Visit Galle Fort – Guide to this Stunning Colonial Town
The most important town on the south coast, Galle, consists of the old Dutch quarter (within the Fort) and the New Town located just outside of the Fort’s walls. The unique colonial style of 17th century Galle Fort was the reason it was named UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, it consists mostly of beautiful Colonial architecture-style buildings that have been turned into stylish shops, cafes and beautiful hotels. The lighthouse located just on the edge of the Fort is the most recognisable spot. The whole quarter is a must place to visit while relaxing on the south coast of Sri Lanka. This Guide of Galle will lead you to the best spots the historical fort has to offer.
The access to the Fort is via the Main Gate. From here let yourself wander the beautiful streets and take in the unique atmosphere of the town. Actually, we were not expecting much when we came here the last morning of our trip for a visit. We prefer mostly nature to the city, but were amazed by the colonial style of the buildings. This unique vibe we have not seen anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Walking around the beautiful area was our favourite part of visiting the south of Sri Lanka.
The Main Attractions
There are a few main sites to visit in Galle Fort and as the whole area is not too big, you would probably pass by a few of them even without this guide. But here are the best not to miss.
The Sudharmalaya Temple
It holds a beautiful white dagoba dating from 1886
All Saints Church
This church was built in the 19th century for the British community.
Meeran Jumma Mosque
Walking by the sea fortifications you will pass by the Meeran Jumma Mosque located on the south part of the Fort.
Point Utrecht Bastion
Make sure to stop at the Point Utrecht Bastion where is the lighthouse from 1938. It’s probably the most recognisable spot in Galle.
↬ Note : On a warm day when the sea is no too rough, you can spot some free-style divers jumping off the Flag Rock on the south west corner into the see.
Getting to Galle
Galle is easily reachable from the beach towns on the south of Sri Lanka by tuk-tuk, scooter or bus.
From Galle to Colombo or vice versa you can travel by bus, train or taxi.
Trains are definitely the most comfortable way, but there are only few trains departing daily and the last one leaves Galle at 15.13 in the afternoon. You can check the timetable here. From Colombo Fort, you can take a bus or taxi to the airport.
Bus is the second cheapest alternative. There are multiple buses departing from Galle Central leaving basically every hour or so. The only problem is that they leave once the bus is full, not really according to the schedule. Which means you might wait for a while before departing so make sure you have plenty of spare time. It took us 3 hours to reach Colombo Central Bus Stand.
↬ Note : When arriving to Colombo in the evening to catch a night flight out, be aware of the lies the taxi drives tell if you arrive late at the Central Bus Stand. It is true that the official buses from Colombo Central Bus Stand to the airport don’t run past 9PM. But there is a small, very comfortable van just outside of the Bus Stand gates going directly to the airport. Just ask around and you will be pointed to the right direction.
We were so relieved to find this van, as we were very short on money and had the exact change for the trip to the airport- we simply couldn’t afford the taxi. Otherwise, taxi is another easy way from there.
There is a constructed highway between Colombo and Galle, making the trip by car comfortable and just under 2h.
Shopping in Galle
There are many beautiful boutiques in Galle Fort. In fact all of our souvenirs we bought here, without planning it before. You can find many different things from clothing, cosmetics to textiles and souvenirs.
We loved KK The Collection
Where to eat
Sugar Bistro located on a beautiful colonial building this restaurant is a mix of modern and classic styles and cuisine.
Lucky Fort Cafe delicious Sri Lankan cuisine in a typical, easy going setting. Pus for the great prices!
Chambers restaurant the perfect place to take a break from Sri Lanka’s curry. It serves Lebanese and mediterranean dishes. Try the falafel, its absolutely delicious.
Punto Cafe a small seating for just few people, this cafe serves delicious breakfast as well as few classic Sri Lankan dishes for very reasonable prices.
Where to stay in Galle
Galle Fort has many stunning hotels and its a great idea to stay here for a night.
↬ Find all the best deals for Galle on booking.com