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Exploring Galle Fort by Foot – Things to Do in Galle Fort

Jun 26, 2019
Galle Fort

Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautifully preserved fortress dating back to the colonial era. Built by the Portuguese and fortified by the Dutch and the British, the fort resembles an amalgamation of architectural styles and cultural values where European influences seamlessly blend with local lifestyles.

As you stroll through the vibrant streets of Galle Fort that are marked with architectural structures of immense historical value, here are some of the few things to keep an eye out for!

Galle Lighthouse

Shining in the social media limelight, the Galle Lighthouse towers above the cobblestoned streets, offering an unhindered view of the harbour and the glistening coast. Built in 1939 by the British during their occupation of the island, the lighthouse is also known as Pointe de Galle Light and is the oldest in Sri Lanka. The automated lighthouse illuminates the ancient town as the sun dips over the Indian Ocean.

Tip – Walk around towards the back of the lighthouse and look for a secret passage that leads directly to the beach. Dip your toes into the refreshing waters!

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Galle Clocktower

The Galle Clocktower is a popular landmark, which was built in the 19th century in recognition of the services of Colonel Surgeon Dr. Anthonisz. The bricked tower is situated within the ramparts and overlooks the central Moon Bastion. The clocktower shares the social media spotlight with the pristine lighthouse.

Tip – At the base of the clocktower, look for the life-size statues depicting a scene from the colonial conquests.

Groote Kerk

The Dutch Reformed Church was built by the Dutch in 1755 and holds great historical and religious value. Having won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage for restoration, the church’s grandiose beauty is a vision to behold! The cruciform shape, the burial vault, the pebbled pathways, and the honeycomb pattern on the floor, which is made of gravestones, are some of the many things you could be in awe of at Groote Kerk.

Tip – Inscribed with emblems and epitaphs from the colonial period, the gravestones are intricately carved and line the walls and floors of the church. Spend some time reading these!

Wining & Dining

Unlike the rest of the island, Galle Fort’s atmosphere is romantic and charming. Cobblestoned streets are illuminated by soft streetlights and the vibrance seeping from quaint restaurants and boutique hotels. Wine and dine at AQUA Forte; a fine dining experience of authentic Italian cuisine, where mouth-watering food and premium wines are at your fingertips.

Tip – Ask our head chef Roberto for his recommendations!

Souvenir Stores

Shopping at Galle Fort is a fun activity. Within the fort, you’ll find numerous stores to fulfil your shopping needs; be it for souvenirs, tea, clothes or even exotic spices! Vibrant and colourful in its own way, each store stands out from the other though equally tempting!

Tip – We actually don’t have one! You should visit every store!

Galle Museums

The Galle National Museum contains many archaeological and anthropological artifacts and is the oldest building within the Galle Fort. Take a walk-through history and visit the museum, as you admire various traditional artifacts and items from masks, ornaments and carvings from Colonial Ceylon. The National Maritime Museum holds exhibits of marine artifacts, ancient maps, beer mugs, smoking pipes, artillery guns and more.

Tip– The Kingdom of Netherlands facilitated the restoration of the National Maritime Museum following the devastating 2004 tsunami.

A Galle Fort Sunset

Sunsets in Sri Lanka are quite bold and dramatic and there’s no question that each one is unique. However, a Galle Fort sunset; over the ramparts will leave you speechless. The setting sun paints the horizon in various shades of reds, pinks, blues and purples, sometimes vibrant colours and other times soft pastel strokes. As the sun sets, the lighthouse beams across the coast acting as a glimmer of hope to many sailors.

Tip – Pick a spot on the rampart – ideally on an available bench and wait for the magic!

Do you want to know more about authentic Italian cuisine, best wine pairings and secret offers at AQUA Forte? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to-date!

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