Sun, Sand & Sea
The Unawatuna beach, which is about 6km away from the Galle town, is one of the most famous in the country, and is generally rather crowded with tourists and locals. As it is protected by a reef, the ocean here is safe to swim in. The beach has many bars, restaurants and guesthouses, making it one of the most active beaches in the country.
The Dalawella beach, located in the Unwatuna area, is not as crowded as the main Unawatuna beach. The stretch of beach situated in front of the Wijeya Beach Restaurant is lovely, and also generally safe for swimming. However, take note that the place can get a little busy, because of the popular restaurant which serves some great pizza. If you just want to hang out together on the beach and watch the sunset, you should walk a little further away, where the beach is pretty isolated. However, it’s best not to swim here, as the water can be a bit choppy. Dalawella beach is also popular for its insta-famous palm tree top rope swing, which can be found at the beachfront Dream Cabana guesthouse.
Snorkelling and Diving
The Unawatuna beach is famous for snorkelling and diving. A 30-minute boat ride will take you to a couple of wrecks, one a British steamer that sank over a 100 years ago. There are many diving schools in Unawatuna that will assist, equip and guide you as you engage in diving activities.
History & Heritage in the Galle Fort
Built by the Portuguese in the 16 th century and then heavily reconstructed by the Dutch in the 17 th century, the Galle Fort is one of the most popular attractions of the city. Resembling an old European city with its cobblestone streets, the Galle Fort is a treasure trove of historic buildings, interesting architecture and museums. This is in addition to being home to many wonderful boutique hotels and villas, as well as the old Dutch Hospital shopping and dining precinct. The fort ramparts offer stunning views of the setting sun, a rather romantic experience.
If you both enjoy hiking, you should head over to the Rumassala Hill located in Unawatuna. The site is wrapped in legend and myth, and is home to interesting species of flora and fauna. The views of the Indian ocean from the hill are pretty breathtaking and will make for some impressive pictures. A path from the hill leads to a wonderful stretch of beach referred to as Jungle Beach. The Kanneliya rainforest is another great place to visit if you are enthusiastic about nature. The lush forest is home to many endemic species of lowland Sri Lanka.
The city of Galle has come a long way in recent years, in terms of its culinary scene. The Unawatuna beach comes alive every evening with many bars and seafood restaurants catering to both locals and tourists. There are also a few small cafés run by expats living in Galle, which serve some delicious cakes and desserts.
The Galle Fort is home to a number of cafes and restaurants that serve great food. Ranging from Japanese to Italian to Indian to Sri Lankan, there’s bound to be something for every palette here. You can get a fancy and romantic candlelit dinner at boutique villas such as Amangalla or Fort Bazaar, or opt for regular café fare such as burgers, sandwiches and pies at the Pedlars Inn Café or at one of the cafés within the old Dutch Hospital precinct. There are a few outlets within the fort that sell some delicious homemade ice creams and gelatos that are definitely worth the calories! If you are looking for something a little more exclusive, Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel will organize a special couple’s dinner on the beach on request.
Party it Up!
The Unawatuna beach stretch is famous for its all-night parties, with many locals driving to the coastal city all the way from Colombo to participate. Toddy by Hoppa and Kingfisher have some of the most popular parties on Saturday nights. As these are generally ticketed events, it’s best to call ahead and reserve yours.
Relax Mode On
If you are not really the partying type, but rather the-relax-and-chill type, you could book a peaceful couple’s spa treatment at the Ayurveda Spa at Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel. They also have a special spa dining experience where you can both enjoy a rejuvenating body massage, immerse yourselves in a floral bath and then enjoy an al fresco candlelit three-course meal.