Getting to March can feel like a slow slog, but the lighter days and milder temperatures are always something to look forward to. While real warmth still usually eludes us in March, this month is a great time to go away – and with the schools in session, it’s the perfect time for an adults-only escape. But the big question is, where are the best places to travel to in March?
The spring equinox means longer days in the north and shorter ones in the south, and despite the rising temperatures, skiing is still an option in many destinations. And because March is shoulder season, prices are lower and crowds are smaller.
So, if you’re dreaming of a March escape, we’re here to inspire you. Here are 12 of the best travel destinations for March.
1. Valencia, Spain
If you’re interested in a city break, you might want to think about heading to Spain’s third-largest city, Valencia. Located on the east coast, temperatures reach 19°C in March, so exploring this wonderfully liveable, cultural city will be a relaxing and pleasant experience. Explore the characterful old quarter, visit the excellent museums, kick back on the beach, and sample bowls of paella, the city’s local dish.
But there’s another reason to visit Valencia in March, and that’s the Fallas festival, which runs from 15–19th March. The festival symbolises the coming of spring, and the city celebrates in fiery Spanish style. This means a lot of fireworks and light shows. Expect parades, music, and giant sculptures of celebrities and political figures…which at the end of the festival are set spectacularly alight!
2. Tokyo, Japan
In March, it’s cherry blossom season in Japan, and the whole country comes alive in a flush of pink and white blooms. While viewing these iconic blossoms in historic Kyoto, or rural regions like Mount Yoshino, is always popular, hotels get booked up quickly – and prices surge. So, instead, why not head to Tokyo and marvel at the flashes of cherry pink reflected in the innovative glass buildings?
There are many scenic spots to soak up the blossom-filled views, although Tokyo’s Ueno Park is one of the best. Aside from the thousands of trees here, there are also many museums and shrines to visit. And, of course, when you’re not admiring the blossoms, Tokyo is home to captivating traditional culture, futuristic architecture, phenomenal food, vibrant energy, and a dynamic arts scene.
March is peak spring in Nepal, and if you’re planning on doing some trekking, it’s the ideal season. Temperatures reach highs of 24°C, skies are dry and clear, and all across the mountains, flowers are blooming. The Annapurna mountain range is home to many excellent hikes through pretty lowland villages and around high, glacial lakes, and you’ll be able to admire gorgeous views of the Himalayas.
Plus, in the capital, Kathmandu, the Hindu festival of Holi is in full swing…although here it’s known as Fagu. This colourful festival paints the town in vibrant shades of red, blue, yellow, purple, and green, and people and buildings are pelted with coloured powders and water. You’re already in some of the most stunning scenery on the planet, and this colourful fiesta just apps the ante that bit more!
4. Washington DC, USA
You don’t have to travel all the way to Japan to experience a cherry blossom fiesta. Just across the pond, America hosts its own National Cherry Blossom Festival in the capital, DC, and the celebrations kick off in mid-March. The weather is usually pleasantly mild, unlike the notoriously humid summers, and the city’s many famous parks turn from glorious green to powder pink and snow white.
Another perk to visiting at this time is that admission to all the main National Mall attractions is free for the duration of the festival, which lasts until mid-April. The most famous sites include the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Plus, there are parades, parties, art events, music shows, kite-flying festivals, and so much more.
5. Sicily, Italy
Summer might be the most popular time to visit Sicily, but it’s also the busiest and most expensive – and temperatures can sometimes be uncomfortably hot. So, to experience Sicily without the crowds, why not visit in March? The mild Mediterranean spring climate is perfect for exploring the island’s baroque cities like Modica, Ragusa and Noto, as well as the ancient Greek and Roman ruins.
The first signs of spring are heralded by the flowering of the almond trees, and in the first two weeks of March, the Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore festival is celebrated in the city of Agrigento, with plenty of dances (and tasty delicacies!) honouring the sweet almond blossoms. On warmer days, you can head to the beaches along the Vendicari Nature Reserve, where you can spot birds returning from Africa.
6. Canary Islands, Spain
While much of mainland Spain is still shaking off the last shivers of winter in March, the Canary Islands are another matter. Located off the coast of North Africa, this volcanic archipelago comes into its own in early spring, with temperatures in the mid-20°Cs, and the skies bright and blue. Plus, while the days are getting longer and warmer, the peak-season crowds still haven’t hit yet.
While Tenerife and Gran Canaria are two of the most popular (and largest) islands, you might want to think about visiting one of the lesser-known islands…especially if you want to feel like you’re getting away from it all. La Palma is known for its spectacularly starry skies and whitewashed Renaissance palaces, while the plunging ravines and dense forests of La Gomera make it ideal for hiking.
7. Whistler, Canada
If you’re a fan of skiing, why not forgo the closer European ski resorts and head to Whistler in British Columbia instead? As one of the world’s biggest, best-equipped, and most beloved resorts, Whistler is popular with skiers all winter…but March is the best month of all. Not only are the skies a bright blue, but the snow is still heavy, prices are cheaper, and the slopes and lifts are much quieter.
When you’re not zooming down mountains, there’s plenty to do in the gabled alpine village too. The resort has a flourishing art scene and some truly exceptional restaurants, with a focus on seasonality and sustainability. Plus, the city of Vancouver is just a 90-minute drive away, so if you’re looking to explore a cosmopolitan city at the same time as hitting the slopes, you’re heading to the right place.
Vietnam is a very long and diverse country, but whether you visit the north or the south, March is a wonderful time to explore. The sticky humidity has disappeared by March, and with highs of 23°C, you won’t have to deal with extreme heat. Plus, the ethereally beautiful Ha Long Bay is at its most striking at this time of year, when the winter haze has vanished and the spring rains are yet to start.
March happens to be the driest month of the year too. In the south, the balmy weather is perfect for lazing on the beach while, in the north, the hiking trails that wind along the craggy mountains are at their prettiest. March is also still shoulder season, making it cheaper to explore far more than you would be able to in peak season – so why not visit cities like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Hoi An too?
9. Sri Lanka
If you’re dreaming about an exotic escape, then Sri Lanka is a fabulous place to visit in March. Not only is it the dry season, but the temperatures are ideal, with highs of 28°C and lows of 24°C. You’re guaranteed serious sunshine, beautiful landscapes, cultural festivities, and fascinating wildlife, so if you’re looking for a beach holiday with a difference, few places compete at this time of year.
Animal lovers will be excited to learn that March is the peak time to spot the blue whale migration on the south coast, whereas, in the national parks, you can observe elephants, leopards, and crocodiles in their natural habitat. The Hindu festival of Holi is also celebrated here and, in the pretty city of Kandy – a travel hotspot – you can catch the Esala Perahera, a grand Buddhist procession.
For the ultimate African adventure, why not head to Namibia this spring? March is a much less busy and more affordable time to travel throughout the whole of southern Africa (with the exception of South Africa itself), and Namibia sees far less rain than neighbouring countries. Safari parks here also aren’t crowded, which makes it easier to spot wildlife, particularly in Etosha National Park.
If you’re interested in a safari, bear in mind that antelope herds increase dramatically at this time of year – which means there are far more predators around too. In March, the salt pans fill with water, wildflowers bloom, and the birdwatching opportunities are unrivalled. The canyons, mountains, lakes, and red deserts of Namib-Naukluft are also at their most beautiful at this time of year.
11. Delhi, India
If you’ve always dreamed of going to India, March is a great time to visit. Just like Nepal and Sri Lanka, India also celebrates Holi, the spring festival of colour, and the biggest, best, and brightest celebrations are held in Delhi. In March, the already-colourful capital explodes in a kaleidoscope of rainbow tones, and throughout the city locals party, with plenty of parades, street food, and DJs.
But this buzzing international metropolis has much more going for it in March than just Holi. With temperatures peaking at 30°C, March is the ideal time to explore the grand temples and intriguing bazaars of Old Delhi, as well as stylish New Delhi. The city is far greener than many people expect, and the excellent metro system allows you to easily explore the many treasures that are hidden here.
12. Paphos, Cyprus
And finally, if you’re into hiking, culture, and history, Cyprus is an excellent choice for early spring. Paphos is well-known for its sweeping, palm-fringed beaches, and while the sapphire sea is still chilly in March, the mild temperatures (around 20°C) mean beach days are still a possibility. But this time of year is peak hiking season in Cyprus – an activity that’s best avoided in the scorching summer.
There are many excellent trails that wind over the pine-covered hills, through the swathes of olive groves, and along the hulking Troodos Mountains, and the sleepy villages that are dotted around are the perfect points to stop off for refreshments. Plus, in the old city of Paphos, there are all kinds of ancient ruins to explore, while the pleasantly warm days are ideal for long, lazy lunches outside.
March can be a confusing time of year. It feels like we’ve finally reached the stage where we can enjoy lighter days and put our thermals away. But temperatures can still be surprisingly cold…and it’s not at all unusual for snow to fall throughout the month.
So why not take this chance – before the schools are out and prices surge – to book a spring escape? Whether you want to enjoy a skiing holiday, a city break, or a tropical escape, the beauty of shoulder season is that the lower prices mean you can afford holidays that might otherwise be out of budget.
If you’re dreaming of a sun-soaked beach holiday, why not head to Sri Lanka, Vietnam, or the Canary Islands? If you prefer the idea of a city break, then Valencia, Tokyo, Dublin, and Washington DC are at their best at this time of year…and all offer something very different.
Hiking enthusiasts might want to consider visiting Nepal or Cyprus, while birdwatchers will be in their element in either Sicily or Namibia. Whatever type of holiday you’re dreaming of this spring, there’s a beautiful destination that’s perfect for March.
For more inspiration for your next adventure, check out the travel section of our website.
Have you been to any of these places? Or do you have your own suggestions for some of the best travel destinations for March? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences, so please leave us a comment below.