The historic city of Galle (Sri Lanka) is located on the southern coast of the country, 116 km from Colombo and only 5 km from Unawatuna beach. Built in the 16th century by Portuguese sailors, the port embodied South Asian traditions and elements of European architecture, being an object protected by UNESCO.
Before Colombo, Galle remained a major city and main port of the country for 400 years. Then the Dutch repulsed him, having redeveloped the entire defensive system. The British conquered the city from the Dutch, who did not change anything, so the atmosphere of that era is still preserved here. At the end of the 19th century, the British expanded the borders of Colombo, making it the main port.
Galle was once the largest center of Sri Lanka for trade between Persian, Arab, Indian, Greek and Roman merchants. Here lives a little more than 100 thousand inhabitants, among whom there are Buddhists, Hindus, Islam and Catholicism are preached. Such industries as textile, food and glass are developed.
Galle has many good hotels and restaurants, and although the city is located on the coast, tourists prefer the beach resorts of Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa. Despite the clear water of a greenish-turquoise hue, there are stones everywhere under the water, the city does not have a sandy beach.
The city of Galle in Sri Lanka is divided into old and new parts. The border is indicated by three powerful bastions above the cricket stadium. Here you will find many old buildings made in the European style. Galle’s popular attractions include Fort Galle, built by the Dutch from granite at the end of the 17th century.
The ancient fort has not changed much since colonial times, so the old part of the city should be visited to feel the atmosphere. Above the gate you will see the symbol of the Ottoman Empire – a stone with a picture of a rooster. According to legend, the lost Portuguese sailors only due to his cry sailed to the nameless harbor, in honor of which the city was named.
The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Especially interesting are the architectural structures of the fort. The severity of the roof is supported only by walls, without the use of internal supports. Inside the fort you can walk all day. On its territory is the popular New Oriental Hotel. This is the oldest hotel in the country, and it was built in the late 17th century for the governor. Here and now, senior officials and wealthy people prefer to relax.
The port of Galle in Sri Lanka still hosts fishing and cargo ships, as well as private yachts. The most prominent part of the fort is the lighthouse, in the evening it illuminates the way to distant ships. The harbor has its own unique atmosphere, which tourists love so much. Photos of Galle in Sri Lanka show that you can admire there not only historical buildings, but also the beautiful Indian Ocean and unique sunsets.
In the new part of the city there is a shopping center with shops and small cozy cafes. Stations and the central market are located on the banks of the Dutch Canal. Tourists enjoy visiting St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Although there are almost no significant monuments of antiquity, modern Halle is considered the heart of the city. The narrow streets of Moriche-Kramer-strat and Lane Ban still have open windows with wooden shutters, terraces and spacious rooms in the best Dutch traditions.
You will always find what to see in Galle. The city is usually visited for excursions to learn more about the culture of this region.
On Church Street is the National Museum of Culture , where you can learn all about the history of the city. Entrance is paid, visiting time is from 9.00 to 17.00 from Tuesday to Saturday.
Noteworthy is the National Maritime Museum on Queen Street. On the ground floor you will find an exposition dedicated to fishing life. The Museum can be accessed from 9.00 to 17.00. Working days are Tuesday-Saturday.
The Museum of the Dutch period displays the most interesting exhibits from the Dutch era. The museum is housed in private homes on Leyn Baan Street. Admission is free, visiting time is from 8.30 to 17.30 daily.
Tourists love to visit the ancient Gothic church Grote Kerk , which is located near the Amangalla Hotel, on Church Street. There you will find ancient tombstones with images of skulls and bones.
Mosques were built behind the Catholic Church of All Saints, especially tourists like Meyer Masjid , but you need to visit this place in appropriate clothing.
Opposite the Dutch church is the home of Dutch rulers with original stoves inside. According to rumors there are ghosts.
Cricket is a popular sport here, and the local national team has won many prizes. The cricket field is considered impeccable for this game and is located among the oldest and most valuable monuments next to Fort Galle, which makes it even more unique.
What to see in the surroundings
Taprobane Island . In the central part of Weligama Bay, the beautiful island of Taprobane or Sinhalese Yakinig-Duva is located. At the beginning of the 20th century, a luxurious house was built here by the French Count de Mans, and the writer P. Bowles used it in his novel Spider House. Now this place is a private resort where you can rent a villa.
Unawatuna (Unawatuna) . The secluded Unawatuna Beach is surrounded by coral reefs on all sides and is only 5 km from Galle. The highway runs through the central part, unlike the neighboring Hikkaduwa beach , so it is quite lively here. A popular resort place is popular with tourists and locals, because here you can not only relax and swim, but also go diving, snorkelling and surfing.
Mirissa (Mirissa) . In this small resort village near Weligama you can spend your vacation economically. In addition to the spacious beaches, there are excellent conditions for surfing and snorkelling. Especially tourists who value a relaxing holiday will like it here.
More detailed information with a photo about Mirissa resort is presented in this article .
How to get to Galle
Inside the city, the traffic intersection is quite developed and has many branches. With the closest major cities, Colombo and Matara, the city is connected by rail. In Galle you can get by train, bus and taxi, at the station you can always find out where the city of Galle is and how to get to it.
From Colombo. From the train station to the Galle station. Only 2 and 3 class cars or “Rajadhani Express” cars, tickets for which can be bought online. Travel time 2.5-3 hours.
From Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Kandy there is a train to Colombo Fort, then transfer to the Colombo Fort – Galle train. Before the trip, see the current railway schedule and ticket prices on the website www.railway.gov.lk.
There are many bus services from the Colombo bus station to Galle. The highway can be reached in 2-3 hours. If the route runs along the coast, then the road will take about 4 hours. The Galle bus station is across the street from Fort, the city’s main attraction.
From Bandaranaike International Airport, you must first get to Colombo by express bus number 187.
- From Colombo. By express bus to Galle, the journey takes 1.5-2 hours. From Pettah bus station, bus number 02 Colombo – Galle, as well as bus number 02 Colombo – Matara. Travel time 3.5 hours.
- From the southern town of Tangalle . By bus number 32-4 towards the capital. Travel time 2.5 hours.
- From Matara. By bus No. 350 Galle – Matara or by any bus to Colombo. Travel time is 1.5 hours.
- From Tissamaharama. No. 334 \ 1 Matara – Tissa and then by bus number 350 Galle – Matara or any other towards Colombo.
- From the center of Sri Lanka by bus or train to Colombo from Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla.
The fastest and most comfortable way is a taxi. Travel time will take about 2 hours, but this is the most expensive form of transportation – the cost is from $ 90 per flight.
- When walking around the reserves, use mosquito nets.
- Holidays at the Galle are somewhat more expensive than in other major cities. The cost of food, accommodation and services is higher.
- For drinking and cooking, use better water from plastic bottles.
- Galleactive traffic is in the city, so be careful on the roads.
You can visit this resort center at any time of the year. In Galle (Sri Lanka) is always warm. In summer and winter, slight temperature changes are characteristic. There is almost no rain from December to April. Even from May to November, brief rains do not interfere with sightseeing.
How does Halle look from the air and some practical information for those who want to visit the city – in the video.