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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things to do in Galle Fort - Explore a Living Fort
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to do in Galle Fort - Explore a Living Fort

The Galle Fort is a beautiful UNESCO world heritage site located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. Here is a list of things to do when you visit the historic Galle Fort.


Explore the National Maritime Archaeology Museum

If you are looking for things to do in Galle, one option is to explore the National Maritime Archaeology Museum. The museum is housed in a warehouse that survived from the Dutch colonial period and showcases many artifacts related to Galle's maritime history. It also has the skeleton of a whale suspended from the ceiling. A visit to the museum is a great way to kill some time when it is too hot to be wandering outside. If you are looking for accommodation close by, there are several accommodation options both within the Galle Fort and outside the Galle Fort such as Cantaloupe Aqua.


Visit the Dutch Reformed Church

The Groote Kerk or the Dutch Reformed Church was originally built in 1640 with an intriguing history. Currently, it is one of the oldest active Protestant churches in the country. It was rebuilt in the 18th century and the current structure has an antique organ and a calamander wood pulpit. Interestingly, a section of the church's floor is paved with gravestones from the Dutch cemetery.


Go shopping at the Galle Fort

There are several shopping opportunities within the Galle Fort but the largest is the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. The Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct is home to several restaurants and a pub. It also offers tea and craft shops which are ideal for souvenir shopping. The building is also a good example of colonial architecture. While the area may not satisfy a fully fledged shopaholics' needs, it is a great place to kick back and relax. For a more authentic experience, you can wander around the Dutch market which is housed beneath a 300-year-old columned roof. Since 1981, the market has been providing the fort with all its fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices.


Stroll along the walls of the Galle Fort

The Galle Fort has fourteen bastions and its ramparts are made of coral and granite. All visitors are encouraged to take a stroll along the top of the walls of the fort. The sea facing rampart walls offer breathtaking views of the sea and best viewed at sunset or sunrise. Walking on the walls is also a great way to get a bird's eye view of the fort and the many buildings inside it. There is no set place to start the circuit of the walls but an easy place to start is the Clock Tower by the north gate. As you walk along the southernmost ramparts, you are also likely to see cliff divers. These men earn their living by diving off the ramparts and into the sea for a fee; an exhilarating sight!


Enjoy the beach

When people speak of the Galle Fort, they rarely comment on the beach. However, there is quite a good beach at the west end of the Galle Fort rampart. To access the beach, visitors must head towards the clock tower and walk down a flight of stairs made of stone. The beach is small but clean and there are often several families enjoying themselves in the water.