Galle Sri Lanka: The Enchanting Coastal City To Fall In Love At First Sight!

Being one of the hotspots in the country’s south, Galle, Sri Lanka, is such a magical place, with plenty of places to explore and things to do. Here we unveil everything you need to know about this pretty coastal town!

Galle (ගාල්ල) is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka, located on the southwestern corner of the country, about 90 miles towards the west of the main city of Colombo. It boasts much of the country’s rich history, nestled among the beautiful sea. While Galle Fort is the main attraction of this town, there are several pristine beaches, turtle hatcheries, showy boutiques for shopping, and many more to explore.

So, let’s dive right in and see what’s more we have to share with you about this enchanting coastal town!

Getting To Know About Galle…

Renowned as one of the most beautiful and largest cities in Sri Lanka, Galle is the main provincial town of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It is also the capital of the Galle District, and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in the year 1988.

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Lined with the stunning southern coast, the magnificent Dutch Galle Fort is the top attraction of this town. The area is full of ancient colonial buildings, religious sites, pristine beaches, museums, shops, eateries, and luxury hotels.

Most villages away from the main town show a rural atmosphere, many of them being quaint little fishing villages. In addition to its important religious and historical sites, this region is also famed for its substantial natural and geographical features. This includes Roomassala in the neighboring town of Unawatuna – an enormous cliff that forms the eastern defensive border to Galle Harbour.

The city of Galle has a population of approximately 91,000, comprising multiple ethnic groups. Galle has a prevalence of Sinhalese population, much like in many other parts of the island. The significance makes it a place you should check out and spend a few days exploring everything it offers.

A Bit From Galle’s Rich History!

The earliest history of Galle dates back to the fourteenth century. It was known as “Gimhathiththa” back then before the Portuguese arrived in the sixteenth century.

Galle had been the main port on the island and reached the peak of its development in the eighteenth century, right before the arrival of the British to the country that established the harbor at Colombo. Galle is one of the best examples of a fortified city in Southeast Asia built by the Portuguese.

The Dutch constructed the famous ninety-acre fort, which is still one of the largest fortresses built by European colonists in Asia. Like most other coastal cities in Sri Lanka, Galle was also extremely devastated by the Tsunami tidal wave in 2004.

Most shops, houses, and ancient buildings inside the Galle Fort were destroyed. However, everything was reconstructed and renovated, attracting travelers from around the world while its historical charm remained consistent even after the wave.

The Best Experiences You Can Have In Galle

Bragging a rich history, Galle possesses some of the best and must-visit landmarks in the country. Ethnically diverse Galle Town has beautiful ancient and reformed religious sites showcasing magnificent art and sculpture.

This vibrant sunny, warm area of the country is a true paradise if you love the experience of golden beaches and water sports like swimming, scuba diving, surfing, etc. Most of the showy colonial buildings inside the Galle Fort are unique to this area, and you will not find them in any other place on the island. 

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Entering the engaging old Dutch Fort will make you feel like you have penetrated a different world!  The inherent beauty of this town will keep you occupied throughout your stay, offering many landmarks to explore, such as the lighthouse, museums, Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils, churches, Muslim mosques, and many more!

Experience a unique adventure inside the fort by buying elegant handmade jewelry, precious gemstones, comfortable fabrics, clothing, etc. You will find plenty of places within this town with perfect backdrops for some excellent photos on your social media feeds.

Once you’re done wandering this enchanting coastal town, you can check out the beaches to catch the breathtaking sunset or sip on a Pina Colada at a beachfront restaurant.

Beyond The Galle Town…

Enjoy the hustle at the Galle fish market, and you can even buy some fresh seafood, especially if you’re staying at an Airbnb.

As an area famous for tourism, you can find many places that rent out scooters and motorbikes for travelers. Roaming around Galle is a next-level experience to explore the area at your own pace. You can even use the help of a rider guide to visit the places you shouldn’t miss out on.

Moreover, you can go whale watching and even visit turtle hatcheries to witness the beautiful endangered species. If you’re lucky enough, you will have the chance to enjoy a cricket match at the International

Galle Cricket Stadium and participate in the popular Galle literary festival- one of Asia’s most anticipated literary festivals.

Strolling along the Galle Fort and visiting the beaches are not the only things you have to do in Galle. Many more exciting things await you–click on this link and discover the exhilaration of Galle!

The Best Possible Ways To Get To Galle

Reaching Galle is dependent on your current location in the country. However, since Galle is one of the main cities, you have direct access to this place from many places on the island, whether you use public or private transport.

Assuming your current location is Colombo, you can board the bus directly from the Fort Bus Stand. You can book your tickets on an air-conditioned bus for a comfortable journey. Nevertheless, the most scenic ride would be by train. It will be an unforgettable experience as the ride will take you along the palm-fringed coast through most of your journey.

You can book the tickets in advance if you also wish to take the train. Taking a private vehicle is another option you have to ensure a safe, convenient trip. For this, you can use a standard local taxi service or count on hiring a vehicle from a rent-a-car service.

Last but not least, flying to Galle is also possible by using a domestic flight service. You can contact relevant service providers in Sri Lanka and check if you can get picked up and dropped off by Galle. While using public transport is the most budget-friendly mode of transportation, traveling by a private vehicle or taking a flight can be way more expensive.

Moving Around Galle…

There are plenty of tuk-tuks if you need to move around Galle. But many tourists prefer hiring a scooter or a motorbike to roam around so that they are comfortable at their place to stop and resume the journey whenever they want.

There are also enough buses, but as a tourist, short-distance bus rides can be a little bit awkward, especially when you’re not familiar with their language and feel uncomfortable with local crowds. You can also use quick and easy taxi services like PickMe and Uber to reach nearby places.

Is Galle A Safe Place To Travel?

Can’t find any reasons why you can’t! Yes, indeed, Galle is very safe to travel with your whole family, like most other places on the island. The town area and suburbs are often patrolled along with the beaches. However, since common crimes could occur (though it is very unlikely), carrying what is essential when you wander around the area would be best.

You can leave your valuable things in the place where you stay or inside your vehicle if you’re traveling by one. Moreover, Galle is considered to be one of the hottest places in the country. Therefore, you must pack all your sun protection applications and gear. Sri Lanka is a very religious country with higher cultural concerns.

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Thus, it is important to wear modest outfits, especially when visiting religious sites. Be aware of beach boys and scammers when hitting the beaches, and keep in mind only to shop from places with reasonable prices (you can do a little online research to learn about the costs). 

Moreover, make sure you always keep your identification documents with you and act responsibly if you’re checked at the checkpoints. Women are encouraged to carry sanitary items if you’re used to using a specific kind (like tampons) since we can’t assure you will get the same in shops here.

Where Can You Stay And Eat In Galle?

Like many other places in the world, the food culture in Sri Lanka also tends to be different from region to region. Accordingly, you can taste something unique and better in Galle as their home-cooked meals often possess authentic cooking skills distinctive to their area.

So, you should not miss out on checking the local eateries while you eat at star-grade hotels around this area. The beachside is lined with interesting bistros, bars, and restaurants facing the beautiful Indian Ocean so that you can unwind by the sea breeze.

Galle has some of the country’s best hotels when talking about lodging. In addition to luxury and affordable hotels, this place is also ample in beachside villas, homestays, and Airbnb options. Here are our top hotel recommendations in Galle to help you pick a spot for your next trip:

  • Jetwing Lighthouse
  • Radisson Blu Resort
  • CocoBay Unawatuna
  • Amari Galle
  • Jetwing Kurulubedda
  • Galle Fort Hotel

Nearby Attractions In Galle That Might Interest You…

Your trip down south should be scheduled for a few days, as you have endless things to do here. So, if you are done roaming around Galle, check out these nearby places for more excitement and fun:

  • Unawatuna Beach
  • Roomassala Sanctuary
  • Koggala and Mahamodara turtle hatcheries
  • Koggala Beach
  • Dog Care Clinic animal shelter
  • Jungle Beach
  • Japanese Peace Pagoda
  • Pitiwella Beach
  • Sahana Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach
  • Beach of Bonavista
  • Mihiripenna Beach

After visiting these neighboring places, you can take a trip to Sinharaja Forest Reserve and go all the way to Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, or Matara Beaches for a more exciting experience.

Enjoy Good Sun, Stroll Along The Magnificent Fort Wall, And Indulge In The Charm Of Galle!

Snuggled among the enchanting golden beaches and azure sea, Galle is a little paradise that adds a huge value to this beautiful island. The World Heritage Galle Fort amplifies its significance while the surrounding is worth exploring as it offers many places to add to your Sri Lanka itinerary. That being said, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t leave Sri Lanka without visiting this exquisite site and collecting some cherished memories!

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