48 Hours in Colombo, Sri Lanka: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

1. Explore the Bustling Streets of Pettah

Start your adventure in Colombo by immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Pettah, one of the city’s oldest and busiest neighborhoods. This bustling area is a treasure trove of colors, sounds, and aromas, offering a unique glimpse into Sri Lankan culture and everyday life. The streets are lined with market stalls selling everything from spices and textiles to electronics and jewelry. Explore the maze-like lanes, interact with friendly locals, and sample delicious street food like kottu roti or hoppers, a traditional Sri Lankan pancake.

One of the highlights of Pettah is the centuries-old Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, known as the Red Mosque due to its striking red-and-white striped façade. This architectural marvel is a testament to the city’s multicultural history and is a captivating sight for both architecture enthusiasts and photographers.

2. Take a Stroll along Galle Face Green

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by heading to Galle Face Green, a sprawling promenade that stretches along the Indian Ocean. This picturesque spot is perfect for a relaxing walk, enjoying a breath of fresh air, or watching a stunning sunset. Take a seat on one of the benches lining the green and savor a delicious Sri Lankan street snack like isso vade (prawn fritters) while admiring the crashing waves and the vibrant atmosphere.

Galle Face Green is also a popular spot for kite flying, especially during weekends. Join in the excitement as locals launch colorful kites into the sky, soaring high above the coastline. If you visit during the evening, you may also witness locals playing cricket or indulging in various other traditional games.

3. Discover Sri Lankan Art at the National Museum

For a deeper understanding of Sri Lankan history and culture, a visit to the National Museum of Colombo is a must. Housed in a grand colonial-era building, the museum showcases a comprehensive collection of artifacts that date back thousands of years. Marvel at ancient stone carvings, intricate masks, and exquisite paintings that depict the island nation’s rich heritage.

The highlight of the National Museum is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Sri Lankan history: the regalia of the Kandyan kings. The collection includes the golden crown, scepter, and throne, offering an insight into the splendor of Sri Lanka’s monarchy. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the island’s fascinating past while immersing yourself in an enchanting world of art and history.

4. Indulge in Delectable Sri Lankan Cuisine

No trip to Colombo is complete without relishing the flavors of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. The city is a gastronomic paradise, offering an array of mouthwatering dishes that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight. Head to one of the local eateries or try out the trendy restaurants that have emerged in recent years.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the beloved Sri Lankan dish, rice and curry. This staple meal consists of aromatic rice served with a variety of curries, including dhal, coconut sambol, and spicy fish or meat curries. For those seeking a unique culinary experience, Kottu is a must-try dish. This scrumptious concoction is made by stir-frying chopped roti with a medley of vegetables, spices, and your choice of meat or seafood.

5. Shop Till You Drop at Majestic City

If you’re a shopaholic or simply enjoy retail therapy, a visit to Majestic City should be on your itinerary. Situated in Bambalapitiya, this sprawling shopping complex offers a wide range of shopping options, from local fashion brands to international retailers. The mall also houses a cinema, several restaurants with diverse cuisine options, and an amusement arcade, making it an ideal destination for a fun-filled day out with family or friends.

Whether you’re searching for the latest fashion trends, hunting for souvenirs, or seeking electronic gadgets, Majestic City will cater to your every need. After shopping to your heart’s content, take a break and enjoy a tasty snack or indulge in a refreshing beverage at one of the mall’s many eateries.

6. Unwind in Peaceful Serendipity

Escape the city’s hustle and find tranquility in the serene surroundings of Serendipity, a charming café hidden amidst the lush greenery of Colombo 7. This oasis-like café not only offers delightful food and beverages but also creates a peaceful ambiance that acts as the perfect antidote to the frenetic pace of city life.

Serendipity is the ideal place to relax, catch up with friends, or spend quality time with a good book. The outdoor seating area, nestled under the shade of trees, provides a relaxing setting to unwind and enjoy the café’s signature blends of coffee or refreshing fruit juices. Treat yourself to some delectable snacks or indulge in a scrumptious slice of cake while embracing the soothing atmosphere of this hidden gem.

7. Marvel at the Architecture of Gangaramaya Temple

Colombo is home to many culturally significant religious sites, and the Gangaramaya Temple is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable. This Buddhist temple seamlessly blends ancient and modern architecture, creating a captivating harmony of styles. Its tranquil ambiance and intricate detailing make it a must-visit destination for both spiritual seekers and architecture enthusiasts.

The temple houses an eclectic collection of Buddhist art, including statues, paintings, and relics. As you stroll through the complex, you’ll encounter numerous fascinating features, from a unique miniature replica of the famous Sigiriya rock fortress to an assembly hall adorned with colorful murals. Make sure to explore the temple museum to gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

8. Chase Thrills at Viharamahadevi Park

Embark on an adventure-filled afternoon at Viharamahadevi Park, the largest and most popular park in Colombo. With its lush green lawns, children’s play areas, and scenic walking paths, the park is a favorite destination for families, couples, and fitness enthusiasts alike. You can also rent a bicycle and explore the park at your own pace.

For the more adventurous visitors, the park features a thrilling amusement park called the “Jayaraja Fun Fair.” Hop on the exhilarating rides, challenge your friends to a go-kart race, or test your skills at the games arcade. The park is also home to a stunning water fountain, which transforms into a mesmerizing, colorful spectacle at night.

9. Explore the Open-Air Gallery of Nelum Pokuna Art Street

Art lovers should not miss the opportunity to stroll along the Nelum Pokuna Art Street, a vibrant open-air gallery showcasing the works of talented Sri Lankan artists. Located in the heart of Colombo, this charming street is adorned with colorful paintings, sculptures, and installations, transforming it into a visual wonderland.

Take your time to appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship displayed on the walls and participate in the cultural exchange by engaging with local artists. This unique art street provides an opportunity to support local talent and bring a piece of Sri Lankan art back home as a cherished souvenir of your visit.

10. Soak in the Sunset at Mount Lavinia

Round off your visit to Colombo by witnessing a breathtaking sunset at Mount Lavinia, a picturesque coastal town located just a short distance from the city center. With its golden sand beach and crystal-clear waters, Mount Lavinia offers the perfect backdrop for an idyllic evening.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the beach, relishing the cool sea breeze and the gentle lapping of waves. As the sun begins its descent, find a cozy spot at one of the ocean-facing cafés or restaurants. Savor a delicious seafood dinner while indulging in panoramic views of the mesmerizing sunset, casting a warm glow over the horizon.

Colombo, with its unique blend of culture, history, and vibrant city life, has much to offer visitors in a short span of 48 hours. So, embark on this exciting journey to uncover the treasures of this enchanting city and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.