Galle, formerly known as Point de Galle, is situated on a large natural harbour on the island’s southern coast. Galle dates from the 13th century, possibly much earlier, but it became the island’s main port during the period of Portuguese rule (1507–c. 1640). Under Dutch rule it was the island's capital until 1656.
The city of Galle plays an important role in SriLankan history, especially concerning the international relationships. Many foreign vendors such as Arabs, Chinese and Greeks visited this place for trading. This city was even marked in the "Ptolemy's" world map of on 125-150 AD.
The Galle Fort - Dutch Fort as it is also known, is a fortification first built by the Portuguese on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The initial fortifications, which were built in the late 16th century, were quite basic. However, the fort underwent extensive modifications in the 17th century by the Dutch, making it one of the most important archeological, architectural and historic monuments to illustrate the European influence in South East Asia between the 16th and 19th centuries. According to a statement by UNESCO the site was recognized as a World Heritage Site for its unique exposition of an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries which is the criterion number four for such recognition.
The beaches near Galle are surprisingly varied: popular Unawatuna Bay is a great spot for lively beach bars and exhilarating water-sports, including snorkeling, wake-boarding, scuba diving, and sea kayaking. Thalpe is ideal for those seeking to relax on a tranquil tropical beach. Surfers in search of some great waves should head to Ahangama, with Koggala famous for the SriLankan stilt fishermen. Between Narigama and Dodanduwa – west of Galle – you will find pristine, unspoiled beaches that offer the ultimate escapist getaway. Jungle Beach, a secluded cove near Unawatuna which is thickly veiled by jungle on all sides, is tricky to access but can be found with some help from the friendly locals.