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Anyone who's spent time in Galle will tell you there’s one landmark you absolutely must see. Standing guard over the city, Galle Lighthouse enjoys a prime location on the seafront ramparts of the UNESCO World Heritage fort.
Framed by swaying palm trees, the dazzling white structure offers uninterrupted views of the bay and is a popular place to watch the sunset. If you’re looking for somewhere to take some envy-inducing holiday snaps, this is the place to go.
The lighthouse has some interesting history too. Built by the British in 1848, it’s the oldest lighthouse in Sri Lanka and was once used to guide European ships safely into the harbour. Having said that, the lighthouse you see today isn’t actually the original - it was rebuilt in 1939 after the first structure was destroyed. While it may have lost some of its historical value, it’s still a well-preserved colonial monument and an important part of the historical Galle Fort complex which the city is famous for.
After exploring the quaint shops and historic architecture of Galle Fort, head towards the southern ramparts to end your tour at the lighthouse. Rising more than 26 metres into the blue sky, it offers an interesting insight into the city’s maritime heritage and exudes a sense of nostalgia. Stand on the edge of the promontory, embrace the refreshing sea breeze and imagine the old ships being directed into the harbour. You can’t help but lose yourself for a minute.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse isn’t open to the public - a shame, because we're certain the views from the top are fantastic. However, the surrounding area offers a great vantage point to watch the bustling bay below. There are plenty of historic attractions surrounding the lighthouse too, including the Dutch Reformed Church, National Maritime Museum and clock tower, which are all worth a visit.
The grassy ramparts around the tower are the perfect spot to immerse yourself in local life. It’s a place where families fly kites, school boys practice cricket and loved-up couples have picnics and gaze at the sea views. Why not take a seat and watch the world go by for a while?
If you want to visit Galle Lighthouse during your holiday, make sure you select Galle when using our itinerary builder.
The lighthouse is located on Galle Fort’s southern ramparts and can be accessed by a set of steps.
Although the lighthouse is not open to the public, you can visit Galle Fort at any time of day.
The best time (but also the busiest time) to visit is at sunset - trust us when we say the ocean views are incredible.
Remember to bring some warm layers as it can get chilly after the sun goes down.
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