City tour of Colombo
The largest city in Sri Lanka and its commercial capital, Colombo is a juxtaposition of the old, European influenced architecture and a new, rapidly changing commercial hub with its imposing skyscrapers and developments standing as a testament to the city’s wealth.
Originally known as ‘Kolon thota’ (the native word for ‘port’), the city was named ‘Colombo’ by the Portuguese occupiers at the turn of the 16th century.
Today the city is a melting pot of different races and religions which is undergoing unparalleled change and development while retaining its unique colonial heritage, making it a spectacular place to visit during any Sri Lankan tour.
Attractions in and around Colombo
Attractions to see during your city tour of Colombo include:
The prison cell of the King Sri Wickrama Rajashinghe: This is the prison cell of the last king of Sri Lanka that sits in central Colombo. The king was kept in the cell after his capture in 1815 until he was later deported to India. Within the cell you can see pictures of the king, the queen and the flag of the Kandian Kingdom. Outside of the cell is the statue of the king.
Chatham Street Victorian Clock Tower: Previously a lighthouse (the light can still be seen at the top of the tower), its light was deactivated in the 1950s due to the erection of tall buildings around the tower making it ineffective. Built in 1856 by Lady Ward, wife of the Governor of Ceylon, it is elegantly designed and sits over one hundred and thirty feet above sea level.
Colombo lighthouse: Standing close to one hundred feet tall, the lighthouse sits at Galbokka Point on the waterfront in Colombo Fort and replaced the aforementioned clock tower.
Galle Face Green: Today the Galle Face Green, an open promenade hugging the Indian Ocean, is used for leisure activities by families, children and teenagers. Once used by the Dutch to give the cannons at the Fort a clear line of fire, the green is now a popular destination for locals and tourists alike who want to spend some time relaxing while taking in the breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean.
Colombo National Museum: The largest museum in Sri Lanka, a visit is a must if you wish to delve deeper into Sri Lanka’s colourful history. The museum holds collections on important aspects of Sri Lankan history including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs who ruled the Kingdom of Kandy from the 15th to 19th centuries.
Hindu Kovil (Hindu Temple): Easy to locate just behind the Fort Railway Station, this is the oldest and largest Hindu temple in Colombo and is dedicated to the gods Shiva and Ganesh. The temple is very elaborate and a must see on a city tour of Colombo!
… And much, much more!
Visit the city of Colombo on our Sri Lankan tours
Explore the beautiful island of Sri Lanka in style with our Sri Lanka Luxury Tour which includes a city tour of Colombo taking in the main highlights and a stay at the Casa Colombo hotel in the city.
Alternatively, we can include a tour of Colombo city within your very own Tailor-made Sri Lanka Tour which has a customised itinerary tailored to your budget and needs.