Renowned for its multi-ethnic charm, Colombo is an amalgamation of nicely converted warehouses, gorgeous landscapes and diverse cuisines. This world famous Sri Lankan destination is home to many lively street markets that brim with the scent of spices and herbs. Colombo abounds with swaths of iconic sites that offer a deep glimpse into Sri Lanka’s long and glorious history. However, the beauty of Colombo is not limited to colonial architecture and shiny hotels. From majestic shores to scenic parks, Sri Lanka’s capital has a lot to offer.
Top 13 Best Places to Visit in Colombo
National Museum Of Colombo
Built way back in the 19th century, Colombo’s National Museum is steeped in rich history that draws tourists from around the world. The museum boasts grand interiors which are reminiscent of the colonial era. The wide selection of historical artefacts housed in this museum are nothing less than a feast for the eyes.
If you are keen to enjoy the natural Colombo beauty, there is absolutely no match for the scenic charm of Beira Lake. Spread over a land area of 65 hectares, the lake is situated in close proximity to a plethora of business institutions. Most notably, the picturesque Beira Lake eventually outflows into the Indian Ocean.
Situated within Cinnamon Gardens, Viharamahadevi Park is ideal for a relaxed stroll as it boasts a calm environment. The park features a cycling track as well as the impressive statue of Buddha which looks excellent. The enormous selection of beautiful plants and trees further adds to the appeal of the Viharamahadevi park.
Aimed at spreading awareness about Buddhism, the Gangaramaya Temple was built in the second half of the 19th century. This Buddhist temple constantly hums with activity owing to various religious ceremonies that take place all year round. Most tourists come here to view the large collection of sacred relics, coins and jewels.
National Zoological Garden
Also known as Colombo Zoo, the National Zoological Gardens feature an extensive selection of around 3000 animals. The zoo is surrounded by dense trees and exquisitely landscaped gardens, one glance of which can enthrall your senses instantly. Animals like jaguars, giraffes, deers and Asian elephants can easily be spotted in the Colombo Zoo.
A massive favourite among religion enthusiasts, the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque boasts the Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The serene and laid-back ambiance of this mosque gives travellers the golden opportunity to immerse in tranquillity. The mosque’s red and white striped brick pattern can mesmerise anyone in a flash. Consider joining the imam for the ritual prayers to experience peace at its best.
Colombo Dutch Museum
Colombo Dutch Museum is the perfect destination for visitors looking to explore the history of Dutch governance that spans almost 200 years. During the 17th century, the museum was used for residential purposes by Dutch Governor Thomas Van. In this museum, you can discover an extensive array of more than 3000 artefacts including coins, ceramics, weaponry etc.
Old Dutch Hospital
Constructed around 1681 in the Dutch Colonial period, the Old Dutch Hospital is a heritage building that has retained its quaint charm over the years. The building features several cosy restaurants and cafes where you can feast on lip-smacking delicacies at incredibly affordable rates. A visit to the Old Dutch Hospital can pave the way for a fun and mind-opening travel experience that you will never forget.
Independence Memorial Hall
Owned by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the construction of the Independence Memorial Hall was completed in 1953. The hall was built to commemorate Sri Lanka’s independence from the clutches of colonial rule. The architect behind the design of the Independence Memorial Hall was Tom Neville Wynne Jones. Imbued in comforting silence, this national monument is your go-to spot when you are seeking a break from the hustle and bustle.
The Fort Area in Colombo offers a fascinating mix of beautifully built museums and historical structures that find their origins in the bygone colonial era. What’s notable is that the fort once served as a boundary against water bodies. The Old Colombo lighthouse, World Trade Center and The Clock Tower are some major attractions located in this district.
Galle Face Green
Located close to the Colombo Fort area, Galle Face Green is the ideal picnic spot for families and couples alike. The oceanfront park has a dedicated beach area that extends over 500 metres. You can relax on the beach in the midst of sunshine for a mind-calming experience.
National Museum Of Natural History
If you are a history buff, a trip to Colombo remains incomplete until you visit the National Museum Of Natural History. With it’s amazing displays of plants and amphibians, the museum offers a sneak peek into Srilanka’s natural history. The museum also showcases ancient fossils and skeletons of extinct creatures.
Pettah Floating Market
When it comes to fulfilling your shopping needs, the Pettah Floating Market is one of the best Colombo places to visit. Promising splendid views of nearby surroundings, the waterfront market offers plenty of excellent photographic opportunities to visitors. Be it reasonably priced clothes, handicrafts or jewellery, Pettah Floating Market has it all.
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