Things to do in Galle
One of the most visited and talked towns in this Island is Galle which is identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle city is the fourth largest city in Sri Lanka. The seaside town of Galle is 116 Km away from Colombo by road or rail, down the south coast of Sri Lanka. The city is reachable through the Southern Expressway if you need to reach the city by half the time. The city of Galle was initially captured by the Portuguese and later by the Dutch. Today the town has grown greatly but still holds the great history. The etymology of the name Galle is explained as probably an altered form of the Sinhalese word “gala”. Some of the other places around Galle you must visit is Unawatuna Bay, which provides safe swimming and snorkeling and is well popular among the tourists. Tourists usually are fond of buying souvenirs from Galle such as handmade lace, Batik dress, moonstones etc.. These can be bought at a reasonable price from the village community. Among all these attractions, the hospitality and the warm welcome you receive from the residents in Galle are unbelievable. They pride themselves in hospitality and welcome any local or foreign visitor to the city with much affection. So plan your next visit to the city of Galle where you will find numerous attractions that you will be enchanted to. There is no doubt that Galle will provide any visitor with a new and dynamic experience.
Walk around Galle 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. A stroll on the streets will let you experience the beautiful architecture of the colonial style buildings that still exudes the warmth and charm.
Galle is a walled city surrounded by thick ramparts. These were built by the Dutch merchants that controlled the city in the 17th century. The ramparts are so thick that you can walk along them – start at one end and finish at the other. When you look towards the ocean, you could see the old prison between the ramparts and the waves, check out the lighthouse and the clock tower and watch the schoolboys during cricket practice.
Explore National Maritime Museum
Visit the National Maritime Museum, which has some of the deepest secrets of the aquatic world. It is worth going in just to explore this amazing historic Warehouse building. The best part of the museum is the building itself because you will not get to explore a 300 year old Dutch Colonial warehouse in immaculate condition anywhere else in the world. Ship wrecks and other underwater treasures are showcased in this exclusive museum, along with turtle skeletons, stuffed aquatic birds, models of boats and demonstrations of various methods of fishing.
Visit to the Dutch Reform Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was originally built in 1640. Its floor is paved with gravestones from Dutch cemeteries, while other impressive features include the organ and an imposing pulpit made from calamander wood and topped by a grand hexagonal canopy. There are plenty of stories attached to this church, including one about human remains hidden in the walls and under the floor. You may encounter the friendly caretaker who will likely point out the carved wooden memorial dedicated to a former Commander of Galle, Abraham Samlant – the tiny cotton shirt is said to be the one he was baptized in. Most churches of this period were built in the shape of the cross. At first glance the Dutch reform church looks like a rectangular building. If you look closer the left and right arms of the cross are truncated but still evident in the building’s design.
Bike and cycling tour
For those who like to travel on bike or cycle, the quiet cycling adventure in Galle will take you through the rural small villages as well as through the paddy fields. This 4-hour bike tour will take you all around Galle. Along the route you will see many activities of the local people and fishermen. Cycling will help you to experience the very heart of the rural countryside passing scenic, serene and pictorial settings. Stop by to chitchat with the villagers, enjoy a revitalizing drink, watch the children at play and enjoy a refreshing river bath.
Rumassala Peace Pagoda Temple
The Japanese Peace Pagoda located in Galle is one of the most tranquil attractions of the city and it displays a sense of calm. This religious location is a must-visit for those seeking spirituality and inner peace, this attraction makes for an excellent trek and also offers mesmerizing views from the top of the double-story structure. Built with the help of Japanese monks, the peace pagoda on Rumasalla Hill is one of three Buddhist stupas in Sri Lanka. Visitors can walk or drive the shaded path to the Peace Pagoda. Sets of steps also lead to a walkway encircling the shrine which offers a 360-degree view of the jungle and bay.
The Galle Lighthouse is one of the few remaining in Sri Lanka. Built in 1939, this Lighthouse is a popular travel destination in itself. It was completed in 1939 and stands 18 meters high. It was built by the British, who were by then the chief power to reckon with in Galle. The Lighthouses played an important role in ancient times as a symbol of hope for the mariners. Galle Fort Lighthouse has an idyllic setting with panoramic ocean view and light sea breeze. Feel instantly relaxed by the tranquil ambience. Taking a walk around the site can be a visual delight, with stunning architecture, beautiful view and tranquil breeze. The beaches are warm and relaxing. Though one cannot climb the Lighthouse, the area surrounding it will captivate you with its beauty.
Ambalangoda Mask Museum
Ambalangoda is a town famous for its masks and other handicrafts. Located 25 kilometers northwest of Galle. In Ambalangoda you would get an unforgettable cultural experience and a chance to purchase some of Sri Lanka’s most ornate handmade masks. Learn about the three different types of masks; Kolam, Raksha, and Sanni at Ariyapala & Sons Mask Museum. The colorful masks are carved out of soft Balsa and Kuduru woods. Travelers will learn about Sri Lankan mask makers, the history behind the masks, the rituals they are used in, and the role masks play in modern Sri Lankan society.