The best time to visit Sri Lanka

If you’re looking for information about the best time to visit Sri Lanka, you’ve come to the right place. For a relatively small island, Sri Lanka’s climate varies depending on the time of year, but it is generally warm with an average temperature of 25°C all year round. The exception is Hill Country where the central mountains reach a cool 19°C and get colder at night.

Sri Lanka has not one but two monsoon seasons, with Yala in the southwest from April to September and Maha in the northeast from November-March. So as a guide, head to the southwest between November and April and the northeast between February and September.

May is also a really pleasant time to visit, and July and August are popular in the south due to the intermittent tropical downpours and lovely hot sunshine.

Our guide will show you the best time to visit Sri Lanka to get the most out of your tour and requirements.

Sri Lanka in a nutshell:

April-September Yala in the south-west  and Maha in the north-east from November-March

Whale watching
March-May on the eastern coast, from December on the southern coast

Giant Buddha Statue, Mihintale, Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Sri Lanka

To help you plan your tour, we’ll show you the best time to visit Sri Lanka we’ve given you an overview of the temperature in Sri Lanka for each month.

Sri Lanka through the seasons

Sri Lanka in January

January is usually dry and warm, particularly in the central, western and southern regions. This is the best time to visit Sri Lanka to explore the Cultural Triangle (the area between Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla) followed by beach relaxation at Negombo or Tangalle.

In the northeast, the Maha monsoon will still be affecting the coast, but the heaviest rain is coming to an end. The annual Galle Literary Festival takes place in late January or early February.

Sri Lanka in February

If you’re looking to tie in your visit with a festival, then Independence Day on 4th February is an annual, country-wide celebration. February brings beautiful sunny days on the west and south coasts and in central Sri Lanka. Temperatures can soar to over 30 degrees and there is minimal rainfall, with the east coast rains being less intense.

Sri Lanka in March

In our opinion, March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka, with temperatures starting to rise on the east coast and the northeast monsoon coming to an end. The Hill Country rises in temperature and there is glorious sunshine in the beach resorts along the west and south coasts, with temperatures reaching the mid-30s. You might not escape the rain completely, as there may be some towards the end of the month. On the eastern coast, it’s the start of the whale watching season, with sightings getting fewer after May.

Sri Lanka in April

April is another warm and sunny month, especially the first few weeks. Humidity can be quite high, particularly in the Cultural Triangle. April is the best place to visit Hill Country destinations such as Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. It is getting warmer in the evenings; rainfall is below average and daytime temperatures are in the mid-20s.

Sri Lanka in May, June and July

The weather for these three months is pretty similar. The beaches of the east glow with constant sunshine and temperatures in the high-20s. However, in the central, south and west it’s Yala monsoon season, which means swimming in the sea is unsafe due to the large waves. Although there is rainfall, it is short and sharp, with bright sunny intervals.

June is the ideal time to visit the Cultural Triangle and is the month of the Poson Poya festival celebrating the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century. Other religious festivals in the summer include the Hindu Vel festival and the famous Festival of the Tooth in Kandy.

Tea Plantations, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka in August

There is a vast drop in rainfall in the south and west and a pleasant climate along the east coast. Unlike many Asia destinations, Sri Lanka is actually a great destination during school summer holidays, in contrast with many Asia destinations.

Sri Lanka in September

In the east coast, it’s the last of the really good weather and more rain towards the end of the month. In the Hill Country, south and west regions the south-west monsoon increases.

Sri Lanka in October and November

Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights takes place during these months. October is one of the wettest months across Sri Lanka with the southwest monsoon only beginning to ebb towards the end of the month.

Visit the south and west regions later in November. The Cultural Triangle and Hill Country regions see high rainfall and the west coast is affected by the north-east monsoon.

Sri Lanka in December

High season begins in the south and west coast beach resorts and although rain is inevitable, the weather improves in the Cultural Triangle and Hill Country. While heavy rainfall continues in the north east from the monsoon, in the south coast it’s the start of whale-watching season, with chances to also spot dolphins, turtles and flying fish.

We hope you’ve found our guide to the best time to visit Sri Lanka helpful! Find out more information on Sri Lanka here or contact our team to start planning your Sri Lanka holiday.