A world of luxury and new discoveries await you at The Fortress Resort & Spa. Blending timeless elegance and colonial style design set against the backdrop of Galle Beach and the surrounding area, we provide the perfect coastal escape for romance and adventure. Our world class service, indulgent comforts and eco experiences, make us truly stand out amongst Galle hotels.
Discover the slice of paradise known as Sri Lanka’s southern coast. If you’re looking for a hotel in Galle close to all its many wonders, you’re going to be more than satisfied with The Fortress Resort & Spa.
Our resort in Koggala is situated within a convenient distance to many attractions; half an hour away from the magnificent Galle Dutch Fort, minutes away from the Koggala Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery, and right across the road from the Martin Wickramasinghe House & Folk Museum.
What’s a coastal adventure without a beach visit? Beach lovers will be delighted to hear that our resort lies sprawled along the Koggala Beach with each room and suite offering awe-inspiring ocean views.
The luxurious suites at The Fortress Resort & Spa are perfect for those who desire the finer things in life. Choose from our Ocean Loft Suites or Fortress Residences and discover the perfect holiday abode. The majestic Fortress Residence Suites come with glamorous en suite bathrooms, dedicated butler service, ocean views & private infinity edge pool.
Escape to paradise and discover luxurious holiday living! Choose from a wide selection of accommodation at The Fortress Resort & Spa, where colonial charm and modern elegance come together to create a one of a kind getaway amongst luxury boutique hotels in Galle.
All 53 of our suites and guest rooms are designed to provide you with nothing but the best of opulence and a host of amenities to make you all the more comfortable.
We have four room types ranging from Fortress Rooms to Ocean Rooms, Beach Rooms and Beach Splash Rooms. Should you require more space and grandeur our two suites categories, Ocean Loft Suites and Fortress Residence Suites will be a perfect choice.
OCEAN LOFT SUITES
Discover the ultimate luxury getaway at one of the finest of Galle resorts, just around 30 minutes away from the famous Galle Fort. The Ocean Loft at The Fortress Resort & Spa is a spacious abode replete with everything that modern luxury can offer!
Spread across two levels, the upper and lower floors, the Ocean Loft provides a heavenly stay with a host of amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a private plunge pool and an opulent bathroom furnished with a marble tiled shower and Bvlgari toiletries. One of the best things about the Ocean Loft is that you can enjoy direct views of the Indian Ocean from the balcony or within the comfort of the room.
Experience true elegance at our fine selection Guest Rooms that are designed to impress and indulge even the most discerning of travellers. All 49 guest rooms come with fashionable furnishings and an array of amenities such as spacious en suite bathrooms.
BEACH SPLASH ROOM
The Beach Splash Room at The Fortress Resort & Spa, a glamorous getaway amongst 5-star hotels in Galle, is the perfect abode for those looking for maximum seclusion and utmost comfort. Stretched along the ground floor of the resort, the Beach Splash Rooms come with an indoor plunge pool where you can frolic and splash to your heart’s content.
Walk up to your private veranda and gaze rapturously at the panoramic views of the garden and the Indian Ocean. Treat yourself to a self pampering session at the elegant bathroom which is embellished with a Jacuzzi, rain shower and Bvlgari toiletries.
Escape into a cocoon of modern elegance. The Ocean Room at our Koggala beach resort is a stunning abode replete with modern room amenities including a king size bed, high-vaulted ceiling, a spacious open-plan bathroom with bath, rainfall shower, and highly efficient room service.
The Ocean Rooms are sprawled across the resort’s upper floor and each comfortable room comes with its own balcony that’s wide enough to host private meals. The pièce de résistance of the Ocean Room is the direct view of the Indian Ocean that can be enjoyed from the balcony or within the room.
Experience the crème de la crème of Galle restaurants at The Fortress Resort & Spa. Our dining venues are designed to provide not just satisfaction to your taste buds but your eyes as well; for each restaurant comes with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Succulent seafood, delicious international favourites, exotic local fare and an exquisite selection of wines are all yours to savour!
THE FORTRESS STILT FISHERMAN INDULGENCE
A truly unique culinary creation, ‘The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence’ is a one-of-a-kind dessert that unlocks truly rich flavours balanced to perfection. The ultimate inclusion for fine dining in Galle, this delectable delicacy draws its inspiration from a traditional fishing practice that is centuries old and can be witnessed along the coastline.
Made on special request, the dessert features Italian Cassata flavoured with Baileys and is served with a pomegranate and mango compote. The tantalising base is a delicious champagne sabayon enlighten, while the crowning glory is the 80-carat aquamarine stone, placed below an exquisitely handcrafted chocolate stilt fisherman.
An aquamarine stone is known to have special qualities including the ability to soothe, heal and bring about calmness. Its captivating blue colour is a reflection not only of the ocean, but also the life giving essence of water; it is little wonder that this stone has been used by fishermen and seafarers as both a good luck charm and a form of protection.
Believed to bestow its owner with happiness, foresight and courage, the stone along with the dessert makes for the perfect gift to surprise that special someone.
The Fortress Resort & Spa is home to some of the finest Galle restaurants in Sri Lanka, but when you desire a little bit of seclusion, we can arrange something more exclusive. Our in-room dining feature gives you the opportunity to feast on mouth-watering cuisine within the comfort of your room, residence or loft.
Available 24 hours a day, in-room dining at the resort offers menus from all our dining venues that can be enjoyed course-by-course should you desire to. Some of the specialities provided for in-room dining include delicacies such as French Medoc, Wolf Blass Traminer Riesling, Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon and the Banana Blossom Bliss.
Delight your taste buds with flavourful international and authentic Sri Lankan cuisines at one of the most sought after restaurants in Galle. Guests at White can witness our skilled chefs creating appetizing, contemporary dishes fusing traditional spices that are in line with Asian cooking. For those who prefer international cuisine, a range of wood-fired pizza and tandoori dishes are on offer.
Got romance on your mind? Duo is a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Galle, Sri Lanka that is located within the resort’s wine cellar featuring a mellow ambience illuminated with soft candlelight, presenting an altogether romantic effect. Pair your meal with a delicious wine choosing from a spectacular collection of over 2,000 old and new world wines that range from great classics to rare vintages.
SALTY SNAPPER RESTAURANT
Our Salty Snapper outdoor restaurant in Galle is truly one-of-a-kind. Located by the beach, this fabulous all-day dining venue is perfect for those looking for a Galle seafood restaurant to unwind in as it offers direct access to the beach and provides breathtaking ocean views.
Feast to your heart’s content on an enticing array of seafood delicacies complemented by a special beverage or sweet king coconut water. For dessert, have some of our homemade ice creams including the rather unusual, but completely divine ‘pol sambol’ ice cream!
T – LOUNGE
Relish a cup of world famous Ceylon tea while feasting your eyes on spectacular sea and garden views. A popular choice amongst cafes in Galle, our T-Lounge gives you the chance to not only sample premium hand picked teas, but also discover the story behind Ceylon tea and watch a special tea making ceremony too. Best of all is the chance to unwind with friends or family over a delicious cuppa and some delightful sweet treats.
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Be it a high-level business meeting or a romantic beach wedding, Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for both corporate and social events which we would love to host for you.
While The Fortress Resort & Spa offers versatile indoor and outdoor venues, our dedicated event planners will ensure your corporate function, social gathering or fairytale wedding will be just the way you want it.
WEDDINGS IN SRI LANKA
Barefoot romance amidst the sweet serenade of the ocean, as whispers of passion mingle in the breeze and a new chapter of love begins; an enchanting beach wedding in Sri Lanka is one you will never forget. At The Fortress Resort & Spa, you can enjoy such magical celebrations be it on soft sandy shores or in a delightful garden setting.
We have dedicated wedding hosts who will help plan your special day down to the very last detail and ensure everything is just perfect, from the venue and floral decor to the music and menu creation.
We also have two special wedding packages each offering unique touches be it the location, bride’s hair and makeup, intimate dinner or having traditional Sri Lankan dancers and drummers add to the flair of your fairy tale romance.
Ideal for everything from intimate meetings to enriching corporate retreats, The Fortress Resort & Spa is the perfect getaway for business amidst a laid back coastal backdrop.
Home to one of the finest meeting venues in Galle our air-conditioned function room features 1,310 sq. ft. of versatile space; it can accommodate four seating type arrangements for a maximum of 60 guests.
Apart from helping to plan your meeting, we also offer free Wi-Fi internet access, audio and video facilities, presentation supplies as well as scanning, printing and fax services.
Catering, refreshments, music, entertainment and not to mention technical assistance are also on hand to make certain your event goes smoothly. What’s more, we have special spouse and family programmes to ensure your loved ones have lots of fun too.
THE SPA NATURAL
True wellness is more than just feeling relaxed, but rather finding the inner balance of one’s mind, body and soul. It could be a head massage, foot massage or even a full body treatment, the staff at our spa in Galle is focused on providing our guests with a complete holistic healing that will go beyond the period of the treatment which also can be incorporated into one’s way of life.
Soothing the senses, the exclusive therapies at our Ayurveda spa in Sri Lanka bring about a sense of complete well-being. We offer signature treatments as well as customised Ayurveda packages, giving you the chance to experience authentic Sri Lankan healing rituals.
Utilising all natural herbs and oils, this form of holistic wellness is administered by a specialist ayurvedic doctor who helps you select a package that suits your specific needs and Prakriti (body constitution).
Our onsite Spa Naturel also offers classical spa rituals which incorporate rejuvenating baths, wraps and scrubs, stress relieving massages and revitalising beauty care for both him and her. As part of our treatments, we provide a special complimentary bath as well as reviving water therapies be it at the sauna or by way of a hot steam bath.
Cocooned in calmness and combining innovative wellness rituals with traditional healing, experience a sense of true bliss at our spa hotel. Sri Lanka is known for some of the world’s best holistic therapies, especially in terms of Ayurveda which forms an integral part of what we have to offer.
Helping to bring about a state of inner harmony, our spa features a range of Ayurvedic and classical therapies, specially designed signature treatments, massages, salon services and yoga and weight loss programmes to name just a few. Come discover what nature’s healing powers and complete well-being is all about.
AYURVEDA SPA MENU
Browse through the menu of our Sri Lanka Ayurveda spa to discover the treatment that best suits you. The Ayurveda & classical spa menu at The Fortress Resort & Spa features a host of luxurious therapies that are designed to improve the well-being of your mind and body.
Ayurveda is an ancient tradition of health care that is over 5,000 years old. At our Sri Lanka Ayurveda retreat, we have combined this age old art of healing with the best of modern luxury to provide you with a host of holistic packages designed to leave you both revitalized and relaxed.
The Ayurveda packages at The Fortress Resort & Spa feature an initial consultation with our resident ayurvedic doctor who will analyze your Prakriti or body constitution and prescribe you a treatment. We are also ready to provide you with customized Ayurveda packages should you desire.
An inward journey to peaceful well-being and balance, this therapy is guided by an expert mind-body practitioner. The signature element of this service lies in the integral approach which allows the therapist to intuitively support the therapy with complementary techniques in order to achieve the optimum results.
CLASSICAL SPA RITUALS
For treatments that are ideal for your well-being, browse through the list of classical spa rituals at our Sri Lanka spa hotel. We guarantee a luxurious and holistic experience perfect for your mind, body and soul.
YOGHURT & MEEPANI
Yoghurt is great for skin hydration. The lactic acid in yoghurt soothes and softens the skin while refining pores and tightening wrinkles. Meepani or honey is renowned for rejuvenating skin and cleaning out pores through its amazing cleansing properties.
Experience pure bliss while the expert therapists at our spa resort in Sri Lanka help you find true inner peace. Our award winning spa offers a host of massage therapies that combine the age-old secrets of Ayurveda together with modern luxury; the results will leave you relaxed, revitalised and rejuvenated.
SLIM AND TRIM
Slim and trim your way to the body of your dreams with the help of one of the finest Sri Lanka spa hotels! This special spa programme begins with a consultation with our resident Ayurveda doctor who will prescribe you with a treatment that suits your body conditions.
Then, through a specialized range of therapies such as massages, herbal baths, and ‘Udvartana’, the programme will aim to relax, detox and reduce your body fat. To maximise your stamina and fitness, our experienced personal trainers will guide you every step of the way through a personalized training programme.
WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMME
When you book the exclusive Weight Loss Programme at our spa in Galle, you are presented with a special food menu that’s designed to help you lose calories and please your taste buds at the same time. Feel no guilt as you relish a succulent array of delights ranging from sensational appetizers to hearty mains and ambrosial desserts!
In the local tongue ‘udvartana’ means ‘eversion’ and that is because this body purifying treatment focuses on healing both the inside and out. Using a special selection of herbal powders, the physicians at our Sri Lanka Ayurveda hotel will perform the Udvartana treatment through an intense massage that will help eliminate body fat and enhance the drainage of lymph.
Discover inner peace and learn to balance both mind and body with one of the best programmes for yoga in Galle. Spa Naturel at The Fortress Resort & Spa offers both private and couple yoga sessions that are focused on improving health and overall rejuvenation of the body.
All yoga poses are selected to fit your body flexibility and conditions, and a well-trained professional instructor will be there at all times to provide individual attention.
We want your holiday at our lush tropical island to be truly unforgettable. That is why we give special attention to all of your needs so that we can ensure an experience quite unlike at any other luxury hotels around the world.
Sri Lanka offers the perfect setting with stunning views for leisure, business or a bit of both and our modern luxury resort facilities and exclusive services will help you fully enjoy the best of all worlds.
Set amidst the soothing sights and sounds of the ocean, our infinity edge pool is the ideal place to unwind; work on your tropical tan on a poolside sun bed, sit in the shade sipping your favorite cocktail or dive into the water’s refreshing embrace.
A true standout amongst luxury hotels in Galle, Sri Lanka this free-form pool has a kids section, a special area with water jets and Wi-Fi access, while a drinks & snacks service is on offer too.
We understand that getting in a rewarding workout may be an important part of your stay, be it for maintaining your daily fitness goals or losing those pesky holiday calories! Our state-of-the-art fitness centre in Galle features a range of cardio & weight training equipment for you to use.
This includes upright and recumbent bikes, treadmills, cross-trainers, multi stations, dumbbell racks along with FID (6 positions), fold-up Olympic combo and adjustable ab benches. Personal trainers are also on hand to help in your exercise routines or for yoga sessions, while there is also a steam room where you can truly unwind after your workout.
THINGS TO DO
Be it laidback beachside relaxation, cultural adventures, wildlife encounters or nature escapes, Sri Lanka offers something new to discover each time you visit. At the Fortress Resort & Spa guests have the opportunity to enjoy many of these unique experiences from exploring iconic landmarks to experiencing the many captivating things to do in Galle, Sri Lanka.
We understand each of our guests have different expectations be it for a holiday full of leisure or a trip focused on business. That is why The Fortress Resort & Spa offers varied experiences tailored to these diverse interests.
Spend quality family time together enjoying the many captivating things to do in Galle, plan the perfect couple’s escape full of island romance, take part in unique eco experiences or indulge in the finer things in life. If on business, we cater to all your corporate requirements while providing plenty of options for rest and recreation as well.
Eagles Catalina Golf Course is the exciting new addition to your luxury beach vacation, whilst holidaying at the Fortress Resort & Spa. This 9-hole golf course located close to the resort is a must try for every enthusiastic golfer. Spend your vacation practicing your putting and drive. So, you won’t miss out on your golf during your holiday.
SURFING IN KOGGALA
You can not only relax in your hotel or wander along the beach, but you can also try surfing on the Sri Lankan waves. If you are visiting Sri Lanka and want to experience the surf, then this is a place for you to be.
Surfing can be done throughout the year, although it may vary depending on the time of day and month. The waves are usually smaller in May through September, but larger during November through April. There are some fantastic spots in and around Koggala where you can go surfing.
There is much to experience in and around Sri Lanka’s south coast and The Fortress Resort & Spa is perfectly placed within easy reach of the region’s many highlights.
Intrepid travellers staying at our resort can look forward to a range of captivating day excursions; enjoy sightseeing in Galle amidst the city’s colonial charm, hike along trails deep inside tropical rainforests, head off on exotic wildlife safaris and spend time at cultural sites that provide a unique perspective of the island.
VISIT GALLE FORT AND THE TOWN
Within a comfortable half an hour’s distance away from The Fortress Resort & Spa is one of Sri Lanka’s most treasured attractions, the Galle Dutch Fort. This spectacular fort was first created by Portuguese colonists in 1588 but was later fortified by the Dutch. It’s well preserved condition makes it hard to believe that it’s actually over 400 years old!
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Galle Dutch Fort is home to a curious collection of landmarks including the All Saints Church, Dutch Reformed Church, the fort gates and the lighthouse, to name a few.
When walking along the charming cobbled streets and admiring the surroundings on a Galle day trip you’ll realise that there is a sort of familiarity here; this is because the architecture of the resort is actually inspired by the fort itself.
The Galle Dutch Fort is a great destination for sightseeing as well as shopping, and after a long day of exploring its many wonders, head over to Flag Rock; it is the perfect spot to enjoy a surreal sunset over the Indian Ocean.
MADU RIVER SAFARI
Madu River, which flows across the Balapitiya area, is one of the most rarely visited and unspoiled attractions in Sri Lanka. This extraordinary estuary with a cluster of 64 small islands scattered along its impressive breadth, most of which are covered with mangroves and uninhabited, and is also a haven for crocodiles.
The largest island is home to around 300 families, and the smallest barely an islet holds a tiny shrine with a statue built in respect of the Gods of Kataragama.
There is also “Kurundu Doowa (Cinnamon Isle)” where a small family maintains a two acre cinnamon plantation, and the main attraction “Koth Doowa” (Island of the Pinnacle) which houses a serene Buddhist temple, all of which adds up to a truly remarkable and unforgettable boat ride.
EXPERIENCE THE TURTLE HATCHERY
Sea turtles are extraordinary creatures that have roamed our oceans for over 100 million years. Unfortunately, mostly due to human interferences such as poaching, beach development and fishing, the sea turtle population is drastically declining. Out of the seven species of sea turtles that exist today, three are classified as endangered and another three as critically endangered.
However, all hope is not lost. The Fortress Resort & Spa is one of many establishments around the world that strives to protect these amazing creatures from becoming extinct by operating its own turtle hatchery.
Mirissa, Kosgoda and Tangalle are amongst the other south coast destinations where one can see similar conservation efforts to save some of the sea turtle species nesting on the island’s beaches; they range from the Green Turtle to the Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and the giant Leatherback which is the largest sea turtle species in the world.
Through the resort’s Relax and Release Turtle Conservation Project, guests can also be a part of this incredible venture and save the lives of many innocent sea turtles. Not only will you be able to get up close to them but also get to release adorable baby turtles back into the ocean!
The idyllic coastal town of Unawatuna is not only well known for its picturesque beach and bay, but for offering some truly amazing diving adventures as well. Many of the reefs are within easy reach of the shore and give one a chance to witness vibrant marine life when scuba diving in Galle and Unawatuna.
These include triggerfish, blue ring angelfish, barracuda, moray eels, whale sharks and pufferfish. Napoleon Reef which features a rocky outcrop and Napoleon wrasse and ‘Galapita Gala’ and ‘Goda Kupatha’ with their distinctive coral varieties are amongst the diving hotspots one will find here.
Apart from coral reefs, the seas around Unawatuna are also home to some of the most intriguing shipwrecks well worth exploring on a scuba diving tour. The ‘Tango’ and an over a century old British steamer named ‘The Rangoon’ are two such popular underwater wrecks one can explore. While a diving licence is needed, there are many dive centres where you can get the required PADI training and certification.
BLUE WHALE WATCHING HUB
Witness the largest animal currently in existence, live in action! Blue Whales are simply magnificent creatures that can reach up to 98 feet in length making them the largest in the world. To see one is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a dream for some travellers.
The Fortress Resort & Spa can make this dream come true for you. Just half an hour away from our resort is a quiet fishing hamlet that has now become one of the best destinations for spotting these marine mammals; Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
Whale watching is particularly rewarding in this area since the sea around Mirissa is rich in plankton which is a type of microorganism that whales are very fond of feeding on. Scientists believe that because of this, Mirissa is home to a resident population of whales resulting in many sightings especially during the high season between November and April.
Apart from Blue Whales, you’ll have a chance to see a variety of other species such as Sperm Whales, Pygmy Whales, Bryde’s Whales and if you’re lucky, even Killer Whales. In addition, dolphin species including Bottlenose, Common, Risso’s, Spinner and Striped dolphins, have also been spotted around Mirissa.
YALA NATIONAL PARK
The Reserve covers 979km2, although only 141km is open to the public, and is mostly made up of parkland and scrub jungle but also contains beaches, lagoons, freshwater lakes, rivers, enormous rocky outcrops and dense jungle.
Yala is one of the best places to see Leopards, boasting the highest concentration of leopards in the world: the park is also home to a good number of Asian elephants, sloth bear, spotted deer, crocodiles, wild boar, water buffalo, grey languor and several other species of large animals.
A DAY TOUR TO KALUTOTA
Kalutara, also known as Kalutota, is one of the most scenic places to visit in Sri Lanka if you’re looking for an exciting coastal adventure. A new addition to the ‘Things to Do’ at The Fortress is our day tour to the undiscovered parts of Kalutara.
Explore the hidden and breathtaking Warakagoda Cave Temple, visit the marvellous Richmond Castle and learn about the secrets behind rubber making during your tour in an esteemed Rubber Estate.
KOGGALA FOLK MUSEUM
One of Sri Lanka’s most acclaimed and beloved authors, Martin Wickramasinghe (1890 – 1976) grew up in Koggala and his family home has today been transformed into the Koggala Folk Museum.
Conveniently located just across The Fortress Resort & Spa, this unique museum not only offers a glimpse into the island’s distinctive folk culture but also gives you an insight about this great author. Set amidst picturesque greenery, this carefully preserved ancestral home is a popular attraction to visit when staying in and around Galle.
Places to see in the south coast such as this museum are truly special because they take one back to days of old; Buddhist artefacts, intricate pottery, costumes used in folk dances, agricultural tools, traditional carts and colourful puppets and masks are just some of the highlights here. At the section named the ‘Hall of Life’, one can learn more about Martin Wickramasinghe and his many works and achievements.
NATIONAL SANCTUARIES AND SINHARAJA FOREST RESERVE
Blessed with a rich natural heritage, Sri Lanka offers countless outdoor adventures at its national sanctuaries, home to an amazing range of flora and fauna.
Be it glimpsing stealthy leopards at Yala, encountering elephant herds roaming wild and free at Udawalawe or spotting a crested hawk eagle circling his terrain above, wildlife safaris at national parks are truly unforgettable. Apart from such sanctuaries, The Fortress Resort & Spa is also within easy reach of ancient forest reserves such as Kanneliya, Kottawa, Hiyare and Sinharaja.
One of the last remaining primary tropical rainforests on the island, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a stunning array of endemic trees and wildlife, especially bird species.
Named as a Biosphere Reserve, this enchanting site offers much to experience while on a Sinharaja rainforest tour; head off along winding paths deep into the forest where babbling brooks whisper secrets from days of old and the sweet songs of birds mingle with the breeze.
Nestled along Sri Lanka’s south coast, lies an ancient hill that is a rich storehouse of plant life and offers some truly stunning views. Rumassala Hill is one of the most popular Galle attractions and is also linked with ancient folklore; according to a tale in the Ramayana epic, Hanuman, the Hindu Monkey God was returning to the island with a chunk of the Himalayas that contained special medicinal herbs.
On his journey back a piece of it fell on the area now known as Rumassala. Some claim this to be the reason why one can find medicinal plants in the locale that are quite rare. A relatively short drive from The Fortress Resort & Spa, Rumassala Hill is bordered by a beach stretch which offers easy access to the nearby reef, ideal for some snorkelling.
Those venturing up the forested slopes will find the area rich in biodiversity including being home to animals such as purple-faced leaf monkeys. At the summit, there is a statue of Hanuman as well as a Japanese Peace Pagoda. Best of all are the breathtaking panoramas of the ocean and coastline, especially at sunset.
CINNAMON PLANTATION VISIT TOUR
An integral part of the spice trade for which Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) was famous for, cinnamon has for long been intertwined with the island’s history. Immensely popular the world over, this exotic spice is carefully cultivated in plantations where the traditional process of producing cinnamon oil and sticks takes place even today.
Within easy reach of the resort and amongst the most captivating places to visit around Galle are a few of these plantations; it presents the perfect opportunity to learn more about what some refer to as the ‘Queen of Spices’.
A cinnamon plantation tour gives you the chance to see firsthand how this spice is carefully grown and the intricate way in which it is harvested and peeled. As part of the tour, you also get to witness the way cinnamon is processed and finally packaged, ready to be shipped to lands near and far.
THE KOGGALA LAKE
Embark on an adventure across one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic lakes. Amongst the key places of interest in Galle, Koggala Lake flows serenely just a few minutes away from The Fortress Resort & Spa inviting all to come enjoy its splendours.
A boat safari on its tranquil waters will give you the opportunity to observe local wildlife be it exotic birds, giant water monitors or even some saltwater crocodiles.
Dotted along the lake is a wonderful collection of islands; this includes ‘Cinnamon Island’ where one can witness the manufacturing process of cinnamon, and ‘Madol Doova’ on which the celebrated Sri Lankan author, Martin Wickramasinghe based one of his most acclaimed novels on.
After you have explored the many wonders of Koggala Lake, head over to one of the ‘fish spas’ located along the banks where tiny fish will work on giving you a soothing massage.
A sacred site wrapped in serenity, the Yatagala Temple (or Yatagala Rock Cave Temple) offers a rewarding insight into the island’s Buddhist heritage. Locally referred to as the ‘Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya’, this ancient rock temple dates back more than 2,000 years and was built during the time King Devanampiya Tissa ruled the Kingdom of Anuradhapura.
Only around four kilometres from Unawatuna, which is within easy reach of The Fortress Resort & Spa, the Yatagala Temple is one of the most beautiful places in Galle and is well worth exploring. The climb up to this hallowed temple is part of the experience and at the summit, you will be greeted by wonderful views of quaint hamlets and idyllic paddy fields.
Amongst the fascinating features here are the massive boulders around the temple grounds some of which conceal ancient caves that have been used by monks for more than 1,500 years. A sacred Bo tree, a huge statue of Lord Buddha and intricate wall murals are a few of the other notable sights of interest at the Yatagala Temple.
HANDUNUGODA TEA FACTORY
While there’s nothing like the taste of a revitalising cup of tea, there are many varieties each with different stories to tell. At the Handunugoda Tea Factory, you can discover the story behind one such tea type, the world famous Virgin White Tea; this is the rarest type of white tea that’s made according to an ancient ritual in Chinese tea making, completely untouched by humans.
It will take you just 20 minutes to reach the estate from our resort as it’s situated within the nearby town of Ahangama. Attracting tourists and tea connoisseurs from all corners of the globe, the Handunugoda Tea Factory is a living and working museum that features machines over 140 years old.
What sets it apart from others is that the estate does not operate on a mass scale and only produces small quantities which make it easier to concentrate on the award winning quality. 75 acres of the 200 acre estate are dedicated to tea and the rest is used for cinnamon, rubber and coconut cultivation.
VISIT YATAGALA ROCK CAVE TEMPLE AND RUMASSALA PEACE PAGODA
Nestled inland away from the shores of Galle city is the 2,300 year old Yatagala Rock Cave Temple. Located 20 minutes away from our resort, this Buddhist temple is said to have been built during the time of King Devanampiya Tissa under whose reign Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka.
The cave temple features a nine metre reclining Buddha statue and stunning murals created according to the Kandyan style. Since not many crowds visit it, the temple presents a quiet, spiritual getaway that’s surrounded by lush tropical foliage.
Just about 15 minutes away from the Yatagala Rock Cave Temple, is another Buddhist temple that also makes an ideal choice when it comes to day outing places in Galle; the Japanese Peace Pagoda.
Perched atop Rumassala Hill, the pristine white pagoda has a set of stairs which leads unto a deck featuring four Buddha statues. The views from here are simply spectacular as you can see the Galle Bay and the Indian Ocean beyond.
Rumassala Hill itself is the centre of an ancient legend. According to the Hindu chronicle Ramayana, Rumassala is a chunk of the Himalayas that the Monkey God Hanuman brought to Sri Lanka.
EXPLORE THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM AND ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL
Glimpse into the time of colonial Galle at the National Maritime Museum. Situated within the Dutch Galle Fort along Queen’s Street, the museum is one of the main tourist attraction places in Galle and is not hard to find; its signature yellow walls, which have been an inspiration in the design of The Fortress Resort & Spa, can be seen from quite a distance away.
The building of the museum is an artefact in itself as it belongs to the latter part of the 17th century and was first used as a warehouse by the Dutch. Today, the museum is filled with an eclectic collection of artefacts relating to ancient maritime trade, seafaring and fishing.
It also has a rather curious display of life-size dioramas demonstrating the conventional methods of fishing as well as a ‘walk into the sea’ diorama which shows deep sea fish, natural coral beds and seagrass beds.
Five minutes away from the National Maritime Museum is a Baroque Revival masterpiece, the St. Mary’s Cathedral. Founded by Jesuit priests in the latter part of the 19th Century, the cathedral is a landmark of a building with an impressive interior and exterior.
ENJOY THE SUN AND SEA AT UNAWATUNA BEACH AND MIRISSA BEACH
Perfectly positioned along the island’s south coast, The Fortress Resort & Spa is close to some of Sri Lanka’s best beaches. Within easy reach of the property are two such popular coastal hotspots, namely Unawatuna Beach and Mirissa Beach each with their own distinctive setting.
Around a 15 minute drive away is the soft shores of Unawatuna Beach amongst the most well known places to visit near Galle. With its golden sands bordered by palm trees and azure waters, it offers a picture postcard like setting in which to soak up the sun and have fun in the surf. Swimming is a popular activity here as is snorkelling since you can witness a fascinating array of marine species at the nearby reef.
For a different beach experience head to the shores of Mirissa, within a 30 minute drive from The Fortress Resort & Spa. Mirissa Beach provides a relatively less crowded getaway by the Indian Ocean and is home to some charming cafes and restaurants serving delectable seafood. You can also enjoy a bit of snorkelling, while the western end is a favourite amongst surfers planning to catch some great waves.
SPICE GARDENS AND TEA FACTORY
Two of Sri Lanka’s most famous commodities, spices and tea are very much a part of the island’s rich history; the country was one of the key trading ports in the ancient spice trade and is also the birthplace of Ceylon tea, introduced during British colonial times.
Amongst the things to do near Galle is to take an excursion to local spice gardens where one can see a wide range of natural spices. Many of these spices are also used in traditional Ayurveda wellness rituals, some of which can be experienced at our spa.
One of the distinctive features of such a visit is the chance to enjoy the intermingling aromas of different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, lemongrass and sweet cumin.
For a change of scenery, guests can enjoy a tea factory visit. While world renowned Ceylon tea is a household name, one might not know just what goes into making this revitalising brew. A tea factory tour will help you learn more about the unique art of tea plucking, see firsthand the intricate manufacturing process and best of all, taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea.
PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
Join The Fortress Resort & Spa on an adventure of no small scale! Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage with us; located approximately four hours away from the resort, Pinnawala boasts the world’s largest herd of captive elephants.
Since its inception in 1975, it has been an orphanage as well as a nursery and captive breeding ground for Sri Lankan Elephants that have been abandoned or injured in the wild. Situated on the way to Kandy, this site which is also known as the Pinnawala Elephant Park is one of the island’s biggest tourist attractions as it gives you the chance to get close to these amazing creatures.
The orphanage is open from 08:30am to 05:45pm but the best time to visit would be between 10:00am and 02:00pm when the elephants have their bath in the nearby river. Another spectacular sight to witness is when baby elephants are bottle fed and this happens three times a day at 09:15am, 01:15pm and 05:00pm.
VISIT THE MATARA FORT AND THE FAMOUS BLOW HOLE
Visit a grand monument where once a great battle was fought against the Dutch. The Matara Fort, situated one hour away from our resort, is an impressive fortress originally built by the Portuguese in 1560 and was later fortified by the Dutch after the siege of Galle. It lies between the Indian Ocean and the Nilwala River home to saltwater crocodiles.
In 1761 during the great ‘Matara Rebellion’, the fort was captured by Kirti Sri Rajasinha’s Kandyan army only to be recaptured by the Dutch in 1762. Today, it is amongst the foremost places to see in Matara and highlights include the Dutch Reformatory Church (the oldest in the fort) and several other interesting buildings that used to be mansions occupied by Sri Lankan aristocracy.
From the fort make your way to the second largest blowhole in the world! The Hummanaya Blow Hole, which lays claim to this title, is located an hour away from the Matara Fort and is a sight not to be missed. The name ‘Hummanaya’ comes from the ‘hoo’ noise made by the blowhole when it’s active. Shooting up every couple of minutes, it features sprays that reach as high as 82 to 98 feet.