Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka | A beautiful UNESCO heritage site

Galle Market Unawatuna
Galle Market
Galle Lighthouse and fortifications
Galle Lighthouse and fortifications
Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka

One of the things we love to do when visiting a new city is to see as much of it as we can with the time allowed.   I don’t know about anyone else but I hate to miss anything.   Galle is a brilliant city to explore with its fortification walls to its fruit and veg market.  Its got so much to see and there’s absolutely loads to do.  

Let me tell you a bit about our visit.   We were staying at Unawatuna after exploring the centre of Sri Lanka in the Habanara area.  Galle is only a 10 min Tuk Tuk ride from Unawatuna so perfect to visit for the day.

You can read all about how we got to Unawatuna here

Where is Galle?

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka.  It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century.  Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, circle car-free streets and architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule.

The fortified city of Galle was selected in 1988 as a UNESCO World Heritage site for notable buildings such as the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church, the Galle Lighthouse which stands on the fort’s southeast tip and the fortification walls themselves. 

6 things not to miss when exploring Galle, Sri Lanka:

Number 1
  • Visit the old town and the fortification walls and peek into the International cricket pitch.

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British.  It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

Galle cricket pitch is surrounded by 2 oceans and is claimed to be one of the most picturesque cricket pitch in the world.  

Galle Clocktower Unawatuna
Galle Clocktower
International Cricket Pitch Galle
International Cricket Pitch Galle
Number 2
  • Explore the Galle Fort Lighthouse

The lighthouse in Galle is Sri Lanka’s oldest light station dating back to 1848.

The original lighthouse was 24.5-metre-high and  built by the British, was destroyed by fire in 1934.  The existing 26.5-metre-high lighthouse was erected here in 1939 and is within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort. 

It is still a working lighthouse today and operated by the Sri Lankan port authority. 

Galle Fort Lighthouse
Galle Fort Lighthouse
Galle Fort Lighthouse
Galle Fort Lighthouse
Number 3
  • Check out the colourful sights and sounds of the Galle Old Dutch Market & browse the craft stalls of the Galle Fort Market. 

The Old Dutch Market in Galle is one of the unique remnants of colonial times. As the name suggests, it is a marketplace, popular amongst locals as well as tourists for selling some of the freshest and exotic produce in all of Galle.

The Galle Fort Market is a collaboration of different local crafts people who gather to sell their wares.  The market can be found in the centre of the Fort in Court Square and you can find more details about how to get there and what to expect, here. 

Sri Lanka Cooking
Galle Market
Sri Lanka Cooking Unawatuna
Galle Market
Number 4
  • Visit the Galle Maritime Archeological Museum

The maritime museum is housed in an old spice warehouse and dates back to the 17th Century.  

When you arrive you’re presented with a video presentation and interactive displays that explain Galles past and the maritime influence.  You can also learn about the shipwrecks that can be found around Galle. 

The museum first opened to the public on 9 May 1992 and is located in a 1671 Dutch Warehouse above the Old Gate of Galle Fort.

To enter it costs 300 LKR which is around £1 so really good value.

The exhibits are good, interactive and both outside and inside and well laid out. 

Opening times are Tuesday through to Thursday from 9am until 5pm

Galle Maritime Archeological Museum
Galle Maritime Archeological Museum
Galle Maritime Archeological Museum
Galle Maritime Archeological Museum
Number 5
  • Stop for a drink or snack in the popular Dutch hospital district

The Old Dutch Hospital, Galle is one of the oldest buildings in the Galle Fort area dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. The heritage building has now been developed into a shopping and dining precinct.

For seafood to traditional Sri Lankan food, beer to cocktails there’s a place here for you.  We stopped at the Taphouse RnR bar for a drink and we had a lovely cup of tea earlier in the day in one of the many cafe’s in the old town.  You really will be spoiled for choice for food and drinks here and the prices are good too.  Really reasonable.  

Dutch Hospital District Galle
Dutch Hospital District Galle
Old Dutch Hospital District Refreshments
Old Dutch Hospital District Refreshments
Number 6
  • Watch the local fishermen bringing in the catch of the day.

We watched as they hauled their nets in from the sea and then literally within mins the catch was displayed on the beachfront for the locals to buy.   You cant get fresher than that.   Superb area for seafood. 

Fisherman at Galle
Fisherman at Galle
Fisherman at Galle
Fisherman at Galle
Related posts you may like:

1 thought on “Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka | A beautiful UNESCO heritage site”

Leave a Reply