Galle has been tipped as the big unmissable destination in the South and I’ve been looking forward to our visit since I read about it.
We travelled there from Unawatuna which is just a 20 minute tuk tuk ride along the coastal road. We never fail to be astonished by the crazy driving antics of Sri Lankan’s and whilst stuck in traffic we were surrounded by pushbikes, scooters, tuk tuks, buses and motorbikes with tiny babies on.
Galle is an incredible mix of exotic palm-lined beaches with grand Dutch colonial buildings. The historic old town is surrounded by large fort walls built by the Dutch and Portuguese in the 17th century and made for a lovely walk.
We started in the scorching midday heat but were thankful for a cool sea breeze that kept us energised.
This 3km circuit revealed lovely views out to sea and hidden beaches and coves that the locals were enjoying. After a quick paddle by the lighthouse we headed into the old town to browse around the luxurious boutiques, shops and cafes.
Galle definitely has a European feel to it, with little roads lined by colonial buildings and villas that are lovely to explore. It’s crammed with chic individual shops and artisanal food places and we couldn’t believe how far removed it felt from our other experiences of Sri Lankan towns which are hectic and ramshackle and smog filled. Galle in comparison is laid back, artsy and refined.
We found an incredible gelato stop as we browsed. Gary and I are creatures of habit when it comes to ice cream flavour selections I’m afraid and we rarely stray from coconut and coffee.
We found a wonderful shop called Stick No Bills which sells vintage posters and postcards of Sri Lanka through the decades.
We both appreciated seeing an arty side of Sri Lanka where thought had been put into branding and design of shops and cafes and galleries.
We rounded off our Galle experience with a beer on the porch of the grand Amangalla hotel which is steeped in colonial splendour and complete with drinks cabinet and grand piano.
It was perhaps a little stuffy for us with overly formal service but an interesting experience in comparison to the laidback, hodge-Podge, flipflop wearing beach vibes we’ve been used to.
We left Galle having thoroughly enjoyed its classic European style architecture within a tropical environment.
We arrived back in Unawatuna with just enough time for a dip in the sea as the sun set.