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The best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on which part of the country you’re going to. It’s a year-round destination with consistent warmth and lots of sunshine, with temperatures averaging between 31°C at their highest and 22°C at their lowest. It’s normally hotter in coastal areas and the lowlands than it is in areas with higher altitude. Showers can occur at any time.

The southwest coast is best between December and April, before their monsoon season starts, while the east coast and the north is less humid between May and September, when their monsoon season is over.

The central hills remain cooler all year round and we’d only recommend avoiding them in October and November, when the rainfall is less predictable.

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Sri Lanka Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Colombo 30°C 74mm 31°C 74mm 32°C 136mm 32°C 247mm 31°C 361mm 30°C 208mm 30°C 135mm 30°C 103mm 30°C 184mm 30°C 360mm 30°C 318mm 30°C 160mm
Galle 29°C 105mm 30°C 94mm 31°C 143mm 31°C 239mm 30°C 307mm 29°C 192mm 29°C 167mm 28°C 177mm 29°C 222mm 29°C 354mm 29°C 316mm 29°C 192mm
Hatton 22°C 98mm 23°C 86mm 26°C 147mm 27°C 253mm 25°C 303mm 24°C 341mm 23°C 310mm 24°C 265mm 25°C 254mm 24°C 299mm 24°C 282mm 22°C 181mm
Kandy 27°C 176mm 28°C 119mm 30°C 130mm 30°C 211mm 29°C 228mm 28°C 173mm 27°C 172mm 28°C 163mm 28°C 176mm 28°C 323mm 27°C 340mm 27°C 262mm
Nuwara Eliya 19°C 127mm 19°C 87mm 23°C 82mm 24°C 180mm 21°C 180mm 19°C 168mm 18°C 175mm 18°C 154mm 21°C 169mm 19°C 245mm 20°C 236mm 19°C 228mm
Sigiriya 28°C 163mm 30°C 86mm 32°C 95mm 32°C 153mm 32°C 84mm 31°C 11mm 31°C 47mm 32°C 42mm 32°C 95mm 30°C 253mm 29°C 271mm 28°C 328mm
Yala National Park 28°C 219mm 29°C 134mm 30°C 95mm 31°C 114mm 32°C 61mm 32°C 8mm 32°C 23mm 32°C 13mm 31°C 28mm 31°C 126mm 29°C 239mm 28°C 237mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Visiting Sri Lanka in January - March

January to March is a beautiful time to be in the central hills or southwest Sri Lanka, as days are sunny and dry and the sea is usually calm. Galle Literary Festival takes place annually in late January or early February.

Events & Festivals

  • Marine life (November to April): Head to the south coast during these months to try spotting blue, sperm, fin and Bryde's whales, as well as many dolphin species, turtles, tuna and even flying fish. Read more
Tamil Tea Picker, Pedro tea plantation, Near Nuwara Eliya

Visiting Sri Lanka in April

April brings the start of the southwest monsoon, so the best place to be is in the north of the country, Cultural Triangle or on the eastern coast. The south remains warm and sunny, but showers increase and the seas aren't so calm. The 14th April is Sinhalese and Tamil New Year.

Events & Festivals

  • Marine life (November to April): Head to the south coast during these months to try spotting blue, sperm, fin and Bryde's whales, as well as many dolphin species, turtles, tuna and even flying fish. Read more
Pigeon Island Excursion, Jungle Beach, Trincomalee

Visiting Sri Lanka in May - June

Whilst the south is humid and hot, the cental hills are cooler but experience showers through May and June. The north and east is much more pleasant. In May, the Vesak Poya celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

The east coast beaches

Visiting Sri Lanka in July

As the school holidays begin, it's a good time to explore the cultural cities and wildlife of the north as well as the beautiful stretches of beach on the east coast. It's important to plan in advance to ensure we can secure your first choice accommodation.

Events & Festivals

  • Kandy Perahera (July or August): This is a fun spectacle, with colourful processions and traditional dancing taking over the city to celebrate the famous Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, housed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
The Naguleshwaram Temple

Visiting Sri Lanka in August - September

Weather continues to be at its best in the north and east of Sri Lanka between August and September. The Kandy Perahera is an elaborate festival and procession that celebrates the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. The music, singing and dancing brings everyone together annually either in July or August, on the full moon 'Poya' day. 

Events & Festivals

  • Kandy Perahera (July or August): This is a fun spectacle, with colourful processions and traditional dancing taking over the city to celebrate the famous Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, housed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
Macaques are a regular sighting throughout Sri Lanka

Visiting Sri Lanka in October - November

October and November continue to be warm and sunny all across Sri Lanka, but between monsoons the weather is much less predictable and showers can occur frequently. However, it really does vary from year to year, so it's impossible to forecast.

Events & Festivals

  • Marine life (November to April): Head to the south coast during these months to try spotting blue, sperm, fin and Bryde's whales, as well as many dolphin species, turtles, tuna and even flying fish. Read more
Mother and baby elephants in the wild

Visiting Sri Lanka in December

Whilst the eastern coast and north starts to experience more rain, the south and west is beautifully warm and dry. Christmas and New Year are very popular times to travel, so it's important to plan well in advance.

Events & Festivals

  • Marine life (November to April): Head to the south coast during these months to try spotting blue, sperm, fin and Bryde's whales, as well as many dolphin species, turtles, tuna and even flying fish. Read more

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Travel advice

Practical tips for travelling to Sri Lanka, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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