How to get from Colombo to Galle

How to get from Colombo to Galle

With its interesting mix of architecture, museums, beaches, parks and temples, Sri Lanka's commercial capital and largest city has much to offer tourists. Colombo is located on the west coast of the island and you will find historical sites from three periods of colonial rule: Portuguese, Dutch, British.

Galle, a city south of Colombo, also retains architecture from the 16th century, when it was founded by the Portuguese, and today its car-free streets are pleasant to roam on foot. Galle Lighthouse and the old fort are the main attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage city, making it a popular place to visit after a tour of the capital.

How to get from Colombo to Galle: options

How to get from Colombo to Galle

It's only about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Colombo to Galle, so getting from one city to another is really quite easy and doesn't take too long. There are two options - the faster expressway or the slower coastal route - and we will discuss them in detail.

You can travel by bus on any of these routes, or take a cab, but many tourists prefer to take the train in Sri Lanka because it is relatively cheap and there is the opportunity to see the magnificent scenery!

Train from Colombo to Galle


We will start with the train, because it is almost always the preferred way to travel in Sri Lanka, and the train from Colombo to Galle is no exception. If you have ever traveled by train in Great Britain, the whole Sri Lankan railroad system is sure to remind you of British trains and stations, and for good reason: The system was established when Britain ruled Sri Lanka, and today it still retains that British colonial spirit.

The trains themselves may be a little simpler than what you are used to, but they are perfectly comfortable and the cars have toilets. The best thing about traveling by train from Colombo to Galle is the scenery. The rail line runs along the coast, so you'll see the coast throughout the trip, and you'll also get to see a lot of small towns.

Keep in mind: the railroads' policy is that you must make reservations at least 32 days before your day of travel. This means that you cannot leave your choice of transportation until the last minute and must plan in advance which day you want to travel. This is usually not a problem, but if you like spontaneity, planning early may be something you're not used to!


Although the distance from Colombo to Galle is short, the trains are not very fast. It takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes, but when you have beautiful scenery for the entire journey, the time should fly by quickly! First class seats are available for a good price, and although they are called first class, don't expect luxury - you get a comfortable seat and a great view, and that's it! You'll have to get yourself an early start to catch the train, as it departs at 6:55 a.m. from Colombo Fort.

From Colombo to Galle by bus

By bus.

While we, and many other travelers, recommend taking the train, there are also several good options for traveling by train, including two different buses. If the train doesn't appeal or just doesn't fit into your schedule, traveling by bus from Colombo to Galle is a good alternative.

There are express buses that travel on the express road, which we mentioned earlier. This is the fastest way to get from A to B, since you will travel on a two-lane highway, which is fairly new and therefore has a pleasantly smooth surface. The buses that go this way are also newer, more comfortable, and equipped with the necessary air conditioning, and they depart regularly throughout the day.

It is recommended to avoid peak times as these buses are popular with passengers and you may not get a seat, but with departures every 20 minutes starting at 5am, you should be able to find the bus soon enough. The trip should take about 1.5 to 2 hours.

The second option for traveling by bus from Colombo to Galle is the coastal route. This has the advantage that you travel along the coast and through numerous coastal towns just as you would by train, except that these public buses are not as convenient as the train or express buses.

Expect hard seats, lots of people coming in and out, no air conditioning, and a much longer trip. For this reason, if you want to travel along the coast, the train is definitely what we recommend!

The advantage of buses is that they are very cheap, so when traveling on a tight budget, this may be the best option for you.

Don't forget that if you want to travel by train from Colombo to Galle, you should book at least 32 days in advance. And use a reputable online booking service like - for peace of mind.

Mirissa, Sri Lanka



Just a train in Sri Lanka.

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