One of Colombo's free-est and most beautiful spots still remains largely unknown to several of our city dwellers. While wave upon wave of families wash up on the lawns of the Galle Face Green to fly kites and watch the sun sink down behind the Indian ocean, few venture further along the strip to enter navy territory. Adjacent to the port and within the purlieus of the Sri Lanka Navy lies the Galle Buck Lighthouse, one of the city's best places to watch a sunset.
Winding your way through the knots of navy personel that line the Chaithya Road, you can enter this formerly high high security zone during most hours of the day. While the area used to be virtually cut off during the war, you can now drive in and walk up to the lighthouse, or head a few metres down the road to climb the Sambuddha Jayanthi Chaithya - an elevated Chaithya with an observation deck (it's not always possible to go up here, but mornings should be fine).
The lighthouse provides stunning views of the Indian Ocean. From its raised base you can see all the way down the Galle Face Green up to the Galle Face Hotel and right across to the very tip of the horizon. Just look at the pictures. Constructed in the 50's, this isn't one of our older pieces of architecture, but the views it offers around 5 or 6 PM are rather breathtaking (to find out what time the sunset is each day click here
This is a lovely place to take your thoughts - or a partner you're trying to impress. Rarely crowded or noisy, an afternoon spilling over to evening spent here can be quite tranquil - you can perch by the feet of the lighthouse with a book, or just listen to your iPod while watching the hues of the sun bleed into the sky before disappearing beneath the skyline. And across the other side of the road is a restaurant, if you're hungry. Service at The Lighthouse Galley can be a bit elusive, but if you manage to track down a waiter and menu you can find yourself a cool beverage and some bites. This is one of Colombo's most beautiful and untouristy spots, and afternoon or evening spent here is quite lovely. We'll be adding it to our list of affordable places for a date in the city
The naval guns situated at the base of the lighthouse are fired on Independence Day (4th Feb) in a 25 gun salute.