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"Fortified beach city of the Portuguese"

Galle Tourism

Tucked into the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a major city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient churches and mosques, blond beaches, mansions and museums, quirky boutiques, and a convivial seaside promenade, Galle attracts locals, foreign travellers, history buffs and nature lovers alike.

Against the riveting ocean backdrop, Galle Fort and Lighthouse display awe-inspiring Victorian relics in the snazzy neighbourhood. This fortified city was founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone seawalls, built by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with Portuguese and British architecture. Galle is also known for its pristine, tropic-riven beaches like Ahungalla Beach and Unawatuna Beach, where families and friends frolic in the surf.

Some more prominent landmarks include the natural harbour, the Historical Mansion Museum, Flag Rock and Meeran Mosque. In addition, Galle International Stadium is acclaimed as one of the most picturesque cricket grounds worldwide. To round off your Galle tour, take home precious handicrafts, silk and trinkets from the Old Dutch Market and Galle Face Green Night Market.

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Currency in Galle

The LKR is the local currency in Sri Lanka which replaced the British pound in the country. There are portraits of previous Sri Lankan prime ministers as well as ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa on the fronts of the bank notes. The backs have Sri Lankan flora and fauna, landscapes, industries as well as pictures showing local culture and history.

Exchanging Money in Galle

Money can be exchanged at banks or at exchange shops in Selaka

Daily Budget for Galle

The average daily budget of a tourist would depend on whether the travel is luxurious or budget travels. So a budget trip would cost 2500 - 3000 LKR each day.

Religion of Galle

Theravada Buddhism is the major religion of Galle

Galle Customs

Galle has no special customs that need to be observed.

History of Galle

Historical records indicate that Galle was an important trading centre for the Arabs, Chinese and Malays, long before the Europeans occupied it. The colonial period began with the chance arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, who was on the way to the Maldives. They remained here and built a fort called Santa Cruz. The Dutch invaded Galle in 1640; after the conquest, they constructed the fort as seen in its present form. Galle’s significance decreased after the British occupied the fort in 1796, as Colombo was established as the capital.

During the Dutch colonial period, the city of Galle reached heights of development during the 18th century. From 1649, the Dutch settlers began fortifying the city and it is now the largest fortified city in Asia by European settlers. The fort is also a heritage site. Devastated by the tsunami in 2006, the city got back on its feet the very next year and the Galle cricket ground which is a spectacular ground was hosting test matches in 2007.

Nightlife in Galle

Galle has a laid-back nightlife with some great restaurants and bars. Two notable bars to hang out at would be the Koha Surf Lounge known for its good vibes and the Blue Note bar which has friendly staff and great fruit drinks besides alcoholic beverages.

Shopping in Galle

What do you expect out of a famous trading port? Plenty of opportunities to buy, of course! One can shop for a diverse range of products and souvenirs at Galle—precious gems at Lihiniya Gems and Ibrahim Jewellers, vintage posters and postcards at Stick No Bills, and lacework at Shoba Display Gallery. Visit the Old Dutch Market to purchase exotic fruits and vegetables such as wood apples and mangosteens.

Some of the most notable shopping places in Galle are - Barefoot known for stylish homeware, Elephant walk for spiced goods, Laksana for jewellery, Mimimango for designer clothes and accessories and MM Ibrahim for designer jewellery.

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Galle, Sri-Lanka

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FAQs on Galle

What is the best time to visit Galle?

The best time to visit Galle is from December to March since the rainfall in the city is at its lowest at this time; this is ideal for touring the fort and its attractions. Additionally, these months are excellent for water sports at the immensely popular beaches of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, which are near the city. Also, the Galle Literary Festival takes place here every January.

The off-season at Galle is usually from May to September, as the southwest (Yala) monsoon occurs at this time of the year.
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What is the local food in Galle?

Be its hipster cafes, bistros or fine dining—Galle has a host of eateries that cater to every kind of food lover. One can try Sri Lankan staples such as rice and curry and sambol, or even enjoy international favourites like risotto, burgers and gelato. Seafood is usually the speciality at these restaurants, due to Galle being a seaside location. Several of Galle’s restaurants are within the fort; with great food and a colonial-style ambience, the eateries also offer stunning views of the ocean.

Seafood is very fresh in Galle and upscale dining options are plentiful including the Galle Fort Hotel, Mama's Galle Fort and Amangalla. 

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What is the best way to reach Galle?

Galle is accessible through airways, land transport.
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What are the top hotels in Galle?

There are 1120 in Galle which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Galle are Ambassador's House, Villa Orenka, Kalahe House, 511 JASMINE Sunrise Apartment, Etamba House, Rock Mountain. You can see all the hotels in Galle here

What are the things to do in Galle?

The top things to do in Galle are Old Dutch Market , Flag Rock, Dutch Reformed Church, Amangalla, Old Gate, Galle Fort Lighthouse. You can see all the places to visit in Galle here

What are the places near Galle?

The top places near to Galle are Colombo which is 104 km from Galle, Kandy which is located 144 km from Galle, Nuwara eliya which is located 117 km from Galle, Bentota which is located 48 km from Galle, Anuradhapura which is located 251 km from Galle

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