Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka | A beautiful UNESCO heritage site

One of the things we love to do when visiting a new city is to see as much of it as we can with the time allowed.   I don’t know about anyone else but I hate to miss anything.   Galle is a brilliant city to explore with its fortification walls to its fruit and veg market.  Its got so much to see and there’s absolutely loads to do.  

Let me tell you a bit about our visit.   We were staying at Unawatuna after exploring the centre of Sri Lanka in the Habanara area.  Galle is only a 10 min Tuk Tuk ride from Unawatuna so perfect to visit for the day. You can read all about how we got to Unawatuna here

Galle
Galle Lighthouse and fortifications

Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka

One of the things we love to do when visiting a new city is to see as much of it as we can with the time allowed.   I don’t know about anyone else but I hate to miss anything.   Galle is a brilliant city to explore with its fortification walls to its fruit and veg market.  Its got so much to see and there’s absolutely loads to do.  

Let me tell you a bit about our visit.   We were staying at Unawatuna after exploring the centre of Sri Lanka in the Habanara area.  Galle is only a 10 min Tuk Tuk ride from Unawatuna so perfect to visit for the day. You can read all about how we got to Unawatuna here

Where is Galle?

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka.  It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century.  Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, circle car-free streets and architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule.

The fortified city of Galle was selected in 1988 as a UNESCO World Heritage site for notable buildings such as the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church, the Galle Lighthouse which stands on the fort’s southeast tip and the fortification walls themselves. 

6 things not to miss when exploring Galle, Sri Lanka:

Number 1

Visit the old town and the fortification walls and peek into the International cricket pitch. Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British.  It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions. Galle cricket pitch is surrounded by 2 oceans and is claimed to be one of the most picturesque cricket pitch in the world.  

Number 2

Explore the Galle Fort Lighthouse. The lighthouse in Galle is Sri Lanka’s oldest light station dating back to 1848. The original lighthouse was 24.5-metre-high and  built by the British, was destroyed by fire in 1934.  The existing 26.5-metre-high lighthouse was erected here in 1939 and is within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort.  It is still a working lighthouse today and operated by the Sri Lankan port authority. 

Galle
Galle Fort Lighthouse

Number 3

Check out the colourful sights and sounds of the Galle Old Dutch Market & browse the craft stalls of the Galle Fort Market. The Old Dutch Market in Galle is one of the unique remnants of colonial times. As the name suggests, it is a marketplace, popular amongst locals as well as tourists for selling some of the freshest and exotic produce in all of Galle.

The Galle Fort Market is a collaboration of different local crafts people who gather to sell their wares.  The market can be found in the centre of the Fort in Court Square, 

Number 4

Visit the Galle Maritime Archeological Museum The maritime museum is housed in an old spice warehouse and dates back to the 17th Century.   When you arrive you’re presented with a video presentation and interactive displays that explain Galles past and the maritime influence.  You can also learn about the shipwrecks that can be found around Galle. 

The museum first opened to the public on 9 May 1992 and is located in a 1671 Dutch Warehouse above the Old Gate of Galle Fort. To enter it costs 300 LKR which is around £1 so really good value. The exhibits are good, interactive and both outside and inside and well laid out.  Opening times are Tuesday through to Thursday from 9am until 5pm

Galle Market
Galle Market

Number 5

Stop for a drink or snack in the popular Dutch hospital district The Old Dutch Hospital, Galle is one of the oldest buildings in the Galle Fort area dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. The heritage building has now been developed into a shopping and dining precinct.

For seafood to traditional Sri Lankan food, beer to cocktails there’s a place here for you.  We stopped at the Taphouse RnR bar for a drink and we had a lovely cup of tea earlier in the day in one of the many cafe’s in the old town.  You really will be spoiled for choice for food and drinks here and the prices are good too.  Really reasonable.  

Number 6

Watch the local fishermen bringing in the catch of the day. We watched as they hauled their nets in from the sea and then literally within mins the catch was displayed on the beachfront for the locals to buy.   You cant get fresher than that.   Superb area for seafood. 

Galle
Fisherman at Galle

Our View

Galle is a wonderful and historically important town which makes it a great place to explore. We spent a great day here wandering the streets people watching and taking in the sights.

Booking resources for your trip

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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