A Guide to Charming, Colonial Galle

UNESCO World Heritage Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. This gorgeous, historic city is perfect to wander on foot and is famous for the iconic Galle Fort, the fortified old city which was founded by Portuguese colonials in the 16th century. The stone sea walls enclose cobblestoned streets which feature architecture from each of the Sri Lanka’s Portuguese, Dutch and British rules. Galle is charming with its colonial buildings, churches, grand mansions, stylish cafes and restaurants, boutique shops and stunning hotels which luxury hotel lovers will adore. Galle was the last stop on our Sri Lanka honeymoon and we had an amazing couple of days strolling the streets, walking along the fort walls, shopping, dining and enjoying our hotel.

Girl at Tea House in Galle Sri LankaWe began our tour of Galle at our hotel, the Galle Fort Hotel and headed up Church Street towards the Dutch Reform Church and past the Belltower, Post Office and Dutch Commander’s House.

Church in Galle Sri Lanka Anchors in Galle Sri Lanka VOC Crest Galle

We followed the lovely yellow Dutch Spice Warehouses down the hill, and once we saw the VOC crest on the wall, we wandered through the gate (there’s an English crest on the other side) and checked out the jetty from which you can see a number of shipwrecks and the original Portuguese Black Fort to your right.

Black Fort and Shipwreck Galle Dutch Spice Warehouses Galle

We then walked around towards the old Dutch Hospital, admiring the beautiful architecture.

Old Dutch Hospital Galle

It was about 100% humidity during our visit and so our explorations of the fort were quite slow and we took the time to stop for tea and cake at the Royal Dutch Cafe, which was the cutest cafe! It’s very instagrammable and the tea was perfect (and so was sitting under a fan for half an hour)!

Royal Dutch Cafe Galle Girl in Royal Dutch Cafe Galle Boy in Royal Dutch Cafe Galle

Our next stop was the Mosque.

Mosque in Galle Sri Lanka

Then onto the iconic Galle Lighthouse! The Lighthouse has the perfect location in Galle and is a great spot to stop for some photos.

Couple in front of Galle Lighthouse Galle Lighthouse Boy looking up at Galle Lighthouse Girl walking towards Galle Lighthouse Selfie in front of Galle Lighthouse Peace Pagoda Sri Lanka Beautiful water Galle Sri Lanka

After plenty of photos at the Lighthouse, we continued along the fort walls and ramparts admiring the beautiful colour of the water. There’s lots of places where you can duck down to little beaches for a swim too!

Galle Beach, Walls and view to Lighthouse Galle Beach Ramparts on Fort Walls Galle Girl walking fort walls in Galle Galle Fort Boy sitting on steps of Galle Fort Lookout Galle Fort Barracks Galle Fort Ramparts and Bastions Galle

Our final stop along the fort walls was the Belltower. One of the best ways to explore Galle is certainly just to walk the city walls and duck off into little charming side streets.

Belltower Galle

We spent quite a bit of our afternoon exploring the charming streets of Galle and doing some shopping.

Colonial streets in Galle Galle Colonial Streets Galle Temple Temple in Galle Sri Lanka

There’s no shortage of great places to dine in Galle. During our visit we had dinner at Pedlers Inn¬†and lunch at the Heritage Cafe, both of which we enjoyed great meals, excellent service and would recommend to other travellers.

On the other hand, we also had lunch on our first day at Anura’s Restaurant, which was listed in our lonely planet. We had the worst service here with the staff literally throwing menus on our table and not saying a word to us throughout our entire lunch, and the pizzas were no better than frozen pizzas that you would buy from the supermarket (so no, we don’t recommend this place).

Dinner at Pedlers Inn Galle Tuk Tuk in Galle

During our stay in Galle, we’d booked the Galle Fort Hotel. The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, a brand we love, having stayed in over 10 SLH’s over the last few years. The hotel itself was absolutely beautiful, our room was stunning, the majority of staff were fantastic and overall we had a great stay here. The only small thing that put a sour taste in our mouth was the treatment we received from the manager on duty throughout our stay. We’re going to be writing about our stay at the hotel in our next post and telling you all about it then. It truly is a beautiful, historic property and it is just a shame that our stay wasn’t perfect because of the actions of one staff member.

Couple on honeymoon at Galle Fort Hotel Galle Fort Hotel Restaurant Shared living area Galle Fort Hotel Bedroom Galle Fort Hotel Bed with flowers Galle Fort Hotel View of courtyard Galle Fort Hotel Galle Fort Hotel Pool