The southern and western beaches all enjoy lots of sunshine hours, with humidity moderate and temperatures around 30C, although a weakening monsoon might still linger in the north and east, especially along the coast.

Colombo also enjoys one of its sunniest and driest months of the year. It’s a good time to visit Kandy and the Cultural Triangle, although occasional rain can occur.

Hill country temperatures are lower (average 20C in the day) because of the higher altitude and can make a refreshing change to the sun on the coast. It can rain here, although historically figures are relatively low. January is the best month to attempt the early-morning climb up Adam’s Peak.

January is peak season for travellers visiting Sri Lanka, so demand and prices can be high.

Lots of sunshine, low rainfall and relatively low humidity means the beaches on the south and west coast are enjoying peak season, with temperatures around 30C.

In the north and east the monsoon is now tailing off and largely occurs in the evening.

Dry weather in the national parks make it a great time to visit Yala, Uda Walawe and Wilpattu. The capital, Colombo, also has its driest month of the year. 

The Cultural Triangle’s most famous sites will be busy in February and temperatures are similar to the coast.

It’s cooler in the hills (with maximum temperatures around 20C), but it is one of the driest months and that makes it a great time to explore Nuwara Eliya and Ella or go trekking in the Knuckles.

It’s hotter now on the south and west coasts, with peak temperatures pushing above 30C and humidity slightly higher than earlier in the year, but you are unlikely to see much in the way of rainfall. The kite-surfing season brings extra life to the north-west beaches of Kalpitiya.

The Cultural Triangle, dry and hot now, can expect peak temperatures heading towards 35C with lots of blue skies. The capital, Colombo, is also at its hottest from March to May, but in March it remains largely dry.

March is also one of the finest months to visit the hill country capital of Kandy and, above it, the peaks of the highlands. You can anticipate lots of dry, sunny weather, perfect temperatures heading towards the mid-20s and less need now for a light sweater to protect you from those cool evenings.

If Easter is in March, remember that it will make pressure on accommodation particularly high, especially in the hills.

April in Sri Lanka is a month for those who like it hot. Throughout the month, the beaches on the south and west coast are still attracting sun lovers (especially over Easter), and temperatures often reach the mid-30s – around 5C higher than in December and January when the peak holiday season begins.

One of the main attractions of April weather in Sri Lanka is that the risk of bad weather is small wherever you travel in the country – although the south-west monsoon begins to introduce itself as the month heads to its conclusion.

On the east coast, the holiday season begins to stir back into life with rainfall now vastly reduced and every chance of blue skies and sunshine, as well as attractive early-season hotel deals.

En route to the east coast, the Cultural Triangle is predominantly dry with temperatures around the mid-30s, so if you plan to visit the sites it is best to plan your exertions for either end of the day.

In April, the weather in Kandy and the tea-clad highlands can be a joy. Temperatures can reach the mid-20s, the highest of the year, but as Sri Lankans also head for the hills to escape the heat make sure you book early to secure the accommodation you want.

The south-west monsoon, sometimes known as the Yala monsoon, brings rain to Sri Lanka’s south and west coasts in May. Galle and the beaches are likely to experience heavy bursts of rain and the sea in this area is no longer safe for swimming. However, especially at the start of the month, there is still occasional sunshine in between. The capital, Colombo, can also expect lots of rain.

You can find the best weather on the east coast. Rain is slight and temperatures approach 30C so that is where the wise beach-lover should head. The Cultural Triangle, dry and hot, is a perfect stopping-off point.

The eastern end of the south coast, in Tangalle and beyond, also has some of the lowest annual rainfall in Sri Lanka, making it a great value beach option for clients who are unconcerned about water-sports and swimming in the sea. 

May in Sri Lanka’s hill country, especially in the south-west of the hills, can also be a wet month, although Kandy and the northern hills still largely escape the wet and can expect temperatures of 32C.

With a monsoon dominating the south-west, the focus of beach lovers turns to the east coast where the peak holiday season is now well underway. Beach settlements such as Nilaveli and Pasikudah are perfect for a relaxing beach holiday, whilst the surfing season begin towards the end of June in Arugam Bay. The weather en route, in the Cultural Triangle, is also dry with lots of sunshine.

The eastern end of the south coast, in Tangalle and beyond, also has some of the lowest annual rainfall in Sri Lanka so it is rarely out of season.

Even in the period of the south-west monsoon, it is possible to enjoy days on the south and west coast with just the occasional downpour. Low season prices are attractive and the rain brings freshness to the air, although the beaches tend to shrink and sea bathing can be dangerous.

As well as the western and southern coasts, the south-west monsoon also brings rain and cold to the hills where daytime temperatures can be as low as 15C.

July can be an unpredictable month as far as weather is concerned, but the south-west monsoon dies away as the month progresses, bringing more settled weather to the south and west coasts – along with occasional heavy showers, there are clearer skies. Prices, too, remain enticing with good deals available.

For guaranteed sunshine, you can’t beat the east coast. On the beaches of Nilaveli, Pasikudah and the like, the skies are blue for much of the time, the seas azure and the sands shimmering. Arugam Bay enters its surfing season in earnest, attracting keen surfers from across the globe. Tangalle and the Deep South can also expect dry, sunny weather.

Temperatures average out at a touch below 30C on the coasts, with the Cultural Triangle a little warmer with occasional dry breezes. In the hills, where the rain has eased, the nights and early mornings are still surprisingly cool. Expect daytime temperatures around 15C.

August in Sri Lanka is a month when the weather is attractive over much of the island, just in time for the European summer holidays!

Sri Lanka’s entire south and west coast region usually experiences considerably lower rainfall compared to July and September (both of which can also provide decent amounts of good weather), and temperatures average out at 29C.

It’s also a good month to visit the capital, Colombo. Consider heading north of Colombo to places such as Negombo and Kalpitiya for some of the best west-coast weather.

The gorgeous east coast beaches remain in high season and are often the first target of travellers whose priority is sunshine then more sunshine.

Further north in the Cultural Triangle temperatures remain high at around 32C, rainfall is at a minimum and the dry breezes of the previous two months have subsided. As the water supplies dry out in Minneriya National Park, animals congregate around the large central tank, and herds of up to 200 elephants can be seen moving together in a wildlife event known as ‘The Elephant Gathering’.

September is mixed in terms of weather in Sri Lanka, with the best outcome likely to be early in the month. As you get into September, the approaching north-east monsoon begins to make itself noticed in many parts of the island, although most downpours tend to appear in the evening and days can still offer plenty of sunshine.

Sri Lanka’s east coast is expecting its final month of good weather, so if it’s beach time you’re looking for then head to Arugam Bay, Pasikudah and Nilaveli. As October nears, however, the sense is of peak season gradually departing.

The Cultural Triangle remains hot, and more humid, and again the most intense downpours tend to be at night, coming as a relief as they bring life and freshness to the air. It is also a reasonable month to visit Colombo.

By September, it has been a long drought in the far south-east and Yala National Park is closed for two months until November, to allow animals to roam far and wide in search of ever scarcer water supplies.

October is generally Sri Lanka’s wettest month. Whether it is erroneously referred to as the start of the north-east monsoon, or more accurately an inter-monsoon period that can bring thunderstorms across the island, the whole country can experience widespread rain. Particularly avoid Colombo, the west coast from Colombo to Galle and Kandy.

For holidaymakers who find tropical rain uplifting – and they do exist – that means that cut-price deals abound, although travel can be disrupted and not all entertainment facilities will be open.

There are other attractions too. Mannar and Uda Walawe are good for migrating birds in October and Wilpattu game park also has much to commend it. With the best weather likely to be found in the Cultural Triangle, it is always possible to knit together an attractive itinerary.

Those in the know swear that November, in particular the second half of the month, is one of the best times to visit Sri Lanka. The inter-monsoon rains gradually dry up, the peak holiday season is still a few weeks away so attractive prices are still available, and there is no overcrowding at the most popular attractions.

There is still plenty of rain across the country. But the second half of November is particularly kind to the capital, Colombo, and to west coast resorts as far as Bentota. Once the inter-monsoon rains relent, the humidity levels can be low and the temperature a few degrees cooler than normal. If you want to beat the rush and are most interested in this region, late November might represent your ideal Sri Lanka climate.

This improvement in the weather is unlikely to be found on the east coast, which is awaiting the arrival of the north-east monsoon (often impatiently if water levels are running low). Temperatures are lower in the Cultural Triangle – generally below 30C now – and although there may be rain about it is rarely persistent enough on the central plains to damage your travel plans. Watch out for rain, too, in the hills, and in Galle where the inter-monsoon period persists.

Tourists flock to Sri Lanka in December, with expectations of gorgeous weather in many regions bringing heavy demand and higher prices.

December is a particularly sought-after time to visit Sri Lanka’s western and southern coasts with dry, sunny days again a regular feature, the beaches rapidly filling and entertainment in full swing. Tourists also flock to the hills although often in defiance of the rain with the weather on these wonderfully verdant slopes often not settling until Christmas is almost upon us.

In contrast, Sri Lanka’s north and east is now affected by its own Maha monsoon season. That rain spreads into the Cultural Triangle, but this area has comparatively low annual rainfall figures so it rarely disrupts visits to the main cultural sites.