Holidays to Negombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a true melting pot of cultures, and few places demonstrate that as clearly as Negombo. A Singhalese port which attracted Arab spice traders in the 7th century, it has since acquired a Portuguese name, a Dutch canal system and four British-built railway stations. Regardless of these changes, the city’s key industry – fishing – carries on much as it has since ancient times, helping to establish it as one of Sri Lanka’s most prosperous economic centres.

Here you can indulge in fantastic seafood, enjoy superb watersports, explore the city’s fascinating history or simply sit in one of the beaches quieter corners and watch the fishermen ply their trade, soaking up Negombo’s warm, welcoming atmosphere and easy pace as you do so.

The city has a 100km network which is still used for both trade and tourism, on which modern craft jostle with outrigger canoes. This also connects to the lagoon, which provides much of the city’s fresh seafood, including lagoon crabs and prawns. At the lagoon’s northern end is the Lellama Fish Market which holds daily fish auctions -  a sight to behold! Here you can also book boat trips out into the lagoon itself (or beyond) to try your own hand at fishing or simply to view the local wildlife. The lagoon and its extensive mangrove swamps attract vast numbers of waterbirds including gulls, terns, cormorants, herons and egrets. Overall the Muthurajawela Marshland, part of a 6,000-hectare reserve, is home to hundreds of species of wildlife; local guides have expert knowledge of the flora and fauna and can take you to the best spots.

Negombo isn’t just about the sea of course. In addition to the vibrant daily scene going on all around, with all the spicy street food, handicrafts, batiks and jewellery that this entails, this bustling city offers fascinating insights into its history and colonial heritage. There are centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, the old Dutch fort dating from 1672, and the ceiling frescoes of St. Mary's Cathedral (the majority of the city’s residents are Roman Catholic), while just outside the city centre, the 300-year old Angurukaramulla Buddhist Temple offers ancient murals. But even with all this, it is the water, the beach and the lives lived along it that will draw you back.

If you want to be assured of quality sun time on the beach and a calm and flat sea, choose a southern or western beach from December through to April. Southern and western beaches generally have good weather from late July to September, but sea swimming is rarely safe at this time.


  • Explore the city’s stunning lagoon and take a boat trip out to view mangrove forests and wildlife

  • Negombo has one of the finest beaches in Sri Lanka

Travel Designer
Let's talk
There's no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Travel Designers.

Negombo trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Negombo. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Map of Negombo