Galle is a must visit destination in Sri Lanka for any tourist. Galle stands on a peninsula and has a fine natural harbour with excellent defences, and gorgeous views of the ocean. The highlight of this area is the Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a remarkable fortification that was built by Portuguese colonists in the 17th century, and was inhabited by the Dutch and English during their colonial eras. Although several villas and buildings have been renovated into shops, cafes and hotels today, the Fort maintains an aura of old world times.
One of the best ways to experience the Galle Fort and learn about its fascinating history is through a guided walking tour. There are also opportunities for culinary tours in Galle Fort, which is a wonderful way to learn the secrets of Galle cooking as well as try out street food around the Fort. Morning or evening strolls around the fort’s ramparts are recommended to avoid the daytime heat.
Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the Galle International Cricket Stadium, the National Maritime Museum and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Galle town (New Galle) is bustling, chaotic, loud and full of life. Inland from Galle is a refreshing contrast of jungle interior that is unspoilt and seemingly untouched by tourism. Take a cycling tour through these quieter areas of Galle to enjoy paddy fields and lush greenery. Another activity available near Galle is whale watching in Mirissa.
Some of the best boutique hotels located within the Fort area include Galle Fort Hotel, Amangalle, Deco on 44, The Fort Printers and Fortaleza. Although small, these cosy hotels have the best location – right in the heart of the Fort! Hotels outside the Fort are more spacious and include Aditya, Coco Bay, The Dutch House, Era Beach, Jetwing Lighthouse, Kahanda Kanda, Lady Hill and Sun House.