When is the Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka?

Although Sri Lanka is a relatively small country, the climate can be confusing which is down to the two monsoons – the Yala and the Maha. Due to being situated just off the equator, the temperature doesn’t seem to vary too much throughout the year with averages of around 25 degrees. Yet, what does change from month to month is the amount of rainfall which is caused by the monsoons.

With all of that said, you can visit Sri Lanka with the peace of mind that you’ll get hot sunshine on the island at all times of the year.

The best time to visit Sri Lanka would be between January – March when the weather is hot, dry and sunny throughout the majority of the island.

Visiting Sri Lanka in January

January in Sri Lanka is hot and dry with minimal humidity within the central and western regions. As it is winter in Sri Lanka, the days are short with bursts of sunshine. You can expect calm seas which is perfect for those who want to try their hand at water sports and if you’re lucky, you may even spot Blue and Sperm whales on the horizon.

Visiting Sri Lanka in February

February has a very similar climate to January and is considered the driest month on both the south and west coasts and in central Sri Lanka. You can enjoy up to 9 hours of bright sunshine with temperatures averaging between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Visiting Sri Lanka in March

March marks the end of the ‘cold’ season with temperatures averaging between 23 and 32 degrees Celsius. The south and west coasts typically offer up to 9 hours of glorious sunshine with clear skies for over half of the day. The waters remain calm which is ideal if you wish to take a dip in the ocean.

Visiting Sri Lanka in April

April is another hot and dry month with 9 hours of unbroken sunshine. If you enjoy a party atmosphere, don’t miss the opportunity to see the week-long Sinhala and Tamil Nadu festival which marks the end of Sri Lanka’s harvesting season.

Visiting Sri Lanka in May

May is the hottest month of the year in Sri Lanka with temperatures ranging between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius. The south can become very humid during May, so if you’d prefer fresher temperatures, make your way to the Hill Country. During this month, tourists can spectate Sri Lanka’s most prized festival – ‘Vesak Poya’ which celebrates the life of Buddha.

Visiting Sri Lanka in June

The South-West monsoon continues to impact the Southern and Eastern regions; causing a hot, damp and humid climate, with over 16 days of rainfall throughout the month. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to head over to the Hill Country where the weather is more settled.

Visiting Sri Lanka in July

Like June, the South-western monsoon is still affecting the Southern and Western regions of the island – so it would be best to head over to the East coast during this month to enjoy drier, sunnier spells. July is a busy month for festivals which draw in tourists from around the world including the Hindu festival of Vel, and Esala Perahera which falls in either July or August.

Visiting Sri Lanka in August

Rainfall drops significantly in the Southwest during August in comparison to June and July therefore, would be a great time to visit this part of the island if it is on your bucket list.

Visiting Sri Lanka in September

The Northern and Eastern regions of Sri Lanka still offer pleasant weather conditions in September, however, this is the last month of the unbroken sunshine and you’ll likely experience occasional rainfall. On the South-West, the monsoon once again makes an appearance.

Visiting Sri Lanka in October

October is one of the wettest months in Sri Lanka with unpredictable weather conditions – so you may have the odd shower from time to time. One of the benefits of visiting during this month is that it is the start of the off-peak season with few crowds.

Visiting Sri Lanka in November

Visit the South and West regions at the end of November and you’ll enjoy increased hours of sunshine and little rainfall. It also marks the start of the Northeast monsoon which means there is greater rainfall along the East coast. During this month, The Hindu festival of Deepavali otherwise known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ takes place and the famous Yala National Park reopens after its period of annual closure.

Visiting Sri Lanka in December

December is a great time to visit Sri Lanka, thanks to the improved weather conditions across most of the island. The northeast is still recovering from the monsoon, therefore, your best bet would be to head over to the south if you’re looking for a sunny beach break. Grab your binoculars – December marks the beginning of the whale watching season along the south coast.