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Colombo – a colourful capital on the coast

Fly to Colombo to experience Sri Lanka’s ancient city on the beach, where the looming skyline seems to emerge from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

The capital of this island nation, Colombo has been an important trading port for centuries, blending its historic roots with the island’s passages of Dutch and British rule.

buddha statues near water at the temple in colombo

This colonial past is represented in the Edwardian and Victorian buildings of the city’s Fort area. Meanwhile, the regal Galle Face Hotel has played host to generations of the British Royal Family since the mid-19th century.

There is just as much Asian influence here too. Wander around the grounds of the Gangaramaya Temple, experience the Buddhist refuge on the waters of Beira Lake and find serenity at the heart of the city.

Don’t miss the opportunity to marvel at the lofty minarets of Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque. Colombo enjoys a tropical climate all year round and the city’s beaches make for a perfect escape for relaxing or surfing. Sample fresh mango from the local vendors on Galle Face Green promenade, sit on the sands and enjoy the fresh breeze.

Book flights to Colombo today with Etihad Airways and experience this incredible island nation for yourself.

What’s the weather like in Colombo?

What’s the weather like in Colombo?

Average TemperatureAverage Rainfall

Jan

27°C

6cm

Feb

27°C

7cm

Mar

28°C

13cm

Apr

28°C

25cm

May

29°C

38cm

Jun

28°C

19cm

Jul

28°C

13cm

Aug

28°C

11cm

Sep

28°C

24cm

Oct

27°C

37cm

Nov

27°C

21cm

Dec

27°C

17cm

January through to March is mostly warm and dry in the region – perfect for exploring the city. Colombo has a settled climate, making it pleasant to explore on-foot throughout the year.

Temperatures remain in the high 20°Cs all year round. Though the city does experience a monsoon season, starting in April and lasting through to October, bringing heavy rainfall.

Reasons to visit Colombo

bronze buddha in dharmachakra mudra pose by temple on beira lake colombo sri lanka

Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

The impressive Gangaramaya temple complex is one of Colombo’s most important Buddhist sites. Set on the placid waters of Beira Lake, the walkway to the temple is flanked by rows of Buddha effigies.

One of the oldest temples in the city, Gangaramaya features a museum and a wellbeing university. The silent Relic Chamber is home to an extensive collection of Buddhist statues, and you’ll want to visit the sacred Bodhiya Fig Tree.

colombo seafront at sunset

Galle Face Green promenade

Find a little peaceful reflection with a stroll along the promenade of Galle Face Green. Facing the Indian Ocean, this 1640 foot (500 metres) walkway has been used for beach-side horse racing and golf in the past.

These days, the green lawns of the promenade are a place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the views out across the ocean. For a wonderfully picturesque scene, head to these sandy shores in the early evening and watch as the sun sets over the horizon.

york street in the fort area of colombo

Colonial architecture

Fly to Colombo and you’ll soon find that the influences of its colonial past are present in the city’s architecture. A wander around the bustling centre will take you past buildings exhibiting Dutch and British designs.

Many of Colombo’s governmental offices date back to British rule, showcasing Neoclassical and Neo-Baroque styles. The Presidential Secretariat and Prime Minister’s Office resemble stately homes, while structures on the University of Colombo’s campus wouldn’t look out of place at Britain’s famous Oxford University.

Things to know before you fly to Colombo

bus Getting around

Hopping aboard a tuk-tuk is the most convenient way to explore the city. Drivers can be found on most street corners and around key landmarks – remember to look out for licenced drivers with a ‘metered’ sign attached to the roof of their vehicle. Taxis are also available and there is a local bus and train network for longer journeys.

charities Cultural considerations

Across Sri Lanka the main religion is Buddhism. It is important to be respectful of the Buddhist culture when travelling – covering shoulders and knees and removing shoes when visiting religious sites.

globe Language

Being a culturally diverse nation, there are many languages spoken in Sri Lanka – and Colombo is no different. Tamil and Sinhala are the official languages, though you’ll find that many of the locals can speak a little English, especially those working in the tourist trade.

accommodation Where to stay

The vibrant Kollupitya neighbourhood is Sri Lanka’s commercial hub and within walking distance of most of the city’s tourist attractions. Built around a colonial brewery, this bustling area is packed with hotels, restaurants, bars and malls.

Flying to Colombo: FAQs

How do I get from Colombo International Airport (CMB) to Colombo city centre?

Bandaranaike International Airport, also known as Colombo International Airport, is around 20 miles (32 kilometres) away from central Colombo.

Book an airport transfer with Etihad and a driver will pick you up from arrivals and take you onward. Alternatively, there are taxis and regular bus services available.

Which Sri Lankan delicacies should I try?

Spicy curries, mountains of rice and plenty of seafood form the basis of Sri Lankan cuisine. The best food in Colombo can be found in the city’s street stalls and markets, where everything is usually cooked fresh to order in front of you. Be sure to sample kottu roti, fried crispy bread served with your choice of ingredients in a rich, curried sauce.

When is Diwali?

Diwali typically falls during mid-October to mid-November, with the exact date changing each year. It is one of the most important religious celebrations in Sri Lanka. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, the annual event is celebrated by the island’s Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. Homes and temples are illuminated with bright lights and rows of flickering oil lamps, while fireworks flash across the sky.

Why we love Colombo

“Colombo is a fantastic city with beautiful beaches, bustling markets and plenty of delicious foods to try. There are some incredible temples and museums – the Relic Chamber at Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is a peaceful place to spend an afternoon.”

The best of Colombo

The Sri Lankan capital is a tropical paradise of stunning landscapes, incredible fine dining and luxurious hotels.

Take a spectacular rail journey through Sri Lanka’s jungle canopy and explore the amazing attractions surrounding Colombo. Visit the spectacular Wewurukannala Temple, spot leopards at Yala National Park or hike up to Newburgh Tea Factory.

Now famous for surfing – visit some of the best beaches near Colombo, such as the lively town of Hikkaduwa. Find out more about Colombo with Atlas.

Weather in Colombo

35 °C
Sunday23 Feb 2020
36 °C
Monday24 Feb 2020
35 °C
Tuesday25 Feb 2020
36 °C
Wednesday26 Feb 2020
36 °C
Thursday27 Feb 2020
36 °C
Friday28 Feb 2020
34 °C
Saturday29 Feb 2020
Powered by: OpenWeatherMap.org

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