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Places to visit in Colombo

Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, located in the Western Province. This city is full of hustle and bustle and is never short of a place to visit and explore even to the most seasoned traveler. There are many things to do in Colombo, including organized Colombo City Tours, bespoke city tours or just a simple list of locations to visit based on your liking or interest.

Full of rich colonial history, Colombo now stands as a testimony of a golden era where different cultures mixed to make it the eclectic city it is today. Here are a list of places to visit and things to do in Colombo:

Town Hall Colombo

Built in front of the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo 07, he Town Hall of Colombo is the headquarters of the Colombo Municipal Council and the office of the Mayor of Colombo. The building was erected in 1921 after renowned Scottish town planner Professor Patrick Geddes recommended that the council should construct a large central municipal building to house the council, public reception hall, mayor’s office and a public library. The beautiful style of architecture and grandeur of the building is an enticing invitation for a location in an architecture tour of Sri Lanka.

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Old Parliament Building

Situated in Colombo Fort, the Old Parliament of Sri Lanka is a must see location as it was built in the Neo-Baroque style of architecture to house the Legislative Council of Ceylon. The building was opened by then Governor Sir Herbert Stanley on the 29th of January, 1930 and was used to house the State Council of Ceylon when it was established a year later.

Seema Malakaya Temple

The assembly hall for monks at the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple; one of the most famous temples and is famous for tourist attraction due to its modern architecture, religious importance and cultural significance was built to represent the perfect harmony of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese styles of architecture. Visiting this temple, is definite thing to do when in Colombo!

Seemamalakaya Temple

Galle Face Hotel

Built in 1864 by four British entrepreneurs, Galle Face Hotel is a landmark destination for its rich colonial history and is among the few remaining colonial hotels in operation today in Asia and is one of the best heritage hotels in the world. Despite many renovations along the years, the architectural details of the hotel has been preserved to reflect the beauty and grandeur of the bygone era whilst offering modern comforts for today’s traveler. In 2012, it became the first hotel in the country to be featured on a postage stamp.

Independence Square

Located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s ritziest neighborhood Cinnamon Gardens, the Independence Square boasts of lavish symbols of the island’s rich colonial history and political freedom in its architecture. The most prominent feature of the moment is the assembly hall which was inspired by the ‘Magul Maduwa’ of the royal court of the Kandyan Kingdom. Today the Independence Square is a popular destination for joggers, university students and families looking for an urban solace away from the city traffic and a definite addition to any architecture tour in Colombo.

independence square

Race Course

The magnificent colonial structure of the racecourse building comes complete with a grandstand. Today the 120 year of structure is used for a different sport altogether along with some new additions such as a shopping mall and restaurant area to the building however keeping its original British classic style of architecture.

 

The Dutch Hospital

The Old Colombo Dutch Hospital, also known as Dutch Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in the Colombo Fort area dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. This heritage building was renovated and is now converted into a restaurant strip and premier local souvenir boutiques.

 dutch hospital colombo

 

Colombo Lighthouse

Operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the 12 meter high Lighthouse built in 1952 is one of the lesser known but equally fascinating attractions in Colombo. Tourists and locals flock to the Lighthouse to sit, relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the Indian

Ocean – making this a sure spot for a Colombo city tour.

 colombo lighthouse

Grand Oriental Hotel

Dating back to 1837, the hotel was first constructed as a British military barrack, later into a hostel for soldiers and subsequently in 1875 it was converted into the well-equipped and luxurious Grand Oriental Hotel by architect R. Smith. This was the first European owned hotel with the first hotel in Ceylon to have an electrically operated lift.

Through time the Hotel gained a reputation with its plush offerings at a central location on the Indian sea route, and became the choice of many illustrious patrons including Dr Jose Mercado Rizal Y Alonzo; a Philippian national hero and famous Russian author Anton Chekov; where he commenced writing his novel “Gusev.” And in early 1950s, the hotel was chosen as the caterer during the stay of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Kent. Today the hotel is a popular destination for a Colombo city tour as well as an architecture tour.

 

The Cargills Building

The beautiful and ornate Cargills Building in Colombo Fort began construction in 1902 and was completed in 1906 in the Renaissance style architecture. In the past, the building served as Colombo’s premier department store from clothing to groceries. Today, the building still serves as a department store and as well as the city’s most familiar landmarks and a popular destination for architecture tours in Colombo.

 cargills building

The Lotus Pond Theater

The final leg of the Colombo City and Colombo Architecture Tour concludes at Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Theater, a fully equipped state of the art performance center for large scale theatrical productions made using modern architecture techniques. The theater consists of a main auditorium and an open air theater and is situated in the heart of Colombo and facilitates both local and foreign producers.

 

Odel promenade

The Odel shopping promenade is your one-stop shopping destination to purchase Sri Lankan souvenirs to take back home. The department store has a variety of international luxury brands for clothes, bags and accessories and makeup. Additionally, the store also has a selection of local teas, Sri Lankan handmade souvenirs and even a Spa Ceylon luxury Ayurveda shop to take back a little piece of Sri Lankan relaxation.

To get the real Colombo experience, get in touch with our agents on our hotline. We are more than happy to arrange a Colombo city tour or custom create a tour for based on the length of your stay and budget.  

 

 

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