Just 5 minutes walk away is the 90 acre fort of Galle built by the Dutch rulers in 1663. This area has been classified as an UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is not only a historical city but one that continues to ‘live and breathe’ even today. It houses many places of interest including Groote Kerk, the oldest Protestant church in Sri Lanka, the Bell Tower and the old Dutch Government House.
Close by are the banks and other business institutions and the handicraft shops (specialties include hand-made lace and ebony carvings) and Sri Lankan gem and jewelleryshops.
Architecture and its diversity
Going inside key buildings and showing how the Fort has changed over 400 years from a Portuguese garret to a Dutch defensive fort, a British centre of trade and now, a cosmopolitan city made up of people from all over the world.
Gardens of the Fort
For those interested in flora and fauna.
A pre-dawn walk: Expect to see bats, monkeys, turtles, monitor lizards, 25 different types of birds, horses, cows, goats and the famous Fort rats. Even swim with turtles in the right season!
Historical & Ritual Fort
Includes going into many places that are not normally open to the public and learning about the local witchcraft. We can't guarantee you won't disappear.
Meet the artisans, artistes and antique dealers.
This includes showing people everything from temple painting, to mask making, lace costume designing (they also have a chance to have a go at it themselves at Shoba Girls), jewellery casting using the age old fish moulding method, column designing and interior re-furbs done by the great architect Channa Daswatte.
Children’s Fort - A fantastic family walk with lots of prizes!
Great stuff for kids to do whilst in the Fort and fun for the whole family, who will be taken to secret gardens, hidden side streets and inside exciting spots such as the gunpowder houses. This also includes seeing the world-famous jumpers.
Take a culinary trip around the Fort to sample the best of Sri Lankan street food and home cooking. Learn to cook five to six dishes in the arts cafe and meet the story teller over spice tea afterwards.
Just 10 minutes away is one of the best beaches in the world, Unawatuna. With the sea often as calm as a pool this area offers many possibilities for entertainment - you can snorkel and explore the reef and interesting wrecks; you can dive; or you can just soak in the sun.
At the western end of Unawatuna beach is a huge mound-like hill which is strangely out of place in the landscape. Blessed with about a hundred herbs, some of which are found no where else on the island this hill offers an exquisite view of the harbor, the town and even Adam’s Peak on a clear morning.
For those of you who love trekking Galle can offer you some very interesting trekking opportunities. Walk to the famed Watering Point Unawatuna where VOC ships made their vital intake of water before they sailed on to Indonesia or back to Holland. Along the way explore a freshwater pond, which apparently held fresh water since the 17th century and only became polluted during the last thirty years. Continue on to Rumassala and then on to Welledevalaya temple. Walk through a small valley with paddy fields and end up at Yaddehimulla, a friendly tourist village.
If ancient architecture interests you a trek along the sewage systems built by the Dutch will certainly be of interest. Much of Galle was built around these intricate structures that were aligned to the tides to provide a continuing and natural flush. By following the system you can discover the framework of the historical city.
TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS
Situated inland from Galle are some of the most beautiful and valuable tropical rainforests in the island and in the region. Sinharaja Rainforest, a World Heritage Site is spread over an area of 11,330 hectares and boasts a large number of rare, endemic plant and bird life.
Also close to Galle is the Kanneliya Forest Reserve which contains 81% of the woody plant species endemic to Sri Lanka. After an invigorating trek through the jungle you can cool down with a bath under the unspoilt waters of the Kanneliya Waterfall.
Kottawa Forest Reserve is another must for you nature lovers. A live herbarium with plants and trees identified in both English and Sinhalese a visit to Kottawa gives you the chance to learn more about Sri Lanka’s floral heritage.
WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCHING
The Lady Hill Hotel also offers their guests a chance to observe whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. This excursion can be arranged on request by the Hotel’s Front Office and the trip entails a 4 hour boat ride commencing from the Mirissa Fisheries harbour into deep sea. This offer is seasonal and lasts from November throught to April every year.
If it’s wildlife that turns you on visit the Koggala Bird Island just 15 km away. Further afield is the Ramsar Bird Sanctuary of Bundala where hundreds of migrant birds make their home during the Northern winter. At the corner of the island where the south coast meets the east coast lies Yala National Park where you can see the majestic elephant, the deer, the sambhur, the proud peacock and last but certainly not least the graceful leopard.