Wondering where to go in March? Read our guide to where's hot
It’s in March that the first signs of spring tend to creep up on us in the Northern Hemisphere, and so it’s a beautiful time to take a holiday.
While much of southern Europe is warming up, there’s also still some snow on some of the continent’s highest ski resorts, and down in the Southern Hemisphere things are cooling down after a hot summer. If you’re planning a March holiday, here are the best places to visit…
1. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Best March holiday for: A crowd-free city break
The coastal Croatian city of Dubrovnik shot into the spotlight this past decade thanks to popular TV show Game of Thrones, and since then it has seen a huge number of visitors come to sample its great bars and cafes and walk along its old town walls. But there’s more to this city than fictional dragons – it’s a brilliant city break destination, especially in March.
At this time of year, the summer crowds are yet to arrive, hotels are more affordable and the weather is wonderful – expect temperatures in the mid-teens. Dubrovnik’s ancient cobbled streets, much of which date back to the 14th century, are a beguiling sight and the view from the 900-year-old city walls out to the ocean is breathtaking. Enjoy sunset cocktails at one of the many cliff bars, learn about the country’s communist history at The Red History Museum and visit the elegant Rector’s Palace.
Plus, every year in March there’s an oyster festival just 40-minutes’ drive from the city in Mali Ston, a quaint fishing village that comes alive with folklore performances and shellfish and wine tasting stalls for the occasion. There’s a reason this place is called the ‘pearl of the Adriatic.’
Where to stay: Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik, a sublime boutique property with sensational sea views
Best March holiday for: Wildlife spotting
If you’re really seeking an adventure for 2020, book a trip to Uganda. This little-visited, under-appreciated East African nation is making wildlife waves; giraffes are being re-homed in national parks across the country, and baby rhinos are being born for the first time in decades.
Uganda is small but its breadth of experiences is truly astonishing. One day you might be cruising along the Kazinga Channel, watching elephants and hippos potter about in the water, the next you could be spotting leopards or tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you’re a keen hiker with good fitness, chimpanzee or gorilla tracking can be a truly moving experience. And for those with less mobility, driving safaris are a superb way to meet the African continent’s curious creatures.
Where to stay: Volcanoes Safaris‘ collection of luxury lodges are an unforgettable place to escape to
3. Lake Garda, Italy
Best March holiday for: De-stressing in style
Italy’s Lake Garda region is beautiful in March, with sunshine warming the waters of the deep blue lake and almost totally clear skies providing the perfect backdrop for the dramatic mountains beyond. There’s no wonder that 7% of all of Italy’s tourists beeline for this striking natural beauty. And March is the ideal time for you to become one of them.
Not only does the region have glorious scenery, but there are some pretty spectacular hotels here too. Luxury is the name of the game on the shores of Lake Garda, so splash out on a spa hotel for a really special break. In the south of the area there are lakeside villages and rolling hills cloaked in grapevines where you can hop between vineyards sampling some of Italy’s finest wines. To the north, get high up in the mountains via the cable car on Monte Baldo.
Where to stay: Lefay Resort & Spa, which combines a beautiful location with tailor-made fitness programmes
Best March holiday for: Cultural wonders
In March, Japan’s cherry blossom bursts into life – a spectacular, world-famous sight. The entire country ventures outside to see the pink and white blooms, celebrating with picnics, parties, and festivals – an annual ritual known as hanami.
When you’ve had your fill of high-tech Tokyo, head out to the Five Lakes region for views of Mount Fuji framed by pretty pink blossom. Or hop over to Hakone by train and spend a few days enjoying the country’s onsen (hot spring) culture. In 2020, there’s so much going on in Japan, you’ll have plenty to do and see. Here’s why we think this is the best time to visit Japan.
Where to stay: Hoshino Resorts have a handful of superb, ultra-luxurious hotels and resorts across Tokyo and beyond, offering Japanese hospitality at its absolute finest
5. Sri Lanka
Best March holiday for: A tropical getaway
March is a brilliant month to visit Sri Lanka: it’s hot and sunny, but with the occasional afternoon rain shower to stop things from getting uncomfortable. For beachy adventures, try a week or two on the south coast – home of palm-fringed beaches and grand sea-view hotels in heritage mansions.
There’s plenty to explore beyond the beach too – don’t miss the island’s beautiful temples, hilltop tea plantations and national parks where elephants roam free. You might even spot a leopard in Yala National Park, where game drives will take you to see the country’s most majestic beasts – including, of course, elephants.
Where to stay: Abode Ahangama, a gorgeous boutique property surrounded by lush vegetation
Best March holiday for: Guaranteed sunshine
In March, the average temperature in Jamaica is a delightful 29 degrees, and with 12 hours of sunshine every day it’s a sure-fire sunbather’s paradise.
If you’re tempted by sun-kissed beaches and cocktails by the pool, set your sights on this fun-loving Caribbean island. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios boast great beaches, colourful shops and nightlife, and some great hotels.
There are plenty of great beaches and resorts for lazing the day away, but don’t miss the island’s lush interior too. Expect verdant forests with gorgeous waterfalls and plenty of fascinating bird life – an ideal day trip for the active hiker in you.
Where to stay: Jamaica Inn, a five-star property on the shores of Ocho Rios – the perfect beach break hotel
7. Dublin, Ireland
Best March holiday for: A fun weekend away
There’s one day in March when many of the world’s cities turn green, but there’s no better place to be than Ireland. St Patrick’s Day falls on 17 March, which means it’s party time in Dublin, so get yourself over to the Emerald Isle for some of that famous Irish craic.
Beyond the parties and parades, there’s plenty to see and do. There’s the Guinness Storehouse where you can learn the history of this country’s favourite beer, and learn to pull your own pint of it. Plus the University has some spectacular buildings well worth touring, including the much-photographed Long Room at the Old Library at Trinity College.
Where to stay: Number 31, a gorgeous Georgian townhouse with open fires, stylish rooms and original period features worked stylishly into the modern setting
8. Tenerife, Canary Islands
Best March holiday for: Short-haul sunshine
You don’t have to venture to the ends of the earth to find sunshine in March; in fact, some parts of Europe are positively balmy at this time of year. Tenerife – a mere 4.5 hours from the UK – has eight hours of sunshine per day and highs of 21 degrees.
The island has pretty beaches aplenty, but there’s intrigue inland too. Try hiking around Mount Teide for exceptional views out to the Atlantic Ocean, or come at nighttime to look up at the millions of stars visible from this region.
Where to stay: La Plantacion del Sur on the Costa Adeje – a beautiful spot with sea views and a splendid spa, where you’ll find saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools galore.
9. The Andaman Islands, India
Best March holiday for: A truly off-the-beaten-track break
Where on Earth are the Andaman Islands? Don’t worry if you’re not au fait with these idyllic isles between India and Thailand – that’s all part of their charm. This is India’s most remote state, strung out in the Andaman Sea. The skies and the oceans hold the most allure here, and not just for the balmy temperatures – there are some supremely rare birds and excellent coral reefs ripe for exploring on the Andamans.
Base yourself on Havelock Island and you’ll have the pick of exceptional hotels and resorts, and plenty of shops, restaurants and things to do. Plus, it’s not uncommon to see elephants wandering along the beaches here – some of them even swim!
Where to stay: Jalakara, an ultra-luxe resort amid a betel nut and banana plantation with outdoor pools and sleek, chic rooms
10. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Best March holiday for: Spotting sea lions
The Galapagos archipelago is top-notch for wildlife watching all year round, but March sees the isles spring to life with wildflowers and breeding sea lions, tortoises and birds.
See blue-footed boobies doing elaborate courtship dances, and see green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the dead of night. Days are long and sunny – perfect for exploring these wild and wonderful isles.
Where to stay: Galapagos Safari Camp, a handful of luxury tents which sit out in the wilderness of Santa Cruz island
11. Athens, Greece
Best March holiday for: A sunny weekend away
If you’ve always fancied exploring the ancient ruins of Athens but don’t fancy battling the summer crowds (and sweltering sun), March is the perfect time to visit Greece’s characterful capital – and if you avoid the Easter holidays, you should find a bargain hotel too.
The average temperature of 15 degrees is perfect for going back in time at the Acropolis. Try gallery-hopping to see some brilliant artworks – the Museum of Contemporary Art is always a thrill – and linger in outdoor cafes with a coffee and slab of baklava, a delicious honey-drenched nut-based pastry dessert.
Where to stay: The Foundry, an edgy, industrial-chic style property with vertical gardens and a great location in the hip Psirri neighbourhood