The Best Museums to Visit in Colombo

National Museum
National Museum | © Nigel Swales / Flickr | Flickr

Sri Lanka Hub Writer

Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka and is getting more and cosmopolitan every year. The city has plenty of museums to visit while you are passing through. Here is a list of the best museums in Colombo.

Colombo National Museum

Building, Museum

Colombo National Museum
© Nigel Swales/Flickr

Colombo National Museum

The Colombo National Museum was established in 1877 and is the largest museum in all of Sri Lanka. The displays in the museum show visitors the natural and cultural heritage of the country. The Museum is housed in two stories of a beautifully photogenic building. The exhibitions are organized chronologically on the ground floor and thematically on the second floor. The National Museum is open seven days a week but closed on public holidays like Full Moon Poya, Sinhala & Tamil New Year, Thai Pongal, Ramazan and Christmas.

Colombo National Museum, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka +94 11 2 695366

Traditional Puppet Art Museum


The puppets at the Puppet Museum tell stories of Sri Lankan Cultural Heritage
© Indi Samarajiva Follow / Flickr
The Traditional Puppet Art Museum is an interesting museum to visit as it is full of the creations of master puppeteers from all over Sri Lanka. The museum was founded to maintain the puppet heritage of the island and to create a better place for puppeteers to show their craft. At the museum, visitors might come across puppet shows, lectures, workshops and more events that have to do with the puppet art in Sri Lanka. Opening times are 9 am to 5 pm but you must call ahead if you would like to see a puppet show.

Dutch Museum


Dutch Museum Colombo
© L Manju/WikiCommons
The building that houses the Dutch Museum in Colombo has seen many uses. From being the residence of the Dutch Governor in the 17th century, to a catholic seminary, a military hospital, a police station and a post office. The museum now exhibits the cultural heritage of the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka with artifacts and furniture that spans generations. The Dutch Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Closed on Poya days.

Independence Museum

Memorial, Museum, Park

Independence Museum
© Abigail Becker Follow / Flickr | Flickr

Independence Museum

The Independence Museum is in the basement underneath the Independence Memorial Hall. This small museum commemorates the soldiers and officers involved in the independence from British Rule. Situated inside the Independence Park the exhibition is not the only good thing about this museum. The gardens and sculptures around the memorial are quite nice to look at and photograph. The Independence Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, and closed on all public holidays.

Independence Museum 7 Independence Ave, Colombo, Sri Lanka +94 11 2 691825

National Railway Museum


Trains and Locomotives are on display at the Railway Museum
© AntanO / Flickr
The National Railway Museum has all sorts of locomotives and carriages used in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the railway on the island on display. It isn’t the largest collection but if you are a train buff you can get a kick out of some railway history! There are more antique locomotives supposed to be coming to the museum soon. The National Railway Museum is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm except on Poya holidays.

Sri Lanka Air Force Museum


One of the Hangars in the Museum is full beautifully displayed aircraft.
© Amila Tennakoon / Flickr
Sri Lanka Air Force Museum has lots to see for those who love aviation. With two hangars full of airplanes and exhibitions about Sti Lankan aviation history. There are also gardens and outside exhibits, some play areas for kids and a lounging garden next to some lakes. The craft lab is a workshop where visitors can build wooden models of old and new style airplanes. The Air Force Museum is open every day except Mondays and public holidays from 8:30 am to to 4:30 pm.

Geoffrey Bawa House


Geoffrey Bawa House
© uemura / Flickr | Flickr

Geoffrey Bawa House

This isn’t exactly a museum but it’s a house that can be visited. Number 11 on 33rd Lane was home to famous architect Geoffrey Bawa between 1960 and 1970. The house is now preserved as part of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust. Tours of the house can be taken with prior appointment Monday to Saturday at 10 am, 2 pm and 3:30 pm and on Sundays at 10 am. There are specific rules about visiting the house and it’s best to read up on them before going. You can get information on the Geoffrey Bawa Trust website.

Geoffrey Bawa House No. 11, 33rd Lane, Bagatelle Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka +94 11 4 337335

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.