Galle Fort, built by the Portuguese on the coast of Sri Lanka in the 16th century and modified by the Dutch in the 17th century, is a historic testament to Europe’s significant influence in SouthEast Asia. Explore the Dutch Fort, a fortified city shaped by Dutch-colonial-style buildings and crumbling remnants of ancient Portuguese and British times, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Impressive bastions and ramparts that have stood for over three centuries protect a Dutch enclave that is now a vibrant area with courts, schools, administrative buildings, churches, and hotels housed in whitewashed Dutch buildings.
An Introduction to Galle Fort
One of the best things to do in Galle Fort is to soak up all of the histories Galle Fort has to offer. Built in 1588 by the Portuguese and later fortified by the Dutch in the 1600s, this European-style fort community was once a major trading post along the Indian Ocean route. Visiting Galle Fort is one of the best places to visit in Galle.
Today, Galle Fort is a true melting pot of cultures and religions, with churches, mosques, and temples aplenty. The ramparts, the lighthouse, and the many historical government buildings discovered while exploring are among the Fort’s main attractions and it offers a welcoming atmosphere which makes it easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with this special place.
Galle Fort Sri Lanka is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, and for a good reason. Galle’s old town has wide, walkable walls where you can watch the sunset, quaint but bustling shopping streets where you can find quality local souvenirs and clothing, and beautiful architecture to ponder and marvel at. Last but not least, Galle Fort serves excellent food, both Sri Lankan and Western.
The labyrinth of charming streets, narrow laneways, and atmospheric alleyways are lined with top-notch restaurants, art galleries, craft boutiques, and handicrafts. Stroll through the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex, go textile shopping on Peddler Street, and see the Dutch Reformed Church, All Saints Anglican Church, Meeran Mosque, and Buddhist Sudharmalaya Temple.
To experience all of the best things to do in Galle Fort, spend at least a day here to experience all the best this fortified town has to offer.
Where is Galle Fort?
The historic Galle Fort is located on the peninsula of Galle Harbor in the city of Galle, in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka. Galle city is located in the Southern Province and can be reached by driving two hours southeast of the capital city of Colombo. Galle Fort, located between the surf towns of Hikkaduwa and Weligama, is easily accessible as a day trip from either location.
Galle-Fort, with a population of fewer than 1000 people, is only a sliver of the 115,000 people who live in the greater Galle city area.
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Best Times to Visit Galle Fort
The best months to visit Galle are between December and April, when there is little rain and the weather is relatively dry. However, there is plenty to see and do here all year, even during the monsoon months of May to September.
What can I expect from the weather in Galle?
Galle is located on the coast and has temperatures ranging from 23°C (74°F) to 31°C (87.8°F).
Tip: Galle Fort, in particular, can see a large influx of local tourists in early January, so avoid visiting during this time if possible. During this time, the top attractions in Galle will be extremely busy.
What to Wear While Traveling in Galle Fort
Because most of the sites around the Galle Fort require walking, wear light clothing and comfortable walking shoes or sandals. When entering temples and places of worship, women should wear long skirts or trousers and cover their shoulders with a shawl or scarf. Hats and headwear are not permitted, and shoes must be removed.
Languages and Currency
English, Sinhala and Tamil are the common languages used by locals and travelers in Galle.
Local currency Sri Lankan Rupee is used as the main transaction currency, so you need to exchange your USD, Euro, or GBP into LKR.
The Best Ways to Explore Galle Fort
Dutch Fort on Foot Galle is a very walkable town; it takes only 30 minutes to walk around the entire circumference of the Sri Lanka Galle fort. The majority of the main things to do in Galle Fort are within the walls and can be reached on foot, including the Galle Fort bazaar. Things to do in Galle, such as the spice markets in greater Galle city, are a quick 10-minute walk from the Galle Fort entrance.
Rent a Tuk Tuk
Galle Fort can get extremely hot during the day, so if you want to explore the surrounding Galle attractions, hiring a tuk-tuk is your best bet. A tuk-tuk ride to the Galle fruit market costs about 250 LKR each way and allows you to chat with a local.
Tip: Haggling is essential; stick to your guns and finalize the price before boarding the tuk-tuk.
Or Ride a Local Bus
The local bus system in Sri Lanka is one of the most cost-effective ways to get around the island. The humble bus is the best way to get to and from Galle Fort from any of the villages along the south coast. The #2 and #32 buses, which cost USD 0.50 and run every 15 minutes, will take you down the main coastal road, giving you a great view of the Indian Ocean.
The Galle Fort bus stop is located on the opposite side of the cricket pitch, across from the Fort’s main gate. You can walk the 6-minute distance or hail a tuk-tuk for the short journey to all of the best places to visit in Galle Fort.
Tip: Bring small denominations of Sri Lankan rupees with you because the bus driver will not return your change until the end of your journey.
Where to Stay in Galle Fort
Blue Parrot Beach Villa
Blue Parrot Beach Villa is a concrete and wood villa with an antique finish in Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka. The villa has two air-conditioned sleeping rooms with mosquito nets over the beds. A fully equipped kitchen is available for your use. In front of the house is a lovely beach garden where you can sit in the shade and gaze out at the Indian Ocean. The price includes a delicious breakfast as well as daily room and laundry service from our team. Blue Parrot Beach Villa is a cozy vacation home! Quite close to Galle town, but far enough away to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life.
A beautiful, peaceful villa with exceptional service that will make you feel right at home. You could spend the entire day lounging by the pool, with friendly staff bringing you healthy juices or delectable snacks. The villa’s staff will be delighted to cater to your every culinary desire, day or night.
The colonial-style villa has four separate bedrooms, each with its own unique design and open-plan bathroom. Each double room has its own private veranda and garden area. Guests have free access to the surrounding cinnamon plantation and share a large spacious living and dining area, the pantry kitchen, as well as the courtyard and pool area.
If you’re looking for a fine relaxing getaway with your family in a luxurious setting, Contemporary Villa is your answer. The designer villa is a modern luxury style of architecture, while still retaining the homely essence of Sri Lanka, making it a very peaceful getaway. The rooms were spotless, tastefully decorated, and extremely spacious.
There are 7 magnificent rooms, making it ideal for a private getaway for a small group of people in Galle.