Negombo Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to eat and stay in Negombo Sri Lanka. Plan your next trip with our comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Negombo

Negombo is a beautiful coastal city in Sri Lanka’s Western Province, located just 7 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport. It’s a perfect destination for those looking for a relaxing beach vacation, as well as for those interested in exploring the cultural and historical sites of Sri Lanka. Negombo has a rich history, influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial rule, giving rise to its unique architecture, culture, and cuisine.

List of Places to Visit in Negombo

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Dutch Fort - Built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, the Dutch Fort is a must-visit attraction in Negombo. It’s an excellent example of Dutch colonial architecture and history.
  • Negombo Fish Market - Get a glimpse of daily life in Negombo at the bustling fish market, where fishermen bring their fresh catches of the day. It’s a fascinating experience to witness the hustle and bustle of the market, and you can even purchase fresh seafood to cook for your next meal.
  • St. Mary’s Church - Built by the Portuguese in 1579, this beautiful church features a blend of Portuguese and Sri Lankan architecture. It’s a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics and a beautiful religious site for tourists.

Natural Attractions of Negombo: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Muthurajawela Marsh - Take a boat tour of the Muthurajawela Marsh to witness Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys, and a variety of bird species.
  • Negombo Lagoon - The Negombo Lagoon is a scenic spot where you can hire a boat for a relaxing ride, catch a beautiful sunset, and try your hand at fishing with local fishermen.
  • Negombo Beach - This gorgeous beach stretches for more than 2 km, and its calm waters and sandy beaches make it an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Negombo

  • Muthurajawela Nature Trail - This 2-hour guided walk through the Muthurajawela marsh is an excellent chance to explore Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, and learn about local flora and fauna. It’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
  • Negombo Beach Cycling Tour - Rent a bike and ride along the scenic coast of Negombo, stop at fishing villages and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. It’s a fun activity to enjoy with friends and family.

Best Things to Do in Negombo: Activities and Tours

  • Ayurvedic spa treatment - Indulge in a traditional Ayurvedic massage or treatment, which involves the use of natural oils and healing herbs to help you relax and rejuvenate.
  • Catamaran ride - Take a ride on a traditional Sri Lankan catamaran to explore the Negombo Lagoon, and witness local fishermen using traditional fishing methods.
  • Kite surfing - Negombo is a popular destination for the adrenaline junkies, and kite surfing is a favorite activity. Join a class or hire a kite and experience the thrill of riding the waves.

Week-Long Itinerary for Negombo

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit the Dutch Fort, Negombo Beach
Day 2 Ayurvedic spa treatment, Catamaran ride
Day 3 Cycling tour along the coast, Sunset at Negombo Lagoon
Day 4 Full-day Galle city tour
Day 5 Muthurajawela Nature Trail, Herbal gardens visit
Day 6 Dedigama temple exploration, Visit to Angurukaramulla temple
Day 7 Day trip to Colombo, Shopping at Pettah Market

Food and Drink Scene of Negombo

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fish curry and rice - A Sri Lankan classic, made with fresh seafood and a fragrant blend of spices.
  • Kottu - A popular street food dish made with chopped roti, vegetables, and meat, served with a side of spicy curry sauce.
  • Lamprais - A spicy rice dish that includes meat, vegetables, and egg, all wrapped in a banana leaf and baked until fragrant.

Local Beverages

  • Arrack - A popular alcoholic drink derived from coconut palms.
  • Lassi - A refreshing drink made with yogurt and various flavors, from sweet to savory to spicy.

Where to Stay in Negombo: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Jetwing Beach Hotel - A luxury boutique hotel offering fantastic ocean views, a private beach, pool, and spa services.
  • Goldi Sands Hotel - A mid-range hotel offering beachfront rooms, a pool, and a variety of dining options.
  • Hangover Hostel - An affordable hostel located near the beach, offering dormitory-style rooms.

What to Buy in Negombo: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Cinnamon sticks and powder: Negombo is famous for its high-quality cinnamon, which makes for an excellent souvenir or gift.
  • Handcrafted Wooden Masks: Traditional and colorful wooden masks are a must-see in Negombo, a perfect reminder of Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage.
  • Gemstones and Jewelry: Sri Lanka is known for its precious stones, including sapphires and rubies.

Local Culture and Customs of Negombo

Sri Lankans are known for their hospitality, and it’s essential to respect local customs and etiquette. Many locals follow Buddhism, so it’s recommended to dress modestly when visiting religious sites. It’s also customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or temple. Tipping is not mandatory in Sri Lanka, but it’s a way to show appreciation for good service.

Best Time to Visit Negombo

The best time to visit Negombo is from November to April, when the weather is dry, sunny, and there are fewer chances of rainy days. The temperatures are pleasant, hovering around 26°C to 32°C. However, July to September is the peak season for tourism, so expect higher prices and crowds.

Do’s and Don’ts of Negombo


  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Be polite and smile at locals.


  • Wear shoes inside temples or locals’ homes.
  • Show disrespect towards the local culture.
  • Forget to try the local food and drink.

Safety and Health

Safety in Negombo

Negombo is a relatively safe city to visit. However, it’s always advisable to take some precautions like keeping your valuables safe when traveling and not carrying large amounts of cash with you. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.

Health in Negombo

It’s recommended that tourists take the necessary vaccines, mainly Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid. Mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in some parts of Sri Lanka, so it’s crucial to bring mosquito repellents and nets.

Getting to Negombo: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Negombo

The Bandaranaike International Airport is located just 7 km away, making Negombo easily accessible by air.

Bus Stations Near Negombo

The Negombo bus station is located in the heart of the city, and its routes connect to other major destinations in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Kandy, Galle, and Jaffna.

Other Options

Another popular option is to hire a private driver to explore Sri Lanka, which offers flexibility and comfort.

How to Get Around in Negombo

The best way to get around Negombo is by tuk-tuk, which is affordable and widely available. Alternatively, you can also rent a bike or scooter, depending on your comfort level.

Where to Go Next from Negombo: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Colombo - The bustling capital city of Sri Lanka is just a 30-minute drive from Negombo and is home to some of the country’s most important cultural and historical sites.
  • Kandy - Known for its cultural heritage and scenic beauty, Kandy is a favorite destination of locals and tourists alike, located just 3 hours away from Negombo.
  • Sigiriya - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya is a marvelous fortress carved out of rock and located about 4 hours drive away from Negombo.


Negombo is a fantastic destination for travelers looking to relax by the beach, explore Sri Lanka’s cultural sites, and indulge in its delicious cuisine. With its rich history, local customs, and stunning natural landscapes, Negombo offers something for everyone. Start planning your visit to Negombo today and experience the beauty of Sri Lanka’s Western Province.