Galle (pronounced ‘gawl’ in English, and ‘gaar-le’ in Sinhala) is the big unamicable destination in the south. It’s at once endlessly exotic, bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds, and yet also, with its wonderful collection of Dutch-colonial buildings, a town of great beauty. Classic architecture melds with a dramatic tropical setting to create a reality that is endlessly interesting.
Above all else, Galle is a city of trade and, increasingly, art. Today the historic Fort area is crammed full of little boutique shops, cafes and hotels owned by local and foreign artists, writers, photographers, designers and poets – a third of the houses are owned by foreigners.
Built by the Dutch, beginning in 1663, the 36-hectare Fort occupies most of a promontory that’s surrounded on three sides by the ocean. Just wandering the old walls and streets at random yields one architectural surprise after another as you explore the amazing collection of structures dating back through the centuries. Its glories have earned the Fort status as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
A key part of the Fort’s allure, however, is that it isn’t just a pretty place. Rather, it remains a working community: there are administrative offices, courts, export companies, lots of regular folks populating the streets and a definite buzz of energy in the air.
Galle is easily reached as a day trip from Colombo and is a quick drive from the nearby beach towns of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, but to really savor the place, stay within the atmospheric walls of the Fort.
Things to Do:
Old Town of Galle / Japanese Peace Pagoda / Bike Tours / Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex / Jungle Beach / Unawatuna Beach / Dutch Reformed Church / Rumasalla Mountain / Galle Fort Lighthouse / Clock Tower / Photo Shoots / Relax on Beach / BBQ Nights / Romantic Dinner Plans / Family Enjoyment
Approximately Time & Distance from Colombo: 2 h 7 min (126.0 km)
Province: Southern Province | District: Galle District
Luxury Hotels in Area:
Unawatuna Beach Resort | Approximately Price Range: 140 to 150 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Coral Sands Hotel | Approximately Price Range: 80 to 90 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Normal Hotels in Area:
Rock Fort Hotel | Approximately Price Range: 60 to 70 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Club Koggala Village | Approximately Price Range: 60 to 70 USD | Click here to see the hotel