Where to go on holiday in March
* Fly just 4 hours for sunshine and 23ºC
* For hot weather, head to Dubai, Caribbean or Gambia
Although March signals the beginning of spring, it’s often a chilly month – not just in the UK but across much of Europe. You might find sunny days in the Mediterranean, but temperatures are likely to be cool and the sea will be distinctly cold.
So if you want guaranteed sunbathing weather it’s best to look beyond the Med. Fortunately, you don’t need to fly too far. March is a great month to holiday in the Canary Islands where on the islands of Lanzarote and Tenerife you can expect temperatures of 21ºC and 7 hours of daily sunshine. You should also consider Madeira where you’ll find some outstanding hotels.
Morocco is a good bet whether you want to discover exotic cities, such as Marrakech, Taroudant and Casablanca, or take a adventure tour to discover mountains, desert, souks and kasbahs. The flight is less than 4 hours from the UK and you can expect highs of 23ºC and 8 hours of daily sunshine.
Check out our guide to the best city breaks in March.
Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.
Beach holidays in March
If you want beach weather you’ll need to fly a little further, but you can still find some great deals. The Gambia in West Africa is a beautiful destination and great for cheap holidays in March. It’s only 6 hours flying time from the UK, with direct charter flights, and there is a great choice of beachfront hotels. Temperatures reach 34ºC with 9 hours of daily sunshine.
The Arabian Gulf is less than 7 hours flying time from the UK. Dubai – with its amazing collection of hotels, attractions, shopping malls and beaches – enjoys average temperatures of 27°C in March, while neighbouring Oman is the best option if you favour authenticity and history over glitz and glamour. One of the best places to stay is the Six Senses Zighy Bay resort.
You can also experience a range of extreme adventures in Dubai including an amazing tandem sky dive over the Palm.
March is a great time of year in the Caribbean before prices rise over the Easter holidays (Easter Sunday falls late in 2014, on 20 April). Head to the Cayman Islands for pristine beaches and great diving, and Barbados for fine dining and stylish hotels. Best hotels in Barbados include the relaxed boutique-style Cobblers Cove while in Antigua we like the all-inclusive Verandah Resort & Spa.
Our favourite small-and-friendly Caribbean islands include Tobago and Grenada, where we recommend the Calabash Hotel. If you just want to relax in an adults-only all-inclusive resort head for Sandals, which has properties in Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia and the Bahamas.
This is also a particularly good of year to visit the Bahamas, a destination that offers a rich variety of island experiences, from the lively beaches of Nassau to remote sand strips where there is little to do but lounge on perfect white sand beaches and dive or sail in the pristine water.
You might also consider a tall ship cruise of the Caribbean with Star Clippers or a beach-and-sightseeing tour of Cuba where we recommend you combine a few days in the capital Havana with some lounging on the beach.
Africa and Indian Ocean
Where to go on holiday in March in Africa? Head to South Africa where the Western Cape is at its best. Meanwhile, East Africa is in the dry season: try a safari in Kenya. It’s not such a great time to visit Namibia, and Botswana can be wet, although great for birders.
See our choice of the Top 10 Africa holidays.
Asia holiday ideas in March
March can be a wet month in some of Asia’s most popular beach resorts – although it’s invariably a case of a dramatic short sharp shower rather than persistent drizzle. It’s very hot (and wet) in Bangkok, yet it’s a bit chilly in the touristy parts of China.
Vietnam is a good bet for beach holidays in March, as is Sri Lanka. Further north this is a great time of year to visit Rajasthan in India (we recommend a private tour by car with TransIndus), or treat yourself to an adventure holiday combining temples and tiger reserves with Audley Travel.
March is a lovely time of year to visit Japan. This fascinating country would be worth visiting for its food alone, but you’ll also find dazzling cities, ancient culture, superb mountain and beach scenery. We recommend Inside Japan Tours, a small specialist company that offers self-guided and group tours.
Another country at its best in March is Borneo. Best known for its orangutans, Borneo also has white-sand beaches, great walking and a fascinating indigenous culture. An overnight climb of Mount Kinabalu should not be missed, and March is also the best time of year for turtle sightings.
Holidays in America
This is a great time of year to explore the wonderful landscapes and fascinating cities of America. Head to Utah and Colorado where you can explore canyons, mountains and desert. Or relax in the warm dry desert air of beautiful Arizona.
One of the best ways to see the States is – of course – by road. Rent a car (or a motorhome) and take a tour of the great National Parks, explore the Carolinas, drive the coastal roads from San Francisco to San Diego or tour California in a convertible with Black Tomato.
America still has a number of classic rail routes that will take you deep into the heart of the country. Try a journey from Seattle to LA, from Chicago to the Grand Canyon or this fascinating cultural rail tour of America’s music capitals.
If you’re aged between 18 and 38 you can join a group tour for young people with Trek America that will take you off the beaten track, whether you want to explore the National Parks, raft the Grand Canyon or cruise down the California coast.
It’s a good time of year for a cycling tour of America (details here). This is a great way to meet fellow cyclists and get to know this great country. You could take a classic bike tour – perhaps along the Oregon coast or on Hawaii’s Big Island – combine mountain biking with hiking and river rafting, or try a pub and pedal tour that includes beer tastings along the way.
New York is a great destination at any time of year. You could arrive on a Transatlantic cruise (details here) or join a highbrow art and architecture tour. This tour of the Great Eastern Cities with American Sky combines New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC with visits to Niagara Falls and Amish Country.
If you want hotter weather Take an island-hopping tour of Hawaii or head to Florida where you can explore the theme parks of Orlando, take the scenic drive to Key West or hang out with the cool crowd in Miami’s South Beach.
See our sister site for 101 great holiday ideas in America.
City breaks in March
Although many cities in northern and Eastern European will be decidedly chilly, this is a great month to venture south to the likes of Seville in southern Spain, Palma in Mallorca and Sorrento in Italy. It’s also perfect sightseeing weather in Malta.
It’s a great time of year to visit Jerusalem, a city that can’t be beat for atmosphere and history. Early spring brings sunshine and warm temperatures, but few crowds.
It’s only three hours flying time to Tunis, a handsome city with a fascinating medina on the north African Mediterranean coast. March is also a great month to visit Nice on the Cote d’Azur. It has art galleries, great restaurants, markets, an elegant beach and – best of all – that gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine.
My colleague, Annabelle Thorpe, has written an excellent guide to the best city breaks for spring.
How about a holiday of a lifetime in South America? We recommend Brazil or Argentina with on-the-ground specialists, Dehouche. They can find the best places to stay and local guides and put together an itinerary designed to your personal needs.
Or take a gastronomic tour of Spain or Italy led by an expert guide and travelling in a small group of fellow foodies. Details here.
March is a great time for a 2-week holiday in Australia as high summer temperatures give way to autumn. You could combine Sydney with the gorgeous beach resort of Hayman Island in the Whitsunday Islands, or do the golden triangle of Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.
Springtime in the Alps can be magical with great snow, sunshine and no crowds. You could get a late ski deal on a chalet holiday in the Alps with Ski Total. Or squeeze in a cheeky ski weekend in the Alps. Details here.
Alternatively, you could venture north to see the Northern Lights. Nasa has confirmed that the winter of 2013-2014 will the best in many years for sightings so now is the time to tick it off your to-do list.
For a total change, why not try a volunteering holiday with specialist operator Hands Up Holidays. Choose from destinations such as Costa Rica, Thailand, New Zealand and India, and combine mind-blowing travel experiences with the chance to make a genuine contribution to a local community project.
Try our holiday quiz
If you’re still stuck for ideas, why not try our fun holiday quiz. Answer 10 easy questions like the one below to find out what kind of holidaymaker you are, and get personalised travel recommendations. Try the quiz now.