Discover the best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka really is one of those destinations that can be visited at any time of year, just as long as you know which month to travel where. Located near the equator, Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate and has two monsoons; the southwest monsoon, or ‘Yala’, which blows from mid-May to late-September from the southwest, and the northeast monsoon, or the ‘Maha’, which blows in the opposite direction between October and November. To make sure you get the most out of your holiday, check out our top tips on when to travel where to find the best time to visit Sri Lanka for you.

Sri Lanka's climate by region

  • Weather
  • Temperature (celsius)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
North / EastSunny IntervalsSunny IntervalsSunny IntervalsSunSunSunSunSunSunShowersShowersShowers
CentralSunSunSunShowersShowersSunny IntervalsSunny IntervalsSunny IntervalsSunny IntervalsShowersShowersSun
South / WestSunSunSunSunShowersShowersShowersShowersShowersShowersShowersSunny Intervals
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
North / East282931333535353434322928
South / West303031313029292929292929
Local men and children leaning on a boat at the beach

North and East Coast Sri Lanka

While the ‘Yala’ monsoon is sweeping rain across the south and west coasts during the months of May to September, the weather around the north and east coast, in places such as Trincomalee, is at its best. The cultural triangle is home to some of the country’s biggest cultural highlights, including UNESCO sites Dambulla, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya. Our Sri Lanka Uncovered itinerary is ideal for visiting these areas – located further inland, the regions remain mostly dry throughout the year with some rainfall around November and December.

View our Trincomalee trip
View at the landscape

Kandy and the Central Hill Country

Perched at a lower altitude, Kandy enjoys a drier and warmer climate than the higher tea hills of the south. In places like Ella, which is located in the southern hill country where the elevation is higher, the weather is akin to a mild British summer for most of the year. Check out our Through Rolling Tea Hills to Tranquil Bays itinerary to see what there is to see and do in Kandy and Ella. This part of the island is considerably cooler than anywhere else in the country, making it a pleasant hilly retreat from the heat.

View our Ella trip

West Coast Sri Lanka

The West Coast of Sri Lanka is, in many ways, the gateway into the country with the international airport sitting just outside of Colombo. The climate on this side of the island is swayed by the south west monsoon, meaning that the best time to head to this coastline is between late-November and April.  Negombo is a great place to kick-start your Sri Lanka holiday with its stretches of beach, colonial history and lively markets – check out our A Taste of Sri Lanka itinerary for ideas of what to see and do on the west coast of Sri Lanka.

View our Negombo trip

South Coast Sri Lanka

The south and south west of Sri Lanka have a similar climate to the west coast where the better months for sun-seekers are between December and April. If you want somewhere to unwind, Tangalle is an idyllic spot for some tropical downtime. The further east you travel along the south coast (past Yala), the more the weather is impacted by the north east monsoon which blows between October and December.

View our Tangalle trip
  • sri lanka polonnaruwa temple
  • leopard in the wild on the island of sri lanka
  • Staff-Phoenix-Mini-Adams-Peak-Ella-Sri-Lanka
  • Sri-Lanka-tea-pickers-Nuwara-Eliya
  • sri lanka national park wildlife elephant
  • Sunrise in Ella, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Family Holidays
Sri Lanka is becoming a popular choice for families, with comfortable transfers and plenty of activities - including spotting wild elephants!
Family travel ideas >

Top tips

15 Best Sri Lanka Family Holiday Spots

20th December 2017 by Fay

With comfortable transfers and plenty of activities to keep the gang entertained, find out why Sri Lanka is becoming a popular family destination...

15 min read

Read More - 15 Best Sri Lanka Family Holiday Spots

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