On my walking tour around Galle Fort, I was accompanied by a Swiss friend I’ve never seen in a long time. We met and started our walking tour at the Clock Tower and ended it there, too. But before we burned calories and hardened our calves, we had our lunch first at the former Dutch Hospital. And we talked about everything that happened in our lives since the last time we saw each other.
Galle Fort. It was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century but heavily fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site in 1988 for it shows a unique fusion of local and Dutch architectural traditions – that are still visible until today.
Multi-religious Community. You will be surprised to know that people of all faiths live inside the fortress. There’s a mosque, a church and a temple within distance from each other.
Free Admission. I have been to may forts in my travels and this is the very first one that is open to the public and tourists – for free. Yay!
Walking Tour. You don’t really need a map. Just follow the formidable fortress along the beach until you come full circle. If you want to know every interesting architecture you see on your walk, then, you better follow Lonely Planet’s Historic Town Walk.
Explore More. After circling the Dutch Fort (its other name), explore the narrow streets inside. You’d be surprised what you’d discover. Though most of the shops here are very touristy with tourist prices, it’s worth looking inside. From pieces of jewelry to handicrafts – name it – they have it all.
How Long is the Walking Tour? Give yourself 2-3 hours. That already includes thousands of selfies. 😀
My Walking Tour Around Galle Fort
My friend and I met at the Clock Tower.
Then, we had lunch at the Old Dutch Hospital which is converted into a shopping and dining zone. There are many restaurants you can choose from. Grab a table overlooking the seaside.
Of course, we ordered really good food that’s super spicy I sweated like Niagara Falls on my forehead. 😀
When we’re full, we started our walking tour. The iconic Light House on the fort is seen on every tourism promotion posters of the city.
We ambled along the fortification that survived the devastating tsunami in December 2004.
From the elevated ramparts, you’ll see part of the city’s skyline.
And of course, interesting architecture, too.
See this building? This may look like a church but it’s actually a mosque!
Despite the heat and narrow streets, you’ll always find a place where serenity resides – like this view below.
Don’t miss these statues and pose like this. 😀
You’ll see locals playing cricket, a national obsession.
On that day, we witnessed a Buddhist celebration which we had no idea what that was. 🙂
If you like museums, you’ll find the Maritime Archaeology Museum interesting. We never had the chance to go inside because we’re running out of time and it’s not our thing. 😀
I skipped the Galle National Museum because Ive read a lot of bad reviews.
However, we went inside this Church, few steps from the National Museum.
When we were done, we explored the heart of the fort.
We went inside a few shops like this one below: Stick No Bills. They’ve got interesting posters of sketches and graphics.
After a long afternoon, we went back to the Clock Tower where our driver was waiting for us.
WHERE TO STAY IN GALLE
I didn’t stay in Galle but in Weligama, a 20-minute drive from Galle. The town is known for its beaches and surfing excursions. Along the bay, watch out for the fishermen in stilts. You can book your accommodation HERE.