Situated on the coast north of the airport, Negombo, founded by the Moors, is now a predominately Catholic enclave. The architectural remnants of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial years make it an interesting place for a stroll. Attractions include decent beaches, colorful buildings, fisherfolk putting out to sea in outrigger sailboats and even a canal dug by the Dutch in the 18th century. The city itself can be seen on a day trip from Colombo, or a stop on the way to the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Be sure to sample some of the fresh catches.

Negombo is a fascinating area to visit during Christian holidays. Sri Lankan Christians pay homage to the saints with an enchanting blend of Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism. Negombo, however, is crowded with package resort hotels—the beaches to the south are better and definitely less crowded. 30 mi/55 km north of Colombo.

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