dangerous-yet-adventurous suspension bridge above it. When you and your kids are tired of running round the park, you can just relax on the cool resting places on the park, eating local delicacies like candy floss, corn and ice-creams from the sellers here. A canopy of green trees lends a beautiful ambience to this place.

    Image Credits : cat_collector



    Location: The Park is located right next to the famous National Museum in the heart of Colombo.

    Timings: This Park is open all through the year.

    Price: Entry into the park is free of cost.
  • 14Galle Face Green

    Image Credit : Scott Edmunds
    Situated in the middle of the busy stretch of Galle Road and the Indian Ocean, this open space, established during 1859 on 5 hectares, is a huge hit among tourists of all age groups. During weekends, the place is abuzz with vendors who attract kids with their bright toys and bubbles. This area is open all through the year. Entry into the park is free.

    While you are here, do not miss to taste the lip-smacking delicacies that are prepared by street vendors.

    Image Credits : Aswin Anand



    Location: This is located right next to the famous Galle Beach.

    Highlights:
     The magical and golden rays of sunset, fresh air and the positive ambience of the place make Galle Face Green one of the must-visit places in Colombo. The place is currently taken care of by the Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority. 

    Timings:
    This park is open 24/7 all through the day.

    Price: Entry into this park is free of cost.
  • 15Old Galle Buck Lighthouse

    Though it is located in close vicinity to the Galle Face Green, where thousands of adults and kids visit to view the beach, the Old Galle Buck Lighthouse is a comparatively less-visited destination. When you go further from Galle Face Green, you can climb up to the Lighthouse and enjoy a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. This is located within the premises of Sri Lankan Navy.

    Highlights: You can get to the lighthouse after 5PM to enjoy the best view of sunset. This place is considered to be the best when it comes to viewing sunset. If you are a person who wants to have a quiet little time to yourself, this is the apt place for you.

    Location: In close vicinity to the famous sea face of Colombo, the Galle Face Green.

    Timings: The place is open all through the year.

    Price: Entry is free of cost here.