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When it comes to Sri Lanka, one hears a lot about the golden beaches of the south coast or bustling Colombo city. But Negombo is a natural alternative: it’s conveniently located less than 20 minutes away from the airport, is a charming coastal town with gorgeous beaches and some of the trendiest nightlife in Sri Lanka. There are also a number of celebrated holiday retreats for days of fun in the sun. Just take a right turn from the main road as you exit the airport and continue ahead; you should be in Negombo within 20 minutes.
The Negombo lagoon is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it also serves as an ideal playground for watersports enthusiasts. Windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving, rafting and boat rides – you name it. Relax with a refreshing cocktail at the end of the day overlooking the tranquil bay.
Negombo is, in any ways, completely opposite to the hustle and bustle of Colombo. It’s a rather laid back city, with beaches that are practically isolated. In Negombo, you can truly let your hair down and watch the world go by.
Highly urbanized Colombo doesn’t give you an insight into local life quite like Negombo does. Head over to the Negombo fish market to watch the locals as they shop, or down to the beach to see the fishermen drag in the day’s catch. Such activities are part of everyday life in this charming coastal town.
Also known as “Little Rome”, Negombo is home to a number of magnificent churches and cathedrals, remnants of the Roman Catholicism introduced by Dutch colonialists. A must-see is St Mary’s Church, located at the very heart of the city. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight.
St Mary’s Church, Main Street, Negombo, +94 78 689 4980
The small but significant fort built by the Portuguese, later claimed by the Dutch in 1672, is more than 440 years old. It is a rather unknown landmark in the area, but shouldn’t be missed.
Another Dutch legacy is Negombo’s canal system. Once an important transportation route for cinnamon and other produce, the Dutch canals are over 300 years old and well worth exploring.