Galle, where an unexpected touch of Europe lies

Galle Lighthouse, Sri Lanka

We had hired a bike whilst staying in Unawatuna so early one morning made the 20 minute ride down to Galle, the capital city of Southern Sri Lanka. to say we were blown away is an understatment. We’d read about its heavy European influence thanks to the Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, however, we just were not expecting it to feel, well, so incredibly European!

It had small cobbled roads winding throughout the fort, all lined with cool cafes and interesting boutiques which had been restored to perfection by local artists and writers. We visited Galle early to try and avoid the tourist rush and the heat so that’s worth noting if you are planning a day trip here.

Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site originally founded by Portuguese seaman who were washed up on shore after a storm back in the 16th century. It was then taken over by the Dutch in 1640 before the British stormed in and took charge of the city the Dutch had predominately built. The Dutch-Colonial combination make it a joy to wander through and we found ourselves snapping photos on every street corner.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Galle Lighthouse

This on-shore lighthouse (also known as Pointe De Galle) is a very popular tourist spot so if you want to stroll round this impressive attraction then we recoomend you get there early doors.

The fully-functional lighhouse stands at 26.5 metres tall and is a strategic guide for all incoming ships – this is the very first light station to have been built in Sri Lanka, and we’re so glad we paid it that early morning visit.

Galle Lighthouse, Sri Lanka

Heritage Cafe and Bistro

Cool off in this stylish boutique cafe where you can enjoy delicious, healthy smoothies and a brunch fit for a king. It’s not the cheapest place to stop off a refuel (for all you backpackers out there) but it’s totally worth splashing out and enjoying this award-winning, arty food hangout.

Heritage Cafe and Bistro

Cobbled street strolls

The streets are steeped in history and make for excellent strolling. Wear comfy shoes and spend a relaxed morning roaming this beautifully historic city, pit-stopping for coffee and to shelter in the shade.

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Monks in Galle, Sri Lanka

We only stayed for the morning as it had started to really heat up and we longed to be back down enjoying the breeze of the beach (Galle has a small beachfront but it’s not necessarily where tourists would go and swim – it felt a bit dirty in comparison).

Looking back we wish we had booked a night here so we could have tested out some of the tasty looking restaurants we sauntered past. It was a real treat being able to explore this city, an unexpected gem found in Sri Lanka.

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TRAVELLING SRI LANKA

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