Negombo is a seaside city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, known to be a bit chaotic. The city is mostly used as a layover at the beginning or end of people’s travel journeys in Sri Lanka. Before I visited Negombo in Sri Lanka, I didn’t really know what to expect of it.
However, I quickly learned that Negombo is actually a really nice place to visit! Especially if you seek out the places less traveled. To me, it felt a lot more authentic than other places we visited in Sri Lanka.
There is a different kind of vibe here and it doesn’t feel overly touristic. It’s calmer than the capital city of Colombo, yet there is still a lot to do in the buzzing city of Negombo. That’s why you should definitely visit this place on your next trip to Sri Lanka!
It would be best to spend at least a couple of days here. But where should you stay, what should you do and where should you eat and drink? Read on to find out how to spend 48 hours in Negombo, Sri Lanka.
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How to get to Negombo in Sri Lanka?
The main international airport in Sri Lanka is Bandaranaike International Airport. Negombo is actually closer to the main international airport than the capital city of Colombo. It’s also a much better place to relax after getting off your flight.
It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach Negombo from the airport, which is extremely convenient. It also makes Negombo a great place to stay before your upcoming flight or after you’ve just arrived in Sri Lanka.
Where to stay in Negombo in Sri Lanka?
There are several great accommodations in Negombo. For a unique experience, I would suggest staying at one of the following places:
Mango Japanese Guest House
I would highly suggest staying at Mango Japanese Guest House. When we arrived at this guest house, our taxi driver even said: ”How did you find this place!?” He told us that he had worked in the tourism industry in Negombo for years, but had never been to this area before.
Mango Japanese Guest House is located in a residential area. The garden of the guesthouse is a true work of art. It’s a complete oasis of calmness and beauty and you will find all kinds of birds here. This is especially unique for a busy and chaotic place like Negombo.
You can explore the area by cycling around, as the guesthouse offers bikes free of charge. Or you can just relax and have a refreshing dip in the swimming pool.
Although this guesthouse is set in a more quiet area, there are enough food options nearby. If you’re craving more Western food, you can get food at Bella Vista (very good pizza and pasta) or Burgary (great burgers).
In case you want to eat more authentic Sri Lankan food, there are a lot of options around and the guesthouse owner will happily give you a few suggestions. Click here for the latest prices!
Another great place to stay at is Randoni Villa. We actually spent our very first day in Sri Lanka at this place! This guesthouse is run by a very kind family and it has a gorgeous view over a lagoon (which is home to 2 crocodiles).
Again, this place is far away from traffic noises. The first night we slept here, there were even a couple of monkeys on our roof.
What’s even better is that delicious breakfast is included when you stay here. And staying here is possible at a very affordable price. For more information about its prices, have a look over here.
Dickman Resort Boutique Hotel
If you’re seeking a more luxurious option, opt for Dickman Resort Boutique Hotel. This is a really beautiful and characteristic adult-only hotel. It has great staff, a swimming pool and is located nearby Negombo beach. Have a look over here for the latest prices and more.
What to do in Negombo in Sri Lanka?
There is a lot do in Negombo. If you’re staying here for a couple of days I would suggest doing the following:
Relax at the beaches
The beaches in Negombo are a lot nicer than I expected them to be. They’re generally very clean, wide and the sand has a golden color. The best time to visit the beaches, such as Negombo Beach and Browns Beach, is during sunset.
Another beach nearby that is worth visiting is called Dungalpitiya Beach. This is a less crowded beach ideal to go for a walk or just relax at.
Visit the Negombo lagoon
Negombo Lagoon is a large esturian lagoon which is linked to the sea. It’s worth visiting Negombo Lagoon as you can spot birdlife, monkeys and sometimes even reptiles here. You can also take a boat ride over the lagoon to get the full mangrove experience.
If you’re looking for a boat tour, I would recommend contacting Captain Fernando Negombo Boat Tours, who has many great testimonials.
Have a massage at Jasmin Villa
Jasmin Villa was hands down the best spa we have been to in Sri Lanka. The inside of the spa is beautiful and the service is very good. This was also the only massage in Sri Lanka where the massage was actually done with more pressure (which I had requested).
After your massage you can also enjoy a herbal or steam bath here. A full body massage will cost you 5000 Rupees, while a herbal bath will cost you 2000 Rupees.
Another Ayurvedic treatment I can really recommend having here is Shirodhara. This is also referred to as a Third-Eye massage. During this treatment, hot oil will be poured on your third eye (above your eyes) in a special way.
I’m not an expert on how this thousands of years old ritual works, and I did not know what to expect at all, but I can tell you that I felt more than calm after this treatment.
Visit St. Mary’s Church
If you would like to visit a historical sight in Negombo, bring a visit to St. Mary’s Church. This Catholic church has a beautiful interior and is home to colorful paintings.
It’s one of the oldest and most well-known churches in the country and is a significant religious and cultural landmark.
It was first built by the Portuguese in the late 16th century and was later expanded and renovated by the Dutch in the 18th century. The current building dates back to the early 20th century and is an example of Neo-Baroque architecture.
Cycle around Negombo
One of the most fun things we did in Negombo, was riding a bike. It felt a little dangerous at first, even as Dutch people who are used to cycling every day. But it definitely was a great way to explore Negombo!
Do keep in mind that you have to ride on the left side of the road and please pay attention while cycling.
If you stay at Mango Japanese Guest House, you can use their bikes for free. If you’re interested in a bicycle tour, I would recommend joining one of Enviro Bicycle Tours.
Where to eat and drink in Negombo in Sri Lanka?
There are so many places to drink and eat in Negombo, it’s a bit difficult to choose where to go. That’s why I recommend going to the following places in Negombo:
Have drinks at the rooftop bar of Regal Reseau
If youre seeking a feeling of luxury, head over to Regal Reseau. They have a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking their infinity pool and the beach.
Just sitting here, sipping a cocktail and enjoying the sunset, is priceless. Cocktails here have Western (more expensive) prices.
Have dinner at Queen’s Restaurant
This restaurant is another great option for delicious food in Negombo. They have a bit of everything. A beer here will cost you around 450 Rupees, while a meal will only set you back around 1000 Rupees.
Have lunch at Salt Restaurant
For a more classy setting, head over to Salt Restaurant. This restaurant has an open-show kitchen and serves good quality food. The prices may be a little higher, but the excellent cuisine and attentive staff make up for this.
Eat seafood at Ocean 14
This is a family run restaurant located on the beach. It’s simple, yet they offer delicious (sea)food at a very affordable price. A meal here will cost you around 2-3 euros (800-1200 Sri Lankan Rupees). With a free sea view included.
Negombo in Sri Lanka is an authentic seaside city worth visiting. Here you can visit golden beaches, have a boat ride on its lagoon and eat excellent seafood.
You can even go on an adventure by exploring Negombo on a bicycle. Or you can have a (third-eye) massage at Jasmin Villa to relax after or before your flight.
And it’s only 15-20 minutes away from the airport! All in all, Negombo is a great place to visit during your travels in Sri Lanka.
Have you ever been to Negombo? Or are you going to visit Negombo soon? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Away with Danae
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