The historic city of Galle – situated on the southwestern tip of the island – is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Sri Lanka. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and extensively fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century, this major city is now home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

An absolute delight to explore on foot, the city of Galle consists of the fort and the new town. The fort tends to draw all the attention but the new town – constantly buzzing with activity throughout the day – is worth exploring as well.

Indeed, the colourful city is known for its ancient mosques, churches, mansions and museums, and offers a variety of activities such as whale watching cruises, national park adventures, lagoon and village cycling tours, and turtle hatchery visits, along with the serenity of the waves that comes with it.

The architectural styles of the colonial buildings within Galle Fort – with their Portuguese and Dutch influences – are bound to take your breath away. As you stroll through the beautiful lanes, you’ll come across stylish cafes, trendy boutiques and splendid restaurants adorning either side.

Galle is the perfect destination for gem and antique shopping. It also has a number of small spas and yoga studios. Although most bars within the fort generally do not serve alcohol, you can find a few places where you can grab a beer and relax.

This gorgeous city can be explored within a day but if you’d like to stay on, there are a variety of places ranging from pocket friendly and budget hotels to resort style hotels with swimming pools. It definitely helps to book your stay well in advance.

Oh, and don’t forget the all-important sunscreen – even if you’re looking to get a tan!

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