Galle is the cream of the crop of Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Standing on a peninsula with a fine natural harbour that provided excellent defenses to the country, it is a culturally significant city that has earned the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle’s most iconic landmark is the Galle Fort which was a stronghold built by the Portuguese in 1588 during their colonization and was later fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century and then occupied by the English. While a number of villas, mansions and buildings have been converted into hotels, cafes, museums and shops, the old-world charm of the era still lingers on. Experience the Galle Fort with guided tours that give you an insight into its history, archeology and culture. Early morning and evening tours are recommended to avoid the strong heat during daytime.
Culinary tours in the Galle Fort are a wonderful way to learn about local cuisine in the region and to try out southern street food. Galle has some great sea food dishes you don’t want to miss trying out.
Other notable landmarks in Galle include the Galle International Cricket Stadium, the National Maritime Museum and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Galle Lighthouse, which is the oldest light station in Sri Lanka, is another prominent building in the area. Modern day Galle town is full of life, with bustling crowds and street vendors. Galle’s inland is a refreshing contrast of unspoilt jungle interior relatively unknown to tourists. There is much natural beauty and rural charm to discover in these quieter areas in countryside among paddy fields and green landscapes. A cycling tour is a great way to see this part of Galle. Another activity available near Galle is whale watching in Mirissa, the largest fishing port on the south coast.