How to Spend One Day in Galle
Galle is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist destinations, and is located on the southern tip of the island’s coastline. With a blend of architectural styles from past and present, and a rich mix of culture and religion, Galle is a great place to spend a day. From the quaintly cobbled streets of the Old Town to a slow boat ride along Mahamodara Lake, there are numerous ways to spend day in Galle with your partner.
Explore Galle Fort and the Old Town
The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the city. The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588, before being fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. The fort has retained its structure and charm for more than 400 years, and has been hailed as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. Inside, you’ll find attractions such as the Galle Lighthouse, two national museums, a shopping precinct contained within the Old Galle Dutch Hospital, and the Groote Kerk, one of the oldest Protestant churches in Sri Lanka.
There are also activities that you can participate in within the fort, such as crafting traditional Sri Lankan masks with local experts, or heading to one of the many bastions that border the fort to catch the stunning sunset over the horizon. Walking through the Galle Fort is like walking through a slice of history – an experience you won’t want to miss.
Visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda
Around 5 kilometres south of Galle’s city centre, you’ll find the Japanese Peace Pagoda: a symbol of peace intended to unite all faiths and cultures. The temple was brought to fruition under the guidance of a Japanese Buddhist monk named Nichidatsu Fujii, who dedicated his life to establishing symbols of peace around the world since 1947.
With over 80 such peace pagodas all over the world, including in Europe, Asia, and the United States, Sri Lanka is home to four Japanese peace pagodas. The one near Galle is hidden between the trees of Unawatuna on Rumasalla Hill. Its design is also intended to represent harmony between all people, under a praiseworthy ambition for world peace.
The Peace Pagoda is a temple, so make sure that you are dressed respectfully when entering; your legs and shoulders should be covered. The white stupa of the temple is surrounded by golden statues, and there is a flight of stairs that will take you up to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle, sea, and Galle Fort.
Take a Safari along Mahamodara Lake
If you’re tired of walking, you could always opt for a romantic boat safari along Mahamodara Lake (also known as the Mahamodara River). It is the best bird-watching area in Galle, and there’s plenty of other animals and reptiles that can be spotted here. It’s best to take a naturalist with you to help point out the wildlife that you might miss otherwise. Commonly spotted birds are kingfishers, cormorants, hawks, and herons. The trees that line the river banks are often visited by curious monkeys.
Visit during the early hours of the morning, before midday, and you’re bound to be serenaded by the chirps of early birds and spot some amazing wildlife!
If you’re looking for some fun date ideas long the coast, here are a few of our favourites.