Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle was a major trading port for more than a thousand years before the Portuguese arrived in the early 1500s, followed by the Dutch and British. Over the next few centuries, these colonial powers established a picturesque, red tile-roofed city encircled by bastioned stone walls. UNESCO granted World Heritage status to Galle’s Old Town and Fort, describing it as “the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and Southeast Asia.” Take a walk — or a tuk tuk ride — through its narrow, cobblestoned streets lined with Dutch colonial houses, churches and government buildings; the ancient Arab Quarter is still home to a thriving Muslim community. Get a taste of local life at the buzzy fish market near the fort, or one of many farmers’ markets brimming with exotic fruits and vegetables. You can visit a tea plantation to learn how Sri Lanka’s popular export is produced; or catch some rays on Unawatuna Beach, one of Sri Lanka’s finest.