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How to Spend 1 Day in Colombo

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How to Spend 1 Day in Colombo
When time is of the essence, stick to Colombo’s highlights—seeing the sights, shopping for colorful crafts, and sampling the island’s delicate homegrown teas and cuisine. Check out our ideas for an engaging and enjoyable 24 hours in Sri Lanka’s capital.

Morning: Essential Colombo
Navigating Colombo’s busy streets can be challenging, so orient yourself on a guided tour. Most trips are private and let you view the landmarks with ease, courtesy of air-conditioned transport. Choose a half-day circuit around attractions such as the midlake Seema Malakaya temple and Old Parliament, or select a full-day foray that extends to Galle Face Green and time to shop. Otherwise, choose a tuk-tuk tour or take advantage of Colombo’s level roads on a bike tour: pedaling around the landmarks and enjoying an up-close-and-personal perspective on the city.

Afternoon: Widen Your Horizons
If you haven’t already taken a Colombo tour, take a tour with a twist this afternoon. Climb into a chauffeured World War II jeep for a panoramic city drive before visiting the nearby Attidiya Bird Sanctuary. Rumble around the wetlands to watch for heron, pelicans, and other wildlife, and perhaps take the wheel yourself for added fun. Alternatively, choose a Colombo tour that leaves at midday and includes a classic high tea. Sri Lanka was a British crown colony from 1801 to 1948, and many hotels still honor this quintessential English tradition. After seeing the sights, head for a plush hotel lounge to savor dainty cakes and sandwiches alongside a choice of the island’s teas. 

Evening: Street Foods and Night Lights
Conclude your stay in Colombo by exploring its culinary repertoire. There are several tours to choose from: sampling the city’s lively entertainment and street-food spots by tuk-tuk or on a slower sightseeing walk that includes stops to sample snacks such as ‘hoppers’ (pancakes) and murukku (fried savory bites). If you’re more up for exploring than eating, however, don a helmet and set off on a breezy nighttime bike tour, admiring Colombo’s floodlit landmarks from two wheels.
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Colombo Tours & Activities (10)
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Private Half-Day Colombo City TourBus Tours

Private Half-Day Colombo City Tour

star-4.5
Learn about the history and culture of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city, on this half-day private tour. Visit key landmarks including the Old Parliament building, Vihara Buddhist Temple, and St Lucia's Cathedral to learn more about the unique history and culture of Sri Lanka. Enjoy personalized attention and a flexible itinerary on this private tour, including private hotel transportation, for just you and your party.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$35.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$35.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Colombo Tuk Tuk SafariNature and Wildlife

Colombo Tuk Tuk Safari

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Combine food tastings with sightseeing on a private 4-hour evening tour of Colombo by tuk-tuk. Climb into a comfortable, customized tuk-tuk with a private driver-guide, and delve into Colombo’s bustling streets to enjoy the sights, culinary delights, and city lights. Ride by famous landmarks, explore the hottest entertainment spots, and make food stops to sample local staples and snacks. Enjoy the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks stowed inside your tuk-tuk cooler as you explore.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$72.00 
From  
$72.00 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Colombo City Tour by Tuk TukHalf-day Tours

Colombo City Tour by Tuk Tuk

star-4.5
Get an intimate look at the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo during this 3.5-hour sightseeing trip by tuk tuk with a small group. Travel like Sri Lankan locals do as you weave through traffic, stopping to check out city landmarks like Colombo Harbour, the Pettah neighborhood, Wolvendaal Church, Independence Square, Gangaramaya Temple, and much more.
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  • 4 hours
From  
$57.87 
From  
$57.87 
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  • 4 hours

Colombo City Day TourHalf-day Tours

Colombo City Day Tour

star-4.5
Enjoy a city sightseeing tour of Colombo, the bustling capital of Sri Lanka. An informative guide takes you to major highlights such as the ocean-facing urban park of Galle Face Green; the Buddhist temples of Kelaniya, Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka; and the War Memorial, Independence Square and more. End your tour with some bargain hunting on a shopping excursion.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$50.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$50.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Withlocals The 10 Tastings: Colombo Private Street Food TourHalf-day Tours

Withlocals The 10 Tastings: Colombo Private Street Food Tour

star-4.5
Cut through the confusion of Colombo’s legendary street food by tasting your way through the city on a private food tour. A local guide leads you through a popular market and shows you where locals love to eat, drinks, and shop. Eight food tastings and two drink samples are included so you can taste the flavors of the city for yourself.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$30.04 
Price varies by group size
From  
$30.04 
Price varies by group size
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Private Tour of Colombo in a World War II JeepPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private Tour of Colombo in a World War II Jeep

star-5
See the sights of Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka, on this 3-hour private tour in a World War II–era Jeep. You'll explore both on- and off-road to check out top attractions such as Old Parliament Building and Viharamahadevi Park and visit a bird sanctuary just outside of the city. Hotel pickup, beverages, and a snack are included. Choice of morning or afternoon departure time.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$104.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$104.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Colombo Walking Food TourHalf-day Tours

Colombo Walking Food Tour

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Understanding Colombo means not only sightseeing but tasting its food—both more revealing when done with a guide. Sample the city’s attractions and snacks on this small-group food walking tour: learning more than possible alone. See the Red Mosque, markets, and more; and stop to try popular foods such as egg hopper and 'achcharu' (pickle) to gain a true perspective on local life and cuisine that most visitors never get.
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  • 3 hours
From  
$57.87 
From  
$57.87 
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  • 3 hours

Morning Cycling in ColomboMountain Bike Tours

Morning Cycling in Colombo

star-5
With its wide flat avenues and sea breezes, Colombo is a fun city to explore by bicycle. With this private tour through the city, you'll get a chance to visit many of the city's prettiest attractions, including the Galle Face Green, Arcade Independence Square, and the Town Hall, with plenty of time to stop and take photos along the way. 
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$56.00 
From  
$56.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures

Private Colombo City Tour With High Tea In Taj Samudra HotelHalf-day Tours

Private Colombo City Tour With High Tea In Taj Samudra Hotel

See Colombo’s sights without negotiating public buses or cabs, and with afternoon tea as a final flourish, on this private tour. Cruise easily around the sights by air-conditioned car, visit the Seema Malakaya temple and other landmarks, and explore bustling streets, gardens, and craft emporiums, all as your guide shares insight into Colombo’s culture and history. Your tour is capped by a hotel high tea and convenient return hotel transfers.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$60.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$60.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Night Cycling from ColomboMountain Bike Tours

Night Cycling from Colombo

star-5
Explore Colombo’s historical streets on two wheels on this private evening cycle tour. Pedal around illuminated squares, landmarks, and parks in the quieter atmosphere of dusk while learning about their history. View Independence Square and Gangaramaya Temple, check out lesser-known colonial-era sights, and visit Galle Face Green, the seafront green originally created by the island's Dutch rulers. Light snacks and refreshments, plus full cycling equipment included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$88.00 
From  
$88.00 
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  • 5 hours
  • Taking safety measures