Exploring the sights of Colombo usually begins with the historical district of Fort. There is almost nothing left of the Portuguese fort itself, but you can see the colonial architecture and the Old Lighthouse, also known as the Clock Tower – the only building in the world that combines these two functions. It is located, oddly enough, not by the sea, but in the center of the district, at the intersection of Chatham and Janadhipathi streets. Now the remains of historical buildings are adjacent to modern buildings. Another very beautiful place is the New Lighthouse, located on Chatham Street, they are not allowed inside, but magnificent views open from the foot, especially during sunset.
The city has several dozen religious buildings of different faiths: Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, etc. Travelers usually visit the largest Buddhist temple in Colombo Gangaramayya (Sri Jinaratana Road, 61), St. Anthony’s Church on St Anthony’s Mawatha, Kochchikade, which looks especially impressive with evening illumination, and the fantastic Jami Ul Alfar Mosque on Second Cross Street.
You can climb the white 20-meter Sambodhi Chaitya stupa next to the New Lighthouse, and at the same time look inside the images of scenes from the life of the Buddha. Admission is free, but you must take off your shoes and cover your shoulders and knees.
Of the museums, the Maritime Museum (Chaitiya Road, 19) deserves special attention with a very fascinating collection dedicated to the life of the Indian Ocean, and the National Museum of Colombo (Sri Marcus Fernando Mawatha) is large and very informative, telling about the rich and difficult history of Sri Lanka. Those interested in local art will love the Colombo National Art Gallery (Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, 106), entirely dedicated to the works of Sri Lankan masters.
Few people know that in November 1890, the famous Russian writer A.P. Chekhov visited Sri Lanka (at that time Ceylon) and finished his story “Gusev” there. Initially, Anton Pavlovich settled in the Gall Face Hotel, the oldest in Colombo. However, the sea breeze, which constantly blew from the ocean, aggravated the writer’s health, and he moved to the Grand Oriental Hotel. Today in this hotel there is a memorial room-museum of A.P. Chekhov in suite No. 304, where furniture and furnishings of that time have been preserved, and photographs of the writer can be seen on the walls.
Vihmadevi leaves a very strong impression – a large and old park in the Kurunduwata area. Shady squares, bushes, ancient trees, fountains, as well as a mini zoo and a playground make this place very popular.
- Where can you go to Colombo with a child
As already mentioned, Colombo is also a major port, so in the very center the water is not very clean, and the beaches are far from heavenly pictures. The main city beach is crowded and there is a lot of garbage. But it is worth moving a little to the side, and the landscapes open completely different.
Just 30 minutes from the center is Mount Lavinia – a well-equipped stretch of sandy beach with free (subject to ordering food in a cafe or restaurant) sun loungers and umbrellas and a gentle descent into the sea. Families with children and surfers like to relax here. Lifeguards are always on the beach.
Another popular place is Negombo. Sunbeds and umbrellas are paid, and the atmosphere is calm and relaxed, but those who want to be active will also find something to do: for example, windsurfing, diving or sea fishing.
Kalutara Beach is covered with yellow coarse sand, it is very popular with locals as it can be reached by public transport, so it can be very crowded on weekends. But during the week the wide coast is not overpopulated. Sun loungers are rented, there is a cafe.
Hotel guests are usually not charged for using sunbeds, so those who plan to spend a lot of time on the beach are more profitable to stay nearby.
The second most popular “children’s” beach is Beruwala, it is located a little further from the center (about 40 minutes drive). The coast is very picturesque: 13 km of sand, coconut groves and the ocean. There are practically no waves here, and the entrance to the water is ideal for kids. Further away from the city are the excellent beaches of Ambalagoda and Bentota.
According to Citypopulationreview, the subequatorial climate explains that the weather in Colombo does not change much almost all year round. The city is strongly influenced by the southwest monsoon: heavy rains from May to September pour very often. From December to February, there is less rainfall, but they are also there. And the inter-monsoon time is considered the rainiest.
Locals joke: “It rains in Colombo either heavily or very heavily.”
Due to the high temperature, the season here lasts all year round, although the peak is observed in the new year area.