The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Galle has always been a special place. The fortified old town has long been a piece of living history, not just enjoyed but treasured by many who visit it. Now it has a new sense of vibrancy and its grand colonial-style hotels and villas, cute coffee shops and art and craft galleries add to its charms. An exploration of Galle Fort is high on the Things to Do list for many tourists to Sri Lanka and rightly so.
Why not explore Galle Fort with a guided tour? Your host, a 4th generation Galle Fort resident, will point out the spot where the first Portuguese boats landed to the moment the English departed. The tour is filled with stirring historic tales and will give you a deeper appreciation of the Fort's cultural melting pot spanning more than 400 years.
If you are interested in the creative arts, we can recommend several experiences in Galle and its neighbouring towns that might take your fancy. Take a whistle-stop tour of the workshops of the local artists in Ambalangoda, a small coastal city famous for its arts and crafts, and take you to a local temple which houses Asia’s largest reclining Buddha. Or find out more about traditional mask making. These masks are now used in drama and dance but they were once believed to have healing and protective powers. Visit a mask workshop and learn the stages of mask making, led by a craftsman at Sithuvili, a boutique arts and crafts shop within the Fort.
Beyond Galle – largely south of the town where Galle's influence is at its strongest – is a glorious collection of beaches that Red Dot was first to recognise as the Galle Coast. The upmarket beach settlement of Thalpe is a playground for a largely well-off clientele and the sandy beaches of Unawatuna, where more budget properties abound, Koggala and Habaraduwa also have long-standing appeal.
For a more energetic activity in Galle, you can cycle around the inland villages, passing rubber and cinnamon plantations, rice paddies and small villages. One of the most popular activities in Galle is to explore Galle's interior by boat with a boat trip down the Kapu Ela river.
Another of Galle highlights is our Kanneliya Rainforest Trek which enables you to explore one of Sri Lanka's lesser-known forest areas, traversed by two of the island's main rivers. Your wildlife tracker will guide you through the forest. Complete the expedition with lunch in the centre of a lake.
The lightly-visited Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya is inland from Galle. Mulgirigala Rock Temple is perched on an enormous boulder and, according to rock inscriptions, dates back almost 2,000 years. There is so much to see and do in Galle.