Welcome to Colombo
A valuable port on the East-West trading route for more than 2,000 years, Colombo has existed as a city with a history of changing fortunes. Sri Lanka's rule by three successive foreign empires, followed by decades of devastating civil war, left indelible marks on its landscapes and people. But today, peace reigns supreme, and the country's vibrant, multicultural capital is coming into its own as a destination for travelers. Sleek high-rises and luxury hotels line Colombo's leafy boulevards, alongside ancient temples, mosques, and colonial landmarks. History tours cover key sights such as the Colombo National Museum, Independence Square, and the Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple. Join the locals for an evening stroll along Galle Face Green; or consider a guided tasting tour of the city's culinary scene, from traditional Sinhalese and Tamil dishes to innovative world-fusion cuisine. While it's an easy place in which to relax, Colombo is also the perfect hub for venturing to the island's many UNESCO World Heritage sites. A guided tour will help you cover a lot of ground in a short time: Kandy's Sri Dalada Maligawa ("Temple of the Sacred Tooth"); the massive rock-fortress of Sigiriya, decorated with colorful frescoes for a 5th-century king; the cave temple of Dambulla; and the lost city of Polonnaruwa, to name but a few highlights. Nature-lovers can explore the wild with a boat trip around Negombo Lagoon and the Muthurajawela Wetlands. Or, book a private safari in Yala National Park, home to leopards, elephants, crocodiles, sloth bears, and other wildlife.