What to see and do on the Galle Coast

The Galle Fort

The Galle Fort lies in the bay of Galle and was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. A century after the Fort was established; the Dutch developed it to its current grandeur, which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Even after a history of 423 years, this architectural heritage maintains a polished appearance due to extensive reconstruction work carried out by the archaeological department of Sri Lanka.

Galle Lighthouse

This is an offshore lighthouse in Galle and is currently operated and maintained by the Sri Lankan port authority. This lighthouse station which dates back to 1848, is Sri Lanka’s oldest light station. A fire destroyed the original lighthouse in 1934. The lighthouse is situated within the Galle Fort mentioned above.

The National Maritime Museum

The museum is located within the walls of the Galle Fort. The artefacts on display, which were uncovered during underwater excavations, include sailor shoes, beer mugs, ropes, maps, barrels and pipes. Having suffered from the Asian Tsunami in 2004, the building was renovated and reopened to the public in March 2010.

Rumassala Mountain

Rumassala Mountain is a fairly special area due to its unique ecosystem brought about by a meteoroid. Subsequently it has magnetic properties causing satellites to lose their orbit when flying overhead. There are many folklores surrounding the formation of the mountain which the locals are happy to share. Stunning views of the ocean and Galle Fort can be seen from the peak where the Buddhist peace dagoba was built by a mix of Sri Lankan and Japanese monks. There are also tales of the Portuguese using the spot to lure Arab trading ships into the harbour to loot them. The place is rich in biodiversity with rare medicinal plants and some endemic mammals living in the area as well as a surrounding reef which provides a great snorkelling site.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Situated a short drive from Galle, Sinharaja is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest and home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals, butterflies and trees. The reserve is also home to a great variety of tree frogs and other amphibians, as well as a number of reptiles, insects and of course a huge variety of birds. The reserve’s name literally translates to lion king and has a vast folklore behind it involving the legendary ‘lion-race’ of Sri Lanka.

Snorkelling and scuba diving

Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular in the clear waters when the seas are calm, from October to April. Beautiful coral reefs, colourful fishes, and even sea turtles can be spotted. Just along from Galle in Unawatuna Bay there is a large rock and coral reef as well as several wrecks that have flourished into great diving spots.

Whale and dolphin tours

There are several species of marine mammals around the South coast of Sri Lanka including the Blue, Sperm, Humpback, Fin and Bryde’s whale and the Bottle nosed and Spinner dolphins. Mirissa is close to a natural whale migratory path or feeding ground. There are frequent sightings of Blue whales, Humpbacks and Sperm whales. Normally the season runs from November to March. You’ll arrive at Mirissa for a five hour trip leaving the harbour at 6.30am in search of whales & dolphins.


Cricket is a hugely popular sport in Sri Lanka and a good conversation starter amongst locals; you may even get the chance to join in one of the beach cricket games. Both the Habantota International Ground and The Uyanwatte stadium are close to Galle. If you are interested in cricket why not try and catch a match either in the 33,000 seated international stadium or more locally in Matara.

Elephant Polo

Galle held the world elephant polo championships in 2007 and they have tournaments in February annually. A thrilling sight of two players per elephant, a rider/player and a mahout/elephant trainer, hitting a ball with a cane to either end of the pitch. If you are visiting in February then you can go along and join the international crowd. It is important to book so please contact us for more information.

Ayuveda Treatments

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical practices used in India and Sri Lanka for over 5000 years and uses only natural remedies. Today about 60% of the population of Sri Lanka still uses it. The practice focuses in the balance between mond, body and spirit. Using plant based treatments massages are preformed to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate the body. Most hotels will be able to book these treatments for you. There is a famous treatment centre in Galle called Ayuveda Lanka.

Cooking Classes

If you enjoy the food on holiday why not learn how to make it? In Unawatuna there is a small restaurant that runs cooking classes using locally grown produce picked up at the Galle market. Karuna will teach you how to make traditional dishes but is open to requests in her kitchen.

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