Holidays to Negombo deal out a strong hand – we're talking beaches, belting scenery and days out to buzzy Colombo.

First-gear getaway

Negombo brings its A-game when it comes to winding down. The beach could pass for the Caribbean, with bowing palms and a wide strip of biscuit-coloured sand. Things get more Sri Lankan at the shoreline, as fishermen wade in up to their knees and perch on traditional stilts. Each day’s haul is piled up at the ‘Lellama’ – the country’s second biggest fish market – where haggling is king. The rest of the town teeters between old and new-school – think western-inspired eateries, posh spa hotels and colonial architecture, all stirred together.

Natural know-how

Beaches and bars aren’t the only ones calling the shots around here – there’s plenty of nature to keep you busy, too. Negombo Lagoon’s the biggest and best-loved character in this category, and bird-watching boat trips across the shallow waters are a fave with visitors. Mangroves, rice paddies and coconut plantations huddle together around the edges, and you’ll spot locals bobbing around trying to catch crabs and prawns.

Colombo calling

Negombo and its coastal neighbour, Colombo, are like comparing Bruce Banner and the Hulk. The hectic city – an hour’s drive away – is a whopper compared to its small-scale counterpart, and it delivers a real cultural lucky dip. Colourful temples, slick skyscrapers and pokey cafés are all smooshed together. It’s popular with sun-seekers, too. By day, beach bums gather on the sands that border Galle Face Green promenade. Come dusk, the numbers swell as visitors snap sunset pics that are good enough to go filter free.

At a Glance

  • Flake out on palm-backed sands
  • Take a daytrip to Colombo
  • Go nature-spotting at Negombo Lagoon