Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo offers views over the Laccadive Sea, historic architecture and amazing street food. There are museums, zoos and art galleries to explore and beaches a short drive from the city centre.
If you want to get to know the heart of the city and its people, a visit to the markets is a must. Here you can try Kottu Roti, a local specialty made by stir-frying strips of roti bread with vegetables and meat. Wash it all down with a coconut juice.
Families shouldn’t miss the elephant show at the National Zoological Gardens. There are also monkeys, hippos, Sri Lankan leopards and fishing cats to see here. Head to the zoo’s aquarium to admire an underwater wonderland, and spend some time in the tranquil Butterfly Garden.
Explore Colombo’s layered history with a tour of its architectural gems. Dutch colonial buildings like the 18th-century Wolvendaal Church, with its carved wooden pews, stand in contrast to Buddhist temples. Visit Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, which has golden Buddha statues and paintings.
Join the locals who come to relax at the Galle Face promenade, a green park close to the city and right on the water. Enjoy a picnic and take in sunsets over the Laccadive Sea. Stay for the night markets, where you can sample local delicacies such as salt- and chilli-covered mango.The weather in tropical Colombo is mostly warm and sunny, except during monsoon season from April to June and October to December, when there are regular bouts of heavy rain. Come outside these months to rent a car and visit the beautiful palm tree-lined beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka north and south of the city.