Galle is a glorious place to visit in Sri Lanka. We loved it so much that we went twice. The fortified city of Galle Fort is where most visitors head (and you should too). And this lovely walled city has a lot to offer. There are great hotels here, fabulous places to eat and some good interesting historic monuments to visit. There’s Dutch, Portuguese, and British history here too. This guide covers you whether you’re going from Colombo to Galle or Galle to Colombo as you’ll need to know the best way to travel between these two destinations. There are several options for transport between Colombo and Galle, but what’s the best way to go from Colombo to Galle? And what are the options for traveling to Galle from Colombo? Here’s our guide on how to get to Galle from Colombo
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BEST WAY TO TRAVEL
Where is Galle
Galle is about 119 kilometers (74 miles) south of Colombo. Both cities are on the west coast of Sri Lanka. Galle is the largest city and provincial capital of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Most of the things that you will want to see in Galle are in Galle Fort, the walled city. That’s also where most of the accommodation that you’ll want to book is located as well. Galle train station and buses to Galle stop outside the city walls.
How to Go from Colombo to Galle – Transport Options
In this guide on how to go from Colombo to Galle, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel go from Colombo to Galle, the easiest way to go to Galle from Colombo, and the cheapest way to get to Galle from Colombo, as well as the most fun way to get to Galle from Colombo. There are trains, buses, and private transfers that run the route between Colombo and Galle. If you’re traveling from the airport in Colombo, then you’ll need to get to Colombo first or take a private transfer. Our guide on the best things to do in Galle is here.
How to get to Galle from Colombo
For transport to Galle from Colombo, then you have several options. You can take a bus from Colombo to Galle, you can take the train from Colombo to Galle or you can take a taxi to Galle from Colombo. Depending on when you are traveling, then the train can be the easiest way to travel to Galle from Colombo, although you should BOOK YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE. You will likely always be able to buy a ticket on the day, but having recently done this journey and stood the entire way (mostly on one leg crammed in with hundreds of other people), I do NOT recommend it unless you can get a seat.
Sri Lankan trains are fabulous, but they’re ALWAYS better with a seat. Without a seat then it’s hot, sticky and you’ll struggle to keep your belongings with you, as there simply isn’t space!
You will be unlikely to get a tuk-tuk to take you from Colombo to Galle, it’s a long way, it’s about 119 kilometers and tuk-tuk drivers won’t want to go that far, as they’re very unlikely to find someone to take back to Colombo.
The easiest way to go to Galle from Colombo is to take a taxi from Colombo. This is the most expensive, but to be fair, this isn’t THAT expensive by Western Standards – and if there are two or more of you it will be relatively cost-effective. AND zero hassle. Plus you’ll get collected from your hostel in air-conditioned comfort. And delivered to your hotel in Galle.
Bus from Colombo to Galle
It’s about 119 kilometers (74 miles) by road from Colombo to Galle and the bus from Colombo to Galle is one of the cheapest ways to travel. There are usually two different types of buses that go to Galle from Colombo. There’s a quicker one that goes on the inland route and takes about two hours. Book the tourist bus to Galle from Colombo here.
The more scenic route goes down the coast road and takes about 3 hours.
Local buses in Sri Lanka tend to be crowded. And busy, that’s what the scenic coastal route bus is like. If you want comfort, then take the express bus inland. These are tourist buses that take around 90 minutes. You can book a seat and sit in relaxed air-conditioned comfort. The first bus from Colombo to Galle leaves at 6 am and the last one of the day leaves at 19:20
If you arrive at the bus stop in Colombo to take a local bus to Galle then you’ll need to confirm the price and pay in cash.
You don’t need to print a ticket for buses from Colombo to Galle, you can use an electronic ticket from your online booking from Colombo to Galle.
Take the Train from Colombo to Galle
Taking the train to Galle from Colombo is a great way of traveling to Galle and this is the cheapest way to go to Galle from Colombo. There are usually 5 trains a day from Colombo to Galle. The train runs a glorious route on the western coast of Sri Lanka. If you’ve got a seat it will be fabulous views. If you’re standing all the way you likely won’t see anything. Nor will you feel the cooling sea breeze. Hint: Prebook a seat ahead of time.
If you’re buying tickets in person in Colombo then you’ll need to head to the ticket windows in Colombo Fort station.
The train from Colombo to Galle takes about 2 hours and there are a variety of different seat options and classes that you can take to Galle. You can book a first-class or second class seat here. This might be the cheapest place in the world to buy first-class train seats, so if I were you, I’d treat myself!
The first train from Colombo to Galle leaves at around 7 am and the last one of the day leaves at about 7:30 pm.
The most convenient train station that you’ll want to leave Colombo from is Colombo Fort. Although this is not where the train starts from, so if you are buying a NON-RESERVED ticket – which you can buy at the station up to an hour before the train departs – then you will be unlikely to get a seat.
If you’re taking the train from Colombo to Galle, then you will need to get to Colombo Fort station in Colombo. Colombo is hot, sticky, and humid. Get a taxi or a tuk-tuk to the station. And when you arrive in Galle Station you’ll have a relatively short walk to Galle Fort or take a tuk-tuk. You can check the map and work out where your hotel is.
Taxi from Colombo to Galle
Taking a private taxi to Galle from Colombo is the fastest and most comfortable way to go to Galle. It is the most comfortable way to travel. You can check prices for Colombo to Galle taxis here.
Map of Bus Stops and Train Stations for going from Colombo to Galle
You can also see the train station and bus stops from Colombo to Galle here
The quickest way to get from Colombo to Galle
The time it will take you to get to Galle from Colombo depends on where you are staying in Colombo. If you are near Colombo Fort station, then the train from there takes about 2 hours. Normally the quickest way to get to Galle from Colombo is to take a transfer. You can book train tickets from Colombo to Galle here.
If you take the train, then the station at Galle is outside the walled city and you’ll need to walk or take a tuk-tuk or taxi to your hotel. You can also use the Sri Lankan app “Pickme” to work out how much this should be.
The easiest way to go to Galle from Colombo
The easiest way to get from Colombo to Galle is to get a door-to-door transfer, but if you are staying near Colombo Fort station, then taking the train is a great option. However, to get a seat on the train you MUST book ahead of time.
The cheapest way to go from Colombo to Galle
The cheapest way to get to Galle from Colombo is to take the train – reserve your seats here.
The best way to go from Colombo to Galle
I love traveling on trains, and we’ve done this route by train. We didn’t prebook our tickets and ended up standing on the train for the hour that it was delayed and then the two hours it took to go from Colombo to Galle. It wasn’t the best experience. Always pre-book trains in Sri Lanka. Trust me on this.
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Final Words on How to Go from Colombo to Galle
Visiting Galle from Colombo is an easy trip to take. The train trip from Colombo to Galle is easy, but you should pre-book your trip, as standing all the way isn’t great. Alternatively, and especially if there are two or more of you traveling, then taking a taxi is a really good option for this route. You can specify that you want to take the coastal route and get to see the views too.
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