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Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

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View of Little Adams Peak in Ella, Sri Lanka

Little Adams Peak in Ella, Sri Lanka

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is generally between December and April. These months fall within the dry season on the popular west and southwest coasts and hill country.

You may also choose to visit the quieter east coast to avoid the crowds. Ideally you should travel to this side of the island between May and October.

Sri Lanka is a picture-perfect choice that boasts the pleasures of the tropics and the spirit of South Asia, while being a unique island to visit. Do you want to explore the palm-fringed beaches, marvelous temples, and stunning scenery of Sri Lanka? Then you can use this guide to navigate the best time to visit for various experiences and goals.

Overview

  1. Best Time for Great Weather
  2. Best Time for Beaches
  3. Best Time for Sightseeing
  4. Best Time for Hiking
  5. Best Time to Avoid the Crowds
  6. Best Time for Food
  7. Best Time for Seniors
  8. Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners
  9. Best Time for Families with Children
  10. Book for the Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Best Time for Great Weather

View of the Lion rock in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Best Months: November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

The best time to visit Sri Lanka for great weather depends on which side of the island you choose to explore. The best time to visit the west and southwest coasts and hill country for great weather is between November and April, while the best time to visit the east coast is from April to June.

The inter-monsoon season in Sri Lanka runs from July to September. The timeframes above can help you plan a vacation that is not affected by this rainy season. You can expect temperatures between 80 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit most days if you visit during the best times for great weather. You can also enjoy clear skies as you explore the cultural cities, breathtaking beaches, and national parks.

Best Time for Beaches

Tropical beach in Sri Lanka

Tropical beach in Sri Lanka

Best Months: November • December • January • April • May • June

The best time to visit the west and southwest coast beaches is from November to January, while the best time to visit the east coast beaches is from April to June.

These timeframes lie in the middle of the island’s predominant dry season on the coasts. The temperatures are warm, hovering around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperate conditions, combined with the crystal-clear skies, are perfect for the beach. You can swim in the summery seas, find pleasure beneath the shady palm trees, and snorkel when the ocean is still.

Rainy and windy days, although rare, are possible, but downpours are often brief. You should experience picture-perfect beach weather in Sri Lanka from November to January and April to June, for the most part.

Best Time for Sightseeing

Blue train on Nine Arch Bridge, Sri Lanka

Nine Arch Bridge, Sri Lanka

Best Months: September • October • April • May

The best time to visit Sri Lanka for sightseeing is in September and October or April and May. These shoulder-season months offer great weather across the country. You can easily explore the best places in Sri Lanka during these times of the year.

You can cross the iconic Nine Arch Bridge winding through the tea fields of Ella, explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to view the meticulously designed Buddist images of Gal Vihara, and visit a selection of fascinating temples. You can best experience these top things to do in Sri Lanka and more during the shoulder-season months.

Best Time for Hiking

Waterfall in deep forest near Eliya in Sri Lanka

Waterfall in deep forest near Eliya, Sri Lanka

Best Months: September • October • November • December

The best time for hiking in Sri Lanka is from September to December. During this time the weather is pleasant and not as hot as in the peak-summer months. There are also fewer crowds that could distract from your outdoor adventures.

Hiking trails guide travelers to sensational viewpoints in Sri Lanka. You can climb to the summit of the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. Here you can trace back centuries of history and view murals on the rock’s surface.

You can also traverse jungle trails to observe the hundreds of massive mammals sauntering across Sri Lankan plains during the Minneriya elephant gathering. Finally, a pilgrimage up Adam’s Peak is an essential experience to enjoy in December.

Best Time to Avoid the Crowds

Seema Malaka temple on Lake in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Best Months: May • June • July • August

The best time to avoid the crowds in Sri Lanka is from May to August. These months are part of the low season, when the inter-monsoon season affects Sri Lanka. For this reason the cities, national parks, and beaches are far quieter.

Even with the odd chance of rain, these months are brilliant times in which to visit. The weather varies tremendously across Sri Lanka and you can visit the east coast to miss the monsoon season in June. You can also partake in vibrant cultural festivals, such as Vesak Poya, or experience the laidback atmosphere of quiet beaches on sunny days.

Best Time for Food

Sri Lankan rice and curry dish

Sri Lankan rice and curry dish

Best Months: December • January • February • March • April • May • June

The best time to visit Sri Lanka for great food is from December to June. Culinary tours during this time reveal the exquisite and vibrant flavors of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.

You can visit coastal restaurants and eateries in the hill country, sampling a selection of sensational Sri Lankan snacks and mouthwatering meals along the way. Sri Lankan rice and curry is one of the most iconic dishes and you can try a variety at modest diners or gourmet restaurants. Both culinary experiences are possible and rice with curry will feature as a staple on your gastronomic route.

You can also enjoy Idiappa, a steamed noodle dish, Kottu roti, cut roti fried with spices and vegetables, and the world-famous Jaffna crab curry. You can try these dishes when the weather is comfortable, the restaurants are humming, and the cities are alive with culinary spirit.

Best Time for Seniors

Buddha statues in Seema Malaka temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Best Months: March • April • May • September • October • November

The best time to visit Sri Lanka on a seniors trip is from March to May and September to November. During these times there are fewer crowds and great weather in which to experience the best things to do in Sri Lanka.

You can explore fascinating places such as the ancient Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and enjoy guided tours of the unspoiled national parks. These experiences can introduce you to the history and beauty of Sri Lanka before other tourists arrive. The weather in Sri Lanka during these times is also comfortable, contributing to enjoyable seniors’ tours.

Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners

Couple at a tropical beach in Sri Lanka

Tropical beach in Sri Lanka

Best Months: April • May • June • August • September • October

The best time to visit Sri Lanka as a couple or for your honeymoon is from April to June and August to October.

During these times Sri Lanka is quieter and there is a greater opportunity to embrace intimacy at beaches that are not too busy and at accommodations that exude charm with more privacy. These times lie on the fringe of the popular travel seasons, letting visitors enjoy the perks of visiting Sri Lanka during its best months before the crowds arrive.

You can also find phenomenal experiences across the island, presenting new and marvelous ways to see Sri Lanka when there are fewer people booking out the best things to do.

Best Time for Families with Children

Family safari in Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka

Best Months: March • April • September • October

The best time to bring your family to Sri Lanka is from March to April and September to October. During these times the weather is great, there are fewer crowds, and you can time your trip with your children's spring and fall breaks.

Giving you enough time to plan a trip without disrupting the school year and including times of the year that are quieter, your Sri Lankan family vacation can be stress-free and meaningful. You can bring your young children or older teenagers to the magnificent island and spend your Sri Lanka tours enjoying the great weather, uncrowded places, and the best things to do in Sri Lanka with family.

Book for the Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Tea plantations at sunrise in Sri Lanka

Tea plantations in Sri Lanka

Veer off the beaten path and experience the beauty of South Asia’s stunning island of Sri Lanka on a vacation that is tailored to your travel style and exceeds your expectations. Find the right time to visit, whether you are heading for the sun-kissed shores on your honeymoon or traveling with your family over the school holidays.

You can use this guide to pick out the perfect month in Sri Lanka based on your preferences and browse our collection of Sri Lanka Tours to discover what is possible on your dream tropical vacation.

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