Located just 7 kilometres from the international airport in Colombo, Negombo is the principle seaside destination for those wanting 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 long 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 spotting wildlife and birds as you go. For a more buzzy 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. It is just an approximate 15 minute drive to the airport, and so it offers more of a ‘soft-landing’ and somewhere accessible to recover from jetlag on arrival before embarking on your tour. Or it works very well as a calm final night. Whether at the start or end of your tour, 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
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Anonymous, India