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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Top Five Must-See Places in Colombo – Exploring a Vibrant Metropolis
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Five Must-See Places in Colombo – Exploring a Vibrant Metropolis

Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, is a city by the sea that offers captivating adventures to enjoy. From sacred sites and charming public spaces to museums and monuments, there is much to discover here.


Seema Malaka

A captivating Buddhist temple in Colombo, the Seema Malaka is built on a raised platform above the tranquil waters of the Beira Lake. Designed by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, this lovely structure encompasses three platforms connected via walkways. One of the highlights here are the many seated Buddha statues which lend to the charm of the Seema Malaka. On one platform there is a sacred bo tree along with Buddha statues of varying sizes and a stupa. Be you staying in the city itself or at a Colombo Airport hotel that's within easy reach, look to visit this attraction which offers an insight into the island's religious heritage.


Galle Face Green

One of the most popular public places in Colombo for families, friends or couples, Galle Face Green can be found along the coast which adds to its appeal. A little over half an hour from Pegasus Reef Hotel, this wide open space comes alive in the evenings with people enjoying everything from picnics and kite flying to just chilling out by the shore. There is a small beach area and a delightful promenade lined with stalls selling a variety of food items worth trying; if it's your first time here look to sample a deep-friend snack called "isso vade"! Since Galle Face Green lies along the west coast, head there early evening to take in a magical sunset.


National Museum of Colombo

To learn more about Sri Lanka's history and culture, definitely plan a trip to the National Museum of Colombo. Housed in a historical building that dates back to colonial times, it is the country's largest museum and showcases a wide range of exhibits; these include ancient carvings, traditional demon masks, fascinating artworks and items from the last Kandyan Kingdom including a royal throne. The building is also home to the National Museum of Natural History which is worth visiting as well.


Independence Memorial Hall

Another historic structure, the Independence Memorial Hall was originally built to commemorate the island's independence. Built on an elevation and accessed by a short series of steps, this hall features a distinct open-plan design with traditional columns and stone lions guarding it outside. Apart from its design elements, it is also a great place to hang out; the surrounding area known as Independence Square has become a well-known spot for recreation and relaxation for young and old alike.


Colombo City Centre

For some high-end shopping, you can visit Colombo's latest addition to the burgeoning retail scene, the Colombo City Centre mall. This relatively new shopping complex features everything from local and international designer brands to the latest in home electronics and appliances. Apple, Armani Exchange, Mango, Skechers, Fossil, Jockey and Arrow can be found within this plush mall which also has a speciality gourmet supermarket and a food court with plenty of dining options. The Colombo City Centre has a multiplex cinema too offering some of the latest Hollywood blockbuster movies, ideal when you are looking to unwind after a day of sightseeing.