One of Sri Lanka’s major cities, things to do in Galle are numerous and diverse. However, a day visit or a longer stay in Galle needn’t have a city feel at all. Galle’s Dutch colonial fort lies on the coast, a stunning setting with ocean views to three sides. Within its walls renovations and development has seen the growth of boutique hotels and coffee shops, but this area still has genuine Sri Lankan charm and original buildings. After exploring Galle Fort’s walls and fortifications, walk towards the town passing the fishermen selling their catch to the produce and fish markets. This area is delightful for tourist and food lovers.
Lets have a look at things to do in Galle Fort and in the surrounding area and what you, as a visitor, can expect from this charming city.
Things to do in Galle Fort, Old Town and Surrounding Areas
It was the Portuguese who started the ball rolling with Galle Fort way back in 1588. The Dutch continued the extensive fortifications from the mid 1600s. The Fort and old town has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site and deservedly so, you’ll find multi-cultural delights within its walls, fittingly restored and tastefully developed.
None of us will ever forget the images of the Boxing Day tsunami sweeping through the area in 2004, damage from that disaster has been repaired, the Fort stood strong through the tragic onslaught.
Within the walls of Gale Fort you will find charming streets to explore, the old buildings have been restored to their former glory and some now house hotels, hostels and guest houses , restaurants, cafés and shops. We found a delightful free museum and gemstone workshop, with a little hard sell at the end, nevertheless, this museum was a lovely place to explore.
The National Maritime Museum of Sri Lanka also lies within the fortifications, it’s a small museum and sadly suffered losses in the tsunami, but well worth a look.
You will also find a working mosque at the seaward edge of the old town, not far from the lighthouse. Visitors are welcome.
Leave the fort and walk towards the town and you’ll pass rows of fishermen, their boats pulled up on the shore, selling the days catch. Fish lovers can buy direct from these stalls or cross the road to the purpose-built fish market beyond the cricket pitch.
The Old Dutch Market is usually crammed with the freshest local produce. Browse to see which tropical fruits are in season in this 300 year old marketplace.
There is plenty more to do in the Galle area, beaches, turtle hatcheries, cooking courses and more general exploration.
Where to Stay Near Galle?
We even got married near Galle, at Lighthouse Hotel, Galle, an amazing and luxurious place for a Sri Lankan style beach wedding.
If you’re touring Sri Lanka make sure you take the time to at least explore the fort, old town and surrounding area, it really is a delightful part of Sri Lanka, but then, we love all of this magical country.
If you want to stay in or around Galle, start your hotel search here. Agoda works particularly well for this part of the world.
Want to go back to our Sri Lanka Travel home page? Click here for loads of tips and useful information on visiting Sri Lanka.
This Sri Lanka travel blog post first appeared on World Travel Family. We occasionally include affiliate links on our site, only where we think they could be of use to you. They cost you nothing extra and we make a couple of cents in commission if you book through them. We only recommend products and services we use and trust ourselves. We travel full-time through ultra-frugal living, this blog helps us get by financially, these growing boys need feeding! All of our things to do in Galle Sri Lanka recommendations and views are our own. Thanks.