There are many reasons why Sri Lanka should be on your travel bucket list. Besides offering gorgeous beaches, fragrant tea plantations and mind-blowing villas, Sri Lanka is an easy destination. Unlike many other tropical locations, favourable weather conditions make Sri Lanka a year-round destination.
Unfortunately, not enough people realise this.
Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons. This often leaves travellers confused as to when they should visit the tear-shaped island. After visiting and falling in love with Sri Lanka, we want to set the record straight about the weather in Sri Lanka. Check out our guide and discover the best time to travel to Sri Lanka.
The Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
Weather in Sri Lanka varies drastically depending on which part of the island you find yourself in. That being said, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is from January through to April. During this time, it really doesn’t matter which part of the country you choose to travel in.
The period between January and April is the best time to enjoy a hassle-free beach holiday, as the weather in Sri Lanka is warm, dry and sunny during these months. Between January and March, the possibility of rain is quite small. April, on the other hand, is a shoulder month and it’s considered the hottest month in Sri Lanka. But again, it’s important to remember that weather in Sri Lanka doesn’t run like clockwork.
During the hottest months, it’s wise to focus on beach activities and avoid long sightseeing tours. If you’re looking to breath cooler air, head up to the Hill Country. Here the weather stays cooler and there are plenty beautiful places to visit, including the city of Kandy and scenic train rides through the area.
Monsoon Seasons in Sri Lanka
There are two distinct monsoon seasons in Sri Lanka:
- South-West monsoon
- North-East monsoon
The South-West monsoon, also known as the Yala monsoon, brings heavy downpours to the southern and western parts of Sri Lanka from May to September. Though the weather stays fine in the northeast, Yala monsoon is considered low season throughout Sri Lanka and this is when prices are at their lowest.
The North-East monsoon (Maha monsoon) spans from October through to January. Maha brings significantly fewer rains than Yala and mainly affects the northern and eastern parts of the island. Maha coincides with Sri Lanka’s high season (December – March) and sees the island’s southwest coasts at their busiest.
The monsoons in Sri Lanka are clearly localised. This means you can enjoy beach life on the eastern beaches during the Yala monsoon and head to the western beaches during the Maha monsoon. Maha monsoon is also considered the best time for sightseeing, as the temperatures usually stay lower. This means the scorching tropical sun won’t make a long stroll through a tea plantation or a hike up Peak Wilderness pure agony.
So… When should I travel to Sri Lanka?
The beauty of Sri Lankan weather is that you can really visit the country any time of year and still enjoy good weather – you just have to be strategic about which part of the island you visit.
To enjoy best possible (beach) weather in Sri Lanka:
- Travel to the east coast between May and September
- Visit the western beaches between October and January
For the rest of the year, you can pretty much pick any beach in Sri Lanka that tickles your fancy and expect to be treated to great weather.