Galle is the capital of the south and one of Sri Lanka's most cosmopolitan places. With a spectacular setting on the south western tip of the island, Galle is surrounded by palm fringed beaches and forest clad hills towards the interior.
The city has had a chequered and varied history, with a plethora of influences and cultures crossing over the centuries, leaving a vibrant and diverse way of life. Famous for it's 17th century Dutch Fort, the old part of the city is home to some of the island's best craft shops, restaurants and bars. Some of the best accommodation can also be found within the walls of the fort and the surrounding region.
Amangalla, one of the flagship hotels of the Aman group, is the most up-market place in town. The Fort Printers also provides six rooms in a unique setting in the heart of the fort. There are several other excellent small hotels and heritage houses both inside the walled area of the fort and on the hills in the town itself, such as the Sun House and The Dutch House. There are also several beautiful villas available for hire within the fort, even for just a few days. In the lush tropical countryside, 6km from town, is the beautiful Illuketiya. This stunning heritage property has perhaps the most amazing gardens in Ceylon. For all the trimmings of a luxurious 5* spa hotel, stay at the beautiful, Bawa designed Jetwing Lighthouse. The boutique Kahanda Kanda is a short drive into the hills around galle, and is is probably the most stylish hotel in the whole country.
A little further down the coast is the cool traveller hang out of Unawatuna. Regarded as one of the best beaches on the 70’s hippie trail, Unawatuna retains a laid back vibe which has survived a battering in the tsunami. Thambapanni Retreat is a great place to retire away from the buzz of the beach with its restaurants and bars. There are several other inexpensive and places in the vicinity.
For many though, it is the accommodation on the quiet beaches around Galle that grabs the attention. With an excellent rage of villas and boutique hotels, there are no shortage of quality properties to tempt you, all of which are within easy reach of Galle town. Kingsley's Pearl and Victoria are two stunning beach villas designed by the same Australian architect and offer sublime privacy. The wonderfully quirky Kikili Beachis a place for fun lovers and remarkably good value, especially for longer stays.
The pick of the boutique hotels are the elegant and luxurious Frangipani Tree, Apa Villa and Era Beach. Slightly further down the south coast is Koggala and two of our favourite villas - Southpoint Villa and Southpoint Abbey, which combine high level hotel service with the charm, privacy and friendliness of a private villa.
Galle is also the home of the Galle Literary Festival, which takes place at the end of January each year. The festival is known internationally as one of the most popular and friendly on the circuit and is an added reason to visit the city.
As Sri Lanka develops into a new era of peace and prosperity, expect this area of the country to flourish. Contact us to discuss which property suits your requirements and budget, and find out why this marvellous city has left such an impression on so many who have visited.
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