In February, the Northeastern monsoon is winding down, and the Southwestern monsoon won’t yet have started. The weather is quite calm all over the island this month. Keep in mind, though, that the climate in Sri Lanka can be somewhat unpredictable—in most places, there’s a chance of showers even during the dry season, and clear days during the monsoon.
Temperatures in most of Sri Lanka stay the same year-round. In February, Colombo experiences highs of around 90°F and lows of 75°F. In Kandy, average highs are around 86°F and lows at 66°F, while at the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, highs are at 70°F with lows at 50°F. In Trincomalee, in northeastern Sri Lanka, temperatures get slightly higher as the year goes on—highs in February are around 86°F, with lows at 75°F.
The Cultural Triangle region (Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla) is located in an area known as the “dry zone”, which rarely receives rain. The weather there is good in February, with average highs of 90°F and lows of 72°F.
Crowds & Costs
February is considered high season in Sri Lanka, due to the pleasant climatic conditions. Many travelers from Europe, the Americas, and Australia will have returned to work and school from their breaks. However, travelers from China may be visiting during their Chinese New Year vacation, which often falls during February. It’s a good idea to make arrangements in advance.
Where to Go
Since February is a busy time, you may want to avoid some of the country’s most well-touristed attractions (like Galle Fort and Sigiriya). Instead, use this month to discover Sri Lanka’s quieter sites. In the southwestern part of the island, some less overcrowded places include the temple and 165-foot high Buddha statue near the town of Dikwella, the sacred pilgrimage town of Kataragama, the Nagalakanda ruins, and the Mihintale temple complex near Anuradhapura. The northeast of the island is rarely busy, and is a good place to go if you’d like to experience more tranquil beaches and immerse yourself in Tamil culture.
February is also an interesting time to visit Colombo, due to the two big events taking place this month (see “Events in February” section). Note that last-minute prices can go up quickly.
For more information, see Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka.
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What to Do
Those who enjoy hiking can take advantage of February’s nice weather to climb Adam’s Peak. Also known as Sri Pada, this is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Hordes of pilgrims ascend the peak overnight, and watch the sunrise once they’ve reached the top. Food vendors and bright lights along the way make the climb a festive occasion.
February is also a great time to do a food tour in Colombo. Must-try dishes include hoppers, string hoppers, kottu roti, jackfruit curry, and pol sambol, a spicy coconut relish. Some of the best food in Sri Lanka is found in Colombo’s restaurants, so be sure to have a taste (if you’re staying at a guesthouse and have the opportunity to try some home-cooked food, that is also a treat).
Finally, nature lovers can enjoy a trip to Yala National Park in February. This nature reserve is famous for the presence of Sri Lankan leopards, but many other animals also inhabit the park, including elephants, wild boars, crocodiles, and birds.
Events in February
Festivals and holidays take place in Sri Lanka throughout the year, including in February.
Sri Lanka is well known for its peraheras, colorful festivals where elephants are paraded in full costume and fire-twirlers perform tricks. While the most famous perahera is in Kandy, there is also one that takes place in Colombo on February’s Poya day. The Gangaramaya Navam Perahera has been a tradition in Colombo since 1979. These festivals can get very crowded, and you may have to pay to get a good viewing spot; you’ll want to make your plans well in advance.
February 4th is Sri Lankan Independence Day. Also known as National Day, this holiday commemorates Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain, gained in 1948. The main celebrations happen in Colombo.
Traveling to Sri Lanka in February? Check out these great itineraries.
Sri Lanka from North to South - 15 Days
Take advantage of mild weather throughout the island to get a thorough look at Sri Lanka. This itinerary will take you on a long circuit from Colombo to Negombo, passing by many of the country’s most interesting places.
Cultural Triangle and the East Coast of Sri Lanka - 13 Days
Explore the highlights of the cultural triangle, and the less-touristed beaches of eastern Sri Lanka.