High on our list of places to visit in Sri Lanka is the bustling town of Galle and the relaxed Galle Fort. The main town of Galle has a very fast paced feel to it, with busy streets and shops of every kind. From big fruit markets to fish stalls to small fabric shops. There’s plenty of cool places to take pictures and absorb the local buzz.
Once you’ve experienced the energy of Galle, unwind within the colonial walls of the fort. Inside is a beautiful collection of Dutch buildings, awash with simplicity and charm. Classic architecture meets the tropical setting creating a unique place to explore. You’ll find rows of art galleries, clothing and homeware boutiques, jewellery shops, ice cream parlours and cafes serving both western and Sri Lankan food. Make sure to stop by the Instagram-able light house and take photos. There is also a crazy guy who has made a little business by jumping off of the rocks into a shallow rock pool on the other end of the wall.
Each boutique has a different style and is stocked with traditional items as well as designs from afar. Barefoot is a colourful shop offering a variety of trinkets and souvenirs, perfect for picking up presents for friends and family back home. Along the road sits Stick No Bills, a modern gallery which is home to the iconic pop art style Ceylon posters and postcards you’ll see dotted around hotels across Sri Lanka. Mini Mango is a great spot for authentic scarves, dresses and kaftans that will get you looking like a local. Spa Ceylon is the best place to pick up wellness and beauty bits, whilst Galle Fort Spa do a mani pedi or a massage which is amazing. Be sure to pre-book!
Photos from Galle Fort Spa & Poonies Kitchen by Krisitin Lagerqvist who visited us last year. Read her post about galle fort here (link).
Once its time for lunch there are endless options of cafes and restaurants to choose from in Galle Fort. Our favourite is Poonie’s Kitchen, a healthy cafe hidden in a courtyard aback from the road which serves many delicious and wholesome treats. The menu consists of butternut fritters, salad Thali and the roasted vegetable and goats cheese tart to name a few. The banana bread and carrot cake are both a must try, as are the fresh juices and passionfruit soda too. Fort Bazar is a magical setting, serving great steaks and meze platters. If you’re in the mood for something filling, Rocket Burgers in Galle Fort rustle up American inspired burgers. Or if you feel like something more special, Amangalla Hotel is a classic place for fancy high tea.
For an afternoon pick me up head to Heritage Cafe for the best iced coffees in town or Crepe-ology for your pancake fix. The Pedlars Inn also makes a delicious milkshake. Sit outside next to the vintage antique car and watch the tuck tucks and tourists go by. Across the street sits their ice cream shop with a vast range of flavours to choose from. We recommend wandering the picturesque streets of Galle Fort with an ice cream in hand.
Getting to Galle is relatively easy. You can take the train from Ahangama railway station (we suggest getting there 10-15 minutes before so you can buy a ticket) and tickets should cost 40 rupees. You can walk to Galle Fort from the station (or take a tuk for 100 rupees). Just take a slight left as you exit the station and you will see the Galle Fort walls up ahead. Walk over a small bridge and then take a right when you cross the four way intersection.
If travelling by tuk tuk from Sunshinestories one way should cost 1250 rupees, two ways from 2500 rupees, and a full day should be around 4000 rupees. If taking the bus from Ahangama bus station it should cost 30-40 rupees depending on if it is an express or not. Double check the bus goes to Galle.