4 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Colombo

Jul 22, 2021

During the British colonial era, Colombo was a British commercial and military capital, and an important center for administrative, judicial, and transportation functions. One of the oldest cities in Sri Lanka, Colombo still maintains that colonial character.

Tourists are lured to the capital by its exotic historical, religious, and cultural attractions. The highlight of a visit is the fascinating and important Pettah Market, Sri Lanka's largest market. During the peak season, the city's large shopping centers open for business.

Colombo is also famous for its tea plantations. The best spot for a teahouse visit is the Shangri-La Country, which is home to one of the world's best teahouses, The Ananda, and a variety of restaurants and fine hotels.

Aside from the busy commercial and tourist hubs, the rest of the country, with its unique ethnic and cultural diversity, offers a variety of adventures, experiences, and natural attractions. Book your trip to Sri Lanka with our list of the top tourist attractions in Colombo.

Colombo Fort

Photo of Colombo
Colombo: en.wikipedia.org

The Colombo Fort is a fort built in the middle of the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. Also known as the Fort Railway Station or Colombo Fort Railway Station, it is a lively area with two parks, bars, food outlets and shops, all offering views of the Indian Ocean. The station's futuristic appearance is misleading as the train station is no longer used for rail transport, and is in fact a railway museum and a popular tourist attraction. The museums include those dedicated to the trains of the old Ceylon Railways and the People's Liberation Army of the Lanka Freedom War.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Photo of Sigiriya
Sigiriya: en.wikipedia.org

An imposing Buddhist rock fortress perched high above the tip of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is among the oldest, largest, and best-preserved intact fortresses in the country. The construction began in 311 BC, and the fortress remained under the Sinhalese kings for about 800 years. In addition to numerous monuments and museums, Sigiriya is best known for the rock climbing that takes place at the fortress, but it also features lovely pathways that weave around the mountainside and around the massive foundations of the ancient palace. Access is via guided tour, and visitors are issued with a small light meter for measuring the light. As is common in all this country, you'll be given a safety briefing and can take as many photos as you like.

Galle Face

Photo of Galle Face Green
Galle Face Green: en.wikipedia.org

There's no mistaking the blue-hued facades of many of the buildings on Galle Face's white-washed streets. Best known as the site of the Dutch fortress, Fort Dejaya, which controlled the city's trade, the hilltop city was built on top of the Sinhalese settlement of Galle, which is believed to date back to the 5th century BC. Today the hilltop city is still predominantly an Arab and Sri Lankan enclave, but visitors can also stroll through tranquil old town where shops, cafes and restaurants and colonial architecture mix together to make this one of Colombo's most pleasant experiences. The Galle Face can be reached by train, taxi or by foot along the Galle Face-Royal-Battaramulla-Galle Face-Koteliththa-Kandasamy (High Level Rd) road.

Kandy Royal Botanical Gardens

Photo of Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya
Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya: en.wikipedia.org

Considered by some to be the finest botanical gardens in the Indian subcontinent, Kandy Royal Botanical Gardens, located in the town of Kandy on the central highlands of Sri Lanka, was established in the 1830s by Kandy's King. Today, the gardens are well-known for the wealth of orchids and wild tropical flora found throughout the grounds, as well as the various temple shrines and other architectural attractions. Here visitors can view the majestic Royal Botanical Gardens and the ornate Temples of Tooth Relic of the Gautama Buddha and of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Naamdeva, in addition to the Buddha Temple in the highlands. This place provides a peaceful backdrop for those traveling to or through this part of Sri Lanka.