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The port city of Galle is situated along the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Primarily known for the famous Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has played a significant role in the country’s lengthy colonial history. Housing innumerable and diverse attractions within its precincts, the Galle Fort is undoubtedly the highlight of the city. The attractions include the Dutch Reformed Church, Old Dutch Hospital, Galle Clock Tower and Galle Lighthouse. The National Maritime Museum, also located at the fort, offers fascinating insights into the country’s maritime history; some of the objects on display are believed to be more than 800 years old! If you’re looking to explore the fort at a leisurely pace and understand its features, there are a plethora of fabulous hotels that you could stay at, most notably the 17th-century building-turned-luxury resort Amangalla.

Top 20 Tours in Galle

1. Galle Fort

Commonly referred to as the Dutch Fort, this is one of the most beautiful Galle attractions for being an extraordinary historical and archaeological site. Initially constructed by Portuguese in the late 16th century, later it was fortified by the Dutch somewhere near 17th century. It brings together archeology, architecture, and history with a buzzing ambiance of shops, cafes, and stores luring tourists from around the world to visit this fort. One of the most highly rated places to visit in the Galle fort is the Galle lighthouse and Mansion Museum.

2. Flag Rock

Most people want to end hectic days with some peace and maybe an added sunset on the horizon! Flag Rock offers tourists all this as well as the sound of seagulls and waves making it the perfect place to end a day in Galle! If you are wondering what to see in Galle, you should definitely add this erstwhile Portuguese bastion to your list!

3. National Museum of Galle

While Sri Lanka as it exists today is a relatively young nation, the civilization that inhabited this part of the world is centuries old. If you want an insight into this rich and vibrant past of Sri Lanka, one of the top places to visit in Galle town is the National Museum of Colombo. It offers the visitors to look into a cross section of Sri Lankas entire history, artwork and relics from the Anuradhapura Kingdom, dating back to 4th century B.C.

4. Japanese Peace Pagoda

Located on top of the Rumassala Hill offering splendid views of the entire ocean, the Japanese Peace Pagoda is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Galle, Sri Lanka. Constructed way back in 2004 and this massive white structure exudes purity and serenity. One can quite easily spot this structure from the beaches of Unawatuna and Galle and reach there by walking or driving through the hills. You should ideally visit this place at dusk if you want to witness a breathtaking sunset.

5. Unawatuna

The default beach for those visiting Galle is Unawatuna, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Galle. While it is not ideal for surfing, it is a great location if you want to go swimming because of the calm waters. If you are interested in snorkeling or other water sports, you can head to Jungle Beach which is located only a short walk away. This is one of the day outing places in Galle.

6. Dutch Reformed Church

One of the most popular places to visit in Galle is the Dutch Reformed Church. The church narrates tales from centuries ago and if you are a history lover you will fall in love with the place and won’t feel like leaving. Hire a guide if you really feel like it or just set out and explore the place on your own. The pulpit of the church is built with Malaysian wood and is also known as Groot Church.

7. Historical Mansion Museum

Another one of the exciting places to see in Galle is the Historical Mansion Museum. For all the history maniacs out there, this place is Disneyland and for all those who wish to know more about Sri Lanka’s conflicted and controversial history this place is a paaradise. Not just that, you can also buy souvenirs or collection from here.

8. Galle Fort Clock Tower

Next on the list of the places to visit in Galle is the Galle Fort Clock Tower. Built in the fond rememberance of the Humanitarian Doctor Peter Daniel Anthonisz, the tower stands as a memory of the doctor. The records say that the people of Galle pitched in money to build this tower and a remarkable history is associated with the tower.

9. Galle Lighthouse

Your Galle sightseeing tour won’t be complete without a visit to the popular Galle Lighthouse. Nestled within the Galle Fort, this lighthouse is gorgeous. The stunning design and architecture and the vibe it radiate are unforgettable. You can see the far-off oceans which face the oldest lighthouse in Sri Lanka.

10. St Joseph’s Chapel

One of the most well-known Galle tourist attractions, St. Jopseph’s Chapel is where you can find inner peace. The tiny chapel located in Galle is a portrayal of the Roman Catholics from the times of the Portuguese and was later revived by the Dutch. There is a slight hint of Dutch architectural style in the St. Joseph’s Chapel.

11. Independence Memorial Hall

Apart from being a stunning architectural building, the significance of the Independence Memorial Hall rises from its history. It was constructed in 1948, when the country achieved independence from their colonizers, Britain. It is a grand monument which should definitely be in your Galle sightseeing list.

12. Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

One of the most popular Galle tourist places is the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple which stands testimony to the constant influence of Buddhism in this country. One might say that Sri Lankans have hopped from one faith to another and have transitioned a lot but one of the few things that have remained constant is their belief in Buddhism. This temple houses a sacred Bodhi tree apart from many beautiful images of Buddha in different sizes.

13. Beira Lake

We really doubt if it is possible to visit Galle and not visit Beira Lake! Yes, that is how massive and beautiful it is. A great idea would be to take a break here after visiting the Gangaramaya Temple and rest along its shores to reach your most peaceful state of being! After a heavy day of sightseeing, it is one of the most beautiful places in Galle to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

14. Viharamahadevi Park

Located in proximity to Beira Lake is this park which is the only large-scale park in Colombo! There is no attraction that you can think of which is absent from this park ranging from a mini zoo or a play area to a huge Buddha statue. It is one of the most recommended places to go in galle for families since there is something to do for everyone here!

15. Sinharaja Forest Reserve

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this forest reserve is a must visit place for those who love nature and wildlife! It is the home to a great number of endemic species of Sri Lankan birds and animals lovers. Approximately 95% of these birds and 50% of these mammals inhabit this Forest Reserve. Make sure you go on a Safari when you visit this place!

16.Old Slave Quarters

The Old Slave Quarters is one of the places to visit in Galle Dutch Fort while you tour around those streets. You will find this quarter in the Star Bastion where all the battle needs were kept in the Slave Quarters and prison inside this structure. This place still has some cannons on display that were once used during the times of war.
17.Rumassala Sanctuary

Rumassala Sanctuary is one of those places to visit in Galle that takes you back on an epic journey of the tale of the Ramayana. It is told that Hanumana dropped his mountain somewhere here during the episode when Princess Sita is kidnapped. This sanctuary grows several herbal and medicinal plants.

You will also spot quite many species of birds if you have an eye for it. This panoramic hilltop was once used to transport valuable stones and spices to ships and other travellers.

18.Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 per cent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 per cent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve.

Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. It is one of the famous places to visit in Galle. You can experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendour of dense and copious evergreen rainforests.

19.Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 per cent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 per cent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve.

Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. It is one of the famous places to visit in Galle. You can experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendour of dense and copious evergreen rainforests.

20. Galle Fort Jumpers

Galle Fort Jumpers is an attraction you do not want to miss inside the Galle Fort grounds. This thrill comes from a group of five boys who engage tourists in a manner like no one else in Galle. Their act involves jumping off a cliff that is forty-feet high to take a plunge into the Sea. What makes people shudder apart from the height is that there are some rocks around the place, and it does seem like they could fall on one of them.

A skill that you will observe in the Galle Fort Jumpers is that fact that their plunge is far from an actual dive for they land right on their chest, but climb back the cliff like walking on a straight, even road.

Galle Heritage City Day Tour
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Full Day Tours in Galle

The National Museum of Galle

If your life’s passion is driven by the history of the world, then the National Museum of Galle is ‘the’ place for you. It is amongst those tourist places in Galle that allows you to study the times gone by of Sri Lanka from the 4th Century.

Starting from architectural designs, relics and masks, shells, wooden carvings and Beeralu Collection to other archaeological objects that take you into the deepness of this country is all preserved in this educative building. The influence of the Dutch in Sri Lanka can be witnessed through various items on display like the weapons and vessels.

Location: Church Street

Timings: 09.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.

Entry Fee: 35 LKR (USD 0.20) for adults and 20 LKR (USD 0.11) for children


Historical Mansion Museum

Here’s another place for the history enthusiasts who do not just want to look at the remains from ancient times, but also want to buy some for their collection back at home. A number of antiques from the Dutch period like the typewriters, jewellery, cameras, lamps etc. is on exhibit on the valuable shelves of this private museum.

A visit to the gem house is a wowing experience that will let you witness live embroidery and also the cutting & shaping of sapphire. The Dutch-era well is not just a wonderful relic to look at, but also a great place to grab some pictures.

Location: Leyn Baan Street

Timings: 09.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.

Entry Fee: Free

Sea Turtle Hatchery

Some people of Sri Lanka have dedicated their lives to animals around the Seas, and the Sea Turtle Hatchery is run by one such family. Every member is steadfast towards helping out the sea turtles who need medical help, or those who are pregnant.

In fact, they even help the sea turtles breed, and provide them with a safe environment to lay their eggs and care for them. The reason why it is one of the best places to visit in Galle is that, you will get to witness all of that at once during a short detour to this turtle abode.

Location: Sea Turtle Hatchery & Rescue Center A2, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Timings: 07.30 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.

Entry Fee: 500 Sri Lankan Rupees (USD 2.83)

 


Maritime Museum

It is a known fact that Sri Lanka and the Galle harbour is known for its trade through the sea. The Maritime Museum is amongst those tourist places in Galle takes you back to the Dutch East India Trading Company’s trade routes and relics. This place is a great way to understand the history of Sri Lanka and the attacks it faced. You can see some marine items, boat models, etc. in this valuable warehouse.

Location: Queens Street, Galle Dutch Fort

Time: 08.30 a.m. to 05.00 p.m. (08.00 a.m. on Saturday)

Entrance Fee: 20 LKR (USD 0.11) for adults and 10 LKR (USD 0.057) for children; 300 LKR (USD 1.70) for adults and 150 LKR (USD 0.85) for children

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 per cent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 per cent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve.

Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. It is one of the famous places to visit in Galle. You can experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendour of dense and copious evergreen rainforests.

Location: Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Southern Province

Timings: Opens daily from 6:30 AM to 6 PM

Price: Approximate price ranges from INR 260 to INR460 (664 LKR to 1160 LKR)

Rumassala Sanctuary

Rumassala Sanctuary is one of those places to visit in Galle that takes you back on an epic journey of the tale of the Ramayana. It is told that Hanumana dropped his mountain somewhere here during the episode when Princess Sita is kidnapped. This sanctuary grows several herbal and medicinal plants.

You will also spot quite many species of birds if you have an eye for it. This panoramic hilltop was once used to transport valuable stones and spices to ships and other travellers.

Location: Jungle Beach Road, Unawatuna

Timings: Morning to Evening

Galle Heritage City Day Tour
Full Day Tours, Galle
42.00 USD / Person
Rating 13 Reviews
Whale Watching Mirissa
Full Day Tours, Galle
0.00 USD / Person
Rating 20 Reviews

Top Attraction in Galle

Japanese Peace Pagoda

Located on top of the Rumassala Hill offering splendid views of t...

Unawatuna

The default beach for those visiting Galle is Unawatuna, one of t...

Galle Lighthouse

Your Galle sightseeing tour won’t be complete without a vis...

St Joseph’s Chapel

One of the most well-known Galle tourist attractions, St. Jopseph...

Newly Added Galle Experience

Whale Watching Mirissa
Full Day Tours, Galle
0.00 USD / Person
Rating 14 Reviews
Galle Heritage City Day Tour
Full Day Tours, Galle
42.00 USD / Person
Rating 6 Reviews

Popular Tours Beyond Galle

Galle Heritage City Day Tour
Full Day Tours, Galle
42.00 USD / Person
Rating 11 Reviews
Whale Watching Mirissa
Full Day Tours, Galle
0.00 USD / Person
Rating 11 Reviews

Travel Guide in Galle

Japanese Peace Pagoda

Located on top of the Rumassala Hill offering splendid views of t...

Unawatuna

The default beach for those visiting Galle is Unawatuna, one of t...

Galle Lighthouse

Your Galle sightseeing tour won’t be complete without a vis...

St Joseph’s Chapel

One of the most well-known Galle tourist attractions, St. Jopseph...

More About Galle Tourism

Galle has a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts—the Kanneliya Rainforest Reserve, which harbours numerous endemic flora and fauna. Tourists can marvel at and buy antiquities at the Historical Mansion Museum, owned and operated by a local family. The city also hosts an annual international literary festival known as the Galle Literary Festival.
Undoubtedly, no tour of Sri Lanka is complete without a trip to Galle—a city synonymous with the country’s utterly fascinating colonial-era history.

People Also Ask About Galle

  1. How to reach Galle ?

    How to Reach Galle from India

    Flights are available from Bangalore, Tirupati and Tiruchirappalli to Colombo.

    How to reach Galle by flight

    Galle has no airports so one cannot fly directly to the place. However, one can fly to Colombo and then take a bus or train to Galle

    How to reach Galle by road

    People can take a taxi or rent their own car but these are not options much favoured.

    How to reach Galle by train

    Serviced by the Sri Lankan Railways Coastal Line, Galle railway station is also a major station.

    How to reach Galle by bus

    Galle is connected by a number of buses; some take the Southern Expressway.

  2. Local transport in Galle ?

    Tuk tuks and travelling on foot are the two best ways to get around Galle.

  3. Local transport in Galle ?

    Tuk tuks and travelling on foot are the two best ways to get around Galle.

  4. Best Time to Visit Galle ?

    The best time to visit Galle is from December to March since the rainfall in the city is at its lowest at this time; this is ideal for touring the fort and its attractions. Additionally, these months are excellent for water sports at the immensely popular beaches of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, which are near the city. Also, the Galle Literary Festival takes place here every January.
    The off-season at Galle is usually from May to September, as the southwest (Yala) monsoon occurs at this time of the year.

  5. Hotels in Galle ?

    Kahanda Kanda

    Sri Lanka's standout Kahanda Kanda hotel is an artistically-styled and couples-orientated boutique hotel in the Galle hills. It features 10 gorgeous suites encircled by tropical, tea-fringed gardens. Its interiors are a lesson in elegant tropical style – timeless yet contemporary at the same time.

    Tri

    Tri's serene natural setting beside vast Koggala Lake, near Galle, makes this an inspiring place for relaxation. Its inventive cuisine is exceptional and the hotel has a super spa with yoga shala and visiting practitioners.

    Why House

    Set in spacious gardens, just inland from Galle's palm-studded coastline, Why House is one of those rare hotels that suits couples and families alike. It's also a favourite with returning guests charmed by its accommodating staff, tranquility and home-from-home vibe.

    Aditya

    Aditya is one of Sri Lanka’s original boutique hotels – a vast building accessorised with antique furnishings and home to 16 indulgently spacious suites and villas. It opened in 2005 yet is still one of the island’s most popular small hotels, and serves consistently good food.

  6. Where to Eat in Galle ?

    Galle is Sri Lanka's most popular destination for day outs. It's not too far, but it's out of Colombo, and known to be pretty safe. With sun, sand, beach, and ramparts it looks like it straight up came out of a postcard from Old Havana. Meaning, tropically aesthetic backdrops for pictures.

    Anyway, choosing a place to eat here can get a tad stressful, because there are dozens of eateries inside Galle Fort itself. Which is why we decided to compile this list of best restaurants in Galle, which would help you to make up your mind without a hassle (we hope!).

  7. Restaurant in Galle ?

    Galle Fort Hotel
    28, Church Street, Galle

    With a picture-perfect ambiance, well spiced Sri Lankan food, and contagiously happy staff, Galle Fort Hotel is a tad expensive, but rightly so because they're, in fact, a hotel. In our experience, their breakfast spread was top notch.

    Dumplings Cafe (Galle)
    58 Pedlar St, Galle 80000

    When in Galle, if you're looking for Dumplings, we suggest going with the Dumpling Cafe. The staff is super friendly, the place can get a bit crowded but the dumplings are delicious. At Rs. 980 for 8 (2 of each variety: beef, veg, chicken and prawn), the dumplings were silky smooth and all in all, some of the best we've had.

    The Tuna & The Crab
    Galle Dutch Hospital, Hospital Street, Galle Fort, Galle

    Judging by our experience last time, The Tuna & The Crab is a safe bet if you're craving for some sushi in Galle. It's a venture by Dharshan Munidasa, so basically you'll be offered with the best hits from Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi.

  8. Things to do in Galle ?

    Go surfing and scuba diving

    Sri Lanka is an island which means its coastline provides endless adventures including surfing and scuba diving. You can head about half an hour outside Galle to Hikkaduwa, which was once a fishing village and is now a popular surf town. Unawatuna, meanwhile, offers terrific scuba diving opportunities. You can approach the Unawatuna Diving Center, which is a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive resort.

    Spend time at Flag Rock

    Owing to its strategic location, Flag Rock was once used to signal incoming ships. Today, the huge rock at the end of Galle Fort is the perfect place to watch the sun set into the horizon. It’s a popular activity and as you make your way there, youll notice locals and tourists doing the same. Carry a camera to photograph the play of colors across the sky and the rock itself which rises out of the sea.

    No vacation is complete without a luxurious spa treatment and Sri Lanka offers travellers numerous choices. One of the best things to do around Galle is to head to the spa in Galle Fort. You can get a facial, a full body massage or choose a combo treatment that includes a scrub, massage and facial. If theres a special occasion like a birthday, hen party or a wedding, you can opt for a treatment to make you feel extra pampered.

    Spend time at Unawatuna Beach

    Unawatuna Beach is quite possibly one of Sri Lankas best. Palm trees and vegetation border one side while the sand and sea stretch out on the other. Spending the day here is one of the best things to do in Galle Sri Lanka especially when you want to take a break from sightseeing. Nearby, a small hill with a big Buddha statue provides lovely views of the area.

  9. What is Galle famous for?

    Galle is famous for its Portuguese architectural buildings and the Galle Fort which is a world heritage site and the many amazing places to visit in Galle.

  10. How far is Galle from Unawatuna?

    Galle is just 5.8 kilometers away from Unawatuna and it will hardly take you 20 minutes to travel from one place to the other.