A city in two halves
Galle is a city of contrasts: bohemian and cosmopolitan; modern luxury and traditional heritage; city and beach. Although it was also ruled by the Portuguese and the British, it's the Dutch influence that's most evident today, thanks to UNESCO-listed Galle Fort. This historic quarter, guarded by thick ramparts, is chock-full of Dutch colonial villas, often housing cool cafés and chic boutiques selling jewellery, spices and colourful kaftans.
Set on a promontory, it's got fantastic ocean views and is a prime spot for watching the sunset. To the east and west of the city are the beaches - sweeps of golden-syrup sand framed by groves of tall palm trees. Some spots have offshore reefs, making for great surfing at certain times of year.
Flights from the UK take approximately 10 hours 30 minutes.
Transfer time from Colombo airport to Galle is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.
Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons – one in the south-west between May and September, and one in the north-east between October and January. Galle and Bentota are in the south-west, and the most popular time to visit is between December and March for hot, sunny weather and an average temperature of 30°C.
UK citizens will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can apply for a 30-day tourist visa online before you travel.
Tipping is common in Sri Lanka. You should aim to tip 100 rupees at restaurants, and the same again per day for hotel maids and porters. It’s not necessary to tip taxi drivers, although you could round up the fare to the nearest 50 rupees if paying cash.
The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. English is widely spoken too.