From Dutch colonial buildings to historical temples and tea plantations to ancient churches, Galle has it all. Located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, this former trading port is one of the most vibrant places to visit on the island. Read on and find out which are the top attractions of the city.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
‘Kingdom of the Lion’, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galle. Established in 1978 to preserve and protect endangered animals on the island, today it has been successful in providing home to several endemic species. Elephants, leopards, purple faced langur, greater racket-tailed drongo, orange-billed babbler, red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri Lanka blue magpi are among the animals and birds spotted here.
National Museum of Galle
Located in the oldest building of the city, National Museum of Galle is one of the most prominent museums in the country.
It houses a wide collection of interesting artefacts, items and other valuables including jewellery, mask carvings, furniture, and weapons. Ancient wooden carvings and paintings dating back to the pre colonial era are on display here.
Unawatuna is a beautiful coastal town in Galle. Loved for its stunning beaches, hidden corals and old world charm, the traditional town is a major tourist attraction for the ones looking to experience the best of sun, surf and sand. Kadolana (a famous mangrove), Rumassala Hillock (an area where several species of endemic birds and animals can be found) and Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya Buddhist Temple are among the popular attractions here. Swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving are the most enjoyed activities here.
Dutch Reformed Church
Also known as ‘Groote Kerk’, Dutch Reformed Church is among the oldest Protestant churches on the island. Built in 1755 by the Dutch, this ancient structure is known for its Doric style architecture and traditional design. A pulpit made up of calamander (Malaysian wood) and the royal entrances are the two impressive features of this church. Shops and vendors selling gifts and souvenirs can be spotted around the church.
The Dutch Fort
First built in 1588 by the Portuguese, Dutch Fort is one of the most visited attractions in Galle. Later modified by the Dutch, the popular fort is a perfect blend of stunning architecture, history and design. The fort’s entrance gate, carved pillars and wall paintings all appeal to the travellers. You can enjoy traditional delicacies at the Galle Fort Hotel Restaurant and other eateries located around the fort.