10 Must-Visit Tourist Places in Colombo: Exploring the Best Attractions


If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, the bustling city of Colombo should be on your itinerary. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, Colombo offers a multitude of attractions for visitors to explore. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top 10 must-visit tourist places in Colombo. From historical landmarks to serene gardens, you’ll find a diverse range of experiences waiting to be discovered. So, let’s dive in and uncover the best of what Colombo has to offer!

1. Galle Face Green

Galle Face

Galle Face Green is a sprawling ocean-side promenade located in the heart of Colombo. It stretches along the coast, providing visitors with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. This historic landmark was created by the Dutch in the 17th century as a defense fortification. Over time, it has transformed into a popular recreational spot for both locals and tourists.

Located along the breathtaking coastline of Colombo, Galle Face Green is a popular hangout spot for both locals and tourists alike. This expansive promenade stretches for 5 kilometers, offering stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Whether you want to fly a kite, enjoy a stroll, or simply relax on the grassy lawns, Galle Face Green is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the beauty of the ocean.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • Galle Face Green offers a perfect spot to witness stunning sunsets and enjoy a stroll along the coast.
  • The Galle Face Hotel, an iconic colonial-era hotel, is located adjacent to the green and offers a historic charm.
  • The Ocean-side Galle Face Green Promenade provides observation decks that allow visitors to marvel at the panoramic views of the ocean and the city skyline.

2. Viharamahadevi Park

Viharamahadevi Park

Viharamahadevi Park, formerly known as Victoria Park, is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Colombo. This beautifully landscaped park is named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking relaxation and recreation amidst nature.

Nestled in the heart of Colombo, Viharamahadevi Park is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city. This beautifully landscaped park is adorned with colorful flowers, towering trees, and a picturesque lake. It’s the ideal spot for a leisurely picnic, a morning jog, or simply taking a peaceful walk. Make sure to visit the iconic golden Buddha statue, which adds a touch of serenity to the park.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The park features lush green lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tall trees, providing a serene environment for picnics and leisurely walks.
  • A majestic white Buddha statue, situated at the center of the park, is a significant religious and cultural symbol.
  • The park offers observation decks from where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding cityscape and the park’s natural beauty.

3. Colombo National Museum


For history enthusiasts, the Colombo National Museum is a must-visit attraction. Established in 1877, this magnificent museum houses a vast collection of artifacts that showcase the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Sri Lanka. From ancient sculptures to intricate paintings, you’ll be captivated by the exhibits that span several centuries. It’s a fascinating journey through time that shouldn’t be missed.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, including ancient artifacts, intricate artwork, and historical relics.
  • The Natural History Museum within the premises features a fascinating collection of flora and fauna found in Sri Lanka.
  • Visitors can explore observation decks within the museum that offer panoramic views of the surrounding area, allowing them to appreciate the architectural beauty of the building and the city beyond.

4. Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya temple

Immerse yourself in the spiritual side of Colombo by visiting the Gangaramaya Temple. This iconic Buddhist temple is not only a place of worship but also a vibrant cultural center. Adorned with intricate carvings, vibrant murals, and a stunning collection of statues, the temple provides a captivating insight into Buddhist art and architecture. Don’t forget to explore the museum and the bustling floating market nearby.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The temple complex houses a vast collection of Buddhist artifacts, including statues, paintings, and intricate carvings.
  • Visitors can explore the museum within the temple premises to learn more about Buddhism and its influence on Sri Lankan culture.
  • The temple also features observation decks that provide stunning panoramic views of Beira Lake, where devotees engage in religious rituals and ceremonies.

5. Independence Memorial Hall

Independence memorial

A symbol of Sri Lanka’s struggle for independence, the Independence Memorial Hall stands tall and proud in Colombo. Designed by renowned architect Tom Neville, this majestic structure pays homage to the nation’s freedom fighters. Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the memorial hall is an ideal spot for a peaceful stroll and offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich history.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The hall showcases an impressive architectural design, featuring a blend of Sri Lankan and colonial influences.
  • Within the premises, visitors can explore the Independence Memorial Museum, which provides insights into the struggle for independence and the country’s journey toward freedom.
  • The observation decks of the hall offer panoramic views of Independence Square and its surroundings, providing a unique vantage point to appreciate the historical significance of the area.

6. Mount Lavinia Beach

Mount Lavina

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by heading to the picturesque Mount Lavinia Beach. Just a short distance from central Colombo, this golden sandy beach offers a serene retreat for sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying a beachside meal. With its stunning sunsets and laid-back atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Mount Lavinia Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The beach is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and romantic walks along the shoreline.
  • Mount Lavinia Beach boasts several beachfront restaurants and cafes where visitors can savor delicious seafood while enjoying panoramic views of the ocean.
  • Sunset observation decks on the beach provide an enchanting setting to witness the sun descending into the horizon, casting vibrant hues across the sky and the water.

7. Pettah Market

Petta Market

Get ready to embark on a sensory adventure at Pettah Market. Located in the heart of Colombo, this bustling market is a vibrant hub of activity, filled with colorful shops, aromatic spices, and exotic produce. From clothing to jewelry, electronics to handicrafts, you’ll find a wide range of items to explore and bargain for. Don’t forget to sample some delicious street food along the way!

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The market offers a wide array of products, including spices, textiles, jewelry, electronics, and fresh produce.
  • Exploring the narrow streets of Pettah Market provides a unique sensory experience, with the bustling atmosphere, colorful displays, and the aroma of spices filling the air.
  • Observation decks within the market area allow visitors to observe the vibrant hustle and bustle of the market from above, providing a different perspective on the vibrant commercial hub.

8. Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct

Dutch Hsopital

Step into history at the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, a beautifully restored colonial building that now houses a range of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Located in the heart of Colombo Fort, this architectural gem offers a unique shopping and dining experience. Browse through boutique stores, savor delicious cuisine, or simply soak up the ambiance of this historical landmark.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The precinct houses a variety of boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering a unique shopping and dining experience.
  • The architectural beauty of the Dutch Hospital, with its colonial charm and well-preserved features, adds to the overall allure of the precinct.
  • Observation decks within the complex provide visitors with a panoramic view of the surrounding area, allowing them to take in the vibrant atmosphere and architectural details of the precinct.

9. Dehiwala Zoo

Dehiwala Zoo 1

Animal lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Dehiwala Zoo, one of the oldest and largest zoological gardens in Asia. Home to a diverse range of animal species, including elephants, lions, and rare birds, this zoo offers a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. Explore the lush greenery, attend animal shows, and learn about wildlife conservation efforts during your visit.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The zoo houses a vast collection of animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, crocodiles, and various bird species.
  • Visitors can enjoy educational shows, such as elephant feeding and sea lion performances, which provide insights into the behavior and conservation of these animals.
  • Observation decks located within the zoo offer visitors a chance to observe and appreciate the animals in their natural habitats, providing a unique and immersive experience.
National Art Gallery

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by a trip to the National Art Gallery in Colombo. This impressive gallery showcases a wide range of contemporary and traditional artwork by local and international artists. From paintings and sculptures to mixed media and installations, the gallery provides a platform for creative expression. Take your time to appreciate the artistic talent that thrives in Colombo.

Attractions and Observation Decks

  • The gallery features a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and other forms of visual art created by local artists.
  • Visitors can explore the different exhibition halls within the gallery to gain a deeper understanding of Sri Lankan art and its cultural significance.
  • The observation decks within the gallery offer panoramic views of the artworks on display, allowing visitors to appreciate the intricate details and artistic expressions.


1. What is the best time to visit Colombo?

The best time to visit Colombo is during the dry season, which is from December to March. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy the outdoor attractions without much rainfall.

2. How can I travel around Colombo?

Colombo has a well-connected transportation system, including taxis, tuk-tuks, and buses. Tuk-tuks are a popular and affordable mode of transport for short distances, while taxis are more convenient for longer journeys.

3. Are there any safety concerns for tourists in Colombo?

Colombo is generally a safe city for tourists. However, it’s always advisable to take precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night, keeping your belongings secure, and being aware of your surroundings.

4. Can I visit these attractions in a day?

While it’s possible to visit some of the attractions in a day, it’s recommended to allocate more time to fully explore and appreciate each place. Consider spending at least two to three days in Colombo to make the most of your visit.

5. What other attractions are there in Colombo?

In addition to the mentioned attractions, Colombo offers several other points of interest, such as the National Museum of Natural History, Beira Lake, and the Old Parliament Building. Exploring the city’s vibrant street art and indulging in its diverse culinary scene is also highly recommended.

6. How can I reach Galle Face Green?

Galle Face Green is located in the heart of Colombo, making it easily accessible by various modes of transportation, including taxis, buses, and tuk-tuks.

7. What are the opening hours of the Colombo National Museum?

The Colombo National Museum is usually open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. However, it’s always recommended to check the official website or contact the museum for the most up-to-date information.

8. Are there any entrance fees for visiting the Gangaramaya Temple?

Yes, there is usually a small entrance fee to visit the Gangaramaya Temple. The fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the temple.

9. Can I swim at Mount Lavinia Beach?

Yes, Mount Lavinia Beach is suitable for swimming. However, it’s advisable to check the current sea conditions and follow any safety instructions or warnings provided.

10. Is photography allowed inside the National Art Gallery?

Photography is generally allowed in the National Art Gallery for personal, non-commercial purposes. However, it’s always best to inquire at the gallery or check for any specific guidelines regarding photography.

11. What are some nearby accommodations near Galle Face Green?

There are several hotels and accommodations near Galle Face Green, including luxury hotels like The Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand Colombo, and Galle Face Hotel.

12. Are there any specific rules or dress codes to follow when visiting Gangaramaya Temple?

Visitors to Gangaramaya Temple are advised to dress modestly and respectfully. It is customary to remove your shoes before entering the temple premises.

13. Can I hire a guide at Colombo National Museum for a more informative visit?

Yes, the Colombo National Museum offers guided tours conducted by knowledgeable guides who can provide detailed information about the exhibits and the museum’s history.

14. Are there any water sports activities available at Mount Lavinia Beach?

Yes, Mount Lavinia Beach offers a range of water sports activities such as jet skiing, surfing, and banana boat rides. Visitors can inquire at the beachfront vendors for more information.

15. Is haggling common at Pettah Market?

Yes, haggling is a common practice at Pettah Market. Bargaining can be done to get the best prices, especially when purchasing items from street vendors or small shops.

16. Is there an entry fee for the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct?

No, there is no entry fee to explore the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. Visitors can freely enter the complex and browse the shops and restaurants.

17. Are there any special events or exhibitions held at the National Art Gallery throughout the year?

Yes, the National Art Gallery often hosts special events, exhibitions, and art workshops. It’s recommended to check their official website or inquire at the gallery for information on upcoming events.

18. Can I feed the animals at Dehiwala Zoo?

Feeding the animals at Dehiwala Zoo is not allowed for safety reasons. However, the zoo provides designated areas where visitors can observe animals being fed by the zookeepers.

19. Are there any restrictions on photography at Independence Memorial Hall?

Photography is generally allowed at Independence Memorial Hall, but it’s advisable to avoid using flash and to be respectful of any signs or guidelines regarding photography.

20. Is there a souvenir shop at Viharamahadevi Park?

Yes, Viharamahadevi Park has a small souvenir shop where visitors can purchase Sri Lankan handicrafts, gifts, and mementos.


In conclusion, Colombo, the mesmerizing capital of Sri Lanka, beckons travelers with its rich tapestry of cultural wonders and captivating attractions. From the serene beauty of Galle Face Green and Viharamahadevi Park to the historical significance of Colombo National Museum and Gangaramaya Temple, each place offers a unique glimpse into the city’s vibrant heritage.

The allure of Mount Lavinia Beach and the vibrant energy of Pettah Market provide contrasting yet equally fascinating experiences. Exploring the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct allows visitors to immerse themselves in a blend of colonial charm and modern sophistication. Meanwhile, the Dehiwala Zoo and National Art Gallery cater to nature enthusiasts and art lovers, offering moments of delight and inspiration.

Colombo embraces its visitors with open arms, presenting a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. The city’s warmth and hospitality extend to its culinary delights, which can be savored in the diverse range of restaurants and street food stalls.

As you plan your visit to Colombo, remember to consider the best time to travel and allocate ample time to fully immerse yourself in the magic of each attraction. Engage with the local culture, interact with friendly locals, and let the city’s charm envelop you.

Embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for Colombo’s unique character. Discover the hidden gems, explore the iconic landmarks, and create your own unforgettable experiences in this extraordinary city.

So pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and let Colombo’s allure captivate your senses. Are you ready to embark on a remarkable journey through the heart of Sri Lanka?

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