Best time to visit Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Sri Lanka will depend on your itinerary: for the west and south coasts and the hill country, the best time to visit is during the mainly dry season from mid-December to early-March, with January and February the ideal time; for the east coast and the ancient cities region, it’s best to visit between April and September.

Sri Lanka is considered a year-round destination.

Sri Lanka weather

Sri Lanka has a hot, tropical climate year-round, with high humidity and an average temperature of 28°C (82°F), rising to a high of 32°C (89°F) in coastal regions.

You can expect rainfall throughout the year. Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons.

From mid-December to February: the northeast monsoon brings rainfall to the eastern coastal regions including, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Hambantota, and temperatures are the lowest of the year.

From March to mid-May: an intermonsoon period brings frequent rainfall in the afternoon or evening on the western coastal regions and in the mountainous interior areas including, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya; but dry and gradually hotter weather in the north-central part of the country.

From mid-May to September: the southwest monsoon brings rainfall to the southwest coast including, Colombo, and in the mountainous area of the interior. During this time, the north-west, Jaffna and Mannar is the driest region.

From October to mid-December: a second intermonsoon period brings rainfall throughout the country.

Here are the weather conditions for the capital, Colombo, located on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, which is also home also to the beach resorts of Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Mirissa.

Which is the hottest month in Colombo, Sri Lanka?
The hottest month in Colombo is May, with an average high temperature of 32°C (89°F), high heat and humidity, and a low of 26°C (78°F).

The hot season lasts from early-March to early-May, with an average daily high temperature above 32°C (89°F).

What is the humidity in Colombo?
Perceived relative humidity in Colombo does not vary significantly with approximate average relative humidity calculated at between 73% – 81% over the course of the year. Typically, it's humid all year round in Colombo.

What do the humidity conditions feel like in Colombo?
We derive the humidity comfort level – what conditions feel like – from the dew point temperature, which measures moisture content in the atmosphere: a higher dew point feels more humid, while a lower dew point feels drier.

Meteorologists agree that dew point temperature is a more consistant indication of 'absolute humidity' than relative humidity, which fluctuates with temperature. 

The average annual dew point in Colombo is 24°C (75°F), and varies over the course of the year from humid at 22°C (71°F) to unpleasantly muggy at 25°C (77°F).   

Typically, almost every day in Colombo feels humid or muggy.

Which is the coldest month in Colombo?
The coldest month of the year at Colombo is December, with an average high of 31°C (87°F) and a low of 24°C (75°F).

The cool season lasts from late-June to late-November, with an average daily high temperature below 32°C (89°F).

Which is the sunniest month in Colombo?
The sunniest time of year in Colombo is usually March with an average of nine hours of sunshine per day; that's on average 70% of daylight hours.

When is the sea warmest in Colombo?
The sea is usually at its warmest in Colombo in April when the water temperature averages 29°C (84°F), which is pleasant for long swims.

The sea in Sri Lanka is warm enough to swim year-round.

Which month has the most rain in Colombo?
October is usually the wettest month in Colombo with 395mm (15in) of rainfall on average, distributed across 19 days.

The wet season lasts from early-April to early-December, with a greater than 45% chance of a given day being a wet day.

The drier season lasts from mid-December to early-April. The months with the fewest wet days in Colombo is February, with 43mm of rainfall on average, distributed across five days.

Which is the windiest month in Colombo?
The windiest month of the year in Colombo is June, with an average hourly wind speed of 22 kilometres per hour (14 mph; 12 knots)..

The windy part of the year lasts from early-May through to mid-October, with average wind speeds of more than 16 kilometres per hour (10 mph; 8.6 knots).

The less-windy time of year lasts from mid-October through to early-May. The calmest month of the year in Colombo is March, with an average hourly wind speed of nine kilometres per hour (5.6 mph; 5 knots).

The predominant average hourly wind direction varies throughout the year in Colombo.

Sri Lanka (Southwest Coast) Weather Averages

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high temperature (°C)
31 32 33 33 32 31 31 31 31 31 31 31
Average low temperature (°C)
23 23 24 25 26 26 26 26 25 24 24 23
Average daily sunshine (hrs)
8 8 9 8 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7
Average daily daylight (hrs)
11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 11 11
Comfort level – heat
High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon
Comfort level – humidity (#muggy days)
31 28 31 30 31 30 31 31 30 31 30 31
Average dew point temperature (°C)
22 23 24 25 25 25 25 24 24 24 24 24
Average relative humidity (%)
73 74 75 77 79 79 78 79 80 81 81 78
UV Index (max)
11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11 11
Average days of rainfall (≥1mm)
6 5 7 13 17 16 11 10 16 19 17 10
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
85 70 101 267 316 203 134 120 276 395 364 174
Average wind speed (km/h)
17 12 9 12 19 22 21 21 20 15 14 16
Average sea temperature (°C)
27 28 29 29 29 28 27 27 28 28 28 28
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Holiday seasons

High season: December through March, especially the Christmas to New Year holiday season. July to August is also very busy, given the various festivals held during this time.

Hotel rates usually double or treble. Be sure to book rooms well in advance.

Low season: The wet seasons. It doesn't rain all the time during the low season, the weather is still warm, there are less people around and many air fares and accommodation prices are discounted.

Source: Meteorological data for Colombo, Sri Lanka is based on weather statistics gathered for the 30-year period 1991 to 2020 from the closest weather station: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), also known as Katunayake Airport and Colombo International Airport, which is located 32km (20mi) north of Colombo.

Advice on the best time to visit a particular destination is based on average local weather statistics, when the weather conditions are generally better than at other times of the year. We consider high and low temperatures, risk of rain (and thunderstorms, etc.), amount of sunshine and sea temperature. For general outdoor activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 18°C (64°F) and 27°C (80°F); and for hot-weather activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (89°F). Often, the best times to visit correspond to high season and therefore involve higher prices.

More about Sri Lanka…

Latest update: Best time to visit Sri Lanka: 21 May, 2024

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data and conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable. We assume no responsibility and can not be held legally responsible for any decisions made on the basis of the information presented on this site.