Old fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

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Flag Rock

Top choice in Galle

Flag Rock, at the southernmost end of the Fort, was once a Portuguese bastion. Today it is easily the most popular place to catch a sunset. During daylight hours you may see daredevil locals leaping into the water from the rocks. Numerous vendors sell good street food such as fresh papaya with chilli powder from carts.

During the Dutch period, approaching ships were signalled from the bastion atop Flag Rock, warning them of dangerous rocks – hence its name. Musket shots were fired from Pigeon Island, close to the rock, to further alert ships to the danger. Later, the Dutch built a lighthouse here; since removed, the nearby street name survives.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Galle attractions

1. Meeran Mosque

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Facing the lighthouse, this beautifully maintained whitewashed building is a highly unusual construction combining eclectic architectural features that…

2. Point Utrecht Bastion

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The eastern section of Galle's wall ends at the Point Utrecht Bastion, close to the powder magazine, which bears a Dutch inscription from 1782. Today this…

3. Triton Bastion

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Small southwestern bastion, which was once topped with a windmill (used to draw water to clean Galle's streets).

4. Lighthouse

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Guarding against the rocks at the southern end of the Galle promontory, this elegant 27m working lighthouse dates from 1939, though there's been a…

5. Lighthouse Beach

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A slim swathe of sand right on the east side of the Fort. However it's not that great for a dip as there are rocks offshore and the beach is often…

6. Historical Mansion

0.23 MILES

More of an antique store than a museum, this Fort townhouse (which dates back to the Dutch days) contains the private collection of a long-time local…

7. Aurora Bastion

0.24 MILES

East-facing bastion, with fine views of Galle harbour. Look out for blocks of coral in its walls.

8. Dutch Hospital

0.25 MILES

Now fully restored and home to myriad upmarket boutiques and restaurants, this vast, colonnaded colonial landmark dates from the 18th century. Its size…