Trendy restaurants and boutique hotels
Head to Colombo if you're looking for historic streets, luxury hotels and a bit of nightlife, or if you're just wanting a stopover after your flight, the nearby beach town of Negombo is a better bet
Colombo isn't an obvious tourist destination. The busy streets are filled with traffic and exhaust fumes, there aren't really many must-see attractions, and you certainly don't come here for the beach life. Yet what it lacks in sightseeing appeal it makes up for in entertainment options, with trendy restaurants, boutique hotels and a thriving nightlife scene. It's also built around an impressive natural harbour which is certainly worth admiring.
The rest of Sri Lanka is all about relaxing on beaches, exploring tea plantations and going back in time at the many archaeological sites peppered around the island, so whilst Colombo isn't the calmest place to be, for anyone wanting to delve into urban life for a bit of contrast, it is worth spending a day here.
A good introduction to Sri Lanka's past is the National Museum, and there are plenty of art galleries, boutique shops, Buddhist temples and colonial churches to keep you occupied. Stroll down tree-lined avenues through historical districts or pop into the shopping malls for a bit of retail therapy. Head to the famous Galle Face Green, an open space overlooking the Indian Ocean, for a bit of fresh air, or visit downtown Colombo if you're after restaurants and souvenir shopping.
Most newly arrived visitors in Sri Lanka choose to stay overnight in Negombo if they're in need of a stopover. This large, busy seaside town is much closer to the international airport than Colombo, and far less intimidating, and is packed with resorts, hotels and guesthouses. The town itself has little to attract tourists, but the beach stretches for miles and makes a great setting for your first Sri Lankan sunset. The sand isn't always pristine, and the waves are often rough, but that doesn't really matter. The rest of the island you're about to explore will make up for that in spades.
Ultimate Family Holiday in Sri Lanka
- South Coast
- 10 Days
- £2230 PP
- View Trip
Tea plantations, temples and tropical forests
- Gal Oya
- Nuwara Eliya
- 12 Days
- £2200 PP
- View Trip
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