Negombo is situated just north of Colombo and is one of the region's most popular beach resorts. As such, Negombo is a handy place to start or finish a Sri Lanka holiday, thanks to the proximity to the Bandaranaike International Airport. The beaches here are some of the best on the west coast of Sri Lanka, with stretches of empty golden sand sat side by side with busy fishermen and their nets. Diving is popular and an old wreck just offshore serves as a reef for many interesting corals and species of fish.
The city of Negombo is also worth a visit. Notably quieter than Colombo yet still bustling with energy, there are reminders of the European colonial days when Negombo was the centre of the cinnamon trade. The intricate canal system implemented by the Dutch and a Portuguese fort ruin are the most obvious reminders, as well as the prominence of Catholicism in the city - the grand buildings of St. Sebastian's Church is well worth a visit.