Climate of Sri Lanka

Climate of Sri Lanka

Where is the country of Sri Lanka located? Sri Lanka is a country and island in the Indian Ocean, southeast of India. The island has a combination of tropical climates, in which the precipitation periods and the amounts of precipitation determine the difference between the rainforest climate, the tropical savanna climate and the tropical monsoon climate. The highest regions – the mountains in the south central part, such as the 2524 meters high Pidurutalagala (the highest mountain in Sri Lanka) – have a warm Mediterranean climate due to the lower temperatures recorded in these areas.


Sri Lanka has two monsoon periods: the southwest monsoon (‘yala’), which blows from mid-May to the end of September and brings a lot of rain in the southwest and west of Sri Lanka, and the northeast monsoon (‘maha’), which winds from October to mid-October. April blows and generates fairly large amounts of precipitation throughout the island, especially in October, November and December. During the southwest monsoon, the northeast and east of the island remain quite dry, as the mountains in the central part of Sri Lanka prevent precipitation from reaching the other side of the island.


In most of Sri Lanka, temperatures are around the tropical limit of thirty degrees almost all year round. In the northeast, the differences between summer and winter are slightly greater. In the summer months it is about 34 degrees on average and in the winter months the maximum temperatures are around 28 degrees. In the southwest, the differences on an annual basis are much smaller. In the capital Colombo, the difference between the ‘coldest’ months (30 degrees) and the warmest months (32 degrees) is only two degrees. It also stays warm in Sri Lanka for a long time at night. The minimum temperatures, depending on the area and the season, are between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius. It is cooler in the mountain areas, such as in Nuwara Eliya, where the temperature is usually ten degrees lower than on the coast.

Sri Lanka holidays

The beautiful Sri Lanka is ideal for both round trips and a relaxed beach holiday. A combination of a tour followed by a few days at the beach is of course also an excellent option. The question for some people is where to book your Sri Lanka holiday. We heartily recommend both TUI and ANWB Reizen. At TUI you can choose from round trips and beach holidays. For example, they offer the very pleasant RIU Sri Lanka hotel in Ahungalla exclusively for the Netherlands.

You can go to ANWB Reizen for tours through Sri Lanka. You can choose from private tours and group tours. The latter can also be booked as single trips or family trips.

Sri Lanka holidays at
Sri Lanka tours at ANWB Reizen

Climate figures

The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).

Maximum temperature Minimum temperature Hours of sunshine per day Days of rainfall per month
January 31℃ 22℃ 8 5
February 31℃ 23℃ 9 4
March 32℃ 24℃ 9 7
April 32℃ 24℃ 8 11
May 31℃ 25℃ 6 10
June 30℃ 25℃ 6 10
July 30℃ 25℃ 6 8
August 30℃ 25℃ 6 8
September 30℃ 25℃ 6 10
October 30℃ 24℃ 6 14
November 30℃ 23℃ 7 14
December 30℃ 23℃ 7 11

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. Whoever travels to Sri Lanka can count on tropical weather. In large parts of Sri Lanka there is a tropical climate type, in which the rainfall determines which climate exactly. The northern half of Sri Lanka and the southeast have a tropical savanna climate. In and around the highlands there is a tropical rainforest climate and a Mediterranean climate in the highest places. You will notice that it is cooler in the higher areas, which is absolutely not a punishment in rather warm Sri Lanka. In Nuwara Eliya, which lies at an altitude of about 1900 meters, maximum temperatures are around 18 to 24 degrees Celsius all year round. In the lower Kandy (450 meters above sea level) it is a lot warmer with average maximums of 27 to 32 degrees.

Best time to visit

The diversity in rainfall makes it very difficult to designate one period as the best time to travel to Sri Lanka. If you had to choose, we would see February and March as the best months for a holiday in Sri Lanka. During this period it is never too wet, the sun shines regularly and it is warm everywhere. Halfway up the east coast, the month of February can be a bit wetter.

the east coast

In the period October to January, the eastern coast of the island is ‘burdened’ by the northeast monsoon, which then exerts a great deal of influence on the weather. Especially in November and December it can be seriously wet. The drier period starts here in mid-March/April and lasts until August/September. If you want to travel to Sri Lanka during the May holidays or summer holidays, this is the best time to travel here. You have to be able to handle the heat, because temperatures of 34/35 degrees Celsius are quite normal in the afternoon.

The Southeast

The southeastern coast of Sri Lanka is somewhat protected from the annual monsoon. As a result, precipitation follows the same rhythm as the rest of the east coast, but it is less wet in the last quarter of the year. The period from January to September is fine to travel to this region. It can be hot, but the amounts of rain are not too bad.

The Northwest

The climate in the northwest of Sri Lanka does not differ much from that in the northeast. What is striking is that in the area of ​​Kalpitiya and Puttalam there is a sudden increase in the amount of rain noticeable in the month of April. In addition, you can say that this side of the island is less wet than the west side. However, there is a significant amount of rain in October, November and December. The maximum temperatures here are around 28 to 32 degrees all year round. February, March, June, July and August are the best months to travel to this part of Sri Lanka.

The Southwest

The areas of Sri Lanka that lie to the southwest are among the wettest places on the island. In the capital Colombo, for example, you can count on roughly 2400 to 2700 millimeters of rain per year. It does not cause serious cooling. The maximum temperatures are around or just above the tropical limit of thirty degrees Celsius all year round. The only drier months are January, February and March. This is therefore the best travel time for this part of Sri Lanka.

The interior of Sri Lanka

As soon as you visit the interior of Sri Lanka, for example during a tour, you will notice that there is quite a lot of rain spread over the calendar year. What is completely characteristic of the interior is that it is often cloudy. Sometimes areas hang in the mist for a whole day. The average number of hours of sunshine here is much lower than in the coastal areas. Because the first three months of the year are sunnier and less wet, this is the best time to travel to the interior of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka