When is the best time to go to Sri Lanka?

The best time to visit Sri Lanka varies depending on the chosen destinations. Indeed, throughout the year, while precipitation increases in one part of the island, the weather remains dry in another region. Thus, it is possible to travel to Sri Lanka all year round.

The period from December to March is favorable for exploring Colombo, the capital, as well as the locations in the west and south. You can then enjoy the beaches in peace, but also discover the immense variety of landscapes in the country. The sun is omnipresent during this period and the water temperature is ideal. This season is also favorable for visiting the central part of Sri Lanka.

On the other hand, to explore the north and east of Sri Lanka, it is best to choose the period from May to September. Indeed, even though the heavy monsoon is in full swing in the west, the rest of the territory is spared from rain, thanks to the geographical configuration of the island of Ceylon.

However, even if the rainy season may be a concern, it is important to keep in mind that it doesn't rain all day. Showers and thunderstorms usually occur in the late afternoon, and mornings are generally sunny.

Furthermore, to travel to Sri Lanka away from the tourist crowds, it is preferable to go during the low season, between May and September or during the shoulder seasons, between late November and late December for example. These less touristy periods will allow you to visit Sri Lanka while saving money.

Finally, if you are wondering when to visit Sri Lanka, know that there is no really bad choice to plan your trip. However, it is best to avoid the months of heavy rains such as October and November when precipitation is more abundant throughout the territory. In addition, the month of April, one of the hottest and most humid, may also be less pleasant for travelers.



Where and when to go based on the weather?

Map of the best times to visit Sri Lanka
Map of the best times to visit Sri Lanka ©whereandwhen.net

Central-South of Sri Lanka
Kandy, Dambulla, Nuwara Eliya...

January and February
77°F to 92°F°C
5 to 12 days
March, June, July, August, September and December
77°F to 94°F°C
1 to 21 days
April, May, October and November
79°F to 95°F°C
9 to 26 days

East Coast of Sri Lanka
Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Pottuvil...

February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September
85°F to 95°F°C
1 to 14 days
83°F to 88°F
January, October and November
83°F to 92°F°C
6 to 19 days
81°F to 86°F
December
83°F to 86°F°C
12 to 19 days
83°F

North of Sri Lanka
Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya...

January, February, March and July
81°F to 95°F°C
2 to 7 days
81°F to 86°F
April, May, June, August and September
85°F to 95°F°C
2 to 14 days
83°F to 88°F
October, November and December
83°F to 92°F°C
12 to 20 days
83°F to 86°F

North Central of Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura, Wilpattu National Park, Polonnaruwa...

January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September and December
85°F to 95°F°C
1 to 12 days
April, October and November
88°F to 95°F°C
13 to 17 days

North West of Sri Lanka
Puttalam, Kurunegala, Chilaw...

January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September and December
86°F to 94°F°C
3 to 21 days
81°F to 86°F
April, October and November
86°F to 94°F°C
10 to 19 days
85°F to 86°F

Southern Coast of Sri Lanka
Galle, Tangalle, Yala National Park...

January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September and December
85°F to 92°F°C
1 to 26 days
83°F to 86°F
April, October and November
86°F to 90°F°C
8 to 25 days
85°F to 86°F

West Coast of Sri Lanka
Colombo, Negombo, Kalutara...

January, February, March and December
88°F to 92°F°C
5 to 14 days
83°F to 86°F
April, October and November
86°F to 92°F°C
14 to 21 days
85°F to 86°F
May, June, July, August and September
85°F to 88°F°C
17 to 25 days
81°F to 86°F

Best time to travel to Sri Lanka by cities

See full list of cities


Climate and Weather in Sri Lanka

Located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, off the coast of India and not far from Indonesia, Sri Lanka has pleasant weather with constant heat. Temperatures generally range between 20 and 35°C (95°F) . Additionally, Sri Lanka's climate is influenced by its proximity to the Equator. Therefore, humidity prevails over most of the territory, and the moisture in the air can be challenging at times. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, characterized by alternating dry and wet seasons.

Climate of Sri Lanka - Wet Season

There are two main monsoon periods in Sri Lanka in different areas of the island.

  • The major monsoon affects the southwest of Sri Lanka, particularly around the capital. It brings heavy rains from May to October. The humidity can reach close to 95% at times, along with moist heat.
  • The minor monsoon, on the other hand, occurs from December to March on the east coast of Sri Lanka, such as in Trincomalee. Its intensity varies from year to year.

During the wet season, Sri Lanka can experience torrential rains leading to floods and landslides. However, some periods are less severe, making travel possible during this season.

Nevertheless, one of the major risks of traveling during the monsoon in Sri Lanka is the rough sea conditions. Indeed, underwater currents are often very dangerous at this time of the year.

Sri Lanka: Plantation de thé vert de Lipton's Seat, Haputale

Tropical Cyclone Risk in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is also exposed to the risk of tropical cyclones. The cyclone season extends from April to December, with a higher frequency in May and November. Although it is rare for the island to be directly hit, tropical depressions bringing strong winds and heavy rains are common during this period.

Weather in Sri Lanka: Mostly Sunny!

Overall, the climate in Sri Lanka is relatively pleasant. There are beautiful sunny periods and the sea is suitable for swimming all year round. Additionally, although Sri Lanka experiences frequent showers, they are usually followed by clear skies.

The unique aspect of the weather in Sri Lanka is that the wet season varies from region to region.

Let's now explore the climate region by region to help you plan your trip.

Climate of the West Coast of Sri Lanka

This region, known for its abundance of beautiful beaches, is one of the most touristic in the country. However, it is quite rainy. For example, in Colombo, it can rain up to 2,500 mm per year.

Fortunately, precipitation decreases from January to March and also from June to August. Thus, the weather is very sunny from January to April, while the sky is more often overcast between May and September. Tourists are more numerous during the Christmas holidays.

Climate of the Central Region

In the mountainous region, in places like Nuwara Eliya, the heat is less intense throughout the year, making this region pleasant to visit. Nights can be cool, especially between December and April.

Moreover, the weather is relatively dry during this period. However, if you plan on hiking, such as climbing Adam's Peak, it's best to avoid the wet season, which mainly occurs between October and December.

Furthermore, in the central plains, like in Anuradhapura, temperatures remain high throughout the year. Precipitation is relatively low compared to the west coast, with a peak from October to December.

Climate of the South Coast

The weather in this region is similar to that of the West Coast. There is a dry season from December to April. The ideal period for a visit is from February to March, the time of turtle nesting. This region is perfect for enjoying the beaches and going on a safari.

The southeastern coast, on the other hand, is well protected from the monsoon phenomenon. In the city of Hambantota, precipitation is quite low throughout the year. There are more rainy days in April and May, but the weather is very pleasant all year round.

Climate of the East and North

The east coast of Sri Lanka experiences a climate quite different from the west of the country. Here, there is a rise in temperatures and very dry weather starting from April, when the monsoon begins on the west coast. You can explore this region and its beaches until September enjoying pleasant weather. However, the northeast monsoon affects this region between October and December.

On the other hand, the northeast of Sri Lanka, like in Jaffna, is partially shielded by India. This region experiences high temperatures throughout the year and less precipitation. The rainiest period is also between October and December.


Temperatures and rainfall in Sri Lanka

On these 3 graphs, we present the evolution of temperatures of Sri Lanka and month-by-month rainfall for the cities of Colombo, Anuradhapura, Galle, Jaffna and Kandy, as well as the month-by-month sea temperature for coastal cities.


Peak visitor numbers and tourist seasons in Sri Lanka

Find out when Sri Lanka has its high tourist season (the period when the influx of tourists is highest) and off-peak tourist season using our data and figures.

Tourist seasons in Sri Lanka

The months with low numbers of tourists are: March, April, May, June, September, October and November. The number of visitors to Sri Lanka is high in: January, February, July, August and December.

  • Very low season in Sri Lanka: April, May, June, October and November.
  • Low season in Sri Lanka: March and September.
  • High season in Sri Lanka: January, February and July.
  • Peak season in Sri Lanka: August and December.

Figure: Visitor index for Sri Lanka month by month


Average price for flights to Sri Lanka

A return flight between Melbourne and Colombo is generally cheaper if you go in may ($ 803 on average): this is the best time for travellers on a tight budget. In contrast, you may end up paying $ 608 more for your airline ticket to Colombo if you go in december.

Find the best price for your flight Flight prices to Sri Lanka



Where to go in Sri Lanka?

This table allows you to see the maximum temperature for each city and our opinion on the weather month by month (see colour legend below the table).

Cities jan.feb.mar.apr.mayjun.jul.aug.sep.oct.nov.dec.
Colombo90°F92°F92°F90°F88°F86°F85°F85°F86°F88°F88°F88°F
Anuradhapura86°F90°F95°F95°F94°F92°F92°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F
Galle86°F88°F88°F88°F86°F85°F85°F85°F85°F86°F86°F86°F
Jaffna81°F83°F86°F88°F88°F86°F86°F85°F85°F86°F85°F83°F
Kandy85°F88°F90°F90°F88°F86°F85°F86°F86°F86°F85°F83°F
Trincomalee85°F88°F94°F95°F94°F94°F94°F94°F94°F92°F88°F85°F
Batticaloa83°F85°F86°F90°F92°F94°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F83°F
Chilaw88°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F86°F86°F86°F88°F88°F88°F
Dambulla85°F88°F94°F95°F94°F94°F94°F94°F94°F92°F88°F85°F
Kalutara88°F90°F90°F90°F88°F86°F85°F85°F86°F86°F88°F88°F
Kurunegala86°F90°F94°F94°F90°F88°F88°F88°F90°F90°F88°F86°F
Mullaitivu81°F83°F86°F88°F88°F86°F86°F85°F85°F86°F85°F83°F
Negombo88°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F86°F86°F86°F88°F88°F88°F
Nuwara Eliya77°F81°F83°F83°F83°F81°F81°F81°F83°F81°F79°F77°F
Polonnaruwa85°F88°F94°F95°F94°F94°F94°F94°F94°F92°F88°F85°F
Pottuvil83°F85°F86°F90°F92°F94°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F83°F
Puttalam86°F88°F90°F90°F90°F88°F86°F86°F88°F88°F86°F86°F
Tangalle88°F90°F90°F90°F88°F86°F86°F86°F86°F86°F88°F88°F
Vavuniya86°F90°F95°F95°F94°F92°F92°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F
Wilpattu National Park86°F90°F95°F95°F94°F92°F92°F92°F92°F92°F88°F86°F

Legend:

perfect weather

good weather

tolerable weather

bad weather

very bad weather


About Sri Lanka

What can I do in Sri Lanka?

Beaches / swimming

Nature and countryside

Culture and heritage

Sports

Family travel

Crafts / shopping

Gastronomy

Nightlife



Is this weather information for Sri Lanka reliable?

Climate data for Sri Lanka has been gathered every day since January 2009. The analysis of these meteorological data for Sri Lanka allows us to determine the average for each month in Colombo, Anuradhapura, Galle, Jaffna, Kandy, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Chilaw, and 52 other cities.

So yes: this data is reliable except in cases of temporary climate disruption in the region.

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