In and Around Galle
Many joining us in Sri Lanka often extend their holiday to spend more time in the Island and most of the bespoke tours start or end in Galle, one of the country’s major cities in the south-west coast, and base of our operations.
While in Galle, there are plenty of things to do: cultural tours, sightseeing, watersports or you can simply relax in one of the stunning beaches around the town and enjoy a chilled beer.
Here’s a list of main attractions that you might want to add to your to-do-list for when you will be there.
Galle Fort is definitely the attraction number one for Galle visitors. Built in the 16th century by the Portuguese, it was a century later fortified by the Dutch. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Fort nowadays has been adapted to the needs of tourists with filled with restaurants, cafes, beautifully renovated old houses, boutique hotels and spas.
Galle Fort main landmarks:
- The main gate and the bastions
- National Maritime Museum
- Galle Lighthouse
- The Clock Tower
- Dutch Reformed Church
- All Saints Anglican Church
- Meera Mosque
- Saturday Market
In the years the Fort has adapted to the touristic demands and many of the best restaurants of Galle can be found in it as well as souvenir shops and jewelries.
Surfing & Relaxing in Dewata Beach
Relaxing at Dewata beach might be the best way to end your motorcycle adventure in Sri Lanka. After all you have been on the road for days. Dewata beach is about 2 km from Galle Town.
Head to The Shack Beach Cafe where you can enjoy a cold drink and food, from freshly made burgers to chocolate brownies and much more. Spend your day relaxing on a sun bed with a great view of the bay overlooking the peace pagoda. At the Shack Beach Cafe you may also take a surfing lesson or simply rent a board or a kayak to indulge into water sport activities and keep yourself fit.
Peace Pagoda & Jungle Beach
Few minutes driving from Dewata beach, you may visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda and enjoy incredible views from the circular deck that surrounds the temple. Just below the Pagoda you will find Jungle Beach. You will need to walk few minutes through a jungle to reach the beach, when the current allows, the sea is ideal for snorkeling or a simple swim.
Scuba Diving in Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa
If you are passionate about reefs and corals, the south coast in Sri Lanka offers scuba diving. The nearest to Galle can be found in Unawatuna just a few kilometres from. Alternatively this is also available in Hikkaduwa and Weligama. Should you visit Hikkaduwa, you might want to visit the Community Tsunami Education Center & Museum. The center was built after the 2004 Tsunami and aims to educate and maintain memories of the tragedy that took the life of over 30.000 people in Sri Lanka alone.
Cooking Lessons for curry lovers
Another interesting activity for those would be chefs is learning to cook the local curries. If you are a fan of the local spicy food, this could definitely be a great experience. Many local restaurants organize these lessons and some of them will also take you for grocery shopping at the various fish, meat, vegetables and spice markets. A truly complete experience.
One of the uprising Cooking Lessons is held by Angel Sanju in Galle Fort. Together with her husband they own a spice shop too near one of the best Seafood Restaurants in the area: Elita. You may contact her through the official Facebook page or simply visiting the shop at 34 Middle Street, Galle Fort.
Sri Lanka is home for a wide population of turtles and it’s common to bump into several turtle hatcheries along the coastline. Most of these hatcheries are small and run by families with the help of both local and international donations.
They collect turtle eggs from the beach, track down the date of lay, species and protect these in specifically built premises until the hatching date. If you are lucky, you may experience the birth of turtles or the release of them in their natural environment.
Spas & Relax
After few days of riding you might want to indulge in some massage therapies or body treatments to relax your muscles. Galle Fort Spa located in the fort above Poonies Kitchen is a great place to unwind after walking the fort ramparts. The Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel also offers a complete spa experience, as well as a gym, swimming pools and restaurants. You could spend the day enjoying a relaxing massage, workout a bit and laying down on their pool side lawn while enjoying a drink and waiting for the sunset.
Virgin White Tea Factory
At about 30 minutes of drive from Galle, lies the Virgin White Tea factory of the Handunugoda Estate. A visit to the factory includes a tour of the estate during which you will experience how the famous – and one of the most expensive teas in the world – is being plucked and processed following an ancient Chinese tradition: the White Tea.
At the end of the tour you will also be offered a cup of their own tea and a slice of cake. There is a shop where you can buy either White Tea and many other type of teas that they produce here. The tour takes approximately 1 hour and you may visit from 8.00 am to 4.30 pm, every day. Visit the official website for more information.
Day trip to Mirissa / Whale & Dolphin Watching
Last but not least, if you would like to experience something completely different, you could organize a day trip to Mirissa, to see whales and dolphins Off the coast of Mirissa is known as one of the best places to watch Whales, especially the Blue Whale: the largest marine mammal in the world. The boats will leave at 6.30 am and return after about 3-3.5 hours.
Since it would take approximately 1 hour to reach Mirissa from Galle, you would need to wake up very early, however is definitely something worth doing. The price can vary from 30 to 50 USD, depending on the type of service. On TripAdvisor you will be able to find several companies running these tours with feedbacks from other travelers about their experience.
There are many other things to do in Galle that we haven’t included. If you think we have missed something that should be in the article or if you have any question, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!