Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls.
The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.
The vibrant, jam-packed Pettah bazaar district with its thousands of vendors offer everything from spices and tea to textiles and jewellery.
Galle Face Green is an oceanside promenade popular for picnicking and strolling.
The city's diverse religious landmarks range from the ornate, red-and-white-striped Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and the historic Dutch Reformed Wolvendaal Church to the Buddhist Gangaramaya Temple complex.
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Things to see in Colombo if you only have a day...
Independence Memorial Hall
Erected in the year 1953, the Independence Memorial Hall is one of the most popular tourist places in Colombo. Built as a tribute to the nation’s independence from British rule, the hall annually hosts the Independence Day celebrations along with various other national events. Sitting right in the centre of Cinnamon Gardens, there is also a museum on the premises which stands to commemorate the brave souls who fought for the nation.
Viharamahadevi Park is a public park located in Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo, situated in front of the colonial-era Town Hall in Sri Lanka. It was built by the British colonial administration and is the oldest and largest park of Colombo.
One of the greatest religious attractions in Colombo, the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple sits in walking distance from the beautiful Lake Beira. The religious significance of the temple attracts locals and travellers alike. Fusing elements of Chinese, Indian, and Thai style of architecture and design, the temple is also an architectural marvel.
Put together the elements of picnic, adventure and pilgrimage, and you have Beria Lake, one of the most beautiful tourist places in Colombo.
Set in the heart of the city, Beria Lake sits in close proximity to the legendary Gangaramaya Temple, while a beautiful temple called Seema Makala temple graces the centre of the lake.
Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
Jami Ul-Afar is a great mosque sitting in the confines of Second Cross Street in Colombo. The mosque is quite prominent and stands out with its red and white striped colour, almost like a candy! Built by Habibu Labbe Saibu Labbe, the mosque is one of the many culturally rich places to visit in Colombo.
Hotel Shangri-La Hotel Colombo
Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo presents a new level of luxury in the city. Located in the heart of the business and entertainment district, the hotel offers the various collection of guestrooms with stunning views of the Indian Ocean, Beira Lake or cityscape. The property has 4 innovative restaurants and bars, and it is Colombo’s largest and stylish event spaces.
Cinnamon Red Colombo
Strategically located in Colombo, Cinnamon red Colombo offers modern and comfortable accommodation with free WiFi access throughout the property. It features a rooftop outdoor pool and provides complimentary parking on site.