Galle was said to be the ancient city of Tarshish. As legend has it, the port traded not only with Persians and Egyptians, but also with King Solomon. The place suits this romantic notion, for it remains something of a time warp and preserves a distinctive character - European architecture with South Asian influences. This is thanks to the fort built by the Dutch in 1663 and further fortified by the Portuguese, which continues to protect the buildings within. Walk through the fort gates, and wander and wonder at the beguiling collection of buildings and culture stretching back centuries.
Fort Galle remains a functioning community, with offices, local companies and people living and working here. Some of the old villas are now boutique hotels, and some vintage Dutch villas are now rental properties, adding further to the ambience, as does the Galle Literary Festival. The ramparts surrounding this eclectic mix make for a splendid walk with splendid views, particularly from the old magazine by the 20-metre-high lighthouse - built by the British in 1939. In one direction lies the ever-changing sea, on the other the preserved architectural delights of this World Heritage Site.
Top itineraries in Galle
From sweeping tea plantations to UNESCO-listed treasures and the wildlife of the Yala National Park, spend two memorable weeks exploring the history, culture and beaches of this Indian Ocean gem, a land of smiles that's long made it a travellers' favourite.
Top places to stay in Galle
A boutique beachfront resort - and Wexas favourite - The Fortress Resort and Spa is styled like an ancient Dutch fort, blending Dutch and Portuguese influences with Sri Lankan motifs and furnishings.
With love in the air, what better time to take a look at some truly romantic hotels from around the world? Whether you're searching for a romantic escape, honeymoon paradise, once-in-a-lifetime getaway or simply some quality time with that special someone, these properties are guaranteed to impress.
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