If you could only go to Sri Lanka for a day, you might well choose to spend it in the beautiful city of Galle. Sturdy, weathered ramparts mark out the 16th-century fort that partly encircles the old town, and sedentary, cobbled streets intersect between stylish Dutch villas. Even the unrestored properties look like they’ve been left that way on purpose; crumbling in places, yet still somehow chic and pristine. Wander the streets perusing the boutiques, cafes and restaurants, and watch cricket by the ramparts. Put on your finest outfit and take the chance to revel in the city’s refined surroundings.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
The old town of Galle encourages wandering, leading you naturally towards the ramparts for an early evening amble. High stone and coral walls surround the town, with the red tiles of the buildings on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. The gin-clear sea fizzes and pops against the walls; keep an eye out for marine life just below the surface. As the sun sets over Ramparts Green, families pack away their cricket bats and picnics and head home, while couples arrive for romantic strolls. A gourmet dinner awaits, either at your hotel or one of the stylish restaurants in town. If you're feeling a bit more casual, tuck into a plate of street side kottu.
Even if the very idea of watching a cricket match would usually fill you with dread, consider putting your preconceptions aside just this once. Cricket is not just the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, it’s a passion woven into the very fabric of the country’s culture, and Galle is home to one of the most picturesque grounds in the world. Whether you’d like us to help you secure terrace tickets, or if you’d prefer to watch from the fort walls (for free) as the game unfolds below, you’re sure to be cheering alongside the locals. If there are no matches scheduled then head to nearby Ramparts Green where Sri Lankans of all ages often gather for an impromptu game. Should you want to try your hand at bowling a yorker or hitting a boundary you’ll be more than welcome to join in!
Over the winter months, a great migration of marine mammals, including blue and sperm whales, congregates in Galle’s deeper offshore waters. These extraordinary visiting animals are now so numerous that almost every trip results in a sighting or two. Seeing whales and dolphins diving and surfacing in the calm azure sea is overwhelming and will almost certainly move anyone who witnesses such majesty of nature. At Selective Asia, we are extremely careful with experiences associated with wildlife and keep a constant review, only working with partners who share our exacting conservation standards. While whale-watching trips from Galle often involve very early starts, they are more than worth it. (You can always catch up with an afternoon nap in the sun later!)
Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.