What to do and Where to stay in
Colombo & Surrounding Area

Ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Sri Lanka’s capital city is steeped in history with an eclectic mix of architecture. Today Colombo is a cosmopolitan city, growing fast with stylish new restaurants, shops and art galleries. North of Colombo lies Negombo. Once an old fishing village, it boasts a cluster of good 4-5* hotels which line the long golden beach. As the gateway to the Cultural Triangle, it is a popular stopover and can feel busy, but is undoubtedly a good base only a short hop from the airport. South of Colombo are the coastal resorts of Bentota, Kalutara and Hikkaduwa with mile upon mile of golden sandy beaches flanked by resort hotels and guesthouses.

Experiences in Colombo & Surrounding Area

Most visitors miss Colombo and head straight to one of the nearby beaches, but Sri Lanka’s capital has much to offer and a walking tour is a great way to explore. Carefully restored colonial buildings sit alongside modern skyscrapers in Fort, the city’s commercial district, while the bustling Pettah district is the city’s vibrant shopping hub. An evening stroll along the Galle Face Green promenade offers a snapshot of local life where families gather to eat from the street food stalls and enjoy the sunset. For foodies, Colombo also offers some great street food tours or why not learn how to cook authentic Sri Lankan cuisine with a cooking class?

Nestled between a lagoon and the sea, Negombo was Sri Lanka’s first beach resort and is today a popular stopover at the beginning or end of a tour.  Aside from its long sandy beach, it has a thriving fishing industry and the lively fish market is best visited early in the morning as the local fishermen bring in the catch of the day.  There are some interesting remnants of Negombo’s colonial past such as the Catholic churches, the Dutch canals which can be explored by boat and the old Dutch Fort which is now part of the local prison.

 South of Colombo the coastal road seems to go on forever, but eventually after an hour or so, you start to get glimpses of the beautiful beaches with swaying palm trees and small coves. This part of the island is one of the most developed with plentiful accommodation from local guest houses to large resorts, and while perhaps not best suited to those looking to get off the beaten track there is plenty on offer here. Bentota is one of the most popular resort towns with a wide sandy beach and calm lagoon making it perfect for water-sports including waterskiing, jetskiing, speed-boating, windsurfing and canoeing.  Further south, Hikkaduuwa is famed for its surf along with good diving and snorkelling.



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