Top 10 Exciting Day Trips Near Colombo for an Unforgettable Experience

Are you in Colombo and yearning for an adventure outside the city? It’s a common fact that Sri Lanka, particularly the areas around Colombo, is brimming with exciting day trip destinations.

This article takes away your headache of planning by offering a curated list of top 10 unforgettable excursions near Colombo – from historical sites to nature reserves and vibrant beaches.

Get ready for a voyage of discovery that will brighten up your stay in this part of the world!

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the historic city of Galle and its iconic fort, explore the enchanting Madu River, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Seethawaka Botanical Garden.
  • Visit Kandy to see the famous Temple of the Tooth and experience its lively city center.
  • Explore Ratnapura, the “City of Gems,” for gem mining experiences, lush green mountains for hiking, and waterfalls for breathtaking views.
  • Enjoy Unawatuna’s pristine beaches, thrilling water sports activities like snorkeling and diving, and visit the historic Japanese Peace Pagoda.

Top 10 Day Trips Near Colombo

Explore the historic city of Galle, visit the iconic Galle Fort, cruise along the enchanting Madu River, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Seethawaka Botanical Garden.


Kandy is a great day trip from Colombo. Here, you can see the famous Temple of the Tooth. This temple has a tooth that people believe came from Buddha himself. You can also enjoy Kandy’s lively city center with its fun shops and tasty food spots.

Don’t forget to check out the Royal Botanic Gardens nearby for a walk among beautiful plants and trees. For thrill-seekers, try a boat ride on the lake in the heart of Kandy City!


Ratnapura is a fascinating destination for adventure travelers looking to explore Sri Lanka’s natural beauty. Known as the “City of Gems,” Ratnapura is famous for its gem mines and visitors can learn about the gem mining process and even try their luck at finding precious stones.

The city is surrounded by lush green mountains, making it an ideal place for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. Additionally, there are several waterfalls in Ratnapura that offer breathtaking views and opportunities for swimming and picnicking.

Nature lovers will also enjoy visiting Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich biodiversity. With its unique blend of gems, nature, and culture, Ratnapura is sure to leave adventure travelers with unforgettable memories.


Unawatuna is a must-visit destination for adventure travelers near Colombo. This beautiful coastal town offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and thrilling water sports activities such as snorkeling and diving.

You can also explore the nearby Rumassala Jungle, which is perfect for hiking and wildlife spotting. Don’t miss the chance to visit Unawatuna’s historic Japanese Peace Pagoda, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding landscape.

With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, Unawatuna promises an unforgettable experience for all adventure seekers.


One of the top day trips near Colombo is Sigiriya. Here, adventure travelers can explore the magnificent UNESCO-protected Sigiriya Rock and its ancient ruins from the 5th century. This towering rock fortress offers breathtaking views and a chance to step back in time.

Visitors can climb to the top and marvel at the frescoes, gardens, and remnants of a once-thriving palace. It’s an exciting destination that combines history, nature, and adventure all in one unforgettable experience.


Kitugala is a thrilling day trip near Colombo that adventure travelers shouldn’t miss. This small town is famous for its exciting water sports and beautiful natural scenery. You can go white-water rafting on the Kelani River, which offers a thrilling experience for adrenaline junkies.

The lush rainforest surrounding Kitugala is perfect for hiking and birdwatching, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. Don’t forget to visit the picturesque Kitugala Suspension Bridge, where you can capture some amazing photos.

So grab your gear and get ready for an adventure-filled day trip in Kitugala!


Negombo is a fantastic day trip option for adventure travelers visiting Colombo. Located just 37 kilometers north of the capital, Negombo offers pristine beaches and a vibrant fishing community to explore.

One of the key attractions in Negombo is its stunning lagoon, where you can go on a boat ride and witness the local way of life. The Dutch Canal, built during the colonial era, is another highlight that you shouldn’t miss.

Apart from these natural wonders, Negombo also boasts beautiful churches like St Mary’s Church and interesting markets where you can buy fresh fish and local handicrafts. For those who love history, Negombo has remnants of Portuguese and Dutch architecture that tell stories of its colonial past.


Dambulla is a must-visit destination for adventure travelers near Colombo. Here, you can explore the famous Dambulla Cave Temples, which are filled with historical and cultural significance.

These caves house stunning ancient statues and vibrant frescoes that date back to over 2,000 years. The temple complex offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside from its hilltop location.

You can also visit nearby attractions like Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Minneriya National Park for an even more memorable experience. Dambulla is a place where history comes alive, making it a perfect day trip from Colombo for adventurers seeking unique experiences.


Galle is a historic city located on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. It’s known for its picturesque Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adventure travelers can explore the fort’s narrow streets, ancient churches, and charming cafes.

Beyond the fort walls, there are beautiful beaches where visitors can relax and soak up the sun. Madu River, located nearby, offers exciting boat rides through mangrove forests and scenic landscapes.

For nature lovers, Seethawaka Botanical Garden is worth a visit with its diverse collection of plants and wildlife. So if you’re looking for history, culture, and natural beauty all in one place, Galle should definitely be on your list of day trips near Colombo!


Bentota is a must-visit destination for adventure travelers near Colombo. This coastal town offers beautiful beaches, thrilling water sports, and tranquil boat rides along the Bentota River.

You can enjoy activities like snorkeling, diving, jet skiing, and banana boat rides at Bentota Beach. For nature lovers, the Muthurajawela Wetland provides an opportunity to explore diverse flora and fauna on a boat safari.

Don’t forget to visit the historic Galapatha Raja Maha Viharaya temple and experience the local culture. Bentota is just a short drive from Colombo, making it an ideal day trip option for those seeking excitement and relaxation in equal measure.


Mirissa is a must-visit destination for adventure travelers looking to have an unforgettable day trip near Colombo. Located on the southwest coastline of Sri Lanka, Mirissa offers beautiful beaches, thrilling water activities, and breathtaking views.

One of the top attractions in Mirissa is whale watching. Visitors can hop on a boat and get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular activities here, allowing you to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.

After an exciting day in the water, you can relax on the sandy beach and enjoy stunning sunsets over the Indian Ocean. Don’t forget to try some delicious seafood at one of the beachside restaurants.

Things to Do and See in Each Destination

Here are some exciting things to do and see in each destination near Colombo:

  1. Kandy:
  • Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a sacred Buddhist temple.
  • Explore the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens.
  • Enjoy a traditional dance performance at the Kandyan Cultural Center.
  1. Ratnapura:
  • Go gemstone hunting at the Ratnapura Gem Market.
  • Visit the Maha Saman Devalaya, a famous Hindu temple.
  • Explore the nearby Sinharaja Forest Reserve for nature walks and birdwatching.
  1. Unawatuna:
  • Relax on the stunning Unawatuna Beach.
  • Snorkel or dive to discover colorful coral reefs and marine life.
  • Take a boat ride to visit Rumassala Hill and Jungle Beach for breathtaking views.
  1. Sigiriya:
  • Climb up Sigiriya Rock Fortress and admire ancient frescoes and panoramic views.
  • Explore the gardens and water features of Sigiriya Archaeological Complex.
  • Visit Pidurangala Rock to witness a magnificent sunrise or sunset.
  1. Kitugala:
  • Try thrilling adventure sports like white water rafting on Kelani River.
  • Go hiking through dense rainforests, spotting exotic flora and fauna.
  • Enjoy birdwatching or take a relaxing bath in natural pools.
  1. Negombo:
  • Relax on Negombo Beach and enjoy activities like swimming or fishing.
  • Visit Negombo Fish Market for a glimpse into local life and fresh seafood.
  • Explore St. Mary’s Church, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest Catholic churches.
  1. Dambulla:
  • Marvel at cave temples adorned with ancient Buddhist statues and paintings.
  • Discover Dambulla Golden Temple, known for its stunning architecture and serene atmosphere.
  • Explore nearby Rose Quartz Mountain Range for scenic hikes.
  1. Galle:
  • Wander around Galle Fort’s cobblestone streets lined with colonial buildings.
  • Visit the National Maritime Museum and Historical Mansion Museum.
  • Take a boat ride on Madu River and explore its mangroves and wildlife.
  1. Bentota:
  • Relax on Bentota Beach and engage in watersports like jet skiing or windsurfing.
  • Take a boat ride on the Bentota River to spot crocodiles and enjoy the scenery.
  • Visit Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery to learn about turtle conservation efforts.
  1. Mirissa:
  • Go whale watching in Mirissa‘s deep blue waters, spotting majestic marine creatures.
  • Relax on Mirissa Beach, known for its golden sand and calm waves.
  • Enjoy fresh seafood at beachfront restaurants while enjoying beautiful sunsets.

How to Get There from Colombo

Getting to these exciting day trip destinations near Colombo is easy and convenient. Here’s how you can reach them:

  • Kandy: Take a scenic train ride or hire a private car for a comfortable journey.
  • Ratnapura: Hop on a bus or hire a taxi for a hassle-free trip.
  • Unawatuna: Catch a train to Galle and then take a short tuk-tuk ride to Unawatuna.
  • Sigiriya: Hire a car or join a guided tour for a smooth commute to this historical site.
  • Kitugala: Grab a taxi from Colombo for an adventurous drive through lush green landscapes.
  • Negombo: Jump on the local bus or book a cab to reach this coastal town.
  • Dambulla: Hire a car or take public transportation like buses for an affordable option.
  • Galle: Catch the train or hire a car/taxi for the most convenient way to get there.
  • Bentota: Take the train or hire a taxi from Colombo to reach this beautiful beach destination.
  • Mirissa: Board the train from Colombo and then catch another small bus or tuk-tuk to reach Mirissa.

Recommended Itineraries for Each Day Trip

Here are some recommended itineraries for each day trip near Colombo. If you’re heading to Kandy, make sure to visit the famous Temple of the Tooth, which houses a relic of Buddha.

You can also take a leisurely stroll around Kandy Lake and enjoy beautiful views.

In Ratnapura, known as the City of Gems, you can explore gem mines and even try your luck at finding some precious stones. Don’t forget to visit the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site with diverse flora and fauna.

When visiting Unawatuna, spend time on its picturesque beach and go snorkeling or diving to see colorful marine life. Explore Galle Fort with its charming streets filled with shops and cafes.

Sigiriya is another must-visit destination where you can climb up Sigiriya Rock Fortress for panoramic views. Also worth seeing are Dambulla Cave Temples with their intricate cave paintings.

If adventure is what you seek, head to Kitulgala for thrilling water rafting experiences along the Kelani River. Negombo offers beautiful sandy beaches, boat rides in Negombo Lagoon, and vibrant fish markets.

Dambulla boasts ancient Buddhist cave temples that are filled with magnificent statues and frescoes dating back centuries. In Galle, don’t miss exploring the historic Galle Fort which dates back to colonial times.

For relaxation by the beach, Bentota is perfect. Enjoy water sports or simply soak up the sun on its golden sands. Lastly,Mirissa offers opportunities for whale watching tours from November till April.


Experience the thrill and beauty of these top 10 day trips near Colombo! From exploring ancient ruins in Sigiriya to relaxing on the beaches of Bentota, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on these unforgettable adventures just a stone’s throw away from Colombo. Start planning your next trip today!


1. What are some exciting day trips near Colombo?

Some exciting day trips near Colombo include visiting the beautiful beaches of Negombo, exploring the ancient city of Anuradhapura, enjoying nature at Kitulgala, and discovering the historic town of Galle.

2. How do I get to these day trip destinations from Colombo?

You can reach these day trip destinations from Colombo by hiring a taxi or private car, taking a train or bus, or joining a guided tour. The mode of transportation depends on your preference and budget.

3. Are there any entrance fees for the attractions on these day trips?

Yes, some attractions may have entrance fees that vary depending on the location and type of attraction. It’s advisable to check beforehand to plan your budget accordingly.

4. Can I complete these day trips in one day?

Yes, all the mentioned day trips can be completed within one day as they are located near Colombo. However, it is recommended to start early in order to make the most out of your visit and return before nightfall.

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