Dutch Colonial Galle
Galle is a beautiful colonial port town in the south west of Sri Lanka. The town center lies within a historic fort built by the Dutch in 17th century that's surrounded by the ocean on three sides. Another of Sri Lanka's many UNESCO World Heritage sites, the fort houses a captivating mix of European architecture and South Asian influences, and reminds you more of a Mediterranean vacation town than a South East Asian city.
We booked three nights at Fortaleza, a small boutique hotel and popular restaurant centrally located within the walls of the fort. Fortaleza has several properties scatter within the fort ramparts, repurposing several Dutch houses and buildings into a variety of properties for guests, including a standalone one bedroom apartment. Although no longer listed, we stayed at the Barefoot Flat, a beautiful apartment a few minutes walk away from the restaurant and hotel. With a living room, courtyard kitchen, outdoor bathroom, and a bedroom up a steep flight of wooden stairs, the accommodations were a welcome surprise and helped feel like more than visitors to Galle.
Besides an afternoon managing a small flood in our apartment due to some strong tropical rains, our days were spent exploring the fort center's streets and avenues, walking along the historic ramparts, and sampling the great restaurants within the town.
- Fortaleza: The hotel's restaurant is well known and has a welcoming open courtyard and an array of international and contemporary dishes. Guests have their choice of a western or Sri Lankan breakfast each day, and we had dinner here one night as well.
- The Fort Printers: Another hotel and restaurant combination, this place is a little more upscale than Fortaleza and offers a mix of Mediterranean and Sri Lankan inspired plates.
- A Minute by Tuk Tuk: A Thai restaurant on the second floor of the Dutch Hospital building that overlooks the eastern walls of the city. Opt for the outdoor seating on the balcony and take in the lovely view.
- Chambers Restaurant: A Moroccan restaurant near our flat, we stopped here for an afternoon snack and enjoyed an excellent hummus plate and some tasty wraps.
- Amangalla: A elegantly restored colonial gem that's part of the Aman luxury hotel group. We tried to stop by for a drink unsuccessfully, but would recommend peeking at their menu for an excuse to explore the lobby or sit in the veranda.
- Cafe Punto: A simple family run cafe serving inexpensive Sri Lankan curries.
- Rocket Burger: Galle's first and only burger place, Rocket Burger is retro-inspired and an opportunity to surrender to American cravings and split a burger and fries.