Things to do in Galle Fort: Attractions

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Galle is both the capital of the southern province and the Galle district. In the 17th and 18th centuries Galle was the most important port of Sri Lanka and to this day you can still find many Dutch influences here. Below you will find the sights and attractions you can’t miss out on.

We stayed one night in Galle at Casa de Kalu. This accommodation is located in the old town and we liked it very much!

Galle Fort

Galle Fort was a Dutch East India Company fort where merchants and soldiers resided. The fort was originally built by the Portuguese but was soon conquered by the Dutch. They fortified and expanded the fort. That is why Galle survived the 2004 Tsunami. The city inside the fort has a 52-hectare surface area. Nowadays, you can find many souvenir shops and restaurants here. There are also a number of Dutch buildings that you can visit, such as the Great Church and Old Dutch Hospital. You can climb on the fort’s wall at the lighthouse and walk around the city. Just follow the wall! You can walk for about 4 kilometers (1 to 1.5 hours) and that’s great fun. The fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tip: If you visit Galle and want to stay there, I recommend booking a hotel inside the Galle Fort. It might be a bit more expensive, but you can visit everything easily. Besides, it also has a nice touch to it. Do you prefer a cheaper accommodation? Then opt for Unawatuna. Unawatuna is a fifteen-minute tuktuk ride away and is an excellent base if you only want to visit Galle Fort for a morning or afternoon.

Old Dutch Hospital

The Old Dutch Hospital, also called the Old Galle Dutch Hospital, is one of the oldest buildings in Galle. As the name of the building suggests, the hospital dates back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. The Dutch built the hospital for the Dutch East India Company employees. Nowadays, you will find several restaurants in this building. A great place to grab a bite and drink, with a magnificent view over the ocean!

Galle Lighthouse

Looking for that perfect Instagram photo location? Look no further than the Galle Lighthouse! The lighthouse, the palm trees and the fort’s wall make for a pretty picture. As soon as you’ve taken your picture, you can climb up the wall of the fort and walk around the fortress. The route is about 4 kilometers long and will take about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. During the trip, you will walk along the sea and you’ll come across some nice spots.

The Groote Kerk and the All Saints Church

In Church Street, a street within the walls of the fortress of Galle, you’ll find two churches to visit: The Groote Kerk and the All Saints Church. De Groote Kerk was built by the Dutch in 1755 and was completely restored at the beginning of the 21st century. The nice thing is that this church is still in use for church services. The All Saints Church was the idea of Colombo’s first bishop. The construction of this church started in 1868 and church services still take place here.

De Groote Kerk Galle

Centre of Galle

Do you have any time left? Then there’s only one thing left to do: stroll around in the Galle city center (inside the walls)! Sneak into the little shops and look for the most beautiful souvenirs. There are also a lot of nice restaurants where you can eat and drink delicious smoothies. One of my favorite restaurants was Summer Green Restaurant. Not only does it look very nice, they also sell a good lunch, delicious smoothies and ice cream coffees!

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