When to visit Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is blessed with warm tropical weather all year round. Coastal weather is affected by two monsoons which fortunately fall in separate months on opposite sides of the island, so there is always one side of Sri Lanka ready for your holiday.

The North and East receive their monsoon during November to February, and the South and West receive their monsoon from May to September.

The best and most popular time to visit Sri Lanka is from January to April, unless you wish to also include the North and East regions in your holiday, in which case March-April is the best window to enjoy great weather right across the island. Whale watching can be done on the West, East and South coasts during this period.

For visitors who want to stay away from the main tourist spots and enjoy a tranquil holiday on beautiful sunny beaches, visiting the North and East during April-September is a good idea.

Monthly guide for travelling

January to March is a beautiful time to be anywhere on the island except the North and East. The days are sunny and dry and the sea is usually calm.

The festival of Durutha Perehera is held on the full moon day in Colombo, and is second only the Kandy Perahera in religious importance.

South and West Sri Lanka are warm and a bit humid around the coast. The Hill Country is cooler and less humid. Rains start to recede in the North and East.

Temperatures start warming up in North and Cultural Triangle regions, with some humidity but the weather is generally dry everywhere on the island.

Hindus celebrate Maha Shivrathri in the Cultural Triangle and in the West, with all-night vigils and festivities.

April is an excellent time to visit as most of Sri Lanka basks in sunshine and warmth.

The North, Cultural Triangle and the East remain dry throughout the month.

The South remains warm and sunny, but showers gradually increase and seas get choppy as the southwest monsoon rolls in.

The 13th and 14th April are non-religious national holidays to celebrate the New Year.

May is a good time to visit North, East and the Cultural Triangle. The month marks the start of the monsoon season in South, West and the Hill Country.

The Hill Country is cooler and less humid than the South and West but it does get showers through May and June.

In May, Buddhists celebrate Vesak Poya to commemorate Buddha’s life over two days of festivities which include lighting paper lanterns and displays of light decorations everywhere.

June is one of the best times to visit the North, East and the Cultural Triangle, while the South and West continue to receive monsoon rains.

The North, East and the Cultural Triangle are particularly good for a holiday, with minimal rainfall, warm and sunny days.

Weather continues to be at its best in the North and East of Sri Lanka between August and September. 

The rains in the South and West recede giving a very high likelihood of finding good weather countrywide.

October and November continue to be warm and sunny all across Sri Lanka, but between the two monsoons the weather can be unpredictable, every region likely to get at least some unsettled weather.

The North, East and the Cultural Triangle experience their monsoon season from November to February.

Although most days receive some rain, this is a good time to travel if you like lush, green countryside.

While the North, East and the Cultural Triangle start to experience heavier rainfall, the rest of the country enjoys high levels of sunshine.

The Hill Country and the beaches on the South and West coasts are the busiest during December-March.

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