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Old Dutch Hospital

This building is one of those areas that have preserved their charm for quite a few centuries now. Constructed during 1681, this building crossed many stages before getting converted into a shopping complex that it is today.

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Location
: This shopping arcade is located in the Galle Fort area, at Hospital Street.

Highlights
: This is the most ancient building in Colombo Fort and was set up with the main purpose of providing medical assistance to people working for Dutch East India Company. Do not miss to visit Odels, one of the most decent joints selling high-quality souvenirs and clothes. If you are interested in shopping and eating good food, you have to visit this area as it lined with lots of cafés and eating joints.


Timings
: It is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on all days of the week. 

Price
: Entry to this place is not chargeable.
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Galle Fort/Dutch Fort

Dutch Fort is one of the most extraordinary historical and archeological sites of the world. The fort was first constructed by Portuguese in the late sixteenth century and fortified expansively by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century. It is a stunning blend of archeology, architecture, and history in the backdrop of the tropical atmosphere.  Its appeal lies in that it is not just a historical monument. Even today the life is buzzing inside it, with a museum, gorgeous villas, administrative offices, antique shops, cafes, bookstores and lifestyle stores.


Location: Situated in the Southern Sri Lankan Coast in the Bay of Galle just 132 KM from Colombo.

Highlights: A stroll on the streets will let you experience the beautiful architecture of the colonial style buildings that still exudes the warmth and charm. Visit National Maritime Museum, stop by Meera Mosque and enjoy delicacies at Lucky Fort Restaurant and Galle Fort Hotel Restaurant.

Timing: Opened 24 hours a day 

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Dutch Reformed Church

One of the finest and most traditional Tourist attractions in Galle which is worth to visit and admire is the Galle Fort. The Dutch Reformed Church is the ancient building located in the premises of the fort. The building’s date goes back the 18th century during the Dutch period.

A walk through the Fort ground along with the humble caretaker, immersing in his never-ending fancy stories will take you back to the era whence it was built. The Church is also known as Groot Kert.



Highlights: Many tombstones dating back to the 17th can be observed; this church also is a Cruciform with shorter transepts separated by two arches. The floor is marked with gravestones. The beautiful pulpit made from Malaysian wood, calamander is a beautiful sight and near to the pulpit is the memorial of De Ly Family.

Location: Church Street, Galle fort

Timings: 9 am to 5 Pm
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Flag Rock

After a tiresome day, if you wish to end it with some peace and watch the sun set on the horizon, hear the seagulls beckoning you and also observe the waves crash the rocks forming a soulful music then Galle Flag Rock Bastion is where you need to go.  The Flag Rock an ex-Portuguese Bastion, situated at the southernmost end of the Galle Fort, today is a popular destination for tourists to witness the sunset. This Rock was a natural defence center during the Dutch period, from where ships were alerted about dangers lurking and also from the unseen rocks underwater by firing Musket shots from the Pigeon Island.



Location: Rampart St. Galle 

Highlights:
Scenic surrounding; to your west, you will be able to locate the lighthouse and the Gunpowder Museum opposite to the Meeran Masjid.

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What You Should Know More About Galle

  • Travel Advice:

    There are certain things that must be kept in especially if you’re visiting Sri Lanka for the first time.

    • Safety and security: The political situation in Sri Lanka was slightly unstable earlier. Conflicts between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan army did end back in 2009 and no recorded incidents of terrorist violence have been detected – so there’s nothing to worry about as such.

    • Food and water: Travellers travelling to any destination in the whole have the potential of developing the travelers’ diarrhea. People consume contaminated water or food and fall sick. However, make sure that you have bottled water throughout your journey in Galle city.

    • Laws and regulations in the city: There are strict penalties for those found in possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs. Moreover, smoking is prohibited in many of the indoor workplaces and public transports. As far as photography and videotaping is concerned, performing this activity in and around government and military installations is strictly prohibited.

    • Drinking laws: Sri Lanka as a whole has a very strong drinking culture. Therefore, alcohol is sold largely in this place and accessibility to the same won’t be troublesome for the tourists. However, remember that consuming alcohol in certain public spaces in prohibited. Thus, one must keep a check regarding the same. The night-life otherwise is quite great.

  • Things to do in Galle city:

    • Visit the Galle fort and enjoy the great view: This is one those must-do things in Galle city. The Galle fort was built during the reign of the Portuguese. In fact, the Galle fort is the first fortification in the whole of Sri Lanka. This location is apt for those looking for a relaxed time as the fort is extended by the sea and there’s a great aerial view one can get from this place.

    • A peep into the old houses on Leyn-Baan street: There is a lot that one can do if they are looking for a less physically excruciating activity and just interested in gaining knowledge. There are numerous houses, streets and other structures that exist by their original name and state throughout Galle city. For instance, check out the Zeeberg street or the Moderabaay street while you’re walking around.

    • Visit the Dutch church: The Dutch Church was built in the site of a Portuguese Capuchin Convent back in 1640. As time passed by and the Dutch overtook, they manage to erect a thank-you offering by Gertruda Adrianna Le Grand, wife of the Commandeur Gasparus De Jong for the long-prayed birth of a son in the place of this structure. It hardly takes an half an hours’ time from the main city area for visitors to travel.

    • Appreciate the Antiquities of Galle: Among the various other structures that the Dutch built during their rule was the Government House, the Queen’s House, churches, the the Old Main Gate by the Fort and various other structures in and around Galle. The stone built tells visitors the story of the conquests that may have existed in the old city of Galle. Enjoy the artsy view of the lion and unicorn gateway as you stroll around the region.

  • What will you like in Galle:

    • Go cafe-hopping: Whether you’re a foodie or not, you’d surely want to explore the different flavours that represent the origins of a certain place. Same applies to Galle as well. Take a day out from your journey and go cafe-hopping through the streets of Galle. Some of the well-known cafes include: Heritage Cafe, Serendipity Arts Cafe, Mama’s Roof Cafe, Pedlar’s Inn Cafe among others. Take a look away from the traditional resort experience this time.

    • Antique jewellery and furniture shopping in Galle: Who doesn’t enjoy shopping? Imagine getting some of the most pricey and rare antiques at dirt cheap prices! There are several places in and around Galle that promise you just this experience. For instance, Barefoot or the Olanda’s Antiques offer visitors with hoards of products to shop from, all the way from jewellery to furniture.

    • Mansion-sightseeing in Galle: Well, the great thing about Galle is that it was always occupied by highly royal cultures. Be it the Dutch, the British or the Portuguese, they treated this place with great love and pride and thus built grandeur structures and buildings. There are numerous mansions too that they built, for instace: Closenburg Eddystone, Barthfield, Armitage Hill and the Nooit-Gedacht. While the names may sound fancy, these structures make up for a significant beauty Galle holds.

    • Adventure activities in Galle: The chief place wherein you will find activities that involve water sports is Unawatuna Bay. This place provides for safe swimming and snorkelling among other watersports activities. Get adventurous this season with Galle.

  • Recommended reads for destination

    Government website: 

    Sri Lanka Travel

    Books to read on Galle: Colombo, Lonely Planet – Sri Lanka.


  • What is the best time to visit Galle?

    Spring is the best time to visit this tropical destination. Galle is best visited from February to April, so you can enjoy the sun and yet not feel the heat. This time is perfect for relaxing on the beach or by the pool, as there’s less rainfall too.

     

    You can also visit Galle from October to November, as these months are cooler than the rest of the year. This is the time when monsoon moves northeast and there’s practically no rain in Galle, the sea becomes much calmer and is well-suited for beachside activities and going for a swim.

  • How to reach Galle?

    • By air: You can take a flight from any international airport of India to Colombo. From Colombo, you can reach Galle by train, car or bus. Galle is 124 kilometres away from Colombo.
    • By road (taxi/car/bus): The best way to travel comfortably from Colombo to Galle is by hiring a car and a driver to take you all the distance. It takes approximately two and a half hours to reach Galle if you take the Expressway. Although this arrangement will be a little expensive, it’s much more comfortable and convenient.
    • By bus: You can also take a bus to Galle from Colombo, from the Maharagama Bus Station. It takes about 90 minutes to reach Galle, but travelling by bus will not be as comfortable as going by car. Buses for Galle leave the Maharagama Bus Station at five in the morning. Travelling by bus is a cheaper option than taking a car though.

     

    • Taxi: You can take a taxi to Galle too, it costs around INR 3600 or USD 27 to book a taxi from the airport. Travelling by taxi is very convenient too, as compared to going by bus or train.
    • By rail: You can take a train to Galle from the Colombo Fort Station, but the problem with going by train is the fact that you cannot purchase the tickets in advance. So you may have to travel the distance in a jampacked compartment, and you may not get a place to sit down.

  • Which are the best places to visit in Galle?

    Galle has numerous places to visit for tourists, because this historic city has been around since the sixteenth century. Galle gives you that old world charm you are unlikely to find in any other city in Sri Lanka. Here are some places you can see in the city:

    • Flag rock
    • Dutch Reformed Church
    • Old Gate
    • Marine Archeological Museum
    • Meeran Mosque
    • Sudharmalaya Temple
    • Dutch Hospital
    • Amangalla
    • Historical Museum
    • Main Gate
    • Galle International Cricket Stadium
    • Sun Bastion
    • National Maritime Museum
    • National Museum
    • Point Utrecht Bastion
    • Zwart Bastion
    • All Saints Anglican Church
    • Lighthouse
    • Dutch Market
    • Star Bastion
    • Moon Bastion
    • Clock Tower
    • Lighthouse Beach
    • Dutch Governor’s House
    • Triton Bastion
    • Muslim Saint’s Tomb
    • Aurora Bastion
    • Court Square
    • Neptune Bastion
    • Clippenberg Bastion
    • Aeolus Bastion
    • Bell Tower

  • Which are some best resorts to stay in Galle?

    Some of the best resorts to stay in Galle are:

    • Amangalla: 10 Church Street, Galle Fort, Galle
    • Galle Fort Hotel: 28 Church Street, Galle Fort, Galle
    • Lighthouse Hotel & Spa: Dadella, Galle
    • The Fortress: Koggala Beach, Galle
    • The Sun House & Doornberg: 18 Upper Dickson Road, Galle
    • Tamarind Hill: No. 288 Dadella, Galle

  • Which are the best places to experience local cuisine in Galle?

    Here are some places where you can find Sri Lankan food in Galle:

    • Lucky Fort Restaurant
    • Wijaya Beach Restaurant
    • Spoon’s
    • A Minute by Tuk Tuk
    • Pedlar’s Inn Cafe
    • Coconut Sambol
    • Poonie’s Kitchen
    • The Fort Printers
    • The Blockhouse
    • Sugar Bistro & Wine Bar
    • Bedspace Kitchen
    • The Stairway
    • Cafe Punto
    • Deco on 44
    • Elita Restaurant
    • Church Street Social
    • Pepper
    • Black & White Restaurant
    • National Tea Room
    • Kingfisher
    • Cafe Hula Hula
    • Royal Dutch Cafe

  • What are the best public transport modes to commute around Galle?

    Local buses in Galle are a good way to go around town. Although, Galle is best discovered on foot and smaller distances can be covered by taking a tuk tuk. If the distance you need to cover is quite a lot, take a bus.

  • What are the best places of shopping in Galle?

    Galle is famous for its spices, jewellery, garments etc. Here are some of the best places on Galle you can drop by for shopping:

    • Barefoot
    • Elephant Walk
    • Laksana
    • Mimimango
    • MM Ibrahim

  • Which are some famous beaches in and around Galle?

    Beaches are the best part of Galle, apart from its rich historical monuments, of course. So here are some of Galle’s iconic beaches you can visit to relax at:

    • Hikkaduwa Beach
    • Arugam Bay Beach
    • Unawatuna beach
    • Nilaveli Beach
    • Passekudah Bay and Kalkudah Beach
    • Negombo Beach
    • Galle Face Green
    • Kalpitiya Beach
    • Tangalle Beach
    • Bentota Beach

  • Where can we go for wildlife safari in Galle?

    For wildlife safari in Galle, you can go to:

    • Udawalawe National Park: This beautiful wildlife sanctuary in Mirissa can be visited from Galle. It takes up to thirteen hours for the entire safari, and you will be going on a safari jeep and will also have an expert driver and guide to assist in the trip. This park is famous for its elephants and crocodiles, along with its exotic birds you will be able to spot when here. Start from Galle early in the morning because it takes three hours to get to the Udawalawe National Park. The earlier you reach, the better chances you have at beating the crowd and getting in faster.
    • Yala National Park: The Yala National Park is located in Mirissa, and is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka after the Udawalawe National Park. The Yala National Park is famous for its leopards and elephants. It takes up to thirteen hours to see the park, therefore you must start early from your hotel in Galle. Travel to Tissamaharama from where you can easily get to the Yala National Park in a safari jeep.

  • Which are some of the best places for scuba diving in Galle?

    Here are some of the best places for scuba diving in Galle:

    • Trincomalee
    • Hikkaduwa
    • Unawatuna
    • Kalpitiya
    • Kirinda