On the western coast of the island, Colombo is a sprawling city home to over five million people. It is traditionally centred around Fort, a business district with its roots as a fortified Portuguese trading post, and the green waters of Beira Lake, all facing out to sea.
Hot and busy, recent years have seen Colombo gradually transform from a place visitors could not avoid to a fascinating destination well worth exploring. Its historic quarters and grand 19th-century architecture have been restored, the seafront spruced up and cosmopolitan vibe revived with numerous museums, galleries and characterful eateries opening that celebrate its unique and diverse heritage.
The city is dotted with temples, shrines, cafes, markets and is best explored by tuk tuk and there are some idyllic beaches to be discovered a little way along the coast.
When to go
Temperatures average between 27-30 °C in Colombo, peaking in April. The driest months are between December and March and the wettest between May and June, and then again in October and early November.
What to do
- Discover the city's Buddhist shrines and Hindu temples
- Explore the National Museum
- Shop for souvenirs in the city's colourful bazaars