If you plan to travel to Sri Lanka, there is a must-visit city on the southwest end of this charming, little island. Known as Galle, this city has a long history dating back to the 16th century. Galle was a popular harbour during the Portuguese, Dutch, and English rule. To this day, this city is a place that transports you back to the old European times.
Where is Galle?
So, where is Galle located? This beautiful city is at the southwest end of Sri Lanka. It takes only about 2 hours to reach there from the capital city, Colombo. We recommend you to spend at least two days there to enjoy the unique atmosphere. And, there is no shortage of beautiful places in Galle. You’ll be busy all day snapping pictures that wow your followers. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this top 12 list of the best instagrammable places in Galle.
1. Dutch Fort
Galle Fort is the largest remaining European fortification in Asia. This fort dates back to the 16th century. It was first made by the Portuguese and then expanded and reinforced by both the Dutch and the English. This fort is so strong that it suffered almost no damage during the tsunami that hit Galle in 2004. While you are here, take a walk along the narrow cobblestone roads of the fort lined with boutiques, villas, art galleries, and local houses. This is a nice, romantic walk, and you get an amazing view of the ocean below. We recommend you take a day to walk along the ramparts and enjoy the scenery. You’ll definitely love exploring what the Dutch Fort has to offer. I’ll give you one important tip. Try to visit in the morning or late afternoon. The Galle weather can be very unforgiving in the noon.
2. Clock Tower
This tower is a historical landmark overlooking the moon bastion of the fort and is very hard to miss. And if you are thinking about walking around the Dutch Fort, it’s a great place to start. The Clock Tower stands at 25 meters and is a memorial to the famous doctor, Peter Daniel Anthonisz who lived in the area. The clock is a donation from one of his patients. While it no longer works, this monument is a great place to snap a picture. The old European vibe of this tower along with the tropical blue sky will offer a unique aesthetic.
3. Old Gate
The Old Gate is a beautifully carved gate that was first constructed by the Portuguese. The Dutch improved this gate and made several changes. The gate still carries the carvings of different insignias such as VOC (symbol for Dutch East India Company). Here, you can also see a variety of symbols, including the two lions carved on the sides and the cockerel on top. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Galle. Be prepared to travel to a different time and place with a picture at this old gate.
4. Historical Mansion MuseumCopyright: @sosrilankanlife
Galle is home to numerous boutiques, antique shops, and museums. One such museum is the Historical Mansion Museum located inside the fort. This mansion is owned by one family and has been owned by them for generations. Walk around to discover unique furniture and other artefacts of their antique family collection. While this is a museum, there are a variety of historical items for sale here. Apart from that, you can also buy beautiful tablecloths, handicrafts, and jewellery. The most interesting thing about this place, however, is that you get to watch live embroidery presentations and see how gems are polished and cut. While you are enjoying the new experience, you’ll get to add some unique pictures to your Instagram.
5. Galle Lighthouse
A seaside city with a fort cannot really miss out on a lighthouse. So, like most harbours, this fort has an incredible lighthouse which is perfect for Instagram. If you were wondering what to do in Galle fort, this should be a must-see place. This pearly white lighthouse was first built around 1848 as a beacon for ships coming to the harbour. Later it was destroyed by a fire, and the new lighthouse was built right next to it. This lighthouse is in a very photogenic place. The almost always clear Galle sky and the palms surrounding it all look great in any picture.
6. Meeran Jumma Mosque
This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Galle. The white structure of this mosque is a unique combination of both Islamic, Portuguese, and British Victorian styles. Inside, there are some domes and stunning floor tiling. However, you need to be properly dressed to enter the mosque. But this mosque looks awesome from the front. So, you can still capture the best picture even if you are not going to go inside.
7. St Joseph's Chapel
This chapel was built in the 17th century by the Dutch and is still in operation, making it one of the oldest churches in Sri Lanka. This chapel is located on Lighthouse road. So, you can drop by after you visit the Lighthouse. The speciality of this chapel is that it is very much the same way it was during Dutch rule. There have been no changes to the architecture at all. While you are passing, snap a quick photo expressing the colonial feel of this quiet chapel. Its striking exterior would stun anyone. So, if you are going to get your Sri Lanka visa and travel to Sri Lanka, this is one of the best places to visit in Galle.
8. Instagrammable Beaches
Stunning stretches of sand and glittering blue ocean are staples in tropical countries. And you will find that the beaches in Sri Lanka exceed your expectations. These beaches strewn all around the country are easily the most instagrammable places in Sri Lanka. And, being so close to the ocean, Galle offers several beautiful beaches including Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Sahana, Koggala, and Jungle Beach. Among these beaches, Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa are famous places to visit in Galle among tourists and locals alike. If you want some quiet time, the Koggala beach is the perfect tropical hideout. If you find yourself wanting to take a break from the heat after visiting places in Galle, have some relaxing time on a beach. And, given the tropical beauty that is the essence of these beaches, you might get some very Instagram worthy pictures as well.
9. Poonie's KitchenSri Lankan food
is popular for being spicy and incredibly delicious. So, when you travel to Sri Lanka, tasting the local food should be a priority on your to-do list. And, you should definitely stop by Poonie’s Kitchen while visiting places in Galle. Why Poonie’s Kitchen? Well, there are several reasons why I recommend this place. The number one is that the food here is delicious. And, that’s not all. The presentation is quite unique and very much instagrammable. For the best pictures and great taste, order the famous Thali salad. This salad comes in a combination of all kinds of colours and is completely organic. So, it’s healthy and will look awesome on your Instagram. If you are looking for good food, other great visiting places in Galle include Pedlar's Inn, Sugar Bistro, and A Minute by Tuk Tuk.
10. Flag Rock
The Flag Rock bastion gets its name because it used to be a signalling station to warn ships about rocks. Now, it is a famous spot for viewing the sunset. And, at noon, you’ll catch several daredevil locals jumping off this cliff into the sea. This rock offers the best view of the lighthouse and the Indian ocean. So, if you are looking for the most beautiful places in Galle, this is surely one of them.
11. Galle Markets
If you are lost at what to do in Galle, you absolutely don’t have to be. Even when you’ve visited all the places mentioned here, you can still visit the Galle markets and enjoy the rest of the day. The best thing about Galle is that everywhere you go, there is a small boutique, antique shop, restaurant, and more to visit. And, these charming places are definitely worth a quick shot. For the most colourful photos, you should visit famous market streets such as Pedlar street. From cute bags and handmade items to jewellery, you’ll find so many things here. Some of the must-visit shops in this street are Barefoot, Raux Brothers and Koccoriko Paola's Shop.
12. Sunset from Galle Fort walls
At sunrise and sunset, the Galle Fort Walls instantly transfer to one of the most beautiful places in Galle. So, it’s totally worth being here at this time. The sunset here is so famous that both locals, as well as tourists, gather here in the evenings. It’s almost a tradition. After you are done visiting places in Galle, come back to the Fort Walls to end the day with the stunning sunset. You’ll also get the chance to snap some gorgeous shots. We hope you now know where is Galle, what to do in Galle, and why we are so sure you’ll love it in Galle. This city is an interesting blend of the colonial period and tropical beauty. Every moment you spend here will be truly amazing.