Photo of Galle

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.

The Best Places to Stay in Galle

The Best Places to Stay in Central Galle

  • 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.

The Best Hotel Views in Galle

  • 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.

The Most Luxurious Places to Stay in Galle

  • 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.

The Best Places to Stay in Galle 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.

The Best Places to Stay in Galle 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.

The Best Places to Stay in Galle 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.

The Best Boutique Hotels in Galle

  • 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.

Prefer 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 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 Rentalcars for the best prices.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Galle

  • The Bungalow - Galle Fort Galle 6 rooms from £70

    A wonderfully restored bungalow in the heart of Galle Fort. Interiors keep their original charm but there's a fresh contemporary feel. Rooms benefit from large four posters and indulgent bathrooms. A fantastic restaurant set in the atmospheric, high-ceilinged, dining hall is worthy of a trip alone.

    Local exploring  -  Set within the walls of the fort this is a perfect spot to explore the historic town by foot (the beach is pretty close too!)
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Galle Fort (a UNESCO Heritage site)
    Great walks  -  Stroll the walls of the Fort at sunset
    Full of character
    Check Availability
  • The Fortress Resort & Spa Galle (Koggala) 53 rooms from £138

    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
    Check Availability
  • The Fort Printers Galle Fort 13 rooms from £109

    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
    Check Availability
  • Wirdana Spa & Villas Galle (Boossa) 10 rooms from £117

    A Balinese-inspired oasis of tangled vines and soothing earthy tones, located within easy reach of Galle Fort. Spacious interiors are simply styled with four posters and polished cement bathrooms. Expect a superb spa and fabulous food thrown in!

    Total relaxation  -  A picturesque and tranquil spot complete with glorious spa, superb dining and impeccable service
    Surfing  -  Discover the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka’s south coast — perfect for paddling or surfing
    Sights nearby  -  Venture to gorgeous Galle Fort for a day of shopping and exploring
    Great walks  -  Stroll through the hotel’s 4.5 acre cinnamon plantation
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape
    Check Availability
  • Fort Bazaar Galle 18 rooms from £152

    A painstakingly restored heritage home set in historic Galle. Chic design throughout reflects the property's 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
    Check Availability
  • Jetwing Lighthouse Galle (Dadella) 85 rooms from £161

    Chic design hotel, 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
    Check Availability
  • The Owl and the Pussycat Galle 17 rooms from £175

    An electric paradise set directly on the beach, full of tantalising colour, quirky touches and fabulous food — luxurious living with an extra dollop of mischief!

    Beach Life  -  A cool and contemporary property set right on one of Sri Lanka's most scenic beaches
    Sights nearby  -  Explore gorgeous Galle Fort, filled with boutiques, cafés and plenty of history to soak up (20 minutes drive away)
    Diving  -  Discover Sri Lanka’s south coast — learn to surf or dive amongst terrific tropical fish
    Fishing  -  Watch the famed stilt fishermen nearby
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
    Check Availability
  • The Sun House Galle 9 rooms from £192

    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, Great Small Hotels
    Check Availability
  • Tamarind Hill Galle 12 rooms from £193

    A wonderfully nostalgic 5 star hotel on the outskirts of Galle. The beautifully restored property offers luxurious colonial style suites, lush green gardens, a pool and a fantastic spa. The restaurant serves a mix of traditional and international cuisine and the elegant bar is not to be missed!

    Honeymoons  -  An indulgent and romantic honeymoon destination with in room massages and open air private dining experiences
    Great walks  -  Wander the many nature trails that span mountains, rainforests, reservoirs and cultural heritage sites
    Cooking classes  -  The hotel offers on site cookery demonstrations- learn to whip up your favourites from the menu
    Kayaking  -  Grab a kayak and head off to explore the Madhu River, a truly remarkable experience
    Check Availability
  • Galle Fort Hotel Galle (Fort) 12 rooms from £156

    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
    Check Availability
  • Tri Lanka Galle (Thitthagalle, Ahangama,) 11 rooms from £250

    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
    Check Availability
  • Aditya Resort Galle (Devenigoda, Rathgama,) 16 rooms from £269

    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
    Check Availability
  • Kahanda Kanda Galle (Angulugaha) 10 rooms from £261

    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
    Check Availability
  • The Dutch House Galle 3 rooms from £424

    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
    Check Availability
  • Amangalla Galle 30 rooms from £429

    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
    Check Availability