The colonial history of Sri Lanka has left a significant mark on the island, with both British and Dutch colonial periods contributing to its cultural and architectural heritage. The Dutch, in particular, played a crucial role in shaping the coastal town of Galle, evident in the well-preserved Galle Fort.

Galle, located on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, is famous for its well-preserved Dutch Fort. The Dutch established their presence in Sri Lanka in the 17th century, and Galle became a prominent trading port for the Dutch East India Company during their colonial rule. The Fortified Town of Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stands as a testament to the Dutch influence on the island.

Key Features of the Galle Fort

  • Fortifications: The fort is surrounded by thick, high stone walls that were built by the Dutch to protect the town from potential invaders. These walls still stand today and are a prominent part of Galle’s landscape.
  • Architecture: Within the fort, you can find a blend of Dutch and Sri Lankan architecture. Dutch colonial-style buildings, characterized by their distinctive gabled roofs, can be seen alongside traditional Sri Lankan homes and structures.
  • Galle Lighthouse: The Galle Lighthouse, built by the British in the 19th century, is another iconic feature of the town. It stands near the fort and offers picturesque views of the coastline.
  • Streets and Alleys: The streets and alleys inside the fort are narrow and winding, creating a charming atmosphere reminiscent of a bygone era. You can explore these streets filled with cafes, boutiques, and art galleries.
  • Historical Buildings: Within the fort, you’ll also find historical buildings such as the Dutch Reformed Church, which dates back to the 18th century, and the Galle Fort Clock Tower.
  • Cultural Heritage: Galle’s colonial history has left a lasting impact on the culture of the area. The town is a melting pot of influences, with a mix of Dutch, Portuguese, and British elements in its cuisine, art, and traditions.
  • Tourism: Galle has become a popular tourist destination due to its historical significance and unique charm. Visitors can explore the Galle fort, visit museums, and enjoy the vibrant cultural scene.
  • The Dutch Fort in Galle is a remarkable example of how colonial history has shaped Sri Lanka’s landscape and cultural identity. It continues to attract tourists and historians interested in exploring the island’s rich heritage.

How to spend your time in Galle Fort

Admire the historic clock tower located within the fort. It is a prominent landmark and a reminder of the British influence in Galle. You can also learn about the history of Galle and the fort at the Galle Fort Museum. It houses a collection of artifacts, documents, and exhibits related to the town’s colonial past. Some of the old mansions within Galle Fort have been converted into boutique hotels or museums. Consider taking a guided tour to learn about their history and architecture.

Don’t forget to take home some souvenirs from Galle Fort. The region is known for its boutique shops, art galleries, and handicraft stores. You can find unique souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, and artwork as you stroll through the charming streets. Also, while you wander through the narrow streets, you’ll encounter colonial-style buildings, colorful doors, and charming alleyways at every turn. Enjoy Local Cuisine and explore the culinary offerings within the fort. There are numerous cafes and restaurants serving both local Sri Lankan dishes and international cuisine. Seafood is a popular choice due to the town’s coastal location.

Galle Fort has several spots where you can relax by the sea. Whether it’s sitting on the fort walls, visiting a nearby beach, or simply enjoying the coastal breeze, there are plenty of opportunities to unwind. Also, depending on the time of your visit, there may be cultural events or festivals taking place within the fort. Check with locals or event listings for any special activities or performances. Don’t miss the stunning sunset views over the Indian Ocean. Find a spot along the fort walls to witness a stunning sunset over the horizon.

Exploring Galle Fort is not only an educational experience but also a visually captivating one. Its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty makes it a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka.

Where to Stay in Galle

If you wish to stay a few days and explore the Galle Fort and its surrounding beaches, there are plenty of accommodation options. From budgeted hotels to reputed 5-star hotels and exclusive boutique hotels, everything is available in Galle.

  • Budgeted options:
    • Fairway Sunset
    • The Country House
    • Fort Bliss
    • Closenberg Hotel
  • 5 Star Hotels:
    • Radisson Blu Resort
    • Amari Galle
    • Le Grand Galle
    • Jetwing Lighthouse
    • Tamarind Hill
  • Luxury Boutique Hotels:
    • The Fort Printers
    • The Bartizan
    • Jetwing Kurulubedda
    • Galle Heritage Villa

Getting to Galle Fort

Galle is best reached from Colombo as it is served by both train and bus routes from the city. Non-stop, comfortable air-conditioned coaches leave Colombo’s southern suburb of Maharagama approximately every 30 minutes between 5am and 5pm. Trains between Colombo Fort station and Galle leave 5 – 10 times per day and can take anywhere between 2 hours and 3.5 hours.

The most comfortable journey to Galle would be via a private vehicle that Travel Treasures Sri Lanka can arrange for you. Depending on the number of guests in your group, we can provide a luxury vehicle that will take you to Galle at your convenient timings. In addition to the Galle fort, a private Galle day tour also includes a visit to the attractions along the way. Indulge in some thrilling water sports in Bentota, say hello to the turtles in Kosgoda and enjoy a fantastic Madu River Boat Safari. Get in touch with our team to book your tailor-made holiday package now!