Colombo is not only the countryʼs capital, but also a strategic point for Asian trade routes. Considered the most cosmopolitan city in Sri Lanka, Colombo has a rich history and cultural offerings. When planning your trip to Sri Lanka, remember to put a visit to Colombo on your list!
But first apply for a Sri Lanka visa
Besides planning the places you want to visit during a trip to Sri Lanka, you should also apply for a Sri Lanka ETA. This electronic visa for Sri Lanka can easily be applied for online. To do so, you first fill out the application form and then pay the fee of £44.95 per person. Your visa application will then be processed. Once the Sri Lanka visa is issued, the 30-day period of validity begins. The maximum length of stay with an electronic Sri Lanka visa is also 30 days. This gives you enough time to visit the capital of Sri Lanka and discover other parts of this fascinating country.
Keep the requirements of the ETA Sri Lanka in mind. For example, on arrival in Sri Lanka, you must already have a return ticket or a ticket for a connecting flight. Your passport must also be valid for at least six more months on the date of arrival.
Colombo and its wide cultural offer
The capital of Sri Lankaʼs most populous city has a wide variety of cultural venues. Despite the fact that a civil war raged there until 2009, rapid urban planning has allowed this colourful city with a rich history to flourish. Below, you will find more information on some of the most interesting places that you should not miss while staying in Colombo.
Independence Memorial Hall
This location is ideal for exploring Sri Lankaʼs colonial history. Built as a tribute to independence from Britain in 1948, this building is popular with tourists and local students alike. It also hosts national events such as funerals of public figures and the annual celebration of independence.
Not far from the Independence Memorial Hall (about half an hour walk) lies one of Colomboʼs most famous green areas: Viharamahadevi Park. It is the largest and oldest park in the city. As in the rest of the city, the trees here are huge, thanks to Colomboʼs increasing environmental protection laws. In the past, the park was better known as Victoria Park, named after Queen Victoria of England during the British colonisation, but in 1951 it was renamed after Queen Viharamahadevi.
On the other side of the Viharamahadevi Park lies the National Museum of Colombo, which is known for its representative display of Sri Lankan history. This colonial-style building contains important elements of the countryʼs historical and cultural heritage, including artworks and relics from the Anuradhapura kingdom dating back to the 4th century B.C. The entrance fee is about 500 rupees (just over £1).
Buddhist temple Gangaramaya
As much as 70% of the population of Sri Lanka is Buddhist. The Gangaramaya temple perfectly symbolises Sri Lankan Buddhism. This late 19th-century shrine contains a sacred bodhi tree and several Buddha statues of different sizes, and is visited by tourists and pilgrims alike. The eclectic architecture in Sinhalese, Thai, Hindu and Chinese styles is particularly noteworthy. The Gangaramaya temple is located on Beira Lake, a 65-acre lake in the centre of the capital, making it an ideal place to relax after a day of sightseeing.
A city full of entertainment
Apart from its large cultural offer and interesting history, Colombo stands out for its many entertainment venues and opportunities to experience local life. This vibrant city with 13 different districts has a lot to offer.
Galle Face Green City Park
One of Colomboʼs most iconic places is the Galle Face Green, a park along the cityʼs waterfront. This authentic spot features a green plain, where you can play sports or fly kites, and many food stalls. It is the ideal place to taste local food and relax while enjoying the view of the Indian Ocean.
This huge and vibrant open-air market is located next to the Fort Railway Station and covers the entire Pettah District. You will find everything from clothing, food and souvenirs to antiques, jewellery and electronics. Although the official entrance is marked by the Khan Clock Tower, the market is so large that it can be entered from several points. It is the ideal place to experience first-hand the daily life of the inhabitants of Sri Lankaʼs capital.