Located just 7 kilometres from the international airport in Colombo, Negombo is the principle seaside destination for those seeking to stay close by without the hustle and bustle of built-up city life.
This waterfront city is made up of a picturesque lagoon, an impressive network of canals built by the Dutch and a sweeping beach. All of these contribute to a tranquil atmosphere, as does the expansive Muthurajawela Wetlands, where you can glide along on a boat safari passing wildlife and birds as you go. For a buzzier feel, make sure to join the friendly fishermen in Negombo’s lively fish markets at the break of dawn to get a taste of local life.
The numerous Catholic churches scattered around Negombo have won it its nickname ‘Little Rome’, and we recommend visiting the neo-classical St. Mary’s Church with its pink-washed walls and ornately painted ceiling, which is arguably the most renowned in the city. If you are interested in sightseeing other religious landmarks here, we suggest the Buddhist temple - named Angurukaramulla - which features a 6 metre high Buddha statue and colourful murals.
For a first or last night stop, Negombo makes for an ideal destination to include in your Sri Lankan tour – not only is it just an approximate 15 minute drive to the airport, but it also offers more of a ‘soft-landing’ or calm final night. (We recommend staying at The Wallawwa, one of Teardrop Hotels' latest properties, or the Geoffrey Bawa-inspired hotel, The Beach).
Its position on the west coast also means that it is easy to slot into a wider itinerary, and there is a myriad of places to travel to before or after depending on your interests: choose between the historic and cultural towns inland, like Kandy, Anuradhapura, Dambulla and Kandalama - all of which lie around a three hour drive away; the lesser-visited safari spot of Wilpattu National Park or venture southwards to the coastal region, where Galle and Tangalle can be found along the sandy shore.
Features in the following itineraries
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Anonymous, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka