Colombo Holidays

Sri Lanka’s judicial capital is equal parts chaotic and calm, filled with green spaces, serene temples, hip cafes, harum-scarum traffic, street food stalls and sky-high bars.

Colombo is Sri Lanka's most westernised city and an exciting place to spend a couple of days exploring, tasting and trying new things. Go from Indian architecture at Gangaramaya Temple on Beira Lake to the candy cane-striped Jami-Ul-Alfar Red Mosque in Pettah. Get to grips with history at the National Museum or by wandering around colonial buildings left by the Dutch and English. Chow down on street-style string hoppers by day and amble Park Street Mew’s cobblestones by night, where converted warehouses are now fashionable fairy lit restaurants.

Made up of distinctive neighbourhoods from 1 – 15, Colombo not only has temples, tuk tuks and tea houses but also botanical gardens, floating markets and a huge waterfront urban park. Take a high-speed ride to the top of the 1,000 feet high raspberry pink Lotus Tower, follow the scent of crab curry to the Old Dutch Hospital's wildly popular eateries and wake up to Indian Ocean views at Shangri-La Colombo.

Interested in visiting Colombo? Call us today and we’ll craft you a tailormade Sri Lanka itinerary that’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

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Colombo Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Colombo

Uga Residence

This all-suite boutique hotel in the heart of Colombo combines historic architecture and contempo...

Cinnamon Grand Colombo

This spacious modern hotel is a welcoming city-centre bolthole with an excellent variety of resta...

Shangri-La Colombo

A modern oceanside hotel with incredible dining options at the heart of a growing commercial cent...

Highlights of Colombo In A Day

Bustling Colombo is packed with unmissable sights and you’ll discover the most compelling of them on this private full-day visit. The well-thought-out itinerary includes a blend of historic sites and contemporary attractions, along with some that are both, such as the Dutch Hospital, the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area, which has been repurposed as a stylish shopping and dining destination. Other highlights include the Galle Face Promenade, which runs the length of the city’s celebrated seaside park; Sambodhi Chaithya, a Buddhist shrine that’s a fascinating example of 1950s architecture; and Nelum Pokuna Art Street, a colourful open-air market where local artists showcase and sell their work. Just behind Art Street is the National Museum, where you can feast your eyes on everything from the crown jewels of the last King of Kandy to vividly painted demon masks.

• Duration: full day
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

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The Art of Creating Sri Lankan Tea

As well as its aromatic spices, Sri Lanka is famed for its tea production. Since the first plantation was established in the 19th Century, millions of kilograms of tea have been exported around the globe, to countries including the UK, the UAE and Turkey. You’ll visit one of the oldest tea producers in the country and learn all about the creation of the famous Ceylon loose-leaf tea from the plant to the cup via the refining and blending processes. You’ll also learn about the subtle differences in flavour of teas grown at different altitudes and how teas are blended for the tastes of their ultimate destinations around the world.

• Duration: 1½ hours
• Daily departures from Colombo and Negombo hotels
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Colombo City Walk

Join a family-friendly tour to explore the Colombo neighbourhood of Pettah on foot in the company of a knowledgeable local guide. Your tour begins by exploring colourful and fragrant markets, including a floating market. You’ll have the chance to see a Dutch church dating to 1749, the Dutch Period Museum and the Red Mosque. Explore places rich in history and religion, such as the Gangaramaya Temple and the Colombo Museum.

• Duration: half day
• Daily departures from Colombo and Negombo
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Golf at the Royal Colombo Club

Play a round of golf at the Royal Colombo, a leading 140-year-old private members club in Sri Lanka. The club is a sanctuary in the heart of Colombo, sitting in contrast to its surroundings. After your round, the clubhouse provides an airy, relaxing atmosphere and a beautiful place for members and visitors to unwind.

• Duration: full day
• Departs Monday to Friday from Colombo or Negombo
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Get to know Colombo and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +5½ hours


Sri Lankan Rupee


Colombo 10½ hours


Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Christianity


Sinhala and Tamil

Where is Colombo?
Colombo sits about two thirds down the west coast of Sri Lanka, with Beira Lake at its heart and the mouth of the Kelani River at its port. The city is about 35 kilometres from Bandaranaike International Airport and is used as gateway to the rest of the island.

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Colombo city temples
For those keen to temple trot around the city, Colombo has Hindu and Buddhist temples open to all faiths. On the shores of Beira Lake, Gangaramaya Temple reflects Sri Lankan, Indian and Chinese architecture whilst floating on the waters, Geoffrey Bawa designed Seema Malaka is a minimalistic temple with an emphasis on meditation. In the heart of the city, visit the candy-coloured lotus-carved Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil or attend one of the pujas held every Friday in the solid granite Hindu Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil.

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Colonial architecture and history
Colombo’s colonial history dates back to 1505. The city was first seized by the Portuguese, then captured by the Dutch and further colonised by the British in 1802 before peacefully gaining independence in 1948. From government buildings and department stores to churches and street names, influences from all three nations are still found in the city. Head to Pettah for the Dutch colonial Wolvendaal Church and the British built Old Town Hall. Explore the Fort area and you’ll find the Instagram-worthy power red and white Cargills Miller 1900s department store, the restored Old Dutch Hospital and centuries-old cannons left by the Dutch along the waterfront of Galle Face Green.

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Shopping in Colombo
If you enjoy the hustle, bustle and local flavours of a market, nothing beats Pettah for bargain buys including leather bags, sumptuous silks, vibrant saris, beautiful cottons, exotic fruits, hot cobra chillis and glamorous gold jewellery. If it’s a more refined shopping experience you’re after, try Park Street Mews in Colombo 2 for handcrafted teas or Odel Mall and Paradise Road in Colombo 7 for high street brands, hand painted ceramics, elegant homeware and art work.

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Waterfront life
Galle Face Green is the easy breezy social hub of the city, a 12-acre oceanfront park loved by locals where you’ll find everyone playing sports, flying kites and dipping their toes in the water. Go for the evening street food stalls and the sunsets.

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Food & drink
Colombo’s restaurants serve up everything from market fresh seafood to Sri Lankan comfort food whilst street food joints and roadside shops (kades) dish out spicy deep-fried prawns, biryani, famous string hoppers and kottu roti. The Old Dutch Hospital’s Ministry of Crab is a firm favourite, continuously making it onto the list of Asia’s 50 best restaurants. The city is littered with independent cafes, traditional sports pubs and stylish rooftop bars and the eateries on Park Street Mews are the latest hip spot for artistic small plates and creative cocktails.

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Colombo Weather

Dec - Mar