Negombo is a coastal city that is one of Sri Lanka’s largest economic centres, known for the Dutch Canal that runs through the heart of the city, its centuries-old fishing industry, and for the beaches that run along its western coast. While the country was still under Dutch rule, it was also an important source of cinnamon production. Known as “Little Rome” to some locals, the largest demographic in Negombo is its Roman Catholic population, and it is home to a number of churches. The city is located an easy 15-minute drive from the Bandaranaike International Airport, and is a very popular first stop for tourists arriving into Sri Lanka.
The beaches in Negombo are popular for both tourists and locals, offering a number of activities such as kite surfing, sailing, windsurfing and jet skiing. Couples stroll along the shores at sunset, and after dark you can find locals racing into the waves for a midnight swim. The beach is lined with restaurants that boast fresh seafood straight from the ocean to your plate, as well as several little local stores that are often frequented by tourists looking to find souvenirs. The city comes alive with its vibrant nightlife, but due to Negombo’s close proximity to the airport, it is also a popular final stop for tourists who want to relax by the beach before their flights.