No. 39 Galle Fort is located mid-way along Lighthouse Street, in historic Galle Fort, just 150 metres from the grass-topped western-facing ramparts and a further 200 metres from the town’s famous international test cricket stadium. The fort is a world heritage site and dates back over 400 years; a walk along its narrow cobbled streets reveals the fascinating hybrid architecture of three colonial eras – fretwork-fringed and pillarred Dutch abodes, British-era monuments, ochre-hued spice warehouses and interesting museums showcasing the fort’s rich history. There are many restaurants and cafes, as well as boutiques selling handicrafts, delicate lacework, glittering gems and other evocative souvenirs. Within 15 kilometres are a selection of mesmerising beaches, tranquil lagoons and historic temples.
- Galle Fort
- 0.10 km
- Yatagala Temple
- 5 km
- Unawatuna Beach
- 6 km
- Habaraduwa Turtle Hatchery
- 13 km
- Weligama Beach (surf schools)
- 28 km
- Mirissa (whale and dolphin wat
- 34 km
- Lunuganga Estate
- 55 km
- Sinharaja Rainforest
- 93 km
- Colombo Airport
- 150 km
- Yala National Park
- 160 km
Things to Do
Exploring a destination with the help of locals is always a unique experience. You get to remove the touristy sheen off a place, and grow to love it for what it truly is. Most of the staff members at Villa 39 are locals and will be happy to share their recommendations and tips. We can also arrange specially-curated experiences for you such as cooking classes, village tours and more. Ask your villa manager for more details. Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at some of the things to do in the area.
- Explore. Galle Fort is on your doorstep and a wander along her atmospheric lanes and grass-topped ramparts is very rewarding. On your hit list should be Amangalla Hotel, Maritime Museum, old spice warehouses, Law Court Square, the slender white lighthouse and Flag Rock to see kamikaze sea-jumpers in action. The western-facing ramparts ideal for sunset-watching. For historical insights, take a guided tour.
- Sign up for a village tour and cooking class aat the prevailing rate. Get a closer look at local village life and how food is prepared in a typical Sri Lankan village home. The program consists of:
- 1. An excursion to Pilana (11km from the villa), an enthralling village with paddy, coconut groves, water buffaloes, an ancient Buddhist Temple, and other interesting sights.
- 2. A guided tour of the local market by our Villa Manager, to shop for spices and fresh produce.
- 3. Learn how to make an Ayurveda-inspired meal at a local home, and then enjoy eating it for lunch.
- 4. Receive a goodie bag with a recipe booklet and spices so that you can recreate these recipes back home.
- Look for the Colin-Thome gravestones in the famous Dutch Reformed Church. The owners of No. 39 Galle Fort are part of an original Dutch Burgher family from Galle and their great uncle and aunt are buried in the graveyard of the church (hint: look to the right of the entrance).
- Aside from sightseeing, Galle Fort is gaining increasing popularity as a place to shop and dine. We recommend Mimimango for exotic clothing, Stick No Bills for nostalgic vintage posters, Barefoot for vibrant handlooms and Sithulvili for painted timber boxes. Pedlar’s Inn Café is a reliable, sociable spot, as are Fortaleza and Amangalla, both lively bars. Don’t forget to stop off at the Pedlar’s Inn Gelataria for Galle’s best ice creams.
- Pamper yourself at one of Galle Fort’s relaxing spas; favourites include the serene Galle Fort Spa for contemporary treatments, and Amangalla’s The Baths, for hydrotherapy and traditional yet luxurious Ayurvedic treatments. We also recommend Spa Ceylon Ayurveda, a delightful spa and boutique on Lighthouse Street selling beautifully packaged luxurious body scrubs, shower gels, creams, lotions and fragrant body and hair oils. There are one or two fish spas in the fort too.
- The Dutch Hospital Complex is a lively place within Galle Fort, full of vibrant restaurants and bars.
- If you’re lucky enough to be in town for an international cricket fixture, make for the test stadium, or for a more unique view, sit on the front ramparts and watch from a vantage point.
- To explore Galle’s hinterland, take off on a guided bicycle adventure. Trips take you along the quietest back lanes and paddy bunds, through villages, farmland and forests, ending up at the beach for sunset.
- Merely 5km away from Galle Fort lies Rumassala Mountain, steeped in folklore. According to legend and the Ramayana, the mountain is actually part of the Himalayas, brought to Sri Lanka by Hanuman, the Indian monkey god. Tales of this can be seen etched in the walls of the Rumassala Temple. If this wasn’t fascinating enough, you will surely enjoy what are known as the best coastal views in southern Sri Lanka from atop this mountain. A Peace Pagoda built by the Japanese sits at its summit.
- Head to Wijeya Beach (8km), a popular expat hangout with soft sands and a tranquil lagoon that’s great for swimming (and for families). Alternatively, make for Talpe Beach Club (11km), which serves up delicious food and drinks by the sea, and has a swimming pool if you don’t feel like braving the ocean.
- Not many know that Galle is also home to lowland tea estates. Visit the Handunugoda Tea Factory (21.5km), where you can tour the estate (which also makes expensive white tea) and enjoy a tea tasting session.
- Koggala Lake (16km)is a meandering waterway fringed by cinnamon plantations, village communities and thick jungle where you can take a boat ride or visit a spice garden.
- If you’re in town between November and April, it’s whale and dolphin watching season; boats depart either from Galle Harbour or the pretty harbour in Mirissa (34km). Out of season, take your younger family members to the turtle hatchery at Habaraduwa (13.5km).