As you travel along the South Coast of Sri Lanka, (on the longer scenic route and not the Sothern Highway) taking in the enchanting views of palm fringed shores, you will soon come across a city by the sea that has a unique fortification. Stunning in its magnitude, the Galle Fort stretches its ramparts along the coast, encircling part of the city in its protective “embrace” as it has done for centuries past.

A landmark from the days of colonial rule, this awe-inspiring fort is one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic attractions and is well worth exploring when in the island. Since the fort is part of the main city, it is easy to find Galle hotels in the area such as Jetwing Lighthouse that offers easy access to this famed landmark. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese first established fortifications along the coast. But, it was during the rule of the Dutch in the 17th century that the fort received the ultimate “make-over” as it were!

Fittingly also known as the Dutch Fort, this grandiose fortification with its traditional Dutch design style, far-reaching ramparts and ancient bastions stand testament to the ingenuity of its colonial architects. Today, one of the best things that you can do here is to walk along the ramparts at dawn or at sunset; enjoy the magnificent views of both the sea on one side and on the other, the hustle and bustle of the city that lies within the fortification’s protection.

Equally interesting is the chance to explore the locale directly within the Galle Fort’s walls. As you wander around the charming cobbled streets that criss-cross their way around, you will come across Dutch style houses, old colonial buildings and ancient churches, all bestowing a unique old world charm to this part of Sri Lanka.

Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.