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Updated by Roland Lefevre (Uditha Dharmawardhane) on May 08, 2015
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Places of Interest In Negombo - Top Attractions in Seaside Hamlet Negombo

Dubbed the Little Rome of Sri Lanka Negombo is a beach holiday destination lined with intriguing attractions. From ancient churches to iconic forts the area's top highlight are as follows.


Negombo Lagoon and Beaches

Revered as one of the island's most popular beach holiday destinations no visit to Negombo would be complete without a day spent at the lagoon which has lent the city its name. The breathtaking lagoon is one of the many natural attributes worthy of exploration in this ancient colonial stronghold which is littered with stunning beaches at every turn. Pristine white, sandy beaches are a hallmark of this sunny seaside hamlet where clear waters perfect for swimming activities and sunbathing dominate the landscape.


Remnants of Negombo's Colonial Past

As a cultural epicentre close to the capital Colombo, Negombo is home to a rich cultural and architectural heritage dating back to its colonial eras under the Dutch as well as the Portuguese. The remnants of the colonial rulers' contributions to the city are still visible today and are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the coastal town. Highlights include The Dutch Fort which dates back centuries and served as a monumental defence structure during the Dutch colonial period. As an architectural marvel for the ages this iconic fortress draws visitors in large numbers even today. Built as early as 1672 the Dutch Fort serves as a landmark that is still synonymous with the city Negombo. The Dutch Canal in contrast is perhaps a lesser known colonial remnant which stretches across 100km. Serving as the main trading route on which imported/exported goods services crossed paths river cruises of the canal are available to offer visitors an in-depth look at the ancient trading route.


City of Churches

Affectionately dubbed the "Little Rome" of Sri Lanka since colonial time Negombo also holds the honour of having more churches per square kilometre than any other location on the island. Lined with towering catholic religious edifices the streets of Negombo are home to some of the island's oldest and most prolific catholic and Christian institutions. Some of the must-see highlights include St. Mary's Church which is incidentally the biggest cathedral in all of Sri Lanka. Other church attractions include the Grand Street Church, one of Sri Lanka's biggest parishes, the Sea Street Church and the Katuwapitiya Church. St. Anthony's Church, St. Peter's Church and St. Joseph's Church are also worthy of visiting for their breathtaking architecture and history.


Water Sports Hotspots

A vacation in Negombo would truly be incomplete without a stopover at its best water sports hubs. A scuba diver's haven Negombo is one of the island's top diving destinations. Whether one is a novice or experienced diver popular diving spots including Pearl Reef and Barracuda Reef offer glimpses of marine species the likes of blue stripe snappers and goldline spinetreks. The Shark Pit is another highlight for divers exploring the coastal waters off Negombo during the peak diving season from May to October. Windsurfing, sailing and water skiing activities are also available in venues such as Club Hotel Dolphin or any other reputable hotel Negombo ranks among its best rests.


Top Restaurants

As a culinary heartland along Sri Lanka's southern coast a tour of Negombo would truly be amiss without dining in the city's top restaurants. Specializing in seafood fare and southern regional cuisine of the island food lovers should dine at Amerhula and Salwa where crab curries and other local recipes can be enjoyed. The Pearl Restaurant and King Coconut are other fantastic restaurants in Negombo while the Lords Restaurant is another icon in the city's dining scene.