In the 17th century, the Dutch built their headquarters, Galle Fort, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The beautiful buildings still stand today. In addition to that Galle Fort is part of Unesco’s World Heritage. All the buildings are therefore well-kept and the Dutch and French architecture gets to adorn the cozy streets of Galle Fort.
Galle Fort is something you can’t miss when traveling around Sri Lanka. The Fort is filled with history and is a great way for you to go exploring. If you like shopping you have plenty of opportunities for that as well. And lastly, Galle Fort is the perfect place to charge up on your energy. Read below to find inspiration for your stay in Galle Fort.
The only way inside the fort is through the main gate. From here you can walk around the fort doing some shopping, explore the historical monuments, and the exciting history of the fort. It’s possible to explore Galle Fort in a couple of hours. But we would recommend you stay in the fort for at least one day – morning to evening. If you have the time you should stay for a few days and enjoy the peacefulness of Galle Fort. But if your time is limited it is possible to take a day-trip to Galle Fort. To avoid crowded streets you should start exploring in the morning. But you can’t miss the sunset views from the wall of the fort. It’s a must-see when in Galle Fort.
Visit the beautiful buildings
You don’t need to be interested in culture or history to enjoy the building of Galle Fort. It can be quite refreshing to see the architecture, which reminds you of home.
Galle Fort is one big monument filled with exciting museums and beautiful churches. Some of our favorites were the lighthouse and the Dutch Church. On your walks around the fort, you can’t miss these amazing sights.
When walking around the cozy streets of Galle Fort you almost forget you are in Sri Lanka. The European architecture makes it feel like a south European city rather than a city in Asia.
The Clock tower
The clock tower in Galle Fort is from 1833. You can walk around the statues, enjoy the view over the ocean and the local cricket stadium. Maybe some of the locals are even playing a friendly game.
The Dutch Church
The Dutch Church was originally built in 1640. But the church you see in Galle Fort today is “only” from 1755. The church is still in use – especially on Sundays. Inside the church, you will find gravestones in the walls. The story is that they originate from a Dutch cemetery, which was closed. The organ in the church is also the original, which is from 1760. The church is therefore a good visit for history lovers.
The Maritime Archeology Museum
The Maritime Archeology Museum is a very exciting visit. Here you will get an insight into Sri Lankan history. The ocean has had a big influence on the city and fort, which you get to know better. At the same time, you learn about the tsunamis which have raged Sri Lanka and the consequences of these.
You can also see old fisherman boats, learn about the life of a fisherman, as well as their fishing technique. As a last plus for your visit, you will have the opportunity to see a skeleton from a whale.
The All Saints Church
The All Saints Church was built in 1871 during the British colonization of Sri Lanka. The church was built in Victorian style so it could survive in the warm climate. Because of the beautiful architecture, it’s a big sight around tourists.
The Old Dutch Hospital
The Old Dutch Hospital was built in the 17th century and has since then undergone bug changes. Today the hospital is a shopping mall with 21 local and global shops. Even though the shops are very modern, the architecture of the Old Dutch Hospital has been kept. So, it’s possible to do shopping surrounded by old architecture.
The Lighthouse of Galle Fort is also known as Pointe De Galle Light. It was built in 1848 but burned down. The “new” Lighthouse you see today was built in 1939. This piece of architecture is incredibly beautiful with the ocean in the background. Therefore, you can be sure to get some Instagram worthy pictures.
Small shops in Galle Fort
Galle Fort is home to cool souvenirs. Here you can find something for everyone. The streets are filled with shops with arts and crafts that you don’t find in any other place in the country. So, remember to save some money on your trip so you can spend it here.
Most of the shops are owned by foreigners. The prices can therefore be a bit higher than in other parts of the country. But at most times it’s worth the money.
Our favorite shops were:
- Stick No Bills – Here you find beautiful and cool postcards and posters with graphical motives.
- Embark – Here you can buy almost everything. And all the money goes to an organization that helps stray dogs in Sri Lanka. A very good purpose if you ask us.
- Barefoot – A shop filled with interior design. Everything from knick-knack, fabrics, clothes and so much more.
- Orchid House – The place to buy jewelry, Sri Lankan sarongs as well as arts and crafts.
Magical sunsets on the wall of the fort
The wall of the fort is a gathering point for tourists as well as locals. It’s the perfect place to watch the magical sunsets from. The light is incredible and the atmosphere in the fort is very peaceful. It’s a perfect way to end a day in Galle Fort.