About Galle

Country: India | State: Sri Lanka

Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days

Nearest City to Galle: Galle, Colombo (126 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Galle: December to March

Peak Season: December to February

At a distance of 42 km from Matara, 55 km from Bentota, 126 km from Colombo, 190 km from Yala, 222 km from Kandy, 251 km from Nuwara Eliya, 304 km from Anuradhapura, and 365 km from Trincomalee, Galle is an ancient port city located on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions to visit in the region as part of Sri Lanka Tour Packages and among the must include places to visit in honeymoon trip.

Synonymous with the country's fascinating history and rich culture, no Sri Lanka Tour is complete without visiting Galle as this historic city is blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques, and churches, grand mansions, and museums. Galle was known as Gimhathitha in ancient times and is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese term meaning 'port near the river Gin'. Another theory is that the word Galle is derived from the Dutch word 'Gallus', which means rooster, as the Dutch have used the rooster as a symbol of Galle.

As per the historical records, Galle was an important trading center for the Arabs, Chinese and Malays, long before the Europeans occupied it. The colonial period began with the 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. Later, the Dutch invaded Galle and began the reconstruction of the fort in 1649 and it is now the largest fortified city in Asia by European settlers. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle's significance decreased after the British occupied the fort in 1796, as Colombo was established as the capital. Devastated by the tsunami in 2006, the city got back on its feet the very next year and the Galle cricket ground, one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world, was also rebuilt and hosting test matches since 2007.

Dipped in rich colonial heritage, the ancient port city has innumerable and diverse attractions within its precincts. The imposing Galle Fort is undoubtedly the highlight of the city which attracts a lot of tourists every year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is throbbing with activity in itself, with a church, a mosque, a court, several offices and hotels within the premises of the fort. The Dutch Reformed Church, Old Dutch Hospital, Galle Clock Tower, National Museum, National Maritime Museum, and Galle Lighthouse are the must-visit places inside the fort complex. Besides, one can also visit nearby places like Unawatuna Beach, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Jungle Beach, Hikkaduwa Beach, Mirissa, Dalawella Beach, and Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is the nearest airport which is about 151 km from Galle. It has well flight connectivity with India and other parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. Galle Railway Station connects it to other important places of interest including Colombo, Bentota, Matara, and Kandy. There are a number of public and private buses that travel from Galle to Colombo, Bentota, Unawatuna, Matara, and Kandy on a daily basis. The best way to get around Galle is on foot, or by hiring a tuk-tuk.

The best time to visit Galle is from December to March since the rainfall in the city is at its lowest during this time. Additionally, these months are excellent for water sports at the immensely popular beaches of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, which are near the city. April is the driest month of the year. Better to avoid visiting Galle from May to September as the southwest monsoon occurs at this time of the year and is considered to be off-season at Galle.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 0094-091
Languages Spoken: Sinhalese, Tamil, & English
Major Festivals: Details Not Available

How to Reach Galle

By Air

Nearest Airport: Colombo - Bandaranaike Airport (151 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Galle Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Galle Bus Station (1 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Galle


#1 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 1.5 km from Galle Railway Station, Galle Fort is an ancient fort situated in the Old city of Galle, Sri Lanka. Located on the southern coast of the country, it is one of the five historical monuments that one must visit as part of Sri Lanka Packages.

The Galle Fort is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument with more than 400 years of history. UNESCO described it as a World Heritage site for its unique exposition of an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Today, the Galle Fort is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European settlers. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort.

Also known as Dutch Fort, Galle Fort was first built by the Portuguese on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The initial fortification .....

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#2 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 1 km from Galle Railway Station, the Galle National Museum is a museum situated inside the Galle Fort in Sri Lanka. Also called Galle National Museum, it is one of the national museums of Sri Lanka and among the top places to visit in Galle.

The National Museum of Galle is housed in the oldest remaining Dutch building in the Galle Fort. It is a single storey colonnaded Dutch building built in the year 1656 as the commissariat store for the Dutch garrison and is subsequently served as a billiards room for the adjoining New Oriental Hotel (now the Amangalla Hotel). The building was renovated and converted into a museum by the Department of National Museums in 1986.

Galle National Museum displays a wide range of archaeological and anthropological objects in s three galleries. The first gallery contains collections relating to the ancient village life including instruments used in cottage industries like Dutch lace crafting bobbins, traditional wooden mask carving, .....

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#3 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 1 km from Galle Railway Station, National Maritime Museum is an archaeology museum situated inside the Galle Fort, Galle. It is the only museum which aware the public on marine biological and anthropological aspects of the Southern coastal area of Sri Lanka.

Established in 1992, Maritime Museum is housed in a 1671 Dutch warehouse above the Old Gate of Galle Fort. The museum mainly focused on exhibits of sea life. There were stuffed specimens, fossils, shells, skeletons and scale models of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and fish. The museum also displayed exhibits connected to sea-faring, maritime trade, fishing and relics retrieved from the 20-odd shipwrecks around Galle. Other exhibits included life-sized dioramas of Sri Lankan fishing methods, a 'walk along the seafloor' exhibit with natural coral beds, seaweed, and deep-sea fish. One of the interesting exhibits of the museum was a display of the causes of sea pollution, coast erosion, and the methods used to combat .....

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#4 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 6 km from Galle Railway, Unawatuna Beach is a pristine beach located along the Indian Ocean at Unawatuna in the Galle district of Sri Lanka. It is one of the best beaches to visit in Sri Lanka and among the must include places in Sri Lanka Trip.

Unawatuna is one of the biggest tourist spots in Sri Lanka and is visited by both tourists as well as locals. It is a lovely banana-shaped beach of golden sand and turquoise waters, surrounded by tall palm trees. The beach brings the local culture to life and is a great place to take a dip into the ocean to relax after a hot summer day. There are also sunbeds laid out on the beach for visitors to rent out and just enjoy the day basking in the sun with scenic ocean views.

The palm-lined beach is a perfect place for swimming and many water activities to indulge in. At the west end of the beach, there are some rocks and stairs that lead up to a small hill with a pagoda .....

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#5 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 3 km from Unawatuna Beach and 7 km from Galle Railway Station, the Jungle Beach is situated on the opposite end of the main Unawatuna Beach in Galle. It is one of the secluded beaches in Sri Lanka and among the top places to visit in Galle.

The beautiful and calm Jungle Beach is located between Unawatuna and Galle. The beach is secluded from the city which makes it a perfect place for those who want to sit and relax at the beach. There are sunbeds available for visitors to sit back and chill by the beach. The beach is not as easy to visit as compared to the other beaches of the city, but visitors can reach the beach either by walk or by boat.

Jungle Beach is perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba diving. One can easily rent some scuba diving gear from the nearby shops and also gain a tip or two about the activity. The vibe of the place transforms into a party at night. There is a beach party every Wednesday from sunset to sunrise, where the people of .....

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#6 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 2 km from Unawatuna Beach and 10 km from Galle Railway Station, Dalawella Beach is a beautiful strip of sand located in the town of Unawatuna. This is one of the secluded beaches in Unawatuna and among the must-visit places during your Galle Tour.

The Dalawella Beach is secluded and less crowded compared to Unawatuna Beach where families head out for some quiet and relaxing time. The beach stretches on for miles and is separated by a few coves and bays. The beach is famous for its mesmerizing scenic view and natural seawater swimming pools where you can enjoy a quiet swim in the warm waters. Dalawella Beach is also a great place for adrenaline junkies as it is the best place for snorkelling and scuba diving where one will experience the vibrant sea creatures and the amazing sea turtles.

Also, be sure to check out the Dalawella Beach swing for a memorable experience. It should not cost more than 200-500 LKR. When in Unawatuna you will also find some of the .....

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#7 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 300 m from the National Maritime Museum and 1 km from Galle Railway Station, the Historical Mansion Museum in Galle is located within the Galle Fort. It is one of the popular museums in Galle and among the prime places to visit in the port city while holidaying in Sri Lanka.

The Historical Mansion Museum is a private museum owned by Abdul Gaffer who established it in a classic colonial Dutch house. There is a great series of photographs show the dilapidated condition of the building prior to its restoration in 1988. The museum exhibits a collection of miscellaneous items ranging from colonial artifacts to other antiquities - with many things available for sale. The museum is also the home to a gem shop. Visitors of the museum will be able to witness live embroidery presentations and also the process of cutting and polishing gorgeous sapphires and other precious gems.

The central courtyard is the main highlight of the museum where visitors can take a look at .....

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#8 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 18 km from Galle and 37 km from Bentota, Hikkaduwa Beach is a serene beach situated in the coastal town of Hikkaduwa. It is one of the popular beaches on the island as part of the Sri Lanka Tour.

The beach of Hikkaduwa was the first (the 1960s) beach discovered by tourists in Sri Lanka. The beach stretches over 4 kilometers and hosts many fun activities to keep the tourists engaged. These water sports include snorkeling, scuba diving, whale watching, swimming in the ocean and glass boats for the adventure seekers. The clear waters beckon the nature lovers who wish to take a dip inside the waters to witness the vibrant, colorful aquatic life. The coral sanctuary found along the coast of Hikkaduwa hosts gorgeous coral formations. Off the beach, there is a collection of small islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations. Many species of fish and large turtles are found here.

Hikkaduwa offers some of the best scuba diving experiences in Sri Lanka as it has .....

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#9 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 30 km from Unawatuna and 35 km from Galle, Mirissa Beach is a beautiful sandy shore located along the mighty Indian Ocean in the coastal town of Mirissa, Sri Lanka. It is one of the popular beaches on the Southern coast of the island and among the best places to visit near Galle.

Mirissa Beach is relatively large with plenty of space to lay down and just relax and watch the beach life. The beach has clean sand and clear waters that are lined with palm trees. At one end of the Mirissa Beach is a rock formation, known as Parrot Rock that is surrounded by the ocean on three sides. Tourists can climb on top of the rock and witness a gorgeous panoramic view of the Mirissa Beach.

The stunning Mirissa Beach is a popular site for water sports, such as surfing and snorkeling, which are always on demand. Besides, Mirissa is hugely famous for its whale watching and dolphin watching activities. Whale watching in Mirissa allows visitors to enjoy watching them swim and play .....

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#10 of 12 Places to Visit in Galle

At a distance of 80 km from Galle, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a forest reserve and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is one of the very few virgin rainforests in the world and among the prime places to visit in Sri Lanka for nature lovers.

Sinharaja is the last viable area of primary tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility. This reserve was once a royal reserve and in some colonial records, it is referred to as Rajasinghe Forest. It was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as the Lion Kingdom.

The reserve is only 21 km from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km from north to south, but it is home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies as well as .....

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