The UNESCO World Heritage protected Galle Fort is one of the best examples of a European-built fortified city in the whole of south and Southeast Asia. Stone sea walls encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule.

Thanks to its natural harbour and strategic location, Persian, Indian, Arab and Chinese merchants have been calling at Galle for thousands of years – King Solomon is thought to have obtained gold, spices, ivory, and peacocks. On his way home to Venice from China, Marco Polo recorded his visit to Serendib, modern day Galle. The Arabic map maker Ibn Batuta wrote about his visit to the Muslim settlement in Galle in 1344. Muslim Arab traders called it Serendib.

Today the Galle Fort is home to beautiful boutiques, luxury hotels and restaurants.

Some of our favourite places to visit in Galle Fort include:
  • Barefoot Ceylon – a collection of buildings around an old 1920’s town house. The store includes Barefoot’s iconic fabric linen, clothing and Dumbara weaving as well as spa products, tea and spices. It also includes a bookshop, gallery, café and bar, toys and crafts and a small open courtyard with brassware and stone work.
  • Amangalla Hotel – a beautiful luxury hotel that has the period charm of a bygone era. Built in 1684, the historic edifice retains its heritage in every architectural and decorative detail. Enjoy a coffee or cocktail on the expansive terrace.
  • Fort Bazaar Hotel – an 18 bedroom renovated townhouse hotel, beautifully built around a traditional Galle Fort private courtyard boasting the acclaimed Church Street Social restaurant and bar, library and Z Spa.
  • Poonie's Kitchen - a small boutique cafe/restaurant that is great for salads and all things fresh.