Galle Getaways: Unveiling Best Places to Visit in Galle

 In India, Sri Lanka, Travel, Uncategorized

For travelers planning their Sri Lanka tour packages, Galle is an essential stop, offering a rich tapestry of experiences, from its historic landmarks and vibrant markets to its stunning beaches and delicious cuisine there are many places to visit in Galle to indulge in varied experiences.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a shopaholic, or an adventure seeker, Galle has something to enchant and delight every traveler making it an unmissable place to visit in Sri Lanka.

The Galle Dutch Fort: An Icon of Time


One of Galle’s most iconic landmarks is the Galle Dutch Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a testament to the city’s colonial past. 

Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century, the fort is a striking blend of European architecture and Sri Lankan heritage.

Wandering through the cobblestone streets of the fort, visitors are transported back in time, surrounded by ancient ramparts, colonial buildings, and charming cafes. 

The fort’s well-preserved architecture provides a glimpse into Galle’s history as a strategic trading port and a melting pot of cultures making it one of the most essential places to visit in Galle.

History of Galle Dutch Fort: Tracing the Footsteps of the Past

Galle Dutch Fort’s architecture is intriguing, but so is its history. When the Portuguese first built the fort in 1588, it was an essential defensive position for them as they attempted to dominate the Indian Ocean’s spice trade.

However, the Portuguese lost control of Galle in 1640 when the Dutch East India Company took it and started strengthening the pre-existing building, turning it into the fortress it is today.

Galle Dutch Fort greatly influenced the history of the area over the ages, as it saw conflicts, colonial rule, and the rise and fall of empires, that’s why visiting this fort is on top of the list of things to do in Sri Lanka.

It still serves as an example of the resiliency and cross-cultural interaction today, drawing tourists from all over the world to explore its dramatic hallways and ancient walls.

How to reach Galle Dutch Fort

Once you arrive in Galle city center, reaching Galle Dutch Fort is easy:

  • If you’ve arrived by train or bus, you can take a short tuk-tuk ride to the fort. Tuk-tuks are readily available throughout Galle and are a convenient mode of transportation for short distances.
  • If you’re staying within walking distance, you can enjoy a stroll to Galle Dutch Fort, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city along the way.

2  National Maritime Museum: Exploring Sri Lanka’s Maritime Heritage


Located inside the walls of the historic Galle Dutch Fort, the National Maritime Museum takes visitors on a fascinating tour of Sri Lanka’s rich maritime past.

Explore displays that highlight historical nautical customs, colonial naval adventures, and the various marine ecosystems around the island nation here making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Galle.


The museum’s location within Galle Dutch Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, adds to its allure and historical significance. 

Galle’s strategic position along international trade routes made it a hub for maritime commerce, attracting traders, sailors, and colonial powers for centuries. 

The museum itself is housed in the Dutch Warehouse, a colonial-era building that once served as a storage facility for goods traded through the port of Galle.


The exhibits at the National Maritime Museum offer a comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka’s maritime heritage.  A collection of historic navigational instruments, historical ship models, and artifacts recovered from shipwrecks across the nation’s coast are available for viewing by tourists. 

Interactive displays shed light on the methods and tools that historic mariners employed to navigate the dangerous seas of the Indian Ocean. Dive deep into Sri Lanka’s rich maritime history at the National Maritime Museum, a must-add to your list of places to visit in Galle. 

How to Reach:

Reaching the National Maritime Museum is convenient for visitors exploring Galle Dutch Fort. The fort itself is easily accessible within Galle City and can be reached by various modes of transportation:

By Car: Visitors can hire a taxi or rent a car to travel to Galle Dutch Fort. The fort is located within the city, and there are parking facilities available nearby.

By Tuk-Tuk: Tuk-tuks, a popular mode of transportation in Sri Lanka, can be found throughout Galle. Visitors can hire a tuk-tuk to take them directly to the fort’s entrance.

Timings- 8:30 am – 4:30 pm ( Monday closed )

The entrance fee is  LKR 300. 

3  Unawatuna Beach: A Tropical Paradise


Unawatuna Beach, which is hidden away on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, attracts visitors with its golden sands, swaying palm palms, and blue waters making it one of the most relaxing places to visit in Galle.

This picturesque section of the coastline, renowned for its unspoiled beauty and relaxed vibe, has plenty of activities for guests to enjoy among the various beaches in Sri Lanka.

Things to Do at Unawatuna Beach:

Swimming and Sunbathing: With its calm, clear waters and soft sandy shores, Unawatuna Beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. 

Snorkeling and Diving: Unawatuna Beach is home to vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving. 

Water Sports: Adventure seekers can try their hand at a variety of water sports available at Unawatuna Beach, including jet skiing, banana boating, and parasailing. 

Beachside Dining: Indulge in delicious Sri Lankan cuisine and fresh seafood at the beachside restaurants and cafes lining Unawatuna Beach.

Japanese Peace Pagoda: A Symbol of Tranquility


Perched atop the picturesque Rumassala Hill overlooking Unawatuna Beach, the Japanese Peace Pagoda stands as a serene symbol of peace and harmony. 

Built by Japanese Buddhist monks in the 20th century, this striking structure attracts visitors from around the world with its spiritual ambiance, breathtaking views, and tranquil surroundings. 

It’s a must-see for those seeking a moment of peace and reflection during their exploration of the many places to visit in Galle.


The Japanese Peace Pagoda in Unawatuna has its origins in the 1950s, when Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk from Japan, had the idea to erect Peace Pagodas as global symbols of nonviolence and peace.

As part of this worldwide effort, the Unawatuna Peace Pagoda was built in 2005 with assistance from regional communities and international donors.

The pagoda acts as a symbol of the terrible consequences of war and the necessity of promoting international harmony and understanding.

Its significance and attraction are increased by its placement atop Rumassala Hill, an area rich in natural beauty and folklore.

How to Reach:

Hiking Trail: The most popular way to reach the Japanese Peace Pagoda is via the hiking trail that starts from Unawatuna Beach.  The hike typically takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on your pace and fitness level.

Tuk-Tuk: For those who prefer not to hike, tuk-tuks can be hired from Unawatuna Beach to take you to the base of Rumassala Hill. From there, you can follow a shorter walking trail to reach the pagoda

Boat Ride: Another unique way to reach the Japanese Peace Pagoda is by taking a boat ride from Unawatuna Beach to Jungle Beach, located at the foot of Rumassala Hill. From Jungle Beach, you can embark on a scenic hike up the hill to reach the pagoda

Things to Do:

The Japanese Peace Pagoda, a must-visit on your exploration of places to visit in Galle, offers a variety of activities to enhance your experience beyond the stunning views and serene atmosphere. 

Experience Tranquility: Take a moment to soak in the peaceful ambiance of the pagoda and its surroundings. 

Explore the Pagoda: Wander around the pagoda complex and admire its architectural beauty and intricate designs. 

Enjoy Scenic Views: Climb to the top of the pagoda for breathtaking panoramic views of Unawatuna Beach, Jungle Beach, and the surrounding coastline. 

Nature Walks: Take advantage of the hiking trails around Rumassala Hill to explore its diverse flora and fauna. 

Beach Time: After visiting the pagoda, unwind on the pristine shores of Unawatuna Beach or Jungle Beach.

5  Galle Fort Clock Tower:  


The Galle Fort Clock Tower stands tall within the historic confines of Galle Dutch Fort, serving as a timeless symbol of the city’s rich history and colonial heritage.

 Erected in the 19th century during British colonial rule, this iconic landmark has stood the test of time, witnessing centuries of change and transformation within the fortified walls of Galle so don’t miss this timekeeper on your exploration of the many places to visit in Galle.

During the British colonial period in the 19th century, significant renovations and additions were made to Galle Fort, including the construction of the Clock Tower. The tower was designed not only to serve as a timekeeping mechanism but also as a symbol of British authority and presence in the region.

How to Reach:

Reaching the Galle Fort Clock Tower is convenient for visitors exploring the Galle Dutch Fort.

Things to Do:

Photography: The Galle Fort Clock Tower’s distinctive architecture and historic charm make it a popular subject for photographers.

Learn about History: Take some time to learn about the history and significance of the Galle Fort Clock Tower.

Enjoy Views: Climb to the top of the Clock Tower for panoramic views of Galle Dutch Fort and its surroundings.

6 Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex: Preserving Sri Lanka’s Cultural Heritage


The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex, located in the picturesque town of Koggala near Galle, is a tribute to the life, work, and cultural heritage of one of Sri Lanka’s most esteemed literary figures, Martin Wickramasinghe. 

This sprawling museum complex offers visitors a comprehensive insight into Sri Lankan village life, folklore, and traditions through a diverse range of exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. 

While it’s a short trip outside the main city, it’s worth including on your list of places to visit in Galle.


The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex was established in honor of Martin Wickramasinghe, a prolific Sri Lankan author who played a vital role in shaping the country’s literary landscape. 

Born in Koggala in 1890, Wickramasinghe drew inspiration from the rural life and traditions of Sri Lanka, which he vividly depicted in his novels, short stories, and essays.

The museum complex was inaugurated in 1981, following Wickramasinghe’s vision of creating a cultural center that would showcase and preserve Sri Lanka’s rich folk heritage. 

Today, the museum stands as a living testament to Wickramasinghe’s legacy and continues to educate and inspire visitors from around the world. This makes the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex a must-see for those interested in Sri Lankan culture on their visit to the many places to visit in Galle.

How to Reach:

By Car or Taxi: Visitors can hire a private car or taxi to travel to the museum complex from nearby cities such as Galle or Matara. The journey typically takes around 30-45 minutes.

By Tuk-Tuk: Tuk-tuks are readily available in Koggala and provide a convenient and affordable mode of transportation to the museum complex.

By Public Bus: Public buses operate regularly between major towns and cities in Sri Lanka, including Galle, Matara, and Colombo. 

Things to Do:

Explore the Exhibits: Wander through the museum’s galleries and exhibitions, which showcase a wide range of artifacts, artifacts, and artifacts that depict various aspects of Sri Lankan village life.

Visit Wickramasinghe’s Home: Explore Martin Wickramasinghe’s ancestral home, which has been preserved as a museum within the complex.

Participate in Workshops: The museum complex often hosts workshops, demonstrations, and cultural events that provide visitors with hands-on experiences and insights into traditional Sri Lankan crafts, rituals, and practices. 

Enjoy the Surrounding Nature: Take some time to appreciate the natural beauty of the museum complex

7  Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications: A Journey Through Time


The Old Town and its walls, the jewel in the crown of Galle, are a living reminder of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural legacy and history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is tucked away on the island’s southern shore, is a mesmerizing fusion of historic customs, colonial elegance, and modern spirit.

The Old Town offers something special for visitors and is a must-see when exploring the many places to visit in Galle. Let’s explore this historic enclave’s history, accessibility, and must-do activities.


The Old Town of Galle traces its origins back to the 16th century when it was established by Portuguese colonizers. The Portuguese built a fortress to guard the developing commerce port because they understood the location’s strategic importance. 

However, the Dutch, who further strengthened Galle during the 17th century, had the most lasting impression on the town.

The fortifications of Galle, which were typified by massive walls, defenders, and commanding gateways, provided Dutch colonial rule in Sri Lanka with a stronghold.

The defenses of Galle endured attacks, conflicts, and natural disasters over the ages, maintaining the city’s position as an important marine hub in the Indian Ocean.

With its well-preserved colonial architecture, narrow cobble streets, and historic sites, Galle’s Old Town provides visitors with a window into the island’s colonial past. Steeped in history, the Old Town of Galle is a must-visit on your exploration of places to visit in Galle. 

How to Reach:

By Car or Taxi: Visitors can hire a private car or taxi from nearby cities such as Colombo or Matara for a direct journey to Galle. The journey typically takes around 2-3 hours.

By Train: Traveling by train offers a scenic option to reach Galle, with the coastal railway line providing breathtaking views of the coastline.

Once in Galle, the Old Town and its fortifications are easily accessible on foot, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace.

Things to Do in Old Galle City:

Stroll Along the walls: Galle Fort’s old walls provide stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the ocean. Enjoy a stroll along them.

Explore Historical Landmarks: Wander through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town and discover a wealth of historical landmarks, including the Dutch Reformed Church, All Saints’ Church, and the Old Dutch Hospital.

Visit Museums and Galleries: Explore the museums and galleries scattered throughout Galle Fort, such as the National Maritime Museum and the Historical Mansion Museum.

Shop and Dine: Browse through the boutiques, galleries, and souvenir shops nestled within Galle Fort, offering a diverse array of handicrafts, textiles, and artworks.

8  Dutch Reformed Church: A Testament to Colonial Legacy


The Dutch Reformed Church in Galle stands sentinel, a testament to the city’s colonial past and architectural heritage. 

Built by the Dutch during their 18th-century rule, this Protestant church is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest, holding a significant place within Galle Dutch Fort.  

Beyond its historical weight, the church offers a unique experience for visitors, making it a must-see on your exploration of the many places to visit in Galle. Let’s delve into its rich past and explore what this captivating landmark offers.


The Dutch Reformed Church, also known as the Groote Kerk (Great Church), was constructed by the Dutch East India Company between 1752 and 1755. 

Designed in the Doric style of architecture, the church reflects the Dutch colonial influence prevalent in Galle during the 18th century.

Originally established to cater to the spiritual needs of the Dutch settlers and their descendants, the church played a central role in the religious and social life of the colonial community. 

Things to Do:

Historical Tour: Take a guided tour of the church to learn about its history, architecture, and cultural significance.

Architectural Appreciation: Marvel at the architectural beauty of the Dutch Reformed Church, characterized by its simple yet elegant design, imposing columns, and arched windows

Photography: Capture the timeless beauty of the Dutch Reformed Church through photography. 

Attend a Service: Experience the spiritual ambiance of the Dutch Reformed Church by attending a religious service or ceremony. 

9  Galle Fort Lighthouse: Guiding Ships Through History


The Galle Fort Lighthouse stands as an iconic sentinel within the fortified walls of Galle Dutch Fort. Perched on the southernmost tip, this historic lighthouse has served as a beacon of maritime history for centuries, guiding ships and safeguarding Sri Lanka’s coastline.  

Take advantage of this picturesque landmark on your exploration of the many places to visit in Galle. Let’s delve into its rich past and explore what this lighthouse offers visitors today.


The Galle Fort Lighthouse has a rich history that stretches back to Sri Lanka’s colonial past. To ease navigation over the busy shipping routes of the Indian Ocean, the Dutch built the initial lighthouse at Galle Fort in the 17th century.

With a towering height of about 85 feet, the Galle Fort Lighthouse is characterized by a unique brick and stone cylindrical tower.

Situated atop the Galle Dutch Fort’s walls, it offers an excellent view over the surrounding coastline, making it a notable landmark for both tourists and sailors.

Things to Do:

Enjoy Panoramic Views: Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the ocean, Galle Fort, and the surrounding landscape. 

Learn about Maritime History: Explore the exhibits and displays within the lighthouse complex that showcase the maritime history and navigational heritage of Galle.

Experience Sunset/Sunrise: Witness the magical moments of sunrise or sunset from the vantage point of the Galle Fort Lighthouse.

10 Pedlar’s Street


Pedlar’s Street, also called Leyn Baan Street, is a charming street tucked away inside the Galle Dutch Fort’s medieval walls.

With its colonial-era buildings, cobblestone pavement, and a lively mix of boutiques, art galleries, and cafes lining its small lanes, this charming street radiates an old-world charm making it one of the most loved places to visit in Galle for foodies.

Cafes and eateries dot Pedlar’s Street, inviting visitors to relax and indulge in culinary delights amidst the historic ambiance. 

From quaint coffee shops serving freshly brewed espresso to trendy bistros offering Sri Lankan desserts, there’s something to satisfy every palate along this charming thoroughfare, they are some of the best restaurants in Sri Lanka.

 Galle offers a mesmerizing blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a captivating destination for travelers seeking to explore the enchanting landscapes and rich heritage of Sri Lanka’s southern coast. 

Visitors can immerse themselves in the colonial charm of Galle Dutch Fort, wandering through its cobblestone streets, admiring its historic landmarks, and shopping for unique souvenirs in its bustling markets and bazaars. 

Whether strolling through historic streets, soaking up the sun on sandy beaches, or immersing oneself in local traditions and customs, a visit to Galle promises an unforgettable experience that lingers in the memory long after the journey ends.

What are the must-visit attractions in Galle?

 The must-visit attractions in Galle include Galle Dutch Fort, Unawatuna Beach, Galle Fort Lighthouse, Dutch Reformed Church, and Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex.

What are the best times of day to explore Galle Fort?

The best times of day to explore Galle Fort are early morning and late afternoon, avoiding the midday heat.

Are there any nearby beaches or coastal areas that visitors should explore?

Yes, there are several nearby beaches and coastal areas that visitors should explore when in Galle. Some popular options include Unawatuna Beach, Jungle Beach, Hikkaduwa Beach, and Mirissa Beach.

Are there any cultural events or festivals that take place in Galle throughout the year?

 Yes, Galle hosts several cultural events and festivals throughout the year. One notable event is the Galle Literary Festival, which usually takes place in January.Other events include traditional cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and performances held at venues within the Galle Dutch Fort and the surrounding area.

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