Best Places to See In and Around Colombo, Sri Lanka

Since it is the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo boasts a diverse list of places for everyone to visit. The vast and rich history of Colombo is as a result of having been successfully ruled by the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. Due to this, the city is an excellent patchwork of a variety of cultures and the numerous monuments of Colombo are a testament to this fact. There are some marvelous historical buildings and monuments as well as religious places that exhibit praiseworthy details. You can also find natural escapes and museums with various artefacts that make Colombo a wonderful travel destination. 

Best Places to See in Colombo:

Gangaramaya Temple  

The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is one of the most prominent religious attracts in the city, which is within walking distance from the breathtaking Lake Beira. Travelers and locals alike are attracted by the temple’s religious significance. It is also regarded as an architectural marvel as it fuses the elements of Thai, Indian and Chinese style of design and architecture. The intricate carvings on the walls and doors of the temple are unique and the wall murals depict the stories and legends of Buddhists. There is also a colossal statue of Lord Buddha that gives off peaceful vibes. 

National Museum of Colombo  

This museum is undoubtedly the pride of Sri Lanka since it is the biggest one that was established back in 1877. You will find some of the personalized and best collections of the ancient Kandyan dynasty rulers housed in it. The museum boasts a striking resemblance to the Italian style of architecture and it has countless artefacts that date back numerous centuries, portraying the natural and cultural nuances of the country.

Viharamahadevi Park  

This park takes its name from Queen Virhahamahadevi and it is the largest one in Colombo. Combining a public park, nature trails, waterfalls, picnic spots, a zoo and a lot more, this park is one of the most relaxing places you can visit in the city. It is one of the few rare spots that can surprise you every time you visit it. The peaceful and calming vibes of nature, along with the adventurous rides make it a spot that you don’t want to miss when you visit Colombo. 

Beria Lake  

If you are looking for a combination of adventure, picnic and pilgrimage, Beria Lake is what you get, which is one of the most beautiful tourist places in the capital city of Sri Lanka. Located in the heart of the city, the lake is in close proximity to the Gangaramaya Temple, whereas the center of the lake also has a beautiful temple known as the Seema Makala. It is furnished with beautiful idols of Hindu and Buddhist deities. Other than its religious appeal, the Beria Lake is a popular spot for photographers and birdwatchers, particularly during the evenings when the sky lights up due to a spectacular sunset. The lake is spread over 160 acres and is renowned for rowing and various other activities.

Jami Ul-Afar Mosque  

Situated on the Second Cross Street in Colombo, you will find a great mosque called the Jami Ul-Afar Mosque. It is quite prominent and its red and white striped color enable it to stand out, not very different from a candy. The mosque was built by Habibu Labbe Saibu Labbe and is one of the culturally rich spots to visit in the city. It is undoubtedly a cultural gem because you can see a harmonious synthesis of Neoclassical, Indo-Islamic, Indian and Gothic styles of architecture. 

Best Places to See Not too Far from Colombo 


Located just 59 km from Colombo is the gorgeous and beautiful resort town called Bentota. It is a spectacular part of rural Sri Lanka, which is awash with tall coconut palm trees and green environs. The calm weather, the estuaries and the lagoons will scintillate you. Apart from that, this town is also renowned for its dazzling marine life and the atmosphere is downright amazing. This place is exquisite and a serene beauty that you need to experience firsthand. There are several places that you need to see in Bentota, which include:

Bentota Beach: This is basically the lap of the mighty Indian Ocean and the pristine golden sands are a wonderful place to relax. The palm trees just complete the atmosphere and take your breath away. 

Madu Ganga River Safari: This safari is for the nature lovers as it provides wildlife experiences. There are numerous bird species to look for and you will not be able to stop yourself from taking endless pictures. 


130 km South of Columbo, you will come across the coastal city of Galle. Unawatuna and the Galle Fort are the two main areas that you need to visit in this city and your tour of the south will not be complete without it. Galle is the ideal combination of culture and beach. When it comes to the Galle Fort, you can walk on its ramparts that were built in the 17th century by Dutch merchants. You will also see some impressive architectural examples like the Amangalla hotel and the Groote Kerk. The Maritime Archaeology Museum is also a must-see. You can also do some shopping while walking along the streets in Galle Fort and have kottu roti for lunch, which is a favorite in Sri Lanka. 

As far as Unawatuna is concerned, it is the beach town in Galle and you can find some great waves for surfing. You can also relax on the beach and enjoy the restaurants, especially when you visit with family. You can also do some scuba diving as there are white sandy beaches and even a coral reef. A visit to the Japanese Peace Pagoda can also be added to the list as you can easily see it from the beach. 

These are some of the best places that you can see in Colombo as well as around it for a full and enriching experience in Sri Lanka.  

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