GMT +6 hours
UNESCO World Heritage site comprising colonial architecture, fortified walls and a historic fort
Step back into a colonial era as you make your way around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle, a wondrous example of a Dutch fortified city, encircled by walls and peppered with bastions and ramparts overlooking the deep cerulean ocean from its peninsula.
- Ideal for history enthusiasts wanting to explore a real fortified city
- The ideal stop off between the wilds of Yala and the beaches of the west coast
Best time to visit Galle
• The dry periods in Sri Lanka are split by area with December to March being the best period for the west and south coast and the Hill Country
• The southwest monsoon affects the south and west coasts as well as the hill country between April and September
• Temperatures are relatively consistent year round (26-32°C) all around the island, especially around the coast
• Sri Lanka is busiest from December to March, however travelling during the low and shoulder seasons can be great as prices are lower and the are fewer people.
Galle holiday highlights
Galle is a history lover’s paradise, and home to one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Dutch Fort. Not only is this south Asia’s best reserved sea fort, but it is also home to churches, mosques, temples and some beautiful examples of colonial architecture. Within this selection you’ll find some true gems including the Dutch Reformed Church, completed in 1754 and but by a Dutch army officer and the British-built Galle Lighthouse, set on the eastern end of the fort. Needless to say, a walk along the walls offers some spectacular views of the ocean and is a must-do! Shopping in Galle is best done in Old Town, where you can find jewellery studded with Sri Lankan gems, textiles, spices, antiques and local handicrafts including wooden masks, batiks, saris and sarongs.
Just outside of Galle you will find Unawatuna and Koggala. Unawatuna is a charming seaside village steeped in mythical legend. It was devastated in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami but its beautiful beach has now been restored and is home to a plethora of marine life including sea turtles.
Galle National Museum
This remarkable collection of historical relics is housed in the Dutch Fort’s oldest building, which dates back to 1656. Here you’ll discover traditional masks, Dutch weapons, turtle-shell ornaments and ancient carvings.
Galle National Maritime Museum
Located in the fort’s Dutch warehouse, here you can learn about the city’s maritime history and browse relics recovered from shipwrecks off Sri Lanka’s coast.
Ariyapala Mask Museum
The village of Ambalangoda is a haven of traditional Sri Lankan culture, and this museum is named after a famous carver of the masks worn during dances to ward off the devil. See examples of his intricate work and learn more about this intriguing custom.