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About Galle

Scented with spice and sea spray, Galle is an almost tropical feeling little city, sitting on and around a little wedge of land jutting into the ocean. Before the Portuguese arrived in the 16th Century, Galle was a small village, but they quickly turned it into a major spice port, building an impressive fort - now considered the best example of a fortified port built by Europeans in South-East Asia - covering most of Galle's ocean promontory. The Dutch arrived in the 17th Century, and added to the fort, as well as building their homes and churches, so today's Galle is a beautiful mix of local and colonial architecture, and the best places to stay in Galle are among these beautiful buildings.

The, now UNESCO Heritage Listed, fort is full of bijou shops and cafes and boutique hotels. It's a hang out for writers, artists, poets etc.. And beyond that is a charming warren of streets. But this isn't just a historic fort and an old colonial port, it's very much a working administrative centre, and the city is full of real inhabitants, not just visitors and ex-pats who've been bewitched by Galle's allure.

Our pick of the best places to stay in Galle feature a restored merchant's house and an elegant 18th century mansion.

What not to miss:

  • Watch the sunset from flag rock boasting views across the ocean and fort.
  • Catch a game of cricket at the atmospheric pitch surrounded by the fort's walls.
  • Explore the myriad of galleries, cafes and little museums located in the pretty winding alleys of the fort.
  • Get out of the city for the day and hit the beach at Unawatuna.
  • Take a walk along the fort walls.

Best places to stay in Galle

For a central location

  • The Sun House was originally built for a Scottish spice merchant in the 1860s, and its white, colonial elegance now houses seven rooms, including a large suite. A short walk from the fort, The Sun House has truly special views of Galle harbour. There's also an excellent restaurant serving Sri Lankan food - it's so good, even guests will need to book - and a beautiful, frangipani filled garden with a pool which feels pleasantly private.
  • The Fort Printers is unassuming from the outside but this bijou hotel has had some high profile guests. Behind the traditional facade it's all double height ceilings and modern chic style.

For incredible views

  • The Dutch House is the sister hotel to The Sun House, and is blessed with similarly lovely views of Galle, from its hilltop position. This home was built for a Dutch naval officer in 1712, so the architecture is totally different. The decor inside is as well, there's an interesting selection of antiques and contemporary art on the walls. This is a hip spot, and with just four rooms.

For luxury

  • Amangalla is Galle's top address. Cast your worries aside as you are taken care of by the world renowned Aman group. Located in a handsome, white colonial building you'll find chic interiors and suites crammed with period pieces and beautiful bathrooms.
  • The Dutch House is a peaceful 18th century mansion overlooking Galle. Elegant interiors are decorated in rich ochres with antiques, contemporary art.

For a beach stay

  • The Fortress resort & Spa is a luxury resort with stunning Indian Ocean views on Koggala Beach. Stylish interiors feature full length windows for maximum views, and contemporary Sri Lankan furnishings. Excellent facilities include three restaurants, infinity pool and Ayurvedic spa.
  • Aditya Resort is a contemporary boutique hotel located on its own stretch of palm lined beach. Airy rooms feature splashes of pop colours, traditional furnishings and design quirks such as split levels and outdoor rain showers.

For a rural hideaway

  • Up in the tea-leaf covered hills surrounding Galle, Kahanda Kanda is a lover’s retreat. Comprised of ten private suites, tucked away in lush grounds, decorated in a luxurious and modern décor.
  • Tri lanka is a boutique eco-hideaway near Galle Fort featuring 11 rooms, mostly in separate villas enveloped in lush greenery. Sleek wood-and-stone restaurant terrace offers top-notch fusion fare.
  • Galle Hotel is situated on the fringe of town and is a tranquil hideaway. A centuries old property, decorated in a Dutch, Sri Lankan and colonial style.
  • Kikili House is a darling little guest house just outside historic Galle Fort. Welcoming hosts make guests feel right at home whilst colourful artworks and vibrant fabrics add to the charm of this leafy neighbourhood.

For contemporary style

  • Jetwing Lighthouse is a chic design hotel housed in this former lighthouse. Blending clean lines with design quirks, bedrooms are light and bright with large bathrooms.

For boutique charm

  • A boutique property in the truest sense, it is the small touches that make Why House stand out from the crowd. The rooms are decorated with white linens, four poster beds and large windows that let in the breeze.
  • Apa Villa Thalpe is located on its own stretch of private beach with stunning infinity pool. This is the ultimate in well priced luxury.
  • The Frangipani Tree is a chic boutique property set on a quiet stretch of beach. Design is traditional throughout with high beamed ceilings and whirring fans alongside cool contemporary touches such as the luxurious open plan bathrooms.

For an apartment or villa

  • If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner, Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.

Travel information

  • Fly to Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo) from where it is a 2.5 hour drive to Galle. A train also runs from Colombo to Galle.
  • Best time to visit - Galle is a year round destination with consistently warm temperatures (averaging around 28°C), however expect rains from May - November.
  • If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos for the best prices.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Galle

  • Kikili House 6 rooms from $132

    Galle

    Darling little guests house just outside historic Galle Fort. Welcoming hosts make guests feel right at home whilst colourful artworks and vibrant fabrics add the charm of this leafy neighbourhood. A delicious breakfast of familiar Continental dishes and Sri Lankan hoppers (a must try!) is included.

    City Style  -  A charming base to explore the equally charming Galle town
    Great walks  -  To Galle Lighthouse and along the fort walls
    Local markets  -  The morning fish market is a vibrant affair
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are accepted
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • The Fortress Resort & Spa 53 rooms from $180

    Galle (Koggala)

    Luxury resort with stunning Indian Ocean views on Koggala Beach. Stylish interiors feature full length windows for maximum views, and contemporary Sri Lankan furnishings. Excellent facilities include three restaurants, infinity pool and Ayurvedic spa. Perfect for beachside relaxation.

    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor infinity pool. Some rooms feature private plunge pools
    Sights nearby  -  20 mins from Galle with its historic fort
    Spa  -  Featuring signature Ayurvedic therapies
    Cooking classes  -  Cookery demonstrations
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  • The Fort Printers 13 rooms from $140

    Galle Fort

    Unassuming from the outside this bijou hotel has had some high profile guests. Behind the traditional facade it's all double height ceilings and modern chic style. Lunch and dinner are tailored to your preference. But with Galle town on your doorstep you have plenty of options. A design dream!

    Great walks  -  A sunrise or sunset walk around Galle Fort (2.5km in total) is a must
    Sights nearby  -  Galle Fort, Lighthouse, National Museum and other sites closeby
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Tablet
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  • Fort Bazaar 18 rooms from $198

    Galle

    A painstakingly restored heritage home set in historic Galle. Chic design throughout reflects the properties Moorish roots with delicate detailing found in carefully placed tiles, mosaic cushions and pendant lamps. A luxury spa, pool and exemplary restaurant make this the ideal retreat.

    Local exploring  -  A property filled with history set within the walls of the old Galle fort.
    Cooking classes  -  Take a cookery lesson at The Church Street Social.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • Jetwing Lighthouse 85 rooms from $210

    Galle (DADELLA,)

    Chic design hotel housed in this former lighthouse. Blending clean lines with design quirks bedrooms are light and bright with large bathrooms. There are plenty of hotel activities, from tennis to fishing, making it great for the whole family. Interiors make the most of unspoilt sea views.

    Families  -  With plenty of activities on sight and babysitting services this property is great for all ages
    Fishing  -  Borrow a rod and tackle and you can go fishing right off the dock
    Sights nearby  -  Nearby Galle Fort is a must visit
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
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  • The Sun House 9 rooms from $250

    Galle

    This charmingly restored merchant's house has great hillside views. Exquisite bedrooms and suites in all-white-ethereality are the piece de resistance for any romantic. An intimate atmosphere with communal dining and lovely gardens. A hip hotel, with many accolades, ideal for completely unwinding.

    Romantic Break  -  Relax and unwind with your loved one in this idyllic property.
    Sights nearby  -  The Kataluwa Buddhist temple is hidden away in the jungle outside Galle.
    Great walks  -  Take a walking tour through Galle Fort.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor garden pool
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Galle Fort Hotel 12 rooms from $200

    Galle (Fort)

    Situated on the fringe of town this hotel is a tranquil hideaway. A centuries old property, decorated in a Dutch, Sri Lankan and colonial style, houses a lively restaurant great for mingling with fellow travellers. Loft suites are by far the best. A sun-dappled pool will leave you sun trapped!

    Sights nearby  -  Galle lighthouse, buddhist temples and museums are all located nearby
    Diving  -  The beaches of Unawatuna and Weijia are a short drive away
    Great walks  -  Walk around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort
    Restrictions on children  -  All children above the age of three welcome
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Tri Lanka 11 rooms from $326

    Galle (Thitthagalle, Ahangama,)

    Boutique eco-hideaway near Galle Fort, 11 rooms, mostly in separate villas enveloped in lush greenery. Sleek wood-and-stone restaurant terrace offers top-notch fusion fare, plus views across Koggala Lake. A romantic haven. World class yoga and excellent spa also make it the ideal detox escape.

    Total relaxation  -  There are few spots as serene in Sri Lanka - morning yoga completes the vibe
    Eco break  -  Solar panels, low emmissions, low enviromental impact and much more
    Romantic Break  -  Private treetop cottages make this an ideal romantic escape
    Great walks  -  Explore the local tea estates and learn about Sri Lanka's famous "Virgin White Tea"
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • Aditya Resort 16 rooms from $350

    Galle (Devenigoda, Rathgama,)

    A contemporary boutique hotel located on its own stretch of palm lined beach. Airy rooms feature splashes of pop colours, traditional furnishings and design quirks such as split levels and outdoor rain showers. An international lunch and dinner menu is available as are Ayurvedic spa treatments.

    Beach Life  -  Boasting its own stretch of private beach - ideal for watersports enthusiasts
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Kahanda Kanda 10 rooms from $335

    Galle (Angulugaha)

    Up in the tea-leaf covered hills surrounding Galle, Kahanda Kanda is a lover’s retreat. Comprised of ten private suites, tucked away in lush grounds, decorated in a luxurious and modern décor. With private dining, spa treatments and plenty of activities this is one for hopeless romantics.

    Sights nearby  -  Visit the historic town of Galle with its museums and galleries
    Restrictions on children  -  Children must be over the age of 12
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Surfing  -  Suitable beaches nearby.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • The Dutch House 3 rooms from $552

    Galle

    A peaceful 18th century mansion overlooking Galle. Elegant interiors decorated in rich ochres, antiques, and contemporary art with lovely gardens to unwind in. The adjoining hotel has the best restaurant in Galle. A tranquil and romantic base to explore Galle and its surrounding areas.

    Hideaway  -  A chic boutique hotel with just four elegant and airy suites, in lush gardens filled with coconut trees and sun loungers.
    Great walks  -  Take a walking tour of the historic Galle Fort, especially a sunset stroll along the walls.
    Local markets  -  Visit the nearby villages and pick up some local delights in their markets.
    Diving  -  Head up further north for scuba diving at Unawatuna.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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  • Amangalla 30 rooms from $550

    Galle

    Galle's top address. Cast your worries aside as you are taken care of by the world renowned Aman group. Located in a handsome, white colonial building you'll find chic interiors and suites crammed with period pieces and beautiful bathrooms. Elegant dining and a sumptuous spa complete the picture.

    Eco break  -  Recycled water, staff are local plus they organise monthly beach clean ups (and much more)! An enviromentally conscious hotel
    Families  -  Plenty of activities, baby sitting services, plus children under 12 stay free
    Romantic Break  -  Charming suites, indulgent spa - a great couples break
    City Style  -  The number one address in the historic town of Galle
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
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