By Lottie Gross
Inspiration for your March holidays, including the best places to visit for sunshine and where to go to find little-known gems. This is where to take a holiday in March.
March is a fantastic time to holiday – spring is just around the corner and much of the northern hemisphere is beginning to warm up. You’re likely to be able to avoid the school holidays, too, taking your holiday in March rather than April or February, so book a trip for this time of year and you might find you’ve got the hotels and resorts to yourselves.
It’s an optimistic month, too, March: the days are getting longer and the flowers are beginning to bloom, and so everything from beach holidays to city breaks is on the cards.
In this feature, we’ve assigned a cost to each destination to help you decide whether it’s affordable. The cost refers to the average price per person for a long weekend with flights (if applicable) based on two people sharing a room in a four-star hotel. The cost doesn’t include spending money for food and drink.
If you’re after inspiration on where to holiday in March, look no further than this expert guide to the best places. Lots of these March destinations are equally good in April and May, though, so if you’re generally thinking about spring travel, these are the best places to visit.
1. Marrakesh, Morocco
Best March holiday for: sunny city breaks Average temperature: 22°C Flight time from UK: 3.5 hours Cost: £275
Morocco in March can be simply beautiful. Expect clear skies, warm afternoons and glimpses of snow on tops of the Atlas Mountains just beyond Marrakesh. It’s an ideal time to explore this Moroccan city’s seemingly never-ending warren of souks and markets, as temperatures sit comfortably in the low 20s – perfect bartering weather, if you ask us.
But there’s more to this Arab-influenced metrpolis than leather handbags and henna. Marrakesh is home to some spectacular buildings – get all your interiors inspiration at the Jardin du Marjorelle or the exquisitely tiled Bahia Palace – and a handful of excellent museums. Fashionistas will love the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, with its extensive collection of haute couture clothing and accessories made by the eponymous designer.
In a city that can occasionally feel overbearing, leaving you overwhelmed by its chaos (avoid the Djemaa el Fna if you’d rather stay relaxed), it’s essential to seek out a few quiet spots to recharge. Head out to the Cactus Thiemann to stroll among some 150 types of cacti, some as tall as houses, or dine at the Amal Center, which puts women in financial hardships through training in order to help them into work. Just by having dinner or a mint tea, you’re helping Moroccan women rebuild their lives. Now that’s a March holiday to feel good about. Read our Marrakesh guide for more inspiration.
Where to stay:Royal MansourMust-try dish: tagine, of course Don’t miss: Riad Yima, a tea shop and gallery by renowned Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj.
2. St Pete & Clearwater, Florida, USA
Best March holiday for: sun, sea and sand Average temperature: 25°C Flight time from UK: 10 hours Cost: £750
When you think of Florida beaches, your mind probably goes to Miami. And while it’s not a bad city for some sunbathing and swimming, we’re rather fond of the other Floridian coastline. Across the peninsula and a couple hours north, St Petersburg and Clearwater are two cities on their own smaller peninsula, just west of Tampa.
St Petes, as the locals call it, is the southernmost of the two and has some of the most exciting food and drink options in the region. Think distilleries, craft breweries – there’s even a beer trail – and inventive restaurants, and tonnes of intriguing galleries like the Dali Museum or Fine Arts Museum. To the northwest, Clearwater has the finest beach in America – voted for by users of TripAdvisor – with fine white sand and blue-green oceans lappings its shores. There are luxury hotels, beautiful seafront holiday homes and boats for rental in its marina. This little-known pair of cities will make a truly special, sunny March holiday.
Where to stay:Wyndham Grand ClearwaterMust-try dish: seafood at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill Don’t miss: tastings at Aspirations Winery
3. Pilanesberg, South Africa
Best March holiday for: wildlife watching Average temperature: 27°C Flight time from UK: 11+ hours Cost: approx. £1,500
In March, South Africa is reaching the end of its summer, so it’s the perfect time to visit for cooler temperatures. You’ll still enjoy some sunshine, and highs of around 27°C, but those safari drives won’t be half as sweaty at this time of year. For wildlife spotting opportunities, we recommend flying into Johannesburg and driving straight out to Pilanesberg National Park – a 220-square-mile reserve where over 7,000 animals reside.
Hole up in a game lodge here and you’ll have morning and afternoon game drives with expert guides who know exactly where to find the animals. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of searching for lions, cheetahs, rhinos and leopards, or coming face-to-face with enormous elephants and giraffes.
If you’re really brave, take a walking safari through the bush and you’ll see evidence of the big animals that pass through everyday. If you’re really lucky, you may even share the same ground with a rhino or elephant – just remember to listen to the guide and do exactly as they say if you do encouter a dangerous animal.
Where to stay:Tshukudu Bush LodgeMust-try dish: Boerewors, South African sausage Don’t miss: hot air ballooning above the national park at sunrise
4. Valencia, Spain
Best March holiday for: unusual festivals Average temperature: 19°C Flight time from UK: 2.5 hours Cost: £260
The first half of March in Valencia is a lively affair. As the city celebrates the arrival of spring, all manner of unusual parades and parties occur throughout the month. Expect to see fireworks displays, parades with enormous hand-made monuments and statues and eventually a fiery evening of burning them all to ashes.
The entire city comes out to party throughout March, so you won’t be short of things to do, but beyond the Fallas festival, there’s plenty to explore. A medieval cathedral sits in its centre, and countless art museums are scattered throughout. Enjoy picnics in the Jardin del Real, and pick up some regional specialities at Mercado Central, which is as architecturally impressive as its food stalls are tempting.
Where to stay:Hotel Las Arenas Balneario ResortMust-try dish: fideuà (pasta noodles with seafood) Don’t miss: the City of the Arts and Sciences
Best March holiday for: an Arabian adventure Average temperature: 26°C Flight time from UK: 7 hours Cost: £800
Oman might not be on the top of your list for a March holiday, but consider this: guaranteed sunshine, gorgeous beaches, high-end hotels and a desert with endless sand dunes and beautiful oases to explore. If that sounds intriguing, you should head to Oman in March.
Temperatures are hover in the late twenties at this time of year, so it’s an ideal time to be a bit active and perhaps try some hiking in the mountains or walking along the sand dunes of the Arabian desert. Muscat, the capital, is a fascinating place full of beautiful mosques and tempting souks where all manner of textiles and trinkets are sold.
Out in the ocean there are idyllic islands, too, well worth a visit on a traditional dhow. On the beaches you might spot turtles laying eggs, and in remote corners of the country old fortresses tell the stories of civilisations gone by.
If you want to stay for a full-on tour of Oman, book with Riviera Travel whose 10-day escorted tour explores the entire country with the services of a private, expert guide.
Where to stay:The ChediMust-try dish: Majboos, a spicy rice dish Don’t miss: the ancient capital, Nizwa
6. Burgundy, France
Best March holiday for: no-fly fun, food and wine Average temperature: 12°C Flight time from UK: 1.5 hours Cost: £300
With the kids still in school and spring not quite on its way, this is an ideal time to head to Burgundy in France – there are far fewer crowds in March. For those who prefer not to fly, it’s also easily reached by train or car if you take the Eurostar or Channel Tunnel from the UK. Waiting for you in Burgundy is a smattering of pretty villages, gorgeous chateaux and some medieval abbeys to explore.
Intrigued by a March holiday in Burgundy? Book a solo traveller special river cruise with Riviera Travel. It’s eight days from just £1,779 per person and takes in all the spectacular sights in this region and beyond.
Where to stay:Hostellerie De LevernoisMust-try dish: Boeuf bourguignon Don’t miss: Morvan National Park, an unspoilt wilderness
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