Attractions

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    Sri Lanka the world heritage

    Sri Lanka is one of Asia?s richest treasure troves of both natural and man-made wonders. Royal and sacred cities, colonial strongholds, temple caves and virgin forests with no fewer than seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka declared and listed by UNESCO.

    Seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage namely, the sacred…

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    Sri Lanka the world heritage

    Sri Lanka is one of Asia?s richest treasure troves of both natural and man-made wonders. Royal and sacred cities, colonial strongholds, temple caves and virgin forests with no fewer than seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka declared and listed by UNESCO.

    Seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage namely, the sacred city of Anuradhapura ,the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the ancient city of Sigiriya, the Golden Temple of Dambulla , the old town of Galle and its fortifications, the magnificent temples and palaces of the royal city of Kandy and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

    Anuradhapura

    anuradhapura

    Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, world famous for its well preserved ruins of the Great Sri Lankan Civilization. The Civilization which was built upon this city was one of the greatest civilizations of Asia and in the world. The city now a UNESCO heritage site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya[1]. Founded in the 4th century BC it was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom till the beginning of the 11th century AC. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. It was also a wealthy city which created a unique culture and a great civilization. Today this ancient city of Sri Lanka, which is sacred to the Buddhist world, which its surrounding monasteries covers an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²) and is one of the world’s major archaeological sites.

    Polonnaruwa

    polonnaruwa

    The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE to reunite the country once more under a local leader. While Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu.

     

     

    Sigiriya

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    Sigiriya is an archeological site in Central Sri Lanka. It contains the ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD). It is one of the seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and is one of its most popular tourist destinations.

     

     

     

    Kandy

    kandy

    Kandy is the English name for the city of Maha Nuvara (Senkadagalapura) in the centre of Sri Lanka. It is the capital of the Central Province and Mahanuvara District. It lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy Valley which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea.

     

     

     

    Galle

    galle

    Galle is a town situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British, who developed the harbor at Colombo.

     

     

     

    Dambulla

    dambulla

    The city of Dambulla is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy.

    Major attractions of the city include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambullu international cricket stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days. The city also boasts to have the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Namal Uyana.

     

    Sinharaja Forest Reserve

    sinha

    Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.

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    Holy mountain of Sri Pada

    Sri Pada, or Adam’s Peak, is sacred to all four main religious groups in Sri Lanka – the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and the Christians. The giant footprint at the top is variously claimed as an imprint either of Lord Buddha, God Shiva, Adam, or St. Thomas, the Christian Apostle who preached in south India. A popular pilgrimage this 2,234m-high…

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    Holy mountain of Sri Pada

    Sri Pada, or Adam’s Peak, is sacred to all four main religious groups in Sri Lanka – the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and the Christians. The giant footprint at the top is variously claimed as an imprint either of Lord Buddha, God Shiva, Adam, or St. Thomas, the Christian Apostle who preached in south India. A popular pilgrimage this 2,234m-high mountain is climbed by thousands of devotees and a steady trickle of travelers from December to April. The climb is best attempted at night and if you’re lucky and up early the vista can reward one of the finest sunrises in Asia as well as an awe-inspiring view from the top. For many a trip up Adam’s peak is a moving highlight of a stay in Sri Lanka. During pilgrimage season strip lights and rudimentary refreshment stalls light the way and fire your resolve/quench your thirst all the way to the summit.

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    Evergreen Sinharaja

    Moist and muggy, murky and mysterious; an experience of Sinharaja is like nothing else in Sri Lanka. Trekking through this magnificent jungle, the last surviving stretch of virgin rainforest on the island is a treat; through a bewildering land of exotic colours and wonderful sounds is an truly enriching experience. From top to bottom the forest is teeming with…

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    Evergreen Sinharaja

    Moist and muggy, murky and mysterious; an experience of Sinharaja is like nothing else in Sri Lanka. Trekking through this magnificent jungle, the last surviving stretch of virgin rainforest on the island is a treat; through a bewildering land of exotic colours and wonderful sounds is an truly enriching experience. From top to bottom the forest is teeming with life, colour and sound; gushing waterfalls, gurgling streams, ants marching, leaves rustling, leeches waiting, crickets creaking and fluttering butterflies combine to stir the senses. Sinharaja is a UNESCO International Man and Biosphere Reserve.

    Overview

    Located in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka, 40km inland from the historic city of Galle, the Sinharaja rain forest straddles a series of mountains and ridges in the country’s wet zone, containing a number of streams, waterfalls and fresh-water springs which flow into the Gin Ganga (‘Ganga’ means ‘River’) on the southern boundary and Kalu Ganga to the north. The Sinharaja region has long played an important role in the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. For folklorists, the name of the forest, which literally means ‘lion king’, suggests its significance as the primary home of the legendary lion of Sri Lanka. Other less romantic historians believe that the name refers to Sinharaja’s role as the ‘king-sized’ or ‘royal’ forest of the Sinhalese people, at a time when over 100,000 hectares of wet evergreen jungle covered the South Western hills and lowlands of Sri Lanka. Since that time, with much of the land having been cultivated by both colonial settlers and local inhabitants for tea estates and other forms of enterprise, the thin sliver of forest (21km long and 3.7km wide) that remains, is but a glimpse of its former glory.

    Only relatively recently was the urgency of conserving this precious segment of land was seriously recognised when it was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1976. In 1989 UNESCO seconded this move and made it a World Heritage Site in 1989. The forest not only offers a window into in Sri Lanka’s distant past but is also houses an incredible array of flora and fauna (including a sum total of 73 endemic species of birds, butterflies, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians) making a world famous hotspot for biodiversity.

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    Nuwara Eliya

    Nuwara Eliya can be reached from Colombo via Kandy, the gateway to Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya is the most scenic highland motor road of Sri Lanka. Though the city of Nuwara Eliya has no Railway station, the highland railway line of dramatic scenery that winds past the city of Nanu Oya makes the journey by train…

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    Nuwara Eliya

    Nuwara Eliya can be reached from Colombo via Kandy, the gateway to Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya is the most scenic highland motor road of Sri Lanka. Though the city of Nuwara Eliya has no Railway station, the highland railway line of dramatic scenery that winds past the city of Nanu Oya makes the journey by train possible. The journey to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by train as well as by car is equally spectacular.The alternative route to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo is via Hatton located in the southern area of the Central Highlands.

    Victoria Park at Nuwara Eliya

    In the center of the town is local Central Market. South of the market is Victoria Park spreading to an expanse of 27 acres with well maintained shrubs and trees. The cluster of exceedingly tall eucalyptuses is a main feature therein. Victoria Park, though in close proximity to the city center, is an ornithological hot spot where the birders would spend long hours. River Nanu Oya that runs through the Victoria park and a number of lakes within it supports the endemic birds of Sri Lanka as well as migrant birds from Himalayan are seen at the park. Among the birds are Kashmir flycatcher, Indian blue robin, pied thrush, dull-blue flycatcher, yellow-eared bulbul and dull-blue flycatcher.

    Race Course and Golf Course at Nuwara Eliya

    To the south of the park is racecourse. Behind the race course is Lake Gregory. Nuwara Eliya’s all green sylvan golf course is located just opposite the Victoria Park. Built in 1891 by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, 18-hole golf course is well maintained by Nuwara Eliya golf club. The club rents golf equipment and charges a fee for playing at its golf course.

    Horton Plains

    Horton Plains National Park, A UNESCO World Heritage perched on the edge of the Central Highlands midway between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, another hill country retreat, the highest plateau of Sri Lanka at 2000 feet, is a paradise of birders, nature lovers and hikers. The escarpment that falls sheer for over 1050 meters in the park at the southern edge of the highlands to the lowlands below, called World’s End, is an excursion that wouldn’t be missed at all by the holiday makers at Nuwara Eliya.

    Since the grand view from the World’s End is clouded with mist 10 am onwards, particularly during April to September, timing on arrival at the escarpment needs to be planned. Horton Plains can be reached from Haputale too.

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    National Parks

    There are several National Parks you can visit in Sri Lanka. Yala is the largest national park. The National Parks of Sri Lanka are managed by the department of Wild Life and Conservation. National Parks are bit different from Wild Life sanctuaries which allow free movements. You need to obtain permission and a guide provided by the park. You…

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    National Parks

    There are several National Parks you can visit in Sri Lanka. Yala is the largest national park. The National Parks of Sri Lanka are managed by the department of Wild Life and Conservation. National Parks are bit different from Wild Life sanctuaries which allow free movements. You need to obtain permission and a guide provided by the park. You are not supposed to get out from the vehicle under any circumstances.

    • Yala National Park
    • Udawalawe National Park
    • Wasgomuwa National Park
    • Inginiyagala national park
    • Lahugala National Park
    • Kumana National Park
    • Willpattu National Park
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    MUSEUMS IN SRI LANKA

    “With proud history spanning over two thousand five hundred years, it comes as no surprise when Sri Lanka records many of the world’s firsts. The first concept of Museum in the world could be traced to 307-267 BC as recorded in Mahavansa….”
    Sri Lanka has a wide variety of museums that have something for everyone.
    Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage…

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    MUSEUMS IN SRI LANKA

    “With proud history spanning over two thousand five hundred years, it comes as no surprise when Sri Lanka records many of the world’s firsts. The first concept of Museum in the world could be traced to 307-267 BC as recorded in Mahavansa….”
    Sri Lanka has a wide variety of museums that have something for everyone.
    Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage is depicted through various museums scattered all over the country.

    Colombo National Museum – Colombo 7

    clmbmusimBuilt in 1887 by British Governor Sir William Gregory the grand colonial style building houses an impressive collection of cultural importance. The 1500 year old Buddha statue found at Toluwila, a 10th century Hindu Goddess Durga found at Anuradhapura and the gem-studded throne of Sri Lankan Kings with an equally befitting footstool studded with gems hints the magnificence of Sri Lankan craftsmen. The exhibits including sculptures, statues, paintings ancient & medieval jewellery, ithic inscriptions, traditional carvings and masks provide a glimpse to grandeur history of the island. The library house about 500,000 books and an impressive collection of over laboriously prepared Ola-palm leaf manuscripts.

    Natural History Museum – Colombo 7

    Found at the same premises the Natural History Museum portrays wild life and geological specimens of Sri Lanka.

    Dutch Period Museum – Colombo 11

    dutchmsnThe museum is housed in a 17th century building, originally the residence of Dutch governor. The building displays the architectural features of a Dutch town house. Dutch period furniture and paraphernalia provide an insight to different aspects of Dutch life.




    National Museum – Kandy

    kandymsmSituated behind the Temple of the Tooth, traditional artifacts on display includes jewellery, armaments, sculptures, metalwork, costumes and a host of regalia outline the glory of Kandyan kingdom between 17th -19th century.




    National Museum – Ratnapura

    ratnaprmsmThe museum is housed in the Ehelepola Walauwa. The pre historical fossils collected from gem pits in the area are exceptional objects in comparison to general museum displays.






    National Museum – Galle

    gallmsmThe museum houses objects connected to the regional history. Also on display are handicrafts such as embroidery, lace horn and tortoise shell products.






    OTHER MUSEUMS

    Archaeological Museums

    The Department of Archaeology maintains at Anuradhapura, Kandy Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Jafna, Panduwasnuwara, Ampara, Yapahuwa and Dedigama.

    Ceylon Tea Museum – Kandy

    teamsmThe five-story museum, exhibits old machinery used for processing of tea leaves. The museum plays tribute to James Taylor, the pioneer of the Ceylon industry. A tea sales center and a restaurant are also housed in the same premises.





    Gemological Museum – Kandy/Ratnapura

    On display are collections of gems, precious minerals and traditional jewellery.

    Folk Museum – Koggala

    gallmaskHouses a fine collection of implements and appliances connected to the lifestyles of people from all over the country. The exhibits outline the folk lifestyles by representing various aspects of agriculture & cottage industries, art & music, folk treatments & medicine, customs & religion among others.




    Maligawa Museum – Kandy

    maligamsmGifts offered over centuries of time to the Maligawa, the temple of the Tooth Relic by kings, nobles and devotees are on display at this museum. Life size models of last king and Queen of Kandy in full royal attire could also be seen.






    Tusker Raja Mausoleum – Kandy

    The mausoleum of Raja, the devoted tusker who carried the Tooth Relic casket in the Esala Perahera for fifty years (1937-11987) is within the close vicinity of the Maligawa premises.

    National Maritime Museum – Galle

    koggalaLacated at an old Dutch building in the Galle, the museum has a range of objects connected to marine biology and fishing activities.










    National Zoological Gardens – Dehiwela

    Puppet Museum – Piliyandala

    Ceylon Planetarium – Colombo 11Ceylon Planetarium – Colombo 11

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    Tricomalee

    Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbors in the world is located 257 km north-east of Colombo, capital city of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is home to fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppaveli and off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination too. The Dive centers at Nilaveli, Uppaveli support the tourists to enjoy their…

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    Tricomalee

    Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbors in the world is located 257 km north-east of Colombo, capital city of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is home to fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppaveli and off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination too. The Dive centers at Nilaveli, Uppaveli support the tourists to enjoy their holidays in diving, snorkeling and swimming. Trincomalee district, called Gokanna or Gokarna in the historical chronicles and inscriptions, being studded with a multitude of ruins of ancient Buddhist temples, is a major Sinhalese Buddhist cultural and archeological site of Sri Lanka. The seven hot springs at Kanniyai located just 8km from Trincomalee attract regular crowds throughout the year in view of the therapeutic properties of water therein varying in temperature from one well to the other.

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    Negombo

    Close proximity to the international airport ensures that the long sandy beaches of the Negombo coast have become one of the most popular beach resorts in the island. The town is often used as a staging post at the start or the end of a Sri Lanka tour as well as for a convenient beach holiday with minimal travel….

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    Negombo

    Close proximity to the international airport ensures that the long sandy beaches of the Negombo coast have become one of the most popular beach resorts in the island. The town is often used as a staging post at the start or the end of a Sri Lanka tour as well as for a convenient beach holiday with minimal travel. But there is more to the north-west coast than Negombo’s tempting stretch of beach. Stretching from Negombo to Puttalam and inland up to Kurunegala, the North West province has a varied and enchanting landscape: tranquil blue lagoons, scattered little islands, inland wetlands, paddy fields and Coconut plantations.

    Don’t Miss

    • Secluded palm-fringed beaches of Kalpitiya
    • Shimmering waters of Negombo’s lagoon
    • Whales and dolphins in Kalpitiya
    • Morning fish auction on Negombo beach
    • Crabs and jumbo prawns and sizzling beach BBQs
    • Dutch canals, churches and forts of the north west
    • Birds and monitor lizards of Muthurajawella
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    Beruwala

    On public transport Beruwela is about 01 ½ hours away on A2 & train service available along the coastal track. Beruwela is mentioned in history as it was the main landing port for Adams peak bound pilgrimages. Beruwela, a little coastal fishing village turned tourist resort town situated approximately 47 kilometres from Colombo. Beruwela is well known for Sri…

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    Beruwala

    On public transport Beruwela is about 01 ½ hours away on A2 & train service available along the coastal track. Beruwela is mentioned in history as it was the main landing port for Adams peak bound pilgrimages. Beruwela, a little coastal fishing village turned tourist resort town situated approximately 47 kilometres from Colombo. Beruwela is well known for Sri Lankan tipple “toddy”, holds its own against the more famous beaches further down the coast.

    Where to stay

    Many star class hotels are present along the beach, along with boutique style hotels and budget guest houses. Venturing inland you will find cheaper accommodation but it will take you away from the beach into the heart of the locals, best you find a stay close to the beach.

    Things to do

    The highlights are the Barberyn Island and reef along with the fishing harbour. Diving & snorkelling along the reef is the best way to spend your day rather than laze around, do be careful as rip tides are frequent, so keep to the sheltered areas of the reef. Day excursions to turtle hatchery, cycle around Beruwela and Bentota is 04 km away the capital for water sports in Sri Lanka.

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    Benthota

    Bentota is 65 km from Colombo and is a popular and fully geared tourist resort. Before the era of mass tourism and the consequent construction of the National Tourist Resort of Bentota, the first foreigners to stumble upon this charming spot, must have been Arab merchant sailors, who also discovered Beruwela in the 11th Century a little further north….

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    Benthota

    Bentota is 65 km from Colombo and is a popular and fully geared tourist resort. Before the era of mass tourism and the consequent construction of the National Tourist Resort of Bentota, the first foreigners to stumble upon this charming spot, must have been Arab merchant sailors, who also discovered Beruwela in the 11th Century a little further north. However it was the Portuguese who in the 17th Century, built a small fort at the mouth of the Bentota or Bentara Ganga. This wide river marked the southern extremity of Portuguese held territory in the island, as Dutch sails appeared on the horizon further south. The Dutch used the fort during their rule, as a resting place for stagecoaches plying between Colombo and Galle.

    Later the British converted this simple halt into a rest house for travelers. Its idyllic location and tranquility made it a popular haven. By the 1970s, the rest house had become a hotel, opening the door to the commercial strip marking the resort today.

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    Hikkaduwa

    Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the southern province. Hikkaduwa is a famous surfer’s destination that is frequented by foreign tourists all round the year. Hikkaduwa transformed from a simple fishing village to an international tourism destination in the sixties. Today, backpackers, travellers and package tourists alike favor the beach party…

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    Hikkaduwa

    Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the southern province. Hikkaduwa is a famous surfer’s destination that is frequented by foreign tourists all round the year. Hikkaduwa transformed from a simple fishing village to an international tourism destination in the sixties. Today, backpackers, travellers and package tourists alike favor the beach party atmosphere of Hikkaduwa created by the surfing scene.

    For tourists interested in Water sports, Hikkaduwa is best for diving and snorkelling from November to April when the visibility is good. This beach holiday destination is also known for its marine sanctuary, which was established in 1988, that provides access to the water underworld to all tourists whether they can dive or not. Adventure lovers can enjoy snorkeling in the shallow waters just 200m off the sea shore, and can come across a number of brightly colored fish that float just few meters from the sea shore. Hikkaduwa also provides travellers with opportunity to take diving course and become a PADI qualified diver. This beach holiday destination is also known for its vibrant night-life. There are also boat tours available with glass bottoms to enjoy the fantastic view of coral reefs off shore.

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    Galle

    The seaside town of Galle or “Gaul”, can be visited by tourists by travelling 116 km from Colombo along side the south western coast of Sri Lanka. Travellers will love the picturesque routes moving alongside the south western coastline closely for much of the way. The port city of Galle is the best example of a fortified city built…

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    Galle

    The seaside town of Galle or “Gaul”, can be visited by tourists by travelling 116 km from Colombo along side the south western coast of Sri Lanka. Travellers will love the picturesque routes moving alongside the south western coastline closely for much of the way. The port city of Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in Southeast Asia. Galle is a perfect blend of natural beauty and history with its colonial villas and houses surrounded by panoramic view of ocean.

    One of the most admirable features of the town is the great architecture of historical monuments. There are no words to describe the charming natural beauty of Galle surrounded by ocean from three sides. The major tourist attractions of Galle are the city Fort, Dutch reformed church, Dutch museum, lighthouse, the majestic and old Clock Tower. Galle fort is a structure that should not be missed, known among travellers for its unique European architectural style and its grand size. The city fort is a UNESCO world heritage site. Tourists can also enjoy shopping in the traditional markets of Galle, which are among the oldest markets of Sri Lanka. The tourism infrastructure of the city is well developed with the city having some of the top end hotels, along with small guest houses and cafes opened by European expats, who have settled in the Fort area.

    Galle is one of the major cities of Sri Lanka, which was a major port since earlier part of history. The city has a tropical climate and the temprature is mild varying between 20s and 30s throughout the year. The proximity of Galle from popular beaches Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa, also makes travellers make a day trip to city from these beaches.

    Today, the city of Galle is divided into Old Galle, represented by the Galle Fort located north of the Colombo-Matara road; and New Galle, a commercialized and modernized part of the city. In between these two distinct parts of the city is a strip of open land formerly known as the Esplanade, which is now converted into the Galle International Stadium where international cricket competitions are organised.