Galle – Amazing Things, Delicious Food, and Heavenly Hotels

Galle is a town of color, texture, and sensation unlike anywhere else in Asia!!!

This historical coastal city on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka was founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese and later conquered by the Dutch and the British. Galle was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988 by UNESCO.

It is at once endlessly exotic—bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds—and yet vaguely familiar, with its collection of slowly decaying Dutch-colonial buildings.

“The best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and southeast Asia”

UNESCO

The charming Old Town of Galle is known for a gentle meld of European architecture and South Asian traditions. Like a whimsical medieval European town deposited in the tropics. The little streets and churches look like they could be right out of an old town in Portugal or the Netherlands.

If you haven’t checked out Galle Fort yet, you must go soon!

The view from the top of the wall is stunning, and the history priceless. Once you finish there, shack up in one of many luxurious seaside resorts. Or take a dip in the ocean!

A truly unique experience you don’t want to miss!

Things to Do

1. The Galle Fort 

The Main Gate is a relatively new addition. Built in the year 1873 by the Portuguese, it helped control heavy traffic flowing into the old town. The Old Gate has the British coat of arms topping the entrance. On the inside, you will find the letters VOC inscribed, which stands for Verenigde Oostindische Campgnie or United East Indian Company.

Galle Fort is truly one-of-a-kind!

Required time2-5 hours (Depending on what you chose to do)
CostFree of charge
Opening hoursEvery day 5:30 am to 10 pm
LocationGalle (Clearly visible from the city center)
Getting inTake a tuk-tuk or walk from city center

Below we list some of top attractions within the walls of fort:

Section of Galle Fort Walls

1.1 Galle National Museum

The National Museum of Galle is housed in the Fort’s oldest remaining building. A single storey building in traditional colonnaded Dutch style.

Museum is home to collections from Portuguese, Dutch, and British periods including an exciting collection of Dutch furniture and weapons!

There is also a gallery dedicated to the historical trade relations between China and Sri Lanka, which was flourishing much before the colonization by Europeans.

Required time1 hour
CostRs 300 for adults and Rs 150 for children
Opening hoursTuesday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm
(closed on holidays)
Location17 Church Street, Galle Fort, Galle

1.2 National Maritime Museum

The most modern of all museums in Sri Lanka, the National Maritime Museum is a delightful place to visit!

The 2004 Tsunami completely destroyed the museum. All belongings and expositions were damaged. The rebuilt museum depicts types of watercrafts used in passenger transport, fishing boats with displays and models.

A gallery section also focuses on marine ecosystem and its flora and fauna. Exhibits include marine artifacts, maps, naval crafts, beer mugs, smoking pipes, earthenware, ropes, artillery guns, sailor shoes, and many others.

Required time1-2 hours
CostRs 300 for adults and Rs 150 for children
Opening hoursTuesday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm
(closed on holidays)
LocationQueens Street, Galle Fort, Galle

1.3 Clock Tower

This iconic Clock Tower of Galle Fort was built in 1883.

The story goes that the Clock Tower was paid for through public subscriptions by the people of Galle, in recognition of Dr. P. D. Anthonisz who served as the Colonial Surgeon for the Southern Province. The clock itself was gifted by a thankful patient.

1.4 Dutch Reformed Church (Groote Kerk)

Now located near the entrance of Galle Fort – on the highest point in the Galle fort – The Groote Kerk was originally constructed in 1640 close to the Clock Tower. The building that stands today was built around 1750. An organ from 1760 and a beautiful pulpit built using calamander wood are still available to view.

Visit on a Sunday and you can participate in the Service!

Required time1 hour (unless you are going for the service)
CostFree of charge (You can donate to the church)
Opening hours8.30 am to 5 pm
LocationChurch Street, Galle Fort , Galle

1.5 Dutch Government House

The Dutch Government House is right opposite of the Old Lloyd’s Post Office or the Dutch Church. Over the gate you can check out the carved date of built which is 1683, and the cockerel crest of Galle. Sadly the building was abandoned a few years ago, and you cannot enter it now, however, the building inside features a grand staircase and wonderful chandeliers. View at your own risk – legend says it is haunted!

1.6 Flag Rock

An important Portuguese bastion, Flag Rock lies close to the eastern section of the fort. The Dutch used this bastion to warn approaching ships of dangerous rocks, hence the name Flag Rock, if further warnings were needed, musket shots were fired.

Today, you can see daredevil locals – famously known as “Galle Cliff Jumpers” – leaping into the water from the rocks.

You can enjoy the scenes with numerous vendors selling good street food from carts. Try fresh papaya with chilli powder – a truly unique delight!

1.7 Historical Mansion museum

Famous for its colonial artifacts, this privately owned museum is a good to visit destination inside the Fort. Expect to see many interesting antique items like old typewriters, jewelry, spectacles, and VOC china.

This Mansion serves more like an antique store, rather than a museum, but make sure to check out the walls where the plaster was removed to show the structure of the building.

Required time1 hour
CostFree of charge
Opening hours9 am to 6 pm
Location31-39 Leyn Baan Street, Galle Fort , Galle

1.8 Galle Fort Lighthouse

The Galle Lighthouse is the Sri Lanka’s oldest light station dating back to 1848. However, the original building was destroyed in a fire in 1934 and it was rebuilt later in 1939. 

The Galle Fort Lighthouse is hard to miss.  You can climb on the ramparts, but entry inside the Lighthouse is prohibited.

The lighthouse makes for an excellent place to watch the sunset!

1.9 All Saints Anglican Church

A must visit place in the Galle Fort, All Saints Anglican Church is a beautiful, old church with memorial plaques shedding light on its history. This beautiful church is admired by thousands of tourists.

The church was built in 1868 and consecrated in 1871. The original building still stands and the church holds services even today.

1.10 Meeran Mosque

Meeran Mosque is an amazing architectural site near the Lighthouse. Locals reveal that the mosque was built over 300 years ago! The mosque has an exquisite white washed structure, the windows, doors and facades have stained glass windows. Inside you will find vibrant floor tiles, magnificent chandeliers and woodworks. The walls have amazing floral motifs.

What an amazing view by sunset! The sun will paint the white walls orange and red, and you can enjoy all the surrounding buildings’ beauty as well.

1.11 Bastions

The Point Utrecht Bastion is near the end of the eastern wall. The lighthouse, which was constructed in 1938, sits atop the bastion. Don’t forget your camera! The photos here are superb.

Oldest of all Fort bastions, Zwart Bastion lies just beyond the old gate. Zwart Bastion is also called the Black Bastion. The Portuguese are credited with building this structure. Locals say the bastions once were used as secret pathways outside the fort, however, there are no evidence of this today. Maybe they are just very well hidden!

1.12 The Ramparts

The ramparts are prominent features of the town as it showcases the interaction of European and local architecture, with a few changes scattered throughout. The layout and dimensions are based on regional meteorology. A mixture of coral and granite comprise the walls. You can walk around and experience the mix of tropical integrity and European history. Many restaurants and local shops are open all year around for you to indulge in.

” Built by the Portuguese in 1588, the fort is recognised for its unification of European architecture and South Asian heritage “

Dynamiclives

2. Go Blue Whale Watching from Mirissa

Arrange a reasonable transport from your hotel in Galle, and travel to Mirissa, which is barely 1 hour far away from the city, and you will reach a place of water paradise. You need to take a boat to watch whales and dolphins, which you can easily find near the beach and can even book it in advance.

Whale watching Mirissa would be a magnificent experience for you. Your tour will let you watch different types of whales, including Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, Fin Whales, Killer Whales, and Bryde’s Whales in the deep blue sea. Imagine what it would feel like watching a 100 feet long blue whale from so close because it will happen with you when you enter the waters. As per the resources, even the tongue of this animal is more substantial than an elephant, so you shouldn’t hesitate to spend 3-5 hours there to witness gorgeous sea creatures.

Other than whales, you will get a chance to play with friendly Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins, Striped Dolphins, and Bottlenose Dolphins, and pleasing display of turtles, Bluefin Tuna, and Flying Fish will make your day for sure. Keep in mind one thing you may not watch all species at once, because it somehow depends on weather conditions, too.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Duration: 3-5 hours

Cost: 4500-6000 LKR (per person), but the ticket price of kids is half and even free by a few boat owners.

Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: Mirissa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: You can take a ticket for a bus/train to reach Mirissa from Galle, which is about 45 minutes to 1 hour far from the place.

3. Hop on the Train

The vital railway track, the coastal line, runs between Colombo Fort and Beliatta, via Galle and Matara, and Galle Railway Station works as a terminus station, so trains stay here for a while. There are two types of tickets; reserved and unreserved, and the majority of passengers prefer the latter one as they can sit freely on any seat. You will reach Colombo Fort Station from Galle, but in the meantime, you will experience worth exploring adventures. You can book tickets online one month before your departure, but you can buy 1 hour before you start your journey.

Well, if you want to grab a window seat, make sure to hop on the train right after the gates open for passengers. Being the crowded station, you have to make your way by yourself. You will encounter many vendors in the train selling different products, from edible items to storybooks to other stuff for kids, so you can buy anything you need there.

If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you will encounter delightful and eye-catchy views throughout your ride, because the train crosses many beaches, river estuaries, houses, buildings, roads, and prominent landmarks. Though the trains are traditional, still, using the coastal railway, which runs all along the coast is not less than a treat to watch.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Duration: 2.5 hours

Cost: 100-400 LKR (depends on which class ticket you are willing to buy)

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours

Address: Galle 80000, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Grasp a cab or tuk-tuk/rickshaw to reach the station from your hotel/accommodation.

4. Day trip to Sinharaja Forest Reserve

A significant eco-tourism destination in Sri Lanka, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Lion King) is a world heritage and biodiversity location, and it is among a few virgin rain forests in the universe. Resided on over 11,000 hectares; this beautiful ecological treasure features numerous worthwhile exhibitions to explore, and it stunningly displays flora and fauna in the place.

Declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, Sinharaja bordered by Korskulana Ganga River in the north and the Gin Ganga River in the south, and it served as a royal reserve in the past. With over 130 bird species, including Jungle Fowl, Malabar Trogon, Skaly Thrush, Brown Capped Babbler, and Spot Wing Thrush, the place draws visitors from all around the globe, and it also highlights reptilians and insects of different species along with endemic plants. Moreover, mammals, including langur monkey and giant squirrels, also enhance the charm of the environment. You should unveil the adorable mysteries of the land on foot, and never forget to hire a guide because it’s near to impossible to discover the entire area by yourself.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Duration: 5-6 hours

Cost: 1000 for guide, 600-650 LKR per person (adult), and 325 per person (kid)

Opening Hours: 6:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: Sinharaja Access Road, Mederipitiya, Deniyaya, Galle, Sri Lanka

How to get there: A private taxi/cab from your accommodation would be perfect, but you can also book a guide agency that can pick you up from your location.

5. Kanneliya Rain Forest Reserve

The largest KDN forest complex (Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya), is probably the world’s most influential bio-diverse area, and it houses over 75 villages. It features fabulous flora and fauna, so get ready to view snakes, monkeys, birds, plants, flowers, chameleons, and tropical trees. Furthermore, you can see many amphibians and reptiles over there, too.

Positioned between Gin Ganga River and Nilwala Ganga River, Kanneliya Rain Forest Reserve features over 100 species of bird, and 16 are indigenous, including Blue Magpie, Spot-winged Thrush, and Green-billed Coucal. Moreover, you can also witness the famous Anagimale fall, which is around 2 km away from the entrance of Kanneliya Reserve, and there is also a natural pool for swimming and enjoying. It would be the perfect place for your kids.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 3-5 hours

Cost: Adult/child = 575/290

Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: Wackwella Road, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Kanneliya is about 36 km far from Galle, and a three-wheeler rickshaw will take you to the place with ease. However, you can hire a private taxi, too.

6. Kottawa Conservation Forest

If nature and ecology fascinate you, Kottawa Conservation Forest is 100% for you, because it’s highly informative and engaging for ecologists. This beautiful patch of evergreen solitude has an accessible trail, and it allows you to walk peacefully among the trees, where you will see the signs of identification, too.

A wet evergreen forest exhibits various iconic species of flora and fauna, and many of them are endemic to Sri Lanka. Well, some of the gorgeous floral and faunal species include the wild wal-duriyan fruit, insect-eater plants, pitcher plant, tree snail, green viper, monkeys, and kangaroo lizards. Moreover, you will encounter a plethora of leeches that can hinder your trip, so you should wear comfortable shoes, socks, and if possible, rub salt on your feet and legs to prevent from them.

There are three different trails in the forest, and it’s up to you which one you want to go first. Please, take a guide with you, or else, you will not get the maximum benefit from your trip.

Rating: 3.9/5.0

Duration: 1.5-3 hours

Cost: 500 LKR

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: Udugama Road, Sri Lanka

How to get there: The Conservation Forest is in Galle District, so a private taxi or a three-wheeler will be the right option.

7. Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex

Sinhalese author, who was and is still respectable to Sri Lankans, Martin Wickramasinghe, has written 14 novels and 104 short stories for his audience. His magnificent work has well-preserved in his house, which is now open for public, and people called it as Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex. Placed in Koggala, a few moments away from Galle, the place depicts not only the lifestyle and artwork of Martin, but it also highlights the masterpieces of local and international artists.

The museum features short shrubs, tall trees, beautiful birds with musical voices, and a book shop that sells the work of Wickramasinghe, and you will get cultural souvenirs, too. Keep in mind that you can’t wear shoes inside the house of Martin, and it is advisable to hire a guide who will provide accurate info regarding the author and his home.

When it comes to décor, the Dutch-style architecture highlights the whitewashed walls with square bricks on floors, and the house is around 200 years old. This museum of cultural artifacts is one of the promising attractions in Sri Lanka that you should never skip at any cost.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: 200-300 LKR

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: Galle-Matara Main Road, Koggala, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Hire a private cab to reach Martin Museum from your hotel.

8. Watch a Game of Cricket at Galle International Cricket Stadium

Are you a fan of cricket? If yes, make sure to hit the ground of Galle International Cricket Stadium, which mesmerizing and ideal location will melt your heart. Fringed on two sides of the Indian Ocean, located outside the Galle Fort, the stadium is not so enormous, but it’s the prominent one in Sri Lanka. Though it is not possible to get a chance to watch a cricket match every day, however, you can still enter and walk in the ground to discover the charm of the landmark.

Nobody will stop you to visit the stadium, and you can take pictures to make your trip memorable. Destroyed in 2004 by Tsunami, now you can’t tell if it’s a renovated version or not, because the government of Sri Lanka had restored it within a short time, and around 35,000 cricket enthusiasts can watch the match at once.

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: Colombo Road, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka

How to get there: By car, you will need only 11 minutes to reach the stadium if you take Colombo Road.

9. Galle Harbor

Became notable after the 12th century, Galle Harbor is in use for 200 years, and it is still working as a vital port in Sri Lanka. A remarkably natural harbor located on the southwestern coast of the country, it is the only place where you will get the facilities for pleasure yachts, and it’s among the most crowded ports in the world.

Though Colombo Port is now the biggest harbor in the country, however, it still handles ships and boats, s nobody can deny its importance for Sri Lanka. In the vicinity of Galle Harbor, you will find several bars and culinary scenes to kill your appetite. Many maritime archeologists visit this place for research about historic naval transportation, and that’s why this location is still one of the top-notch tourist attractions even after facing 2004 Tsunami that destructed a lot of the area of Galle Port.

Rating: 4.3/5.0

Duration: 2-4 hours

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Galle Harbor, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Grab a three-wheeler to visit Galle Harbor. It will not be too far from your accommodation for sure.

10. The Kaduruduwa Temple

Surrounded by paddy fields, Kaduruduwa Temple is a sacred and religious place, where history-freaks would love to go, and the remarkable attraction in the temple is its 10-meter-high statue of seated Buddha. You can view it even from a distance, and the nearby areas are also enthralling to discover.

When it comes to the appearance of the building, it is quite engaging because of captivating murals, paintings, and exhibits. The whitewashed dome-shaped architecture is worth praising, and the garden area is serene and mesmerizing.

Rating: 3.8/5.0

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: Free, but you can donate money for maintenance

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM

Address: Kaduruduwa Temple, Galle, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Take a rickshaw ride to reach there.

11. Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya

Erected during the time of King Devanam, Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple in Galle and near Unawatuna, and this worship site draws a lot of tourists every year. The pre-eminent attractions in the place include a giant statue of Samadhi Buddha, Bodhi Tree, garden area, and rocked-style architecture. The façade of the temple is appealing, but its interior is honestly astonishing that can force you to stay for a while. The representations and wall paintings make the landmark more charming and engaging. Moreover, a meditation hall is also there to enhance the beauty of the serene and calm environment. Monks have been living in this sacred temple for 1500 years, and you can imagine the significance of the place.

Rating: 4.2/5.0

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Cost: Free, but you can donate 500-1000 LKR

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM

Address: Galle, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Take a tuk-tuk ride from Galle Station, and you will be there in the temple within a few minutes.

12. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Probably the best thing to do in Galle is to get a ride of Hot Air Balloon, which started a few years ago, but it is getting highly popular among locals, as well as sightseers. And do you know what the most exciting part of the ride is? Well, every flight path is different from the previous one, and you will get a chance to explore an entire city along with its neighboring towns from the sky, and that too in a reasonable price.

All you need is to purchase the services of an Air Balloon Ride Company, which you will find in Galle with ease, and you will meet some world-class professionals who will try their level hard to make your journey flawless, secure, and worth remembering.

Rating: 5/5.0

Duration: 2-4 hours

Cost: 7000-9000 LKR

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Galle, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Company’s driver will take you to the place where they will start your Air Balloon Ride journey.

13. Narigama and Dodanduwa Beaches

Positioned at a distance of 5 km from Hikkaduwa, Narigama Beach is a clean, sandy, and surfing beach in the southern side of Sri Lanka, and it attracts couple and old-age people more because of the romantic atmosphere. For entertainment, many bars and restaurants are active there to give comfort to tourists. It heads towards the south by the infernal national road, and along its sides, a lot of houses, shops, guest houses, and travel agencies are increasing the grace of the location.

A few km south of Hikkaduwa, Dodanduwa is a little village with a beach, which is calm and quiet as compared to Narigama Beach. Many restaurants and shops along the seashore are there, and the beach is the source of the fish industry. It offers outdoor activities, including snorkeling, surfing, and fishing.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 4.5-6 hours

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Narigama Beach and Dodanduwa Beach, near Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: A private car or a rickshaw would be a suitable choice for you.

14. Day trip to Unawatuna

Sri Lanka’s one of the most visited tourist destination is Unawatuna, which is 15 minutes away from Galle, and it is a beach town with numerous fun outdoor activities to do. Situated in the south of the country; this beautiful land offers trendy spas, restaurants, shopping centers, and guesthouses.

Unawatuna is all about beaches because you will encounter Wijaya Beach, Jungle Beach, and Main Beach, too. From surfing to swimming to snorkeling to diving, everything is full of fun and entertainment. Furthermore, by taking a 5-10 minute drive from the town, you will view turtle hatchery where damaged turtles are living peacefully. The scenes of the sunset are also enthralling, so try it, and uncover Unawatuna by exploring every nook and cranny of the land.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Duration: 8-10 hours

Cost: 400-600 LKR

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

How to get there: A tuk-tuk would be a great option to enter Unawatuna, which is only 5 km far away from Galle, but you can hire a private taxi, too.

15. Day trip to Hikkaduwa

In 2004, Tsunami in the Indian Ocean left an adverse effect on Hikkaduwa, which located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, and it’s near about 20 km northwest of Galle. The most notable attraction in the town is none other than the worldwide renowned beach, Hikkaduwa Beach. It also features adventurous activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing. You will also view Coral Sanctuary that is responsible for the protection and preservation of reefs, and never forget to witness the gorgeousness of various bird, animal, and fish species.

For shopaholics, a lot of shops work near the beach to sell alluring gems, antiques, and masks. Do try Tsunami Memorial Center in the land, too. This museum is a tribute to those victims who lost their lives in the 2004 Tsunami caused by an earthquake. Moreover, Gangarama Temple, turtle hatchery, and a lot of other exciting attractions are worth exploring in the city, too. Well, eight to nine hours are enough to discover Hikkaduwa, but if you want to enjoy its vibrant nightlife, you can stay for a night, because several hotels and restaurants are there to provide their services for decades.

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Duration: 6-8 hours

Cost: 600-800 LKR

Opening Hours: 12:00 AM – 11:59 PM

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: A private cab will take you to Hikkaduwa from your Galle residency within 38-40 minutes. However, you can reach there in cheap fares by picking a bus or a train.

Heritage building inside Fort currently used as the District Court CC:Shutterstock.com

Where to Eat

There are enough restaurants of all sizes and types in Galle. Why limit yourself to just one place when there are so many delicious restaurants to try! Apart from the honourable mentions above, here we list some of the best for all budgets:

1. Amangalla ($$$)

10 Church St, Galle | 91 2 233388 | www.aman.com/resorts/amangalla

Purely Sri Lankan, Amangalla offers a variety of vegetarian meals as well as meat dishes. Elegant is the word that describes this place! The staff are courteous, friendly, and always ready to part with stories of the rich and cultural Sri Lankan history. Expect an old world charm from an era long gone when you step into Amangalla. You will be in love with its food.

2. Deco on 44 ($$)

44 Light House St, Galle

Located just twenty minutes away from a whale watching area, Deco on 44 is an old building rebirthed as a classy and stylish restaurant. This uniquely decorated place offers a historic mystic in the midst of Galle. They specialize in Sri Lankan cuisine and have a name for it too. If you want a quiet evening or a meal away from the bustle of Galle Streets, this is the place to go to.

3. Spoon’s ($)

Pedlar St, Galle

Spoon’s is known for its outstanding food. This hole in the wall eatery is small, but the flavor of their menu is not! Their most ordered dessert is the coconut flan and is a must try for any traveller who ventures out to Galle.

4. The National Tea Room ($)

Pedlar St, Galle

Run by a sweet old Sri Lankan couple, this place is special and quaint in its own way. It offers delicious cakes and tea for a very low cost. A must visit if you want to taste authentic Sri Lankan tea. It’s also known for its delicious breakfast spread. The old couple who runs this tea room has been blessed in the hearts of many a traveller who visited their eatery.

Where to Sleep

Galle has some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka! Some of our picks are as follows:

1. Jetwing Lighthouse ($$$)

Jetwing Lighthouse is a sprawling, colonial-style hotel that boasts of comfort and style delivered with subtlety and minimalism. Sleep and wake up to the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean from your very own private balcony. Each guestroom has an attached bathroom with a shower and bathtub, dressing room, and entertainment facilities.

Indulge in a wide-range of activities, including a yoga class, take a dip in any of the 2 outdoor pools, or get the royal treatment from the in-house spa. Delectable food and drinks are served in the on-site restaurants, bar and café. Free Wi-Fi in all areas. Lovely and efficient staff.

2. Taru Villas – Light House Street ($$$$)

Restored to its classical design and demeanor, the Taru Villas – Light House Street is a boutique hotel that offers luxury and elegance in every square inch.

Rich, beautifully appointed guestrooms come with en suite bathrooms with a rain shower, and spacious seating area, living room and TV lounge. Enjoy a spread of scrumptious spicy rice curry specialties and international cuisine for a diverse gastronomic journey. You can be sure that your culinary craving will be satisfied. Free Wi-Fi in all areas. Exceptional customer service will make you want to come back again and again.

3. Antic Guest House ($$)

A beautiful colonial property close to many of Galle’s popular attractions – the Galle Harbour, the Galle Lighthouse, and the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, the Antic Guest House is the most convenient accommodation option for your holiday.

Sleep in comfortable and tastefully appointed guestrooms with a private bathroom fitted with either a shower or bath. Some units have a seating area and a terrace or balcony. The property features an in-house restaurant, free Wi-Fi in public areas, and a shared lounge. Staff is as delightful as the colorful furnishings.

4. White House Apartment ($)

The White House Apartment is a self-catering accommodation, fully furnished to make your stay as comfortable as though you never left home. Each serviced apartment has a working kitchen, seating and dining area, flat-screen TV, washing machine, and a private bathroom with shower.

Enjoy amazing views of the sea from the shared terrace. You can cook your own meals, or have the lovely owner delight you with local treats. The property is highly rated for cozy accommodation and fast internet connection.  

If these are fully booked or you are not convinced enough, check our guides to best hotels and budget accommodations in Galle.

Shopping

Whether you are interested in clothes, jewellery or spices, you will find your store in Galle!

Make sure to check out the fresh herbs, spices, fruits and plant based gels! You can get fresh aloe vera, balms made for pains or beauty oils. If you are a lover of wooden things, check out the market. You can buy small statuettes, wooden bowls, everyday objects and various souvenirs.

Do not forget to check out what each museum is selling, you can buy traditional Dutch trinkets, exquisite teas, and wooden pistols resembling the ones used by the Dutch in the 19th century.

You should bargain as the local sellers will set the price too high initially. Respectful bargaining is expected and appreciated.

What to Wear

Make sure your clothing is respectful towards the locals and their religion. It is inappropriate to visit temples and sacred places with uncovered shoulders and knees. Also, make sure to take off your hat when you enter a building – especially if it is a place of worship!

You can wear shorter clothing on the beach and no one is going to look at you funky if you are wearing a bathing suit near the beach, but make sure to change when you get out of beach. Do not enter restaurants or shops under-dressed.

Evenings and early mornings can get a little colder and sudden rains are always a possibility, bringing a light jacket and a raincoat or an umbrella is always advisable.

Getting in and around

Galle is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the southwestern tip. There are plenty of buses linking the towns along the coastal road. They leave from the bus station in the center of Galle, opposite the cricket stadium. Express passenger trains to Galle leave from Colombo’s Maradana station daily.

Within Galle, you can hire a tuk-tuk or explore on foot!

Here are the best ways to travel between Galle and other major travel destinations:

Colombo is 130 kms north of Galle. You can take the express direct train from Colombo to Galle, which will get you there in two hours. There are also direct buses to Galle, but it takes a bit longer. A taxi is the most comfortable option and will take about 2 hours.

Negombo is further 30 kms north of Colombo. You have to travel to Colombo first, then take a train or bus.

Kandy is 220 kms northeast of Galle. Best option when using public transportation is to transit in Colombo. Trains are your best option for both legs of the journey. You can go with a private car which will take you to Galle in about 4 – 5 hours depending on traffic.

Ella is in the central of Sri Lanka, 210 km from Galle. You can take a direct bus to Galle from Wellawaya,which is only 30 km away from Ella. The bus ride is about 6 hours. Or you can take a taxi which will get you to Galle in 3.5 hours.

Dambulla and Sigiriya are on the northern part of Sri Lanka and about 280/290 km away. The closest train station is Aukana, Hoever the best option will be to take a bus to Colombo, then transfer to a local bus or train, and you can reach Galle in 9 hours. Or you can go with taxi, which will get you to Galle in 5 – 6 hours!

When to Go

There are two monsoon seasons, therefore it’s good to know which time of the year fits best for the holiday. However, there won’t be a really bad time to go, there is always some sunshine and warm weather.

Galle’s weather is dictated by the southwestern monsoon, which bring rain from May to June and mid August to October. The rest of the year is more sunny and dry. Galle being on the coastal region means the average temperature is between 25-30°C. The best time to go is between December to April and this is the peak season as well. However, if you want to go when there is less tourist but still good weather, October, November is the best fit for you.

Budget

Galle is a World Heritage Site and hot tourist attraction, so it tends to be more expensive, than the rest of the island.

However, you have the chance to find cheaper hotels and hostels ($15-$35), mid-range hotels ($40-$80) or luxury ($90-).  These prices allow both backpackers, families and luxury lovers to experience the beauty of Sri Lanka with their own set budget.

The entry to the Galle Fort is free and fees to museums are also cheap.

The public transportation is the cheapest option to get around ($1- $4), but not so comfortable, as you have to stand most times. You can hire a driver who will take you anywhere for around  $50/day.

Restaurants usually ask $25/meal because of the view, but you can grab food from buffets and stands, which won’t cost too much ($1-$5). 

Galle, with all its unique options, is one of the best stops in your visit to Sri Lanka!

After you fill up on delicious local cuisine, appreciate the beautiful atmosphere, and plan your next adventure, you will never want to leave!!!