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Need to escape the chaos of Colombo for a while? Look no further than Galle Face Green. A long ribbon of parkland stretching 500 metres along the coastline, this is where city dwellers and weary travellers come to take a much-needed breather from the hustle and bustle. Though the city’s incessant buzz is never far away, the sprawling lawns, sandy stretches and ocean breeze offer a refreshing respite from the busy, sun-baked streets.
Originally created by the Dutch for military arsenal, Galle Face Green has a feeling of nostalgia about it. Since the 19th century, the park been used for various recreational activities, from horse racing to golf. Nowadays, it’s a popular meeting point for loved-up couples, weekend picnickers and kite-flying kids. It’s also the go-to spot to sample Colombo’s street food, with an array of colourful stalls selling everything from fried seafood snacks to fresh fruit juices.
It’s not short of landmarks either. Galle Face Green promenade is overlooked by some of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular colonial hotels - the most notable of which has got to be Galle Face Hotel. This historic building is an attraction in itself - marvel at old royal cars in the museum, play a game of croquet on the lawn or sip cocktails by the sea-facing swimming pool.
Speak to any local or tourist who has visited Colombo and they’ll tell you the same thing: Galle Face Green is one of the city’s absolute must-visit attractions.
With so much to see and do, there’s never a dull moment at Galle Face Green. Allow yourself at least a couple of hours to wander along the strip and soak up the sights, plus some extra time to grab a bite to eat and watch the world go by.
From sunrise until nightfall, the park thrives with activity - from the fitness fanatics on early morning jogs to the evening hawkers wheeling out their well-stacked carts. You can easily while away the hours people-watching, paddling in frothy waves or watching colourful kites billowing in the wind. This is a place to sit-back, relax and experience life like the locals.
If you’re keen to try some authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, Galle Face Green street food is a mouth-watering medley of savoury and sweet snacks. Must-trys include kottu (a carb-packed dish made from godhamba roti, veg, meat and eggs) and isso wadey (a fried prawn snack). Don’t miss Nana’s, one of the most popular vendors along the strip. Pull up a chair and tuck into freshly-cooked rice and grilled meat while the sun sets across the glittering ocean. And just a quick word of warning: you’ll notice more than one Nana’s, but the real deal is located directly across from the Taj Samudra hotel.
If you’re looking for somewhere to kick-back with a drink, head to the In on the Green at Galle Face Hotel. This popular hangout has live music, sports screenings and a fantastic selection of traditional pub grub and drinks - what more could you want? If you’re keen to explore more of the city’s nightlife, Galle Face Green is just a short walk from the city centre where you’ll find a wide choice of restaurants and bars.
Want to explore the sights and sounds of Galle Face Green during your holiday to Sri Lanka? Start with our Cultural Highlights plus Heritage base itinerary. You can then choose from a variety of other must-see attractions to create the perfect tailor-made trip. Visit the itinerary builder now to get started.
You can’t miss it. Located in the heart of the city between Galle Road and the Indian Ocean, Galle Face Green stretches along the coastline for half a kilometre. The promenade can easily be reached by tuk tuk, bus or train from various points in the city. Due to the crowds, the best way to explore the park is on foot.
The park is free to enter and can be visited at any time of day. The promenade really comes alive in the evenings and at weekends, but this is also when it’s busiest. If you’re feeling romantic (or looking for some great photo-ops), take a walk along the seafront just before the sun dips below the horizon.
If you’re visiting during the day, remember to bring a hat or umbrella as there’s little shelter from the scorching sun. Comfortable shoes are a must for walking along the waterfront - or if you fancy giving kite-flying a go!
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