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Galle Tourism And Travel Guide
20.5° C / 68.8° F
November to March
4 to 5 Days
Bandaranaike International Airport (150 kms)
Galle Railway Station
Formerly called Point de Galle, Galle City is a colonial town located on a large marina on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Famous for its momentous colonist wonders, white sand beaches, swarming rivers with wildlife and reflective stupas, Galle has it all in the heart of its seaside harbor. With its ancient origin, Galle goes way back as a seaport and has been a major exporter of Cinnamon for almost 1000 years. Galle has been a hotspot on the world’s trade map for spices and being the country’s main harbor for roughly 200 years as well.
With a gigantic fort that’s easily accessible with tiny streets; bistros and cafés and a strange magnetism surrounding it, Galle is heaven for people who love colonial architecture. In terms of tourism in Galle, you’ll find some of the finest luxury hotels, beautiful and scenic tea plantations, beaches and more. So, if you’re planning to travel to Galle for holidays, here’s a brief travel guide on how to reach there and what to look forward to!
How to Reach
All flights to Sri Lanka land at the Bandaranaike International Airport, 150 km from Galle. So take your pick from your city of origin and book away! With 4 flights from New Delhi, 4 from Mumbai, 7 from Chennai, 3 from Bangalore & 1 from Hyderabad, there are about 19 flights that fly non-stop to Colombo. The operating flights in this travel sector are Sri Lankan Airlines, Indigo, Spicejet and Air India.
Connected by its Coastal railway line to the rest of the country, Galle has 6 rapid trains that come daily. The best place to take a train to Galle would be from the Maradana Train Station, where the train actually starts. This is to avoid getting into a packed train.
Cabs and Buses are other modes of transport to take a road trip to Galle and being privy to the pretty sights along the way. While a taxi is a comfortable way of traveling, it is quite an expensive option for a road trip. It usually costs LKR 9,500 from Colombo to Galle. Another alternative is to board a bus, which will get you to Galle in about 3-4 hours. Slightly bumpy, and mostly with only fresh air to keep you cool, there’s a bus leaving every 10-20 minutes. If you are looking for air-conditioned travel, then the air-con buses that leave every 20 minutes and cost LKR 400-550.
Getting around in Galle:
To get around within Galle, walking is the top option. Sauntering around the Galle Fort will help you cover most of the place there. Or better still, rent a bike/bicycle and ride at your pace to witness the majestic surroundings. Then there are the 3-wheelers called Tuk Tuks, which are available for hire at all the prominent intersections across the city.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best time to travel to Galle is between December and May, when the weather is dry & hot, with a steady temperature of 25-30°C in the coastal region and 15-18°C in the highlands, on an average that lasts all year round. The busiest time for tourism in Galle is December and then October or August. If you book in advance you can avoid spending on expensive hotels and flights.
The period of December to May makes the weather warm with humidity & temperature fluctuating between 29°C to 31°C. There are intermittent rains. So it is the best time for travelers who are looking for good offers on travel deals.
February through April is considered as the Spring Season in Galle. It is fairly pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities.
May through September brings the rains and cooler temperature with the Monsoon season. It rains the most in May & June, but the monsoon is also heavy during October & November, with rather erratic rainfall. The period between September & November witnesses a good amount of rain or snow that lasts close to 12-15 days.
You will find low hotel tariffs in August and the most expensive ones from September till November. If you enjoy cold weather, then December-February are the crowd puller months when it snows or rains occasionally.
Things To Do
A destination that beckons you with its mystique past and wins you over with its gorgeous surroundings, Galle has a mix of everything you’d like to see, the beaches, the ancient history, the rustic structures, lip-smacking cuisine, etc. Here’s a snippet of what to do in Galle.
Whether it is to stroll around leisurely through the rustic and serene streets of this majestic city or to explore the wildlife, plantations, beaches, and historic sites, there’s so much more to Galle than just a few listings of the choicest places to visit here. Some noteworthy destinations to tap when you’re there are the Galle Fort, Maritime Archeology Museum, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Rumassala Sanctuary, Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya, and the Historical Mansion Museum.
Beach Activities & Water Sports:
Being an island, there’s an opportunity to explore limitless adventures including different water sports & beach activities in Sri Lanka. Indulge in some fun experiences like water or windsurfing, fishing, scuba diving and more at Unawatuna Beach, one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches. You will enjoy palm trees and greenery at one end, while the other side is rich with white sand and the Indian Ocean.
Food & Shopping:
Take a short 3-wheeler ride to explore the lesser known spots of the city and rediscover the beauty hidden within. Enjoy the culinary wonders with a variety of fresh seafood and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine by the shore. In addition to the historic sites and natural attractions, you will see the streets of Galle alive with trendy bistros, small boutiques with bohemian themes and a heap of new age luxury hotels along the coastline. For people who love shopping, Galle has some gorgeous wares that include cotton apparel, handcrafted items, loose gems & jewellery, and furniture to indulge in.
Unwind In Style:
And the best way to end the long day is to unwind with a spa or wellness session, and then head out to enjoy the nightlife in its quaint & calm or boisterous pubs and restaurants.
Where To Eat
Roughly a two hour drive from Colombo, Galle is no less a foodie’s paradise. One of the best places that tops the list of eateries is Spoons where you’ll find a fine blend of Sri Lankan and Western cooking. The place is small and packed almost always, so the best time to get there is before 6pm. The Shrimp Taco and Shrimp wrap are exceptionally delicious and curries are a must try too.
If you want the best of genuine Sri Lankan cuisine and experience the local hospitality to the hilt, go to the Lucky Fort Restaurant, a family-owned eatery, where food is cooked just like home by the Mother of the kinfolk, from a changing menu each day with the best of the freshest stock. You can try the Rice with 10 curries that are all different with an assortment of green beans, pineapple, jack fruit, fish, eggplant, beetroot, lentils, pumpkin & ash plantain.
Some other places to gorge on food in Galle are Crepe-ology for lip-smacking crepes, Fortazela with an open courtyard and amazing seafood selection, or the Pedlar’s Inn café for the quintessential American style cuisine.
Where To Shop
You can pick-up semi-precious jewellery in silver and loose gems at Church Street in Galle Fort. You can also witness the making of the local lace here as well as shop for some. Some other products to look out for here are leather goods, spices, and Batik.
If you’re interested in antiques, crafts, and artefacts, then Pedlar Street is the place to view traditional craftsmanship, which includes handcrafted and hand-painted showpieces, collectibles and art to name a few.
Olanda is the best for antique furniture. The retailers here can ship to any part of the world and also custom make fake furniture which is relatively cheaper. But, be mindful of the exorbitant rates you’d end paying for shipping and of course, haggle for a competitive price.
Gingota Silk Factory:
This is the best place to pick Sri Lankan silk of premium quality, cheaper in comparison to the shops in Galle Fort.