If Colombo is the commercial centre of Sri Lanka, then Galle is its cultural heart. Located on the island’s southwest coast, this charismatic city is fast-becoming one of the island’s most popular hotspots - and for good reason. You’ll visit for the historic sights and cultural attractions, but we reckon you’ll stay for the friendly locals and laid-back atmosphere.
At the core of the city is Galle Fort - a UNESCO-listed, walled old town brimming with intriguing relics of the past. Grab your camera and explore the narrow streets, pausing to steal some snaps of the Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and beautiful old churches. And if that’s not enough culture-kicks for you, the weekly flea market held inside the fortifications is always a hit with locals and visitors alike. With pop-up restaurants, live music and a festival-like ambiance, you’re guaranteed a good time.
Looking for more than culture and history? Well, you’re in luck. Sure, the rich heritage and old-world charm is a major draw for visitors, but there’s a new, more hip side to the city which is beginning to grab people’s attention. In recent years, Galle has undergone something of a modern makeover and enjoyed a surge of chic cafés, boutique shops and luxury hotels along the seafront. Indulge in some retail therapy, sip fresh fruit juice in beachside bars and soak up the bohemian vibes. This is what luxury holidays are all about.
Flanked by verdant countryside and the Indian ocean, Galle also attracts nature-lovers. Whether you’re hiking across a hill-top plantation or visiting a turtle sanctuary, there are plenty of opportunities to take a breather from the bustle of the city. Of course, the beaches are a major attraction along the coast. If you want to enjoy some R&R in the sun, sandy shores are never far away in Galle. Take a rickshaw ride to the town of Unawatuna, home to some of Sri Lanka’s most picture-perfect beach scenes - think sparkling blue waters, powder-soft sand and a backdrop of swaying palms. Pure bliss.
With so much to see and do, you’ll soon understand why Sri Lanka’s second city is an unmissable port of call on your island adventure.
A trip to Sri Lanka without a visit to Galle is practically illegal in our books. To add Galle to your Sri Lanka holiday, simply select our Wildlife and Heritage holiday or add Galle to our Cultural Highlights holiday.
There’s certainly no shortage of exciting activities and attractions in Galle. From old walled towns to sun-kissed coastlines, holidays here can be as relaxing or action-packed as you want.
Want to tailor your holiday around your own interests? Simply add an experience pack to your trip. Have a look at our Itinerary Builder to see what else you could be doing!
It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588 and revamped later by the Dutch, and the European influences are still very much visible today. As you stroll along the quaint streets of the walled old town, you can’t help but notice the slightly jarring fusion of colonial architecture and Asian culture - think Dutch-style villas and imposing mosques.Discover more
Anyone who's spent time in Galle will tell you there’s one landmark you absolutely must see. Standing guard over the city, Galle Lighthouse enjoys a prime location on the seafront ramparts of the UNESCO World Heritage fort. Framed by swaying palm trees, the dazzling white structure offers uninterrupted views of the bay and is a popular place to watch the sunset. If you’re looking for somewhere to take some envy-inducing holiday snaps, this is the place to go.Discover more
Whether you’re interested in history, culture or nature, Galle offers a rich tapestry of activities and attractions. Want to find out more? Have a read of some of our blogs to see what else this exciting coastal city has to offer.
Steeped in rich history, full to the brim with friendly locals and blanketed from head to toe in varying forms of verdure.
When you want to diversify your dinner options slightly, no where in Sri Lanka has more of an eclectic offering than Galle Fort – calling all foodies, this one's for you.
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