The vibrant city of Colombo has plenty to offer, making it loved by locals and visitors alike. However, car hire in Colombo means you can get your own vehicle and discover the riches of the surrounding area as well. For example, you can drive out to the various Buddhist temples dotted around the region, take a trip down the coast to Wellawatte Beach (5 miles from city centre), or visit the Archaeology Museum Kotte (5 miles from city centre) for an insight into the rich history of Colombo.
Bandaranaike International Airport CMB is Sri Lanka’s premier airport, offering international flights and sitting just 20 km (18 miles) from Colombo city centre. At the airport building, you can find car hire representatives from companies such as Sixt and Sri Lanka Rent a Car, so it’s easy to organise Colombo car hire alongside the rest of your journey. In the centre itself, there are plenty of other car hire companies operating, making it easy to find the perfect deal.
Experienced drivers or those who have previously driven in Sri Lanka should be able to deal with the roads in Colombo: plenty of traffic and a variety of vehicles, from ox carts to mopeds, make it a challenge, but this is mainly limited to the urban centres. Don’t be afraid to use your horn if you want to let a fellow driver know you are there and, of course, remember that in Sri Lanka you drive on the left like in the UK and Australia.
There is plenty of traffic throughout the day in the inner-city of Colombo, so you should take this into consideration when planning any journey. However, it is important to be careful when driving at night as well; while the roads are less busy, they can be dangerous for those not familiar with the city. The weather in Colombo is generally manageable, but on particularly hot days or during the wet season, you may need to consider ways of avoiding extreme conditions.
25% of our users found rental cars in Colombo for ₪77 or less
Book your rental car in Colombo at least 6 weeks before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Mini rental cars in Colombo are around 48% cheaper than other car types, on average
FAQs about renting a car in Colombo
Driving in Colombo traffic involves almost constant vying for space on the road, which is why a compact vehicle might be the best choice for getting around the inner city. That being said, those travelling in larger groups or with plans on exploring the rural areas would be better suited to a bigger vehicle, such as an SUV.
For your car hire in Colombo, it is important to be aware of the speed limits imposed across Sri Lanka. For urban areas, this is 60km/h (roughly 40mph) for cars and light vehicles, which rises to 70km/h (roughly 45mph) outside the city. Of course, going at such speed will only be possible when the traffic permits it and it is always wise to reduce your speed while getting used to Colombo’s roads.
Much of the car parking in Colombo is operated by Tenaga, which not only provides private multi-storey car parks, but also operates the smart parking meters that can be found at the side of the road. A Touch Parking Card can be bought for about Rs.200 (roughly £1.97) and can be used throughout the network, you simply need to top up your balance to ensure you always have money on your card. Parking can also be found in commercial areas, but be aware that use is usually limited to customers only.
On average a rental car in Colombo costs ₪104 per day.
The average gas price in Colombo is ₪18.03 per gallon over the past 30 days. Filling up a gas tank costs between ₪216 and ₪288, depending on the car size.
Mini (Chevrolet Spark or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Colombo.
The only car rental company onsite at Bandaranaike Intl airport is SR RENT A CAR.