Galle is a charming city with a World Heritage listed historic Dutch seaside fort, streets full of character, restored 18th century merchant houses and boutique shops.

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

The Dutch Fort juts out like a small peninsula into the Indian Ocean. Within its ramparts, it contains the old quarter, with many colonial structures now converted into smart boutiques, cafés and hotels. It rose in prominence as a port under the Portuguese and later, in the 18th century under the Dutch, with the addition of curtain walls, bastions, ramparts and a substantial pair of gateways. All of these can still be enjoyed today on a leisurely walk around the old town.  Walking through Galle’s grid-planned streets, one can’t help but admire the traditional houses with their arched verandas and the shade they provide from the tropical sun. Several of the colonial-era houses and mansions have been converted into trendy cafés, shops and boutique hotels.

Cricket lovers will love the prospect of watching some live cricket at the Galle Stadium from the Fort’s ramparts.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)