When to go to Sri Lanka? Weather, temperature… Best period by region
Strolling the streets of Colombo, surfing at Unawatuna Beach, visiting the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy or even Sigiriya rock… Discover basic information about weather and climate in Sri Lanka to visit the island at the best time, according to your wishes and festival calendar.
Sri Lanka enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year, with high temperatures averaging between 25°C and 32°C. Influenced by its position close to the equator, the island country is subject to a tropical climate characterized by two seasons. The rainy season, called monsoon, lasts from October to January on the east coast, and from May to October on the west coast. The dry season lasts from May to September on the east coast, and from November to March in the west of the island. In general, it is recommended to visit Sri Lanka during the dry season to avoid rain. For seaside pleasures, the sea remains warm all year round with a temperature of 28°C.
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When is the best time to go to Colombo and Western Sri Lanka?
Western Sri Lanka can be visited during the dry season, from December when the temperature averages 27°C to March when the temperature rises to 30°C. The capital, Colombo, is a vibrant city with a remarkable cultural heritage. Stroll around the Pettah district with its floating market, discover Sri Lankan culture at the National Museum and don’t miss the Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka temples.
You can also take a deep breath in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, which is classified as a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Negombo, about 40 km from the capital, is a colorful town famous for its fish markets and long beach. If you want to be amazed, head to Bentota, the country’s first seaside resort. This small town offers a tranquil environment with its magnificent beach of fine sand lined with coconut palms. Further south, Hikkaduwa offers equally magnificent beaches where you can swim with turtles as the sun rises.
In the southernmost part of the country, Galle is a city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its colonial remains. After visiting these wonders, you can enjoy the beaches of Pitiwella and Unawatuna, which bathe at 30°C all year round, although the period between January and April is preferred. Not far away, Mirissa is a charming town where you can spot dolphins and whales from November to March.
When to go to Kandy and the central mountains of Sri Lanka?
The mountains of Sri Lanka are explored between December and April. Due to the altitude, this region is the least warm in the country, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 22°C. On the other hand, they drop about ten degrees at night. It should be noted that precipitation is frequent in May-November, and it can rain regularly from morning to evening from July to September. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kandy is home to the must-see Temple of the Tooth Buddha along with the Royal Botanic Gardens. Walk through the market halls and watch a typical dance performance. The city’s man-made lake can be explored by walking or boating. Not far from there, visit the picturesque villages of Haputale, Ella and Dimbula, nestled at the foot of tea plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see. Along with Kandy, the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa belong to the Cultural Triangle. You will discover remnants of the past, including temples, Buddha statues and monasteries. Don’t miss Sigiriya rock, also known as the ‘lion rock’, the country’s iconic monument.
One of the most beautiful areas in the country, Nuwara Eliya is best visited between January and May. April is particularly pleasant with a temperature of 23°C, also because it is where the Tamil and Sinhalese New Year is held. On this occasion, the city organizes a festival with various animations. Adventurers can attempt to climb Adam’s Peak between December and April. As a reward at the top, they will discover a breathtaking panorama.
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When is the best time to go to Trincomalee and Eastern Sri Lanka?
Opt for the dry season to explore eastern Sri Lanka from May to September. The climate is dry and hot, with high temperatures averaging between 30°C and 28°C. The very sunny east coast will delight those who want to enjoy the seaside. The town of Trincomalee is a paradise for divers who can admire the sharks in the Pigeon Island National Park. Nilaveli or Uppuveli have great beaches with a water temperature of 30°C.
In addition to its fort and lighthouse, Batticaloa is famous for its large lagoon where you can swim and watch the fishermen. Nearby, Arugam Bay is considered a surfer’s paradise. Further south, Yala National Park is a natural wonder of nearly 1,000 km² where you can admire elephants, wild buffalo and plenty of leopards.