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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Must See Locations Nearby Galle – breathtaking beaches with a touch of history
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Must See Locations Nearby Galle – breathtaking beaches with a touch of history

The south western city of Galle and its outskirts have much to offer from fantastic beaches to fascinating historical sites. Here are few highlights from around Galle that should not be missed!

1

Galle Fort

The Galle Fort is perhaps the most important landmark in Galle and has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fort was first constructed by the Portuguese in 1588 and later occupied and extensively fortified by the Dutch in 1649. Meticulously maintained, it is an iconic archeological, architectural and historical site and is home to a diverse populations of peoples from various religious and ethnic backgrounds. The Fort has a charming, picturesque collection of cafés, restaurants and life-style hubs and is especially famous for its wonderful myriad of jewellery and antique stores. It is one of the must-see sites on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka and can be easily reached from any of the nearby coastal towns like Ahangama (which is home to a fabulous beach and amazing luxury villas like Pebbles Beach Villa), via the Southern Expressway.

2

Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church or Groote Kerk is believed to be the oldest protestant church compound in Sri Lanka. The church, situated at the entrance to the Galle Fort, was completed in 1755 by the Dutch and is the resting place of several Dutch personnel of the colonizing forces, including the Dutch Commander Gerard Hulft. The Church's gorgeous interior is of special note and includes beautiful stain-glass work, honeycomb floors and a vintage church organ. Its gorgeous garden is the definition of haunting beauty, consisting of lush greens surrounded by ancient, carved and engraved stone tablets.

3

Unawatuna

Unawatuna is one of Sri Lanka's most beloved beach haunts, and is a short drive away from Galle. The popular beach hub has an irresistible, lively atmosphere and is packed with some of the best beach restaurants, hotels and luxury villas Sri Lanka has to offer. The beach stretches over 4km and is fringed with verdant greenery and tall coconut trees that provide fantastic shade. Its calm, clear waters are perfect for swimming and a throng of water sport activities including, jet skiing, sea kayaking and wake boarding, as well as scuba diving and snorkelling!

4

Rumassala

Rumassala hill, located near Unawatuna, offers a fantastic hiking opportunity! The luscious shrub jungles of the hill feature some amazing flora and fauna including some fascinating medicinal herbs and some beautiful endemic bird species. The hill is itself of cultural importance and is steeped in local folklore and legends.

5

The Historical Mansion Museum

This quirky museum attraction has a wonderful collection of South Colonial artefacts and relics that tells the story of Sri Lanka during the time of British and Dutch rule. An old, Dutch building across the street from the museum, called the Olanda Warehouse, is worth as well; it has a fascinating exhibition of colonial home décor items as well as antiques.

6

Maritime Archaeology Museum

Set within a Dutch warehouse built in 1671, the Maritime Archaeology Museum exhibits an interesting collection of boat models, artillery, maps and other items found in ship-wrecks around the island, some of which are almost a century old! The museum is quite informative and is worth a visit if you are especially intrigued by naval and maritime history and ancient objects persevered over centuries!

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