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Where to go on holiday in March

holiday ideas March 2015Where to go on holiday in MarchCaribbean in March

* Fly just 4 hours for sunshine and 23ºC

* For hot weather, head to Dubai, Caribbean or Gambia

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

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 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 nearby Madeira which has some outstanding hotels.

Morocco is a good bet whether you want to discover exotic cities, such as Marrakech and Fes, or join an 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.

Other great short-haul options include Jordan where you could join an 8-night Trek Petra tour which takes in the country’s most famous sights. There’s also a Total Solar Eclipse in March 2015 in the Faroe Islands – you can book places on a group tour.

If you’re travelling solo, see our pick of the best singles holidays in March.

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Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

Beach holidays in MarchThe Caribbean is one of the best holiday destinations in March

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’s a good 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 top places to stay is the Six Senses Zighy Bay resort.

Closer to home, Egypt’s Red Sea Coast is an ideal destination in March – sunshine is guaranteed and five-star hotels like the Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna are great value.

The Caribbean is among the best holiday destinations in March particularly if you travel before prices rise over the Easter holidays (Easter Sunday falls late in 2015, on 5 April). See details of the Caribbean weather in March.

You could head to the Cayman Islands for pristine beaches and great diving, and Barbados for fine dining and stylish hotels. 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 JamaicaAntiguaSt Lucia and the Bahamas.

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 combing a few days in the characterful capital Havana with some lounging on the beach.

My fellow editor David Wickers is a Caribbean expert. See his selection of the best Caribbean holidays, and our top beach holiday destinations.

Lion trioRelax on the beachWinelandsLux* Maldives

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 bird watching.

See our choice of the Top 10 Africa holidays.

March is a great month to be in the Seychelles, with calm clear waters. Avoid Mauritius at this time of year, as cyclones are a risk.

Mount FujiRasa Ria baby Orang UtanSri Lanka 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, though it can be 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. Widely 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 rugged landscapes and buzzing 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 or hit the coast roads of California.

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.

You could soak up the desert heat and non-stop fun of Las Vegas which you can combine with a visit to the Grand Canyon. Enjoy an exciting camp-out at the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort.

If you’re aged between 18 and 38 you can join a group tour with Trek America that will take you right off the beaten track, whether you want to explore the National Parks, or raft the Grand Canyon.

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.

The Residence outdoor poolcheap holidays in MarchMontreal waterfrontCity breaks in Germany

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 only three hours flying time to Tunis, a handsome city with a fascinating medina on the north African Mediterranean coast – we recommend The Residence Tunis. 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.

Incredible waterfallsGauchoKayaking in Iceland

Something different

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.

Also in South America, you can explore the mountains and jungles of Ecuador and the neighbouring Galapagos Islands on a small-ship cruise. March is a great month as newly-born seal pups can be seen on the beaches, wild flowers are in bloom and the seas are calm. Choose from a private holiday or escorted tour.

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 two-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.

It’s also a good time to visit New Zealand. Perhaps you want to tour the vineyards in Marlborough or take a nature cruise in Milford Sound. You can travel independently or join an escorted tour.

Take a cruise to Antarctica in March, one of the best months to view whales, and also see the fledgling penguin chicks.  You could opt for a 9-day classic cruise across Drake’s Passage and the Antarctic Circle to the Antarctic Peninsula, or enjoy a longer voyage taking in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

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.

For more detailed climate information, see where is hot in March. Also see our sister site for expert recommendations on honeymoons in March. If you’re travelling independently and plan to hire a car, please see our exclusive 10% saving with Rhino Car Hire.

This page last updated: 15 December 2014

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