Galle Fort in the city of Galle is a top attraction in Sri Lanka that offers the best of everything that the island has to offer. Whether you’re a first-time traveller or not, here are six wonderful reasons to visit the fort in 2022. Brush up on some fun facts before your visit to the one of the oldest living forts in the world.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the island and this old town, as you stroll through the ancient ramparts of the Galle Fort. This Dutch Fort was initially built by the Portuguese in 1588, but later fortified by the Dutch from 1649 onwards, and finally the British in 1796.
However, the history of the Galle Fort goes way back before the colonial occupation of the island. Ptolemy’s world map had multiple references to the busy port naming it a popular trading hub to China, Greece and the Arab nations back in 125-150 AD. It was only after the British occupation, that Colombo became the major trading hub instead. The Galle Fort became a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
The Galle Dutch Fort is a timeless preservation of the past; a perfect amalgamation of different architectural styles, cultural values and cuisines. Ancient structures like the Galle Clocktower and the Galle Lighthouse stand on opposite ends to each other and mark the perfect starting or finishing point during your walking tour of the fort . Other popular attractions that tell stories of the past include the Groote Kerk and the Dutch Hospital.
As you stroll through history, you’ll quickly witness how seamlessly the old has blended with the new. The court complex is still very much functional and the Dutch Hospital is now a shopping and dining precinct.
Add these historic buildings to your Galle Fort tour!
Local cuisine is always a must-try for first time travellers to Sri Lanka. Packed with flavours and a myriad of spices that make your mouth water, the food here promises to take you on a culinary adventure. However, the country also has its fair share of cuisines from around the world.
The Galle Fort, in particular, owing to its past, and present as a popular tourist destination offers cuisines from around the world. If you’re craving Italian, head over to our authentic Italian restaurant, AQUA Forte for a fine dining experience, or if you’re looking for a taste of Napoli, our AQUA Pizza promises tasty, crunchy and really good pizzas. Alternatively, whether you’re looking for Indian, Japanese, or fusion cuisines, the Galle Fort has something for everyone.
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Galle Fort is 36km away from Mirissa, which is approximately a one-hour drive away, making it perfect location to embark on a whale watching excursion from. Enjoy your drive along the coast in the morning and reach the Mirissa harbour by 6am to set sail on your adventure.
As you cruise the waters of the deep blue, keep your eyes peeled for the giants of the sea. The Indian Ocean attracts blue whales, sperm whales and many others too. Dolphins are often seen swimming along your boat as you venture into deeper waters! The entire excursion should last approximately four hours, so be sure to wear a sunhat, sunglasses and enough sunscreen. The season for whale watching in Mirissa is between December to March.
Roughly one hour and 15 minutes away from Galle Fort, you can spend the day engaging in a variety of watersports in Bentota. From cruising the emerald waters of the Bentota River on a scenic boat ride and exploring the island’s exotic mangroves, to exhilarating jet ski rides, there’s plenty of watersports to partake in; ideal for thrill seekers!
Read our blog for other day trips to take from Galle.
When you’re visiting the island, it’s an unspoken rule that you must always be in proximity to the golden shores and the blue waters. Thankfully, no matter where you are in Sri Lanka, whether in the Cultural Triangle or lost in the jungles of Yala, you can reach the beach in a few hours.
Galle is a coastal town in the south of Sri Lanka, in proximity to the popular beach town of Unawatuna (roughly 15 minutes away). Alternatively, there’s a little private beach just below the Galle Lighthouse where you can enjoy a leisurely swim to cool off after your walking tour of the fort.