Sunday Spotlight – Galle, Sri Lanka
Hi all. Today I’m turning the spotlight on Galle. It’s a wonderful spot in southern Sri Lanka, not too far from the capital Colombo, only a few hours by train, I think the fastest trains only take a little over two hours.
Whilst there are many places with colonial ties all over the sub-continent, nowhere is quite like Galle, with it’s huge fort. The old, colonial town sits inside the walls of the fort, and in a leisurely couple of hours you can walk most of the way around atop the walls, only needing to leave the wall for small measures.
The history of Galle includes Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders. Thankfully today Galle is back in the hands of the Sri Lankans, but it shows what an important spot this once was in the fight for colonial superiority. There are several museums inside the fort walls where this history and more Sri Lankan history is on display. You’ll find several old churches in the walls as well.
It’s a good place to eat, we found several restaurants that impressed whilst we were there. You could get a range of different cuisines from Sri Lankan through to French, although if you prefer the local cuisine, then you definitely want to leave the walls of the fort and cross a couple of roads to find Sri Lankan food more traditionally and much more cheaply served.
The streets in the fort are good for wandering about, you’ll find all sorts of things for sale although it must be noted that you won’t necessarily find any bargains, Galle is not the cheapest place in Sri Lanka to buy stuff, in fact, it might just about be the most expensive. And that does apply to the restaurants as well!
Which brings me to point out that Galle is a very touristy place indeed, especially for Sri Lanka, a country where tourism is increasing year by year by year. And why not? It’s a really lovely spot. But you won’t find bargains and you won’t be the only traveller in Galle.
Along the southern shore you will find other towns which are cheaper and better for backpackers. Although many still seem to rely on tourism. Galle really feels like it’s for the midrange and up traveller in 2018. So I guess it now depends on whether that’s YOU or not. For the backpacker, you might be advised to try Unawatuna, only a few kilometres down the road. It’s really laid back and there are a lot of places for backpackers to stay, and to eat. That means, obviously, that there are also a lot of backpackers. But to save a little money, you can stay there and visit the Galle Fort for a day.
There’s a great little beach not too far from Unawatuna, the Jungle Beach. It’s secluded. But it’s not a secret so you won’t be alone. The water is brilliant and it’s not far from Galle either. Galle’s own beach, near an historic lighthouse, which has imaginatively been called ‘Lighthouse Beach’. The water is just as warm, but it’s rocky and not as fun for swimming.
Also back in Galle but JUST outside the fort is one of the most picturesque sporting grounds in the world – the Galle International Cricket Stadium. Cricket might not be your bag, but it’s a beautiful spot! Not far from the clock tower which is apparently of note.
And that’s Galle for you. It’s lovely, a little expensive, and covered in tourists. Looking for a great upmarket meal then do try the ‘Fort Printers’, and for one a little cheaper ‘Pedlar’s Inn and Café’ was nice too! Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End!