Galle Holidays

Galle holidays are a beautiful parade into Sri-Lanka's colonial-era past. Visit Galle Fort where the architecture is old and the restaurants are hip and then hit the beach and taste the tea.

Experience a cocktail of cultures within the ancient walls of UNSECO-listed Galle Fort on a south Sri Lanka holiday. Once trodden by soldiers and sailors, its old streets are home to Dutch Reformed and Anglican churches, Islamic mosques, antique shops, Instagrammable cafes and peddlers selling freshly baked bread. There are many things to love about Galle Fort: its Mediterranean magic, the melodic evening call to prayers and glowing sunsets dipping into the Indian Ocean. Gourmets can count on eating well; the Old Dutch Hospital has been converted into a wave of restaurants as photogenic as they are delicious.

Beyond the bastions and ramparts fishing boats are moored on sandy coves, coconuts balance on bicycles and roadside stalls are stocked with Maldivian fish. Unawatutu’s golden sands and the evergreen forest set Handunugoda Tea Estate are also within easy reach.

Get in touch with us today for a diverse and dazzling tailormade Sri Lanka holiday.

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Galle Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Galle

The Fortress Resort & Spa

A fusion of Dutch and Portuguese styles, The Fortress is stylish, luxurious and right on the beac...

Jetwing Lighthouse

A distinctively designed eco-friendly hotel offering guests a glorious waterfront setting and wel...

Fort Bazaar

A former merchant’s house turned charming boutique hotel, arranged around a lovely open-air centr...

Kuoni hotel The Fortress offers some amazing excursions in Galle and the surrounding areas. Here’s a selection:

•   Boat ride on the River Madu
•   Handunugoda Tea Factory
•   Kanneliya Rainforest
•   Kottawa Reserve
•   Marissa Watersports Centre
•   Turtle hatchery and spice garden
•   Whale and dolphin watching
•   White water rafting
•   Yala National Park
•   Yatagala Temple

Udawalawe Jeep Safari & Elephant Transit Home

Founded in 1995, the Elephant Transit Home is a haven for orphaned or injured elephant calves who are rehabilitated back to full health before being returned to the wild. Great lengths are taken to minimize contact between the baby elephants, their caregivers and visitors but you can enjoy watching them stamp their feet impatiently as they wait for their food and relish in the fact that once old enough to survive alone, they’ll be free to roam the national park once more. After a delicious lunch in a local restaurant, hop into your private jeep and get ready to explore the Udawalawe National Park, a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of nearby Udawalawe Reservoir. Infamous for its large population of elephants, have your camera at the ready as you spot herds of these majestic creatures feeding, playing and bathing in waterholes as well as an abundance of other mammals, reptiles and birds.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle, Hambantota, Galle, Koggala and Weligama

Good to know
This unforgettable trip is suitable for all ages.

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Udawalawe 3-hour Jeep Safari

If you’ve already had the pleasure of exploring the Udawalawe National Park and would like some additional time observing the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat, this is the excursion for you. As you head back into the vast park it won’t be long before you stumble across a herd of elephants strolling alongside the track or water buffalo and deer congregating by a watering hole. Your knowledgeable driver will be on hand to point out the local flora and fauna from soaring eagles to prehistoric looking monitor lizards and will ensure you discover the best secluded spots.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Galle, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala

Good to know
Suitable for all, if not staying in the vicinity of the national park we’d recommend an afternoon safari due to the early start of the morning excursion.

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The Cinnamon Experience

Not far from the golden shores of Weligama is the hillside Top House, a working cinnamon plantation that’s been lovingly restored by its British owner. A combination of self-sustaining age-old techniques and modern technology is used to extract cinnamon leaf oil at the newly built distillery. During your private tour, you’ll explore the cinnamon nursery, the plantation itself, the peeling hut and the distillery, travelling on foot and by a tractor-hitched trailer, and learn about the processes involved in creating their artisan produce.

• Departs Monday to Saturday from Galle, Weligama, Tangalle, Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
The plantation is closed on poya days.

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Galle Fort Photography Experience

Join a private photography walk of Galle Fort with a local travel and lifestyle photographer with the chance to refine your camera skills and take some inspiring photographs. There is a lively art scene here, and visitors and keen shutterbugs are inspired by Galle Fort’s coastal location, creativity, and heritage architecture. Tour the cobbled streets through a lens and discover its majestic defences, once walked by merchants and traders, now fringed with characterful boutiques, galleries, and eateries. Over a memorable couple of hours, you’ll hone your photography skills with a guide who knows the fort and its stories.

• Daily departures from Galle
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Canoe Unawatuna Lagoon

Paddle through the mangrove forests of the Unawatuna Lagoon in a canoe. Your adventure begins with a safety introduction and life jackets. You’ll board a canoe and paddle through beautiful rivulets and mangrove forests. You can interact with the local people and watch them catch crabs as you go. An experienced professional guide will assist you throughout the trip, pointing out bird species flocking on the distant trees on a two-hour voyage.

• Daily departures from Galle
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Kanneliya Rainforest Trek

Venture into the Kanneliya Rainforest on a private tour to explore its flora and fauna. While it’s known as one of South Asia's most floristically abundant areas, the Kanneliya Forest Reserve is also home to fascinating birdlife, including many endemics and an incredible diversity of mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians, and reptiles. During your tour, you’ll have the chance to see the Anagimale Falls, an ancient tangled giant creeper and the little waterfall of Narangas Ella. An impressive Nevada tree observation platform provides a great spot to look out over the Reserve.

• Daily departures from Galle or Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Learn the Art of Lace Making

Watch a traditional Sri Lankan lacemaker at work on an insightful half-day experience. Sit down with a Beeralu lacemaker to observe how they create intricate art. A lace pattern is hand-drawn on graph paper, after which the design is marked with pins and wrapped around a lace pillow. Then, several lengths of thread are woven or braided with the help of wooden bobbins to create a finished piece of lace. Though this process requires more effort than machine-cut lace that can be produced in bulk and on demand, the authenticity and quality of Beeralu lace are unparalleled.

• Daily departures from Galle, Koggala, Tangalle or Weligama
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Surf’s Up at Weligama Bay

Negotiate the waves on a two-hour surf lesson. Weligama Bay is the centre of surf culture on the south coast of Sri Lanka and an ideal spot to learn, whether you’re a beginner or looking to finesse your skills. There are gentle beginner waves all day, every day, and all year round. For those who know the basics, there are unbroken waves to tackle, and expert surfers can finetune their paddle, stance, and style — or learn some new manoeuvres.

• Daily departures from Galle, Weligama, Tangalle or Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Get to know Galle and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +5½ hours

CURRENCY

Sri Lankan Rupee

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Colombo 10½ hours

RELIGION

Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Christianity

LANGUAGE

Sinhala and Tamil

Where is Galle?
Galle sits on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, is the Southern Province’s fourth largest city and is about a two-hour drive south of Colombo.

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UNESCO-listed Fort
Galle Fort is Southeast Asia’s finest example of a fortified city. Sitting on a small peninsula covering 130 acres, the Old Town of Galle and its fortifications are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once an ancient trading hub, it was built up by the Portuguese in the 16th century, conquered by the Dutch in the 17th century and handed over to the British in the late 1700s before Sri Lanka gained independence. Flanked by the ocean on three sides and protected by mighty bastions, today Galle Fort is filled with restaurants, cafes and boutiques. There are still lots of historical buildings to see including the Clock Tower, Meeran Mosque and the Dutch Reformed Church.

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Galle
Lighthouse Galle Fort Lighthouse, built in the mid-19th century, sits on Point Utrecht Bastion. Backed by palm trees and overlooking the ocean, visitors flock here for photographs and sunsets. It’s Sri Lanka’s oldest lighthouse and still serves ships today.

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Nearby beaches
Unawatuna Beach sits east of Galle and is reachable in about a fifteen-minute drive. Its creamy sands and calm waters are popular for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. Lesser-known Jungle Beach is a hidden gem, accessed by boat from Galle or by a trek through the greenery. Protected from big waves by coral reef, it’s a great spot for swimming with kids.

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Food & drink
There’s a fantastic selection of restaurants and cafes in Galle Fort and the new town. Within the fortified city, foodies are treated to seafood restaurants, hip wine bars, ice-cream parlours and decadent courtyard dining. The converted Old Dutch Hospital offers some of the best.

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