When to visit - Sri Lanka

Best times to visit Sri Lanka

Best times to visit Sri Lanka

The climate in Sri Lanka varies massively from place to place throughout the year, meaning that you should be able to find somewhere with sunshine on the island all year round. Generally speaking in the west, the south and most central parts of Sri Lanka the best time to visit are the months between December and March when the monsoon rains are replaced by clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures. In contrast, the best time to visit the north and east coast of Sri Lanka is between the summer months of April and September.

Good times to visit Sri Lanka

Good times to visit Sri Lanka

Good times to visit Sri Lanka are scattered throughout the year. In the south and west of the Island the months of April, August and September often have good conditions for travelling. In the north of Sri Lanka the months of February and March offer mostly dry and warm weather making it a good time to visit after the monsoon season. The recent deluge brings the region to life and you will see more lush greenery than in the summer months. Whilst you are always liable to see some rain in the Hill Country (Tea Country) at any time of year, if you are looking to escape the heat of the summer (May to September), this area of central Sri Lanka enjoys a cooler climate and a taste of home for those hailing from cooler European climes.

Sri Lanka's Green Season

Sri Lanka's Green Season

Sri Lanka is affected by two distinct monsoon seasons and therefore can be split into two separate green seasons. In the south and the west of the Island, the months running from April through to October see a large amount of rain fall, while the east coast enjoys plenty of sunshine. In contrast the monsoon hits the eastern and northern parts of Sri Lanka between October and January with a huge amount of rain falling throughout the region. The monsoon season in this region lasts less time but is usually more intense often bringing with it floods and difficult road conditions.

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Sri Lanka's West Coast Weather Information (Colombo)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
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Max Temp °C303131313129292929292929
Min Temp °C222223242625252525242322
Hours Daylight111112121212121212121111
Rainfall (mm)8969143231371224135109160348351147

January – April: These are great months to visit Colombo and the west coast of Sri Lanka as rainfall is low and temperatures are pleasant, although be warned they do steadily rise in late March and April is often the hottest month of the year in Colombo with highs of up to 35°C.

May-August: May is the start of the rainy season in Colombo and visitors should be prepared to get wet, with an average of 371mm falling throughout the month. Temperatures are high too, making it a tough month to travel in. The heavy rain tends to continue throughout June, but tails off in July, with August often being quite a good time of year to visit Colombo and Sri Lanka as a whole.  

September – December: Although unpredictable, often the first half of September sees a window of sunshine and relatively low rainfall, making it a good time to visit Colombo and Sri Lanka’s west coast. But as the month draws to a close, a second rainy spell begins in earnest and October and November are wet months. The rain can continue into December, but usually stops by the middle of the month, making Sri Lanka’s west coast beaches a great place to spend the Christmas and New Year holiday. Temperatures throughout these months remain consistently in the late 20°Cs.

The Hill Country Weather Information (Nuwara Eliya)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
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Max Temp °C202122232119191920202019
Min Temp °C9919121313121212121211
Hours Daylight111112121212121212121111
Rainfall (mm)1007771158175171164161178226221196

January – April

These months are usually the best time to visit the Hill Country in Sri Lanka, with less rain than the rest of the year and pleasant temperatures. Temperatures in the Hill Country remain pretty consistent all year round, hovering around a pleasant 20°C during the day and dropping into single figures at night – quite different from the heat you’ll experience elsewhere on the island.

May – August

Whilst the months of May to August see an increase in rainfall, it can still be a pretty good time to visit the Hill Country and it is not unusual to have days without any rain and the temperatures remain much cooler than elsewhere.

September – December

Although rainfall is reasonably consistent throughout the year this period sees the heaviest amount of rainfall as the late monsoon weather hits the island, with October and November receiving 226mm and 221mm respectively. Temperatures drop slightly in December and January, the joint coldest months of the year in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's East Coast Weather Information (Trincomalee)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
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Max Temp °C272829323333333333312927
Min Temp °C242424262626262525242724
Hours Daylight111112121212121212121111
Rainfall (mm)173664858692851107107221358363

January - April

The beginning of the year on the east coast of Sri Lanka sees reasonably heavy rain with 115mm and 173mm falling in January. However, this heavy rain does not last long and from mid-February through to April it is fairly dry. Temperatures throughout this period rise a significant amount as time moves on with temperatures in April regularly over 30°C.

May – August

May is generally the hottest month of the year all over Sri Lanka and the east coast sees temperatures consistently over 30°C and remaining high all the way through the summer. Levels of rainfall on the east coast are low throughout the majority of this period.

September – December

Temperatures throughout the winter months in Trincomalee start to fall and December is the coldest month of the year on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Rainfall on the other hand continues to rise throughout this period with an average of just 107mm in September growing to 363mm in December making it the wettest, as well as the coldest, month of the year. We advise you to look at beaches elsewhere between October and January.

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