How to Spend 2 Days in Colombo
Colombo’s long list of sights and activities make it important to plan any 2-day stay in advance. From touring the city’s diverse landmarks to sampling its spicy street food and visiting surrounding highlights, here are our suggestions for 48 hours in the Sri Lankan capital.
Day 1: Get to Know Colombo
Morning: From temple-studded Lake Beira to Independence Square, Colombo’s sights are fairly widely dispersed. Rather than negotiating the traffic yourself, cover as many landmarks as possible with a half- or full-day excursion by car, tuk-tuk, or pushbike. Alternatively, clamber into a World War II jeep for a city tour before driving on to the Attidiya Bird Sanctuary to spot wildlife.
Afternoon: Use this afternoon to continue your guided sightseeing. Many tours dedicate the afternoon to shopping, with visits to top malls to browse for spices, gemstones, and other island specialities. No visit to Colombo is complete without savoring Sri Lanka’s homegrown teas, so consider tours that finish with a scrumptious, British-inspired high tea at a luxe hotel.
Evening: Colombo locals love street snacks, so cap your day with a grazing-style food tour. Ride a tuk-tuk to the hottest entertainment spots and taste everything from ‘hopper’ pancakes to vadai patties, or embark on a guided walk that combines sightseeing with delicious snack stops.
Day 2: Dive into Day Trips
Morning: Some of Sri Lanka’s star attractions are within day-trip distance of Colombo. Take a private tour to Kandy, the rain forest–cocooned hill capital; watch for wild elephants on safari at Udawalawe National Park; or explore the island’s colonial period on a trip to Galle fort.
Afternoon: Enjoy the remainder of any full-day tours this afternoon. Watch tea being plucked and processed at a tea factory, visit neighboring Negombo’s Dutch relics and fishing communities, or up the adventure with a white-water river-rafting expedition in Kitulgala.
Evening: Unwind on your last evening with a nightlife tour and experience the animated atmosphere of Colombo’s clubs and café districts with a guide. Or, hop on a bike to tour Colombo’s illuminated sights—a memorable farewell to the city.