Sri Lanka is a tropical island paradise, nestled in the Indian Ocean. It’s a rich tapestry of culture with beautiful scenery and lively festivals. Sri Lanka's diverse climate means regardless of the time of year you choose to visit there will be something for you to enjoy. So, grab your sunscreen and sense of adventure as we explore the best times to experience this incredible destination.

What's Sri Lanka like?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of when to visit, let's get to know this pearl-shaped island a little better. With its beautiful beaches, ancient temples, and amazing rainforests, Sri Lanka offers a sensory overload of experiences. The country is renowned for its friendly locals, wonderful cuisine and a history that stretches back thousands of years.

Mirissa Sri Lanka

Things to do in Sri Lanka

There are so many things to do when you take a trip to Sri Lanka that its hard to know where to start so here's a few to give you an idea of what you can do when you go there.

  • Visit Sigiriya an ancient rock fortress, climb to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Visit Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, is a place offering a mix of modern and historical attractions. You can visit the National Museum, the Gangaramaya Temple, have a lovely stroll along Galle Face Green or stroll around the capital and absorb the atmosphere.
  • Relax on the Beaches as Sri Lanka has some of the most stunning beaches in the world. If you love to surf then head to Arugam Bay for some good waves.
  • Go on a wildlife Safari in Yala National Park and spot leopards, elephants and a variety of bird species in the Yala National Park, a paradise for wildlife lovers.
  • Visit Kandy and take a trip to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stroll around the peaceful Kandy Lake.
  • Go on a tea plantation tour and discover the art of tea-making by taking a tour of one of the many tea plantations in the hill country, such as Nuwara Eliya.
  • Hike in Ella, Little Adam's Peak is worth trekking to for the panoramic views of the green landscapes.
  • Don't miss the chance to go whale watching in Mirissa and see if you can spot blue whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.
  • Explore the ancient city of Anuradhapura with its remarkable ruins and sacred sites, including the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, one of the oldest trees in the world.
  • Visit the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa and explore the archaeological wonders of Polonnaruwa, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Take the train ride from Kandy to Ella as its meant to be one of the most scenic in the world.
  • Have a rejuvenating spa experience in wellness hubs like Bentota and Weligama.

So when is the best time to go to Sri Lanka?

Lets first look at the Sri Lankan Climate

Sri Lanka's climate is as varied as its landscapes. The island primarily experiences two monsoon seasons and these will dictate the best times to visit. The southwest monsoon brings rain to the western and southern coasts, while the northeast monsoon affects the east and northern regions. So let's break down the seasons and discover the best things to do during each.

Sigiriya Rock Sri Lanka

Low Season in Sri Lanka (May to August) 

The low season in Sri Lanka typically falls during the monsoon months, but these vary slightly depending on which the region of the country you visit. With temperatures ranging from 27°C to 32°C, here's how it looks:

Southwest Coast (May to September)

The low season in this part of Sri Lanka is when it experiences its monsoon season, meaning frequent and heavy rainfall, particularly in areas like Colombo, Galle and Hikkaduwa. The sea can be quite rough so may not be the best time for swimming and water activities.

Northeast Coast (October to January)

However the northeast coast has a different monsoon season, from October to January, including in places like Trincomalee and Batticaloa and rainfall is common during this period with beaches affected by rough seas.

Hill Country (May to September)

The hill country includes popular destinations like Nuwara Eliya and Ella and also experiences its low season during the southwest monsoon. If you choose to travel during this period you must be prepared for occasional rain and cooler temperatures.

Advantages to visiting Sri Lanka during the low season?

A great advantage of travelling during the low season is the fewer crowds. You'll be able to visit the popular tourist sites without having to deal with lots of people.You'll also be able to pick up lots of bargains during this season as accommodation and tour prices tend to be lower, wonderful if you are travelling on a budget!
And despite the rain Sri Lanka remains incredibly beautiful during the low season with lots of wonderful greenery and waterfalls in full force.

It is however essential to be aware of potential pitfalls:

Heavy rain can lead to travel disruptions and landslides in hilly areas. Transportation may also be less reliable. Water sports and beach activities may be restricted due to rough seas.

So the low season in Sri Lanka has its advantages, such as fewer tourists and lower prices but be prepared for rain and potential travel disruptions.

 Unawatuna Beach Sri Lanka

Shoulder Season in Sri Lanka (May to September) (November to March)

During the shoulder season which is May to September on the south-western coast and from November to March on the north-eastern coast, you'll find that the weather is generally quite good, with temperatures ranging from 27°C to 32°C, not as hot and humid as the peak season making outdoor activities more comfortable. The occasional rain showers will provide relief from the heat and add lots of greenery to the vibrant landscape.

Advantages to visiting Sri Lanka during the shoulder season

One of the perks of travelling during the shoulder season is that there will be fewer crowds at all the popular tourist spots. This means exploring attractions like the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the temples of Kandy or spending time on the stunning beaches of Mirissa can be done with a bit more peace and tranquillity.

It is however worth checking the weather forecast if you intend to travel along the eastern coast as there will still be residual rainfall in November and December.

So the shoulder season for travel in Sri Lanka will mean experiencing a more pleasant climate with fewer crowds and a chance to enjoy the country's beauty without the peak-season hustle and bustle, a fantastic time for travellers who prefer a more relaxed and peaceful experience.


    High Season in Sri Lanka (December to April)

    The high season in Sri Lanka runs from December to March on the west and south coast and from May to September on the east coast. Here's what you can expect if you choose to travel during this period:

    Sri Lanka enjoys its best weather during the high season, with temperatures ranging from 27°C to 32°C so you can look forward to plenty of sunshine with the minimum amount of rainfall, making it perfect for going to the beach and for getting involved in outdoor activities.

    As this is the peak tourist season, there will be larger crowds at popular tourist destinations such as Colombo, Galle and Kandy so it's advisable to book accommodations and tours in advance.

    Advantages of visiting Sri Lanka during the High Season

    The high season coincides with lots of important cultural festivals in Sri Lanka so make the most of the opportunity to go to the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year celebrations. If you love wildlife then the peak season is a great time to visit national parks like Yala and Udawalawe. The dry weather means it’s a lot easier to spot animals as they gather around watering holes.

    If you're into surfing, the east coast of Sri Lanka, particularly places like Arugam Bay, comes alive during the high season with ideal surf conditions.

    In summary, the high season in Sri Lanka means fantastic weather, lots of cultural festivities to attend plus many opportunities to explore the country and have lots of adventures. Just be prepared for larger crowds and slightly higher costs but the overall experience is well worth it.

    Sri Lankan trains

    If you're into surfing, the east coast of Sri Lanka, particularly places like Arugam Bay, comes alive during the high season with ideal surf conditions.

    In summary, the high season in Sri Lanka means fantastic weather, lots of cultural festivities to attend plus many opportunities to explore the country and have lots of adventures. Just be prepared for larger crowds and slightly higher costs but the overall experience is well worth it.

      The Best Month to Visit Sri Lanka

      If we had to pick one, January stands out as the ideal month to visit Sri Lanka. It falls right in the heart of the high season, meaning you’ll have the best weather for your adventures.

      The Best Weather in Sri Lanka

      For travellers who love warm, sunny days and minimal rainfall, the period from December to March offers the best weather across the country.

      Cheapest Months to Visit Sri Lanka

      Travelling during the low season months of May to August is the cheapest time to go as you'll find more budget-friendly accommodations and activities during this time but just be prepared for lots of rain and possibly some travel disruption.


      Sri Lanka is a land of wonders year-round, with each season offering unique experiences. Whether you're exploring ancient ruins, lounging on beaches or sampling the wonderful curries, there's something magical about this island nation. So, decide when suits you best, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the teardrop isle of Sri Lanka.