Whether you want to fly and flop in the sun or embark on wild safari adventures - here's where to holiday in March...
March signals the start of spring 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. Here are the best places to visit in March.
1. 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.
2. Lake Garda, Italy
Best March holiday for: De-stressing in style
In Italy’s beautiful Lake Garda region, Lefay Resort & Spa combines a stunning location with tailor-made fitness programmes – with an emphasis on outdoor pursuits such as bike riding, yoga and nature walks.
There are personal trainers on hand to take you through your paces, plus sociable group classes such as circuit training and core strengthening. After a full day of fitness, soothe your senses with indulgent spa therapies, or a rigorous sports massage to put the spring back in your step.
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.
4. 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.
Best March holiday for: Fly-and-flop holidays
In March, the average temperature in Jamaica is a fabulous 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 hotels to suit every budget. Jamaica’s interior has some lush forests with gorgeous waterfalls for the active hiker in you.
6. 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.
While the Guinness will certainly be flowing (especially at the impressive, interactive Storehouse museum), St Patrick’s Day is a family-friendly occasion. There are food fairs, craft stalls and local music and dance performances galore. If you want to experience Ireland at its fun-loving and vibrant best, this is the optimum time to visit.
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.
Want to treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa break? We love La Plantacion del Sur on the Costa Adeje – a beautiful spot with sea views and a splendid spa, where you’ll find saunas, steamrooms and whirlpools galore.
8. 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.
By Santanu Sen on Flickr Creative Commons
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!
9. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Best March holiday for: Unforgettable wildlife encounters
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.
Spy blue-footed boobies (yes, that is their real name!) 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.