About the City
That doubles as a historical hotspot, Negombo is full of old world charm, folklore, fishing and friendly people. Once a great trading stop known for honey and spices Negombo is now better known for its fishing port and sunny beaches.
Located approximately 37km north of the commercial capital of Colombo, the famous city of Negombo is only 7km away from the International Airport in Katunayake. Negombo was formally a small fishing village, now well known for its huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets. The large fish market called the ‘Lellama’ located to the north of the town’s lagoon is the second largest fish market in the country, only second to the Colombo fish market. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area’s fishermen and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond.
Negombo is one of the most famous beach resorts in Sri Lanka with some of the finest sandy beaches on the west coast. Negombo offers a wide range of accommodation for tourists, ranging from home stays and guest houses to large luxury hotels with all modern facilities. This small vibrant tourist town is also famous for fine restaurants, a variety of pubs and a vibrant night life; there are also local handicrafts, batiks and jewellery boutiques on the beach and in the city for the eager shopper.
Due to its close proximity to the International Airport, Negombo has become an important destination for spending the first and last couple of nights at the start or end of a tour. Also for the traveler without time to linger, Negombo is the best town to taste beach life and enjoy a few day excursions to some famous attractions in the country such as Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla etc.
Negombo was a historic town with many legacies of its Portugese and Dutch settlers. Remains of its foreign rule include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as the centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, administrative buildings, and churches. A majority of the community too are still Roman Catholics due to the influence of the Portuguese. The 100 km long canal network running through the city built by the Dutch for transportation purposes is still used, outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. The shores of the canal are a habitat for rich birdlife and boat trips in the canals are a famous activity for tourists staying in the area.
Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fishermen and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also popular among visitors, with a few well-preserved coral reefs and a 50-year-old shipwreck (Kudapaduwa) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. The Muthurajawela marshland is one of the other attractions in the area, which is part of a 6,000-hectare (14,826-acre) protected marshland, home to over 190 species of wildlife. Many nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts visit Muthurajawela to see and experience the rich biodiversity of the sanctuary.
Map of the City