Galle is a gem on Sri Lanka’s south-west coast. A living World Heritage Site, this fortified city is known for its exotic old port, grand museums, ancient mosques and imposing Dutch colonial architecture. Amble along its labyrinth of lanes passing by eclectic boutiques, chic cafes and quirky galleries.
Things to do in Galle
Fringed by the sparkling Indian Ocean, Galle Fort is located in the heart of the city. Built by the Portuguese in 1588, the fort is a delightful place to explore on foot, home to the whitewashed Meera Mosque, Old Dutch Hospital and Galle Lighthouse. For a greater appreciation of the fort and its hidden secrets, join a 90-minute walking tour and watch the sunset over Flag Rock, the most southerly point of Galle Fort.
Discover the pioneering history of Galle Fort at the National Maritime Museum. Established in 1656, the museum is housed in one of the region’s oldest buildings and showcases artefacts from the Dutch, British and Portuguese eras.
Find a unique souvenir of your time in Sri Lanka amongst Galle’s many antique and handicraft stores. One of the oldest shops in the area, Lihiniya is the perfect place to buy precious gems and handmade jewellery. For a taste of Galle’s fresh produce and fragrant street food, visit the 300-year-old Dutch Market.
Join a yoga class at the Sudharmalaya Temple, a welcoming and peaceful retreat on the western edge of Galle. The whitewashed temple is the centre Buddhism in Galle and features beautiful murals and a unique reclining Buddha statue.
Getting around Galle
Galle is a scenic train, bus or car ride from Colombo. The town is best explored on foot. However, tuk-tuks are available if you need to get somewhere quickly. Local buses provide easy transport to the nearby cities of Matara, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna.