6 Places to visit on a Colombo walking tour

ONE DAY IN COLOMBO, ITINERARY WITH COLOMBO WALKING TOUR

One-day Colombo itinerary and the Colombo walking tour are two popular short trips in Sri Lanka. A large number of travellers, especially foreign travellers book Colombo one-day outing trips during their short stay on the island. Both tours are mostly booked by foreign travellers, who visit the island on short trips as well as transit passengers.

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Sure, you’re probably visiting Sri Lanka for its beaches, historical monuments, wildlife reserves and colonial tourist attractions. But Sri Lanka’s economic hub and most populated city Colombo, cannot be simply overlooked. Here is the blueprint of one day in Colombo itinerary with a Colombo walking tour to explore the city’s tourist attractions.

Many travellers are surprised on their first visit to the chaotic city of Colombo, however, the Colombo city tour and the Colombo walking tour are beloved by lots of travellers and its residents. Colombo is a place of surprise and calm and order.

One-day Colombo itinerary and the Colombo walking tour are two popular short trips in Sri Lanka. A large number of travellers, especially foreign travellers book Colombo one-day outing trips during their short stay on the island. Both tours are mostly booked by foreign travellers, who visit the island on short trips as well as transit passengers.

Affordable Sri Lanka one-day tours from Seerendipity tours. Click www.seerendipitytours one-day trips for more information and many other one-day programs from Sri Lanka.

What are the 15 Best places to visit in one day in the Colombo itinerary?

  1. Galle Face green
  2. Pettah
  3. Wolvendaal church
  4. Cinnamon garden
  5. Colombo Museum
  6. Viharamahadevi Pak
  7. Gangarama temple
  8. Independent memorial hall
  9. Lotus tower
  10. Galle Face park
  11. Racecourse precinct
  12. Floating market Colombo
  13. Red mosque
  14. Lotus Tower
  15. Hulftsdorp food street

Map of Colombo Walking tour

Below is the map of the Colombo walking tour, which start from Pettah and goes through Galle face, Gangarama, Cinnamon garden and Independent square.

Map of Colombo Walking tour

What is the best time for one day in the Colombo itinerary?

Colombo is a year-round holiday destination with a tropical climate. The temperature of Sri Lanka hovers around 30 degrees Celcius throughout the year and humidity is measured to be between 85% to 90%. November to April is the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s west coast cities like Colombo. Visit Colombo from November to April and August for the best weather, during this period the effects of the monsoon are minimal and very little rainfall, which means you get the best weather for sightseeing tours.

The day leading to Vesak full moon day (Full moon day of May), is always a good time to visit Colombo. During this period various interesting activities are taking place in Colombo and the city is filled with beautiful decorations in view of the celebration of the birth of Buddha.

A few facts about Colombo

The former capital of Sri Lanka is still playing a major role on the island, today it is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka while the administrative capital is Jayawardenapura Kotte. Colombo is a cultural melting pot with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and dozens of other ethnic groups and religious groups. The population of Sri Lanka is nearly 2 million people.

One day in Colombo itinerary

The Colombo one-day itinerary includes a great amount of walking in Colombo and travelling in a luxury vehicle with your own driver guide. It is highly recommended to wear comfy shoes during the Colombo walking tour, during which you walk around 5 km. However, you can reduce the amount of time spent on walking and opt to drive. The adjustment can be done while talking to your guide, who is with you through the tour.

As always in Colombo, make sure to have plenty of fluid (drinking water) and a packet of wet wipes will never go amiss. Below is the comprehensive guide to one day Colombo itinerary with a Colombo walking tour.

Sampling delicious Sri Lankan food on your Colombo tour

Sampling indigenous food items in a foreign solid are always interesting and very tempting. That’s why we include Hulftsdorp food street in your Colombo walking tour. You will be visiting the Hulftsdorp food street towards the evening and it is the last activity of the Colombo walking tour. At teh food street, you have an opportunity to taste a wide range of food varieties at a low cost. Your guide will help you to find the best item for you.

What’s old is new again

Colombo is recently crowned as the Ramsar wetland city in Asia, in fact, Colombo is the only city that bags the prestigious status of being nature-friendly. The green cover of Colombo spreads far and wide and there is a healthy green cover even in the middle of the city.

Have Tea on your Colombo walking tour

Colombo is a great city to wake up in if you are a tea drinker. Sri Lanka is still one of the biggest producers of tea in the world. The world-renowned Ceylon tea is coming from this tropical nation, therefore, don’t fail to sip an unblended Ceylon tea if you like to know how it tastes like to have a freshly brewed cup of good tea.  

Head to a Restaurant such as “Tea avenue” that serves the best Sri Lankan tea. They primarily serve Ceylon tea but you can also purchase Coffee. You can get a hold of tea in various flavours as per your choice, however, all are manufactured in Sri Lanka. They are not specialized in the single estate or tea coming from one particular region, therefore, you can order many different varieties of tea such as BOPF, BOP, dark tea, Oolong tea, green tea, and flavoured tea, silver tips etc. As they collect tea from different regions of the island, the tea you order has a unique flavour, colour and aroma depending on the tea variety. Usually, the characteristics of tea vary depending on the elevations where they grow.

Your waiter can help you to find the best tea variety that suits your taste, at the same time he will recommend it should be consumed with milk and sugar. Certain tea varieties such as low-land dark usually drink milk and a bit of sugar due to their bitter taste. Unlike the usual morning tea at home, most visitors spend here for a bit longer, perhaps they opt to have another additional cup of tea or a fresh-baked pastry from its kitchen.  

Must experience: sip a glass of arrack

Arrack cocktail! The classic Sri Lankan cocktail resembles many hard liquors around the world such as Rum, whiskey, and Gin and is consumed with orange juice, pineapple juice, Soda or any other soft drink. The description, as well as the taste, is truly delicious. It is purely a natural drink based on palm syrup while garnishing with a piece of lemon, pineapple, apple and sometimes a lotus flower. Arrack is a drink for any occasion and served at parties and all other important occasions. It is also a popular evening drink among working people of Sri Lanka and has become synonymous with Sri Lankan beaches and seafood. Not to be missed.

Must Eat: Rice and curry

Rice and curry are the staple diet of 90 per cent of Sri Lankan people. Usually, the lunch and dinner of most people of Sri Lanka is consisting of rice and curry. Over the last few centuries, the Sri Lankan kitchen has developed its own rice and curry culture, which is embraced not only by Sri Lankans but also by foreign travellers. Despite the fact been one of the fast-developing economies in the region, and a popular tourist destination, Sri Lanka attracts a large number of foreign visitors every year.

But Sri Lankans have been able to avert the internationalization of their culture, customs and traditions and maintain their own identity. Sri Lanka’s food habits may have changed a little bit in the cities, over the last few centuries, and some people have made a habit of depending on fast food such as burgers, fried chicken, potato wedges etc, but still, a majority of people love to eat rice and curry.

Colombo is one of the busiest cities in Sri Lanka that provides plenty of opportunities for foodie travellers. Be it rice and curry, That food, Mongolian food, Chinese food or any other food variety you crave, Colombo is a city that gives you the opportunity to appease your tastebuds.

Pettah Bazaar area

Visiting Pettah for Shopping

Drop into Pettah market before you leave Colombo, and witness the largest open shopping complex on the island. Pettah market spreads over a large area in central Colombo. Many hundreds of wholesale and retail shops, as well as street vendors, sell various items at affordable prices. Clothing, leather products, medicine, later items, electronic equipment, stationery, toys, foods, vegetable…the list goes on. Have a walk along the busy streets of pettah with your guide, that’s the best way of exploring this busy market. In fact, it will be a daunting task to travel through pettah because roads are very crowded.    

Colombo floating market the newest addition to the shopping experience in the city resides a few hundred meters from pettah. As the name suggests it floats on the nearby lake and it is a place to buy various items such as Gems and Jewellery, textiles, souvenir, food, leather items etc.  

What are the places to visit on a Colombo walking tour?

  • Pettah
  • Viharamahadevi gardens
  • Gangarama temple
  • Galle face
  • Independent square
  • Wolvendaal church
  • Colombo floating market

1. Visit Galle Face on a Colombo walking tour

Galle Face is one of the most popular parks in Colombo, located adjoining the ocean. Usually, most tourists visit Galleface green during their one day in the Colombo itinerary, it is a place to embrace the refreshing sea breeze while enjoying calm and quietness within the city. Even though it is located amidst the busiest areas of Colombo, It is very calm and quiet here.

The park spreads over 5 hectares or 12 acres, which stretches about 500 meters and it has about 100 meters in width. This ocean-side open park is located at the heart of Colombo.

Galle face was a project initiated by Governor Sir Henry George Ward in 1859 and it was spreading over a much large area than today.  The Galle face green was used for horse racing at the beginning and it was a multipurpose playground as well and used as the venue for tennis, cricket, golf, rugby and football play.

A large number of city dwellers gather here every day to engage in jogging and other sports, especially in the morning and evening, Galle face green is the largest open area in Colombo today.

Galle Face is a popular spot among kids, teenagers, lovers, vendors, merrymakers, kite surfers, and all those who wish to engage in their pastime activities next to the sea under the open sky. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays the Galle face green is busy with picnickers, day-trippers, and vendors selling various items such as peanuts, deep-fried potatoes, cooked crabs and prawns, and fruits with pepper and salt.

2. Pettah-one day in Colombo itinerary

Pettah is the busiest corner of Colombo and is located towards the western border of the city near the harbour and Fort. Pettah is most popular on the island for its market, which has a series of open-air bazaars and markets selling various items from gift items and toys to sovereign gold, Pettah is popular among the people of Sri Lanka as a market to buy good products at a lower cost.

A large number of wholesale and retail shops, restaurants, buildings, commercial institutions and other organizations are concentrated here. The Pettah market is huge and the main segment of the market looks like a gigantic crossword puzzle, where travellers can walk through the entire market from dawn to dusk, but not completely cover all parts of the market.

Pettah is the English name of the open bazaar derived from the Tamil word Pettai, which is an Anglo-Indian word indicating the suburb outside of the fort. The same place is named pita-kotuwa, which is a Sinhalese name that also means the area outside of the fort.

3. Visiting Wolvendaal church on a Colombo walking tour

Wolvendaal Church (Wolvendaalse Kerk) is one of the most popular monuments built by the Dutch East Indian Company of Sri Lanka in 1749. This historical monument is part of everyone’s day in the Colombo itinerary.

Wolvendaal church sits in Pettah at one of the highest points in the city overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is one of the oldest Dutch-built buildings on the island.

This protestant church is still in very good shape and few families are still gathering regularly at the church. The church is built after the Doric style of the period, and has the shape of a Greek cross (i.e. legs of equal length), with 1.5 meters (five feet) thick massive wall. Large Kabok stones (clay ironstone) had been used to make the structure while the outer layer of the wall is made of coral and lime plaster.

4. Cinnamon garden

Colombo 7 better known as “cinnamon garden” is the most picturesque part of the city, where you find spacious gardens and mansions, ones occupied by wealthy British planters and government officers. Most of those spacious bungalows were built in the early 18s.

Admire the tropical neo-Victorian architecture here, those are still in very good shape and occupied by wealthy people. Some of the buildings have been converted to hotels, restaurants, shops and galleries where you can stop to purchase souvenirs, clothing, spices and many other things or grab a bite for lunch.

Colombo 7 is one of the oldest areas of Colombo with many interesting places to explore such as the town hall, BMICH, independent square, Gangarama temple, and Simamalaka. Here you get plenty of options for fine dining and shopping too.

5. Visiting the Museum of Colombo for a Cultural attack

If you like to explore the rich historical past of Sri Lanka, make a visit to the historical museum of Colombo.

The museum is located in Colombo 7. The official residence of the British government has been converted into a museum and features a large collection of valuable artefacts from the pre-Christian era to modern times. The valuable artefacts are from Sri Lanka as well as many other countries around the world.

Most artefacts that are been displayed here are found in the historical cities of Sri Lanka such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. Some of these artefacts date back to the 3rd century BC. The museum is demarcated into several parts depending on the artefacts that are being displayed such as historical artefacts, paintings, and artefacts from the colonial era.

Afterwards, head to the Laksala, which is managed by the government and offers a large collection of cloth, batik, souvenir, masks, lacquer works, gems and jewellery as well as many other things required by foreign travellers. All the pieces being displayed are from indigenous artists.  

6. Visiting Viharamahdevi – one day in Colombo itinerary

Viharamahadvi park former Victoria park of Colombo is an important attraction in the city and is the most popular and spacious public part in Colombo. Most Colombo city tours include Viharamahadevi Park and this walking tour also cover the beautiful Viharamahadevi Park.  Viharamahadevi Park is situated in the influential resents area Colombo7 and next to Colombo Museum. The park was opened during the British colonial era in Sri Lanka and it is the oldest park in Colombo.

History of Viharamahadevi park

In the beginning, the park was called Queen Victoria Park and was later renamed Viharamahadevi Park, the mother of King Dutugamunu. The land that occupies the garden was a gift to the municipal council during the British rule of Sri Lanka it was donated by Charles Henry de Soysa. It was occupied by the British army with the Australian 17th Brigade during world war ll. With the ending of world war ll, it was reopened to the general public in 1951.

It had also been used as a cricket gourd in the past (1927) and served as a venue for first-class cricket, the national team of Sri Lanka played against a touring English team at Viharamadevi ground in 1927 and against an Australian team in 1935.

Well maintained and landscaped garden features exquisite lawns, small lakes, fountains, play areas for kids and a jogging track. Viharamahdevi jogging track is very popular among the morning joggers, city dwellers and people, who come to Colombo from faraway destinations because it is a place to have leisure and rest while enjoying the company of thick tropical vegetation.

Viharamahadevi garden is very spacious; it has a large collection of tropical trees and plants and they are providing shelter for visitors. Viharamahadevi provides permanent residence to a variety of different bird species such as kingfisher, parakeet, mynah, Bats and Squirrels. Pay a visit to this fascinating garden on your walking tour in Colombo.

7. Visiting Gangarama temple on a Colombo walking tour

Gangarama Buddhist temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Colombo and is located near Viharamahadevi Park. The temple is very important and showcases modern architecture and cultural essence; the temple is visited by a large number of devotees every day.

The beautiful temple has unique architecture demonstrating an eclectic mix of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Sri Lankan characters. The temple has a large collection of finely crafted Buddha statues and god figures. The precious items are housed in the temple’s museum, where the visitors can see thousands of valuable ancient artefacts, gem-studded Buddha statues, figures made of gold and various other items.  

The headquarter of the temple is only 100 meters away from Beira Lake; even today a part of the temple, which is known as Simamalaka is located on an island in the middle of the lake. Simamalaka is made of wood and designed by the veteran Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

 Even though the temple is located at the heart of Colombo, it spreads over a huge plot of land and has all the elements required by a Buddhist temple such as Stupa (dome-shaped reliquary), sacred Bo-tree (ficus relgiosa), Image house (Vihara ge) and assembly hall for monks. In addition to the above-mentioned building, a three-storied school for monks, educational halls, a museum, a library, and a residential hall can also be found on the premises.

All visitors to these sacred places suppose to dress in a particular manner to uphold their religious values. There is a set of rules that every visitor to religious sites observes while visiting sacred places in Sri Lanka. If you are wondering what these rules are? Check this article “13 RULES TO OBSERVE WHILE VISITING SRI LANKA BUDDHIST TEMPLE, SRI LANKA TEMPLE DRESS CODE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH DRES’s CODE“.

8. Visiting the independent memorial hall on a Colombo walking tour

Independent square and the Independent Memorial Hall are included in most Colombo city tours such as the Colombo walking tour. It is one of the most popular landmarks in the city, which is a reminiscence of Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule. Next to the Independent memorial hall is the Independence Memorial Museum.

Towards the northern end of the building is the statue of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake, who had been a key player in the independence struggle. Independent square had been used as the venue for many independent day celebrations in the past. The building follows the architecture of the celebration hall of Kandy better known as “Magul maduwa”, which shows the characteristics of typical Sri Lankan architecture.  

Lotus tower

9. Lotus tower

Lotus tower is the newest addition to the city, which opened its door to visitors in 2019. Lotus Tower, in Sinhalese “Nelum Kuluna”, is the tallest structure on the island. The lotus tower is consisting of two parts, a Highrise tower and on top of it is structure built in the shape of a lotus flower. The main building takes the shape of a lotus flower because the lotus flower is special to the island since it is closely related to Buddhism.

Most importantly, the lotus tower is depicting a new chapter of Sri Lanka’s economic development, the massive structure is not only the highest building on the island but also in South Asia.     

The lotus tower occupies 3.6 hectares of land in the heart of Colombo and is located on the D.R Wijewardena Mawatha. The tower rises up to 350 meters above the surrounding area. There is a 30,600 sqm of floor area in the tower, which is divided into 27 floors. The imposing structure is equipped with 8 elevators and 2 of them are high-speed elevators. These high-speed elevators can lift you up to 350 meters in 33 seconds.

There is 4 entrance to the tower and 2 of them are reserved for special occasions, which means only 2 doors are open to the general public. A special passing system is in operation in the tower to regulate and issue permits to visit the site. Visitors need to buy a separate entrance ticket to each floor. For instance, if you buy the entrance ticket to the revolving restaurant you can t enter the banquet hall with it.

One of the most striking features of the lotus tower is the revolving restaurant, which gives you the ability to have a panoramic view over the entire city, within 1 hour and 30 minutes, as the restaurant revolves 360 degrees in a clockwise direction.

The Lotus tower is now open to travellers, however, only a few areas of the tower are open to travellers. The observation deck with a 360-degree view over Colombo and the Indian Ocean and the revolving restaurant are open for travellers. The ticket prices are Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 for local tourists and US$20 for foreigners. Local tourists who purchase a ticket of Rs 2,000 can enter the premises without queuing. It is possible to go up the tower even more than once. A person who gets a ticket of Rs 500 can go up the tower only once. It is also planned to introduce a QR code instead of a ticket.

10. Galle Face park

Galle face park is the latest addition to the collection of interesting places in Colombo. This modern park was opened to the public in December 2020. As the name suggests it is located next to the Galle face green and the park spreads over 2 acres. The beautifully laid park is consisting of jogging areas, open cafeterias, and shops. A large extent of the park harbours various trees and plants and there is a large number of flowering plants among them. The park is ideal for a leisurely walk, jogging, having a delicious meal under the stars or just sitting on a bank and relaxing while enjoying the sea breeze.

11. Racecourse

The racecourse precinct is a plush dining and shopping complex, located at the heart of Colombo. It was established by British colonial rulers in 1893. The racecourse was later converted to an airfield during world war II.

The pavilion of the racecourse is one of the iconic colonial buildings in Colombo owned by the Ceylon Turf Club in the early 19s and it was frequented by wealthy British planters, politicians and businessmen, where who enjoyed horse racing. However, horse races were not given a prominent place in society after the independence from the British in 1948, therefore racecourse was largely neglected by the local people. The mini pavilion was not used for commercial activities for many decades and was poorly maintained.

After many decades of the interval, it was given its former glory and turned into an upmarket shopping complex and sports complex. Which is a part of the program of the government to improve the infrastructure of Colombo in order to improve Colombo’s attractiveness. The racecourse was opened to the public in 2012 after the refurbishment.

The racecourse was given a facelift by Sri Lankan forces making it one of the best places for shopping and dining in Colombo. Part of the racecourse is a sports complex with state-of-the-art facilities and it is capable of hosting international rugby matches. Today racecourse is the main venue for rugby matches and it harbours facilities confirming international standards.

The mini pavilion of the racecourse, which was existing since the beginning of the racecourse is fully restored and converted into a shopping complex and sports complex with restaurants, textile shops, and gift and craft shops.

12. Floating market Colombo

Floating market Colombo is a novel concept for the people of Sri Lanka and it was opened to the public in 2014. Colombo floating market is the first of its kind on the island. The floating market is a part of the ambitious program of the government of Sri Lanka to make Colombo a tourist hot spot in the future. Under the development program, many changes have been done in Colombo such as renovating the colonial building, building new parks, building walking paths, re-establishing busy government offices outside of Colombo, and protecting wetlands located writhing the borders of Colombo are some of them.

13. Red Mosque

JAMI-UL-ALFAR MAJID Popularly known as “the red mosque” is a must-visited place for people, who are interested in foreign religions, foreign cultures and buildings with unique architecture. The red mosque is located overlooking the Colombo harbour, at the heart of Colombo, better known as Pettah.    

The red mosque is one of the Muslim mosques in Colombo with very unique architecture and colour of its own. There is no other mosque or a building like this in Colombo or elsewhere. The mosque is called a red mosque due to the dominating colour of its walls, which is bright red and it has white strips from top to bottom. The architecture of this unique building is unique and known as Indo-sardonic architecture. Indo-sardonic architecture has a combination of Indian and Islam architectural features. The dorm of the building is coloured in red and white and has the shape of a pomegranate.

The mosque was first constructed in 1908, more than 110 years ago. The building was funded by Muslim traders who came to Colombo from India, due to this fact the mosque is also called an Indian mosque. Sri Lanka was a popular trading centre among the merchants for many thousands of years. Colombo harbour was visited by many thousands of foreign merchants and they came from countries like India, China, and Arab countries. These ancient Muslim merchants used the red mosque to engage in their religious observances. Today, the red mosque still plays a big role as a place for religious activities for Muslims and at the same time, it has become a popular tourist attraction.  

14. Lotus Tower

Lotus tower is located in the heart of Colombo and it rises up to 350 m (1,150 ft) from the ground making it one of the tallest structures in Southe Asia. Lotus tower is the 11th tallest tower in Asia and the 19th tallest tower in the world. The newly built structure has been able to get the attention of travellers already and it has become an iconic tourist attraction in Colombo. The tower takes the shape of a lotus flower with a stem. It is planned to use the lotus tower for various projects such as telecommunication, TV broadcasting, seminars and conference, observation, leisure and recreation activities. The gigantic tower was constructed at a cost of USD 113 million.

15. Hulftsdorp food street

Hulftsdorp food street is one of the best spots to quench your thirst for delicious Sri Lankan fast food. You will feel the aroma of meat and the sound of sizzling pans as you enter the crowded street. The vibe of the Hulftsdorp food street is always very inviting for food lovers and it is packed with vendors, tuk-tuks, and stalls as well as food lovers.

Hulftsdorp food street is located at the heart of Colombo, next to the Supreme court in Colombo 12. Hulftsdorp food street is one of the best places to expose yourself to the street food culture of Sri Lanka. The visitors can witness many dozens of stalls and street vendors selling large numbers of food varieties at an affordable prices.

Whatever you crave, there is something for everyone in the Hulftsdorp food street, as it offers a large variety of food. Some of the popular food varieties in the Hulftsdorp food street are rice and cuddy, delicious kebab, biriyani, sandwich, barbeque meat items, deep-fried fish and meat, naan, roti, wadey and many more.

Why you should book a Colombo walking tour with Seerendioity tours

Seerendipity tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity tours and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

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When you book a tour with us, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

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Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

1 thought on “ONE DAY IN COLOMBO, ITINERARY WITH COLOMBO WALKING TOUR”

  1. I all the time used to read рaragraph іn news papers but never found this type of comprehensive article on the Colombo tour. Thanks

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