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Address: Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
+94 77 369 0171
5:30 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
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Sun - Sat 5:30 am - 10:00 pm

Galle Fort: a journey to the past...

See the remnants of a Dutch past at a...

Galle Fort: a journey to the past...

See the remnants of a Dutch past at a World Heritage Site. Galle has been the emporium of foreign trade since the dawn of commerce. The Dutch Fort, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, surrounds the older part of the town and is situated on a headland of which three sides overlook the sea. The ramparts of the Fort are over 2.5 Km in circumference and provide a pleasant and interesting walk. The historian Sir Emerson Tennant claimed that Galle was the ancient biblical city

of Tarshish. This city is said to have traded with King Solomon, the Persians and the Egyptians. In 1505 a Portuguese fleet led by Lorenzo de Almeida heading for the Maldives drifted accidentally into Galle. It is said that on hearing a cock crowing (cock means

"Galo" in Portuguese) they gave the town its name. Another explanation for the name is from the Sinhala name for rock 'Gala', plenty of which are found in the harbour area. When the Portuguese arrived the town was already a thriving trader's port and an entrenched settlement in the lowland territory of the Kandyan Kings. It was however not until 1587 when the Portuguese were able to control Galle. The Dutch then arrived, overthrew the Portuguese and took control of Sri Lanka in 1640. It was the Dutch who had a major impact on Galle and the town still retains its characteristic Dutch architecture, the streets differing little from the times of Dutch occupation. There is Leyn Baan Street (Lijnbaan meaning rope walk in Dutch), Lighthouse Street previously known as Zeeburg Street) and Great and Small Streets

Modderbaai meaning mud bay). The Galle Fort built by the Dutch in 1663 was handed over to the British in 1796 'in a state of complete repair' as certified by the officer taking charge. The British did not alter Galle as they concentrated their efforts on Colombo. Therefore the Fort remains a significant monument from the Dutch era.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 2,118 reviews
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  • 5

Special atmosphere of old Europe at Asia. Old Fort was the beautiful tourist destination in the Indian Ocean.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed October 28, 2016
Kiev, Ukraine
via mobile
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2,118 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,492: English reviews
Kiev, Ukraine
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2016 via mobile

Special atmosphere of old Europe at Asia. Old Fort was the beautiful tourist destination in the Indian Ocean.

Thank petercuz
Level Contributor
33 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2016 via mobile

Unlike so many tourist attractions in Sri Lanka this place is free to wonder around and explore. The streets lined with shops and restaurants and beautiful. The sea views are amazing and it's swimming in history. Everything inside the fort however is horrendously expensive. According to an old fisherman (perhaps not a reliable source) it's one of the most expensive... More 

Thank BobMcNair
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
91 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2016 via mobile

We came on quite a hot day but it was lovely to walk around the fort walls and see out into the ocean. The place is very touristy buy I guess thats to be expected. You can visit all the nice different churches and mosques, but the museums are quite expensive to get into (the marine archaeology one is 7010lkr).... More 

Thank Shalliday92
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2016 via mobile

Its an old dutch fort....used as hospital in earlier times with sea view & lighthouse..it also house good indian restaurants. Walk around fort is certainty breathtaking n scenic beauty is to behold.

Thank munishkhl
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2016

Visiting Galle is incomplete without going to Galle Fort. A small but intriguing place which gives insight of Portuguese times in Sri Lanka/India.

Thank Saad M
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
41 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2016 via mobile

A highlight of our trip through Sri Lanka! Galle Fort has a wonderful energy, plenty of restaurants and shops, not to mention charismatic villas. European flavours and fort walls remind me of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Thank ActionAl
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
130 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2016 via mobile

There is very little of the fort left to be honest. There is a basic wall which surrounds a lot of the complex but not much else. You get a great sea views from on top of the wall

Thank BangkokAndy1976
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2016

We did a nice afternoon walking tour of the fort (self- guided) with directions given by the hotel. It is about a 45 minute walk but we did not really stop at any of the shops or cafes. I recommend picking out a place or two to stop along the way, so much to do inside the fort.

Thank B002013
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
169 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2016

The Galle Fort will take a good 60-90 minutes to walk around the perimeter, and longer if you take breaks, but the views along the walk, the sea breeze and the remnants of the fort make it a worthwhile experience. There are shops and restaurants within the walls. Take lots of water during the walk!

Thank Lahiru D
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2016

A good day out for a walk on the historic fort walls, view the lighthouse, walk around the shops (most are pricey though) and have some food. Spoons was highly recommended but too busy :( Fort Aleza and A Minute by Tuk Tuk were both good though!

Thank KO03

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