Located only 20 minutes drive from Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo Airport), Negombo is a perfect stop before or after an international flight. It is a fishing town with decent beaches, a pretty lagoon, canals, and Dutch architecture. There’s a clutch of good value restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, as well as small boutiques that trace the same line as the larger hotels. In Negombo town you’ll find an effervescent fish market, which is worth exploring if you have time, along with a selection of colourfully adorned fishing boats that make fantastic photographs.
Inland, there are a couple of beautiful boutique properties near Gampaha: The Pineapple Villa and The Wallawwa, both offering serene luxury at different levels with gorgeous tropical garden surroundings.
For something more traditional, Horathapola Estate in Wadumunnegedara ticks the boxes – Set within a large working coconut plantation, Horathapola is a plantation bungalow converted into a guesthouse, complete with antique furniture, old photos and white washed walls.
Further up the coast you’ll hit Chilaw and Waikkal, both great options for those looking to completely switch off during their beach stay. The Anantaya Resort & Spa Chilaw is a great 4* hotel next to Chilaw Lagoon with a beautiful pool area, whereas the 5* Wattura Resort and Spa Waikkal is a brand new luxury boutique wellness resort, consisting of villas and suites with private butler service and a 1.5km private beach and luxury spa.