Galle Face Green
Originally laid out by the Dutch for cannon placements against Portuguese ships, Galle Face Green was extended and completed by the British in 1859, creating space for Colombo’s first horse racetrack, golf club, and cricket pitches. Today, locals come to the green to escape the city’s bustle, while in the evenings and on weekends, the green fills with people enjoying picnics, playing cricket, flying kites, watching the sunset, and browsing the food carts and trinket stalls.
As one of Colombo’s most scenic and atmospheric spots, Galle Face Green features on many city tours. Daytime tours—including tuk-tuk and Jeep excursions—stop off to let you people watch and admire the kite, ocean, and city views. Those interested in Colombo’s cuisine, meanwhile, can opt for evening tuk-tuk, bike, or walking tours that focus on the green’s food stalls, stopping to sample hot snacks and sweets along the way.
Things to Know Before You Go
Galle Face Green is an essential stop for sightseers, food lovers, and anyone who wants to absorb modern-day Colombo.
Wear sunscreen on daytime visits—there’s little or no shade.
Stroll to the green’s southern end to admire the 1864 Galle Face Hotel, a throwback to British colonial days.
The sea at Galle Face beach isn’t safe for swimming.
How to Get There
Galle Face Green runs alongside Colombo’s Galle Main Road, the city’s major north–south coastal highway. The easiest way to get here is by cab or tuk-tuk—you’ll find plenty around for your return journey. Local buses stop at the green, and the nearest train station—Kompannavidiya—is around 10 minutes’ walk away.
When to Get There
Galle Face Green is open to all, every day, free of charge. Weekday mornings and afternoons are ideal for quiet strolls, but if you want to throw yourself into the crowds and food stalls, head here any evening, weekend, or public holiday.
Must-Sees at Galle Face Green
The sunset is one of Galle Face Green’s biggest draws and for good reason: The west-facing lawns serve up fabulous views of the sun descending beyond the sand. Many visitors come to see the daily flag ceremony at the Galle Face Hotel’s beachfront—when soldiers lower Sri Lanka’s flag to the sound of a bagpiper at around 5:30pm.
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