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Galle

3.9 /5 24 votes

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Best Time: February Read More

Ideal duration: 2 days

Nearest Airport: Bandaranaike international airport Check Flights

"Fortified beach city of the Portuguese"

Galle Tourism

The port city of Galle is situated along the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Primarily known for the famous Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has played a significant role in the country’s lengthy colonial history.

Housing innumerable and diverse attractions within its precincts, the Galle Fort is undoubtedly the highlight of the city. The attractions include the Dutch Reformed Church, Old Dutch Hospital, Galle Clock Tower and Galle Lighthouse. The National Maritime Museum, also located at the fort, offers fascinating insights into the country’s maritime history; some of the objects on display are believed to be more than 800 years old! If you’re looking to explore the fort at a leisurely pace and understand its features, there are a plethora of fabulous hotels that you could stay at, most notably the 17th-century building-turned-luxury resort Amangalla.

Galle has a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts—the Kanneliya Rainforest Reserve, which harbours numerous endemic flora and fauna. Tourists can marvel at and buy antiquities at the Historical Mansion Museum, owned and operated by a local family. The city also hosts an annual international literary festival known as the Galle Literary Festival.

Undoubtedly, no tour of Sri Lanka is complete without a trip to Galle—a city synonymous with the country’s utterly fascinating colonial-era history.

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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 in 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

1 LKR = 0.46 INR.

Daily Budget for Galle

The average daily budget of a tourist would depend on whther 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.

Language of Galle

Sinhala and Tamil are spoken mostly. However English is also a language of communication in Galle.

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 doesn't have a thriving nightlife but the 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.

Restaurants and 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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How To Reach Galle

Galle is accessible through airways, land transport.

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