The capital of the southern province is a city with a colorful history. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. 300-year-old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings not invaded by the skyscrapers. The beautiful beach of Unawatuna is just 6km southeast of the city center. The southern coastal belt is the most popular among the tourists and comes to life mainly from October through April when the monsoon moves northeast, and the sea becomes calm with blue skies. The earliest European administrative canter of Sri Lanka was the major port and the largest city until the British shifted the port to Colombo. The City of Galle had been the European administrative canter for over 4 centuries.
The old Dutch fort
Over the past few years, Galle has also become one of the island’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities, as a sizeable influx of European expats (mainly from the UK) have moved into the old Dutch fort, buying up and restoring ageing properties and adding an unexpectedly internationalist dimension to this formerly sleepy town. The Dutch built the walls of Galle Fort to withstand enemy cannonballs. More than 300 years later, the fortifications did a sterling job of keeping the 2004 tsunami at bay.
The lighthouse on Point Utrecht bastion is also a popular sightseeing spot. It was completed in 1939 and stands 18 metres high. It was built not by the Dutch but by the British, who were by then the chief power to reckon with in Galle. It is to be found on the eastern end of the Fortress walls. The lighthouse keeper runs a gem store next door. So, if you can get his permission you can climb to the top of the lighthouse to get a spectacular view of the sea and the land.