The southern capital of Sri Lanka has always been one of the most popular destinations on our island. And not just for holidays – for ancient trade too! Once the southern expressway came up, Galle became even closer, seeing hordes of travellers make their way down the coast everyday. But most people only see one side of the city. Fortunately for you, however, we have plenty of budget accommodation options scattered around the southern capital for you to experience the two sides of Galle on your next visit here!
Away from the coast and into the suburban greenery of Galle lies Yoho Inland Villa. As its name states, this quaint Dutch colonial mansion is an escape from the city bustle – trading the sound of the sea for the sound of birds chirping in the lush gardens. The surrounding neighbourhood is conveniently connected to the capital, yet comfortably isolated from all tourist activity – giving you an authentic local experience that the average traveller to Galle would not even think of!
When you head inland from the city of Galle, you will be surprised that you’re still on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Instead of coconut trees and views of sunsets, you’ve got every other tropical tree imaginable and sometimes, even views of lowland tea plantations. This secluded alternative to the ever-popular city truly serves as an island getaway, and is an often-overlooked option around these parts. But that’s only because it faces fierce competition from the city centre – where selfies reign supreme amidst one of the most photogenic landmarks of Sri Lanka.
This landmark is the Galle Fort. If you’ve been reading up on our island, you’re bound to have come across this icon at some point. First established in the 16th century by Portuguese colonists, the fortress was further developed by the Dutch in the 17th century to the glory it holds as a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Arguably one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka, the ramparts of Galle have been well preserved throughout history, and hold a wealth of stories that are sure to entice any traveller. For example, the Galle Lighthouse you see today was built in 1938, but a fire destroyed the original light station built by the British in 1934, after being built in 1848 – making it Sri Lanka’s oldest lighthouse!
The cobblestone streets of the Galle Fort are also filled with a number of exciting activities. As you explore this charming labyrinth by the ocean, you will come across smiling multicultural communities and colonial Dutch architecture. Many of these colonial-era buildings today house museums, shopping boutiques and even restaurants to suit any budget, and leave you spoiled for choice.
#YohoTip Wander the streets of Galle Fort in the late afternoons as the sun goes down. Considering how easy it is to get lost in the enchantment of these streets, the cool ocean breeze makes for great company on your walk that is likely to last hours!
No matter where you decide to stay in Galle, we’d always recommend ending your day with a south coast sunset. The ramparts are an excellent vantage point to catch a time lapse, but a setting sun seen through the inland foliage is just as captivating. So next time you plan on heading to our southern capital, consider your options – the buzzing activity of a legendary fortress, or the tropical escape of suburban Galle? We’ll be waiting for you!