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Discovering Galle, Sri Lanka: A Guide to the Best Attractions and Activities

A Traveler's Handbook to the Coastal City's Rich Culture and Beautiful Beaches

By Mohamed JakkathPublished about a year ago 4 min read
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From exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort to snorkeling in the vibrant coral reefs of Hikkaduwa, Galle has something for every type of traveler.

Galle is a picturesque coastal city located in the southwest of Sri Lanka. The city is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture, ancient temples, and beautiful beaches. The city's strategic location at the crossroads of ancient sea routes has made it a popular trading port for centuries. Today, Galle is a thriving tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. In this guide, we will take you through some of the best attractions and activities that Galle has to offer.

Galle Fort

The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the most prominent landmark of the city. It is an impressive fortification system built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later expanded by the Dutch. The fort walls stretch for over 3 kilometers, and the fort itself covers an area of 36 hectares. Within the fort walls, you'll find charming narrow streets lined with colonial-style houses, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Some of the notable attractions within the fort include the Dutch Reformed Church, the National Museum of Galle, and the lighthouse.

Unawatuna Beach

Unawatuna Beach is a beautiful crescent-shaped bay located just a few kilometers away from Galle Fort. The beach is known for its clear blue waters and pristine sand, making it a perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is also popular among snorkelers and divers, thanks to the rich marine life in the waters surrounding it. There are plenty of beachside cafes and restaurants that offer delicious seafood and refreshing cocktails.

Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum

Martin Wickramasinghe was a prominent Sri Lankan writer who wrote extensively about the country's culture and traditions. The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum is a tribute to his legacy and is an excellent place to learn more about Sri Lankan rural life. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, including traditional costumes, farming tools, and household items. The museum also has a library that houses many of Wickramasinghe's works.

Japanese Peace Pagoda

The Japanese Peace Pagoda is a striking monument located on a hilltop overlooking the city of Galle. The pagoda was built in the 1970s as a symbol of peace and harmony between nations. It is one of the few peace pagodas outside of Japan and attracts visitors from all over the world. The pagoda is a perfect spot to watch the sunset and take in panoramic views of the city and the sea.

Hikkaduwa Beach

Hikkaduwa is a charming beach town located about 20 kilometers north of Galle. The town is famous for its vibrant coral reefs, which are home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, and rays. The beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and there are many diving centers that offer scuba diving courses for beginners and experienced divers alike. Hikkaduwa also has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and nightclubs that offer live music and entertainment.

Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church is an imposing building located within the Galle Fort. The church was built in 1752 and is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Sri Lanka. The church's interior is decorated with intricate carvings and stained glass windows, giving it a unique charm. The church is still in use today and is a popular spot for weddings and other ceremonies.

Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is a secluded beach located a short distance from Galle Fort. The beach is hidden away in a lush tropical forest and is accessible only by foot or boat. The beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft sand, and it is an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The surrounding jungle is home to many exotic species of birds and animals, making it a perfect place for nature lovers. There are also a few beachside cafes and restaurants that offer delicious seafood and refreshing drinks.

Mahamodara River Safari

The Mahamodara River is a tranquil waterway that runs through the heart of Galle. A river safari along the Mahamodara River is an excellent way to explore the city's backwaters and witness the local way of life. The safari takes you through mangrove forests, past small fishing villages, and along the riverbanks where you'll see locals going about their daily routine. You may also spot some of the river's wildlife, including crocodiles, monitor lizards, and a variety of bird species.

Stilt Fishing

Stilt fishing is a traditional fishing technique practiced by the local fishermen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen balance themselves on a narrow wooden pole, anchored into the seabed, and cast their lines into the water. It's a unique and picturesque sight, and many visitors come to watch the fishermen in action. The best place to see stilt fishing is along the southern coast of Sri Lanka, including Galle.

Moonstone Mines

Moonstones are a unique variety of the mineral feldspar, and Sri Lanka is one of the few places in the world where they are found. The Moonstone Mines in Ambalangoda, just a short drive from Galle, is an excellent place to learn more about this fascinating gemstone. The mines offer guided tours that take you through the mining process and explain the properties of moonstones. There's also a gift shop where you can purchase jewelry made from moonstones.

Galle is a city full of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its well-preserved colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, there's no shortage of things to do and see in Galle. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's rich history, relaxing on a beautiful beach, or experiencing Sri Lankan culture, Galle is sure to have something to offer.

In conclusion, Galle is a city full of history, culture, and natural beauty that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. The Galle Fort, Unawatuna Beach, Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Hikkaduwa Beach, Dutch Reformed Church, Jungle Beach, Mahamodara River Safari, Stilt Fishing, and Moonstone Mines are some of the top attractions that Galle has to offer. Visitors can explore the city's rich history, relax on a beautiful beach, experience Sri Lankan culture, and witness unique traditions such as stilt fishing. With its well-preserved colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, Galle is a perfect destination for travelers looking for a mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion.

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About the Creator

Mohamed Jakkath

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (3)

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  • PK Colleranabout a year ago

    Oh, I'd love to visit there some day! The stilt fishing looks fascinating. Wonderful photos of nature and people. What a good article! Thanks so much.

  • ❤️

  • Another very good article, Mohamed. The last two paragraphs are, once again, quite repetitive. Either would work for a conclusion, though brevity is usually a plus. It's not necessary to list everything you've just presented. They're still fresh in our memories. Love the pictures. Well done.

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