Where to go on holiday in March
* Fly just 3 hours for sunshine and 23ºC
* For hot weather, head to Dubai, Caribbean or The Gambia
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer
March may mark the beginning of spring, but it’s often a chilly month – in the UK and across Europe. You’ll find sunshine in the Mediterranean, but temperatures can be cool and the sea will be distinctly cold. If you want guaranteed sunbathing weather, consider the Canary Islands or Morocco.
These are my own personal recommendations with links to companies tested and approved by our team of editors. If you’re travelling solo, see our pick of the best singles holidays in March. Also see short breaks in March and family holidays in March.
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Beach holidays in March
If you want beach weather, The Gambia in West Africa is a great destination 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 6 hours flying time from the UK. Abu Dhabi has an amazing collection of hotels, attractions, shopping malls and beaches, and enjoys average temperatures of 27°C in March. It combines well with neighbouring Oman where you’ll find culture, history, mountains and beaches.
The Caribbean is a good bet, particularly if you travel before prices rise over the Easter holidays (Easter Sunday falls on 12 April in 2020). See details of the Caribbean weather in March.
Africa and Indian Ocean
You could head to South Africa in March, where the Western Cape is at its best. Meanwhile, East Africa is enjoying its dry season: try a safari in Kenya. Botswana can be wet at this time of year, although it’s great for bird watching.
It’s also the dry season in Ethiopia where you can explore dramatic mountain ranges, ancient rock-carved churches and the salt pans and volcanic lakes of the Danakil Depression. Join one of these trekking holidays.
Fancy a beach? March is a great month to be in the Seychelles, where the sea will be calm and clear. What’s your style: boutique hotel or luxury resort? In Mauritius the cyclone season has just ended, though you can still expect high humidity.
See our choice of the best Africa holidays.
Asia luxury holiday ideas in March
March can be a wet month in some of Asia’s most popular beach resorts – although it’s usually 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.
This is a great time of year to visit Rajasthan in India. I recommend a private tour of the Golden Triangle with your own car and driver. Or being among the few tourists to have visited the magical, mystical mountain kingdom of Bhutan.
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, mountains and beach. We recommend Inside Japan Tours, a small specialist company that offers self-guided and group tours.
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.
Venice is beautiful in early spring, with mists over the lagoon and no hordes of tourists. To do it in style, jump on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London. You can also take the Orient Express to Budapest, Verona and Vienna.
March is a great month to visit Nice on the Cote d’Azur. It has art galleries, great restaurants, markets, an elegant beach – and that gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine.
Or head to America. A weekend of non-stop fun in Las Vegas, perhaps, or New York to join a highbrow art and architecture tour.
How about a holiday of a lifetime in South America? I recommend Brazil or Argentina with on-the-ground specialists, Dehouche. They know the best guides and most stylish places to stay and can tailor-make an itinerary to your personal needs.
You can explore the mountains and jungles of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands on a small-ship cruise. March is a great month to visit 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 itinerary or group tour.
In Central America, Costa Rica is a paradise for nature lovers with rainforest and cloud forest, volcanoes, rafting rivers, hiking trails, wildlife reserves and Pacific and Caribbean beaches. The weather in March is perfect, but prices are lower than in the peak period of December – February. And British Airways now flies direct. Check out this range of hotels and lodges in Costa Rica.
It’s the dry season in Colombia. One of the most popular trips is a 14-night Highlights of Colombia tour featuring Cartagena, Medellín, the Gold Museum in Bogota, the underground Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá, coffee plantations, a butterfly farm, remote Andean villages and Tayrona National Park.
If you want to treat yourself to a pampering holiday, or give yourself a challenge, check out The Healthy Holiday Company’s trip ideas in March which include surf and yoga in Morocco and spa hotels in Thailand.
Or take a gastronomic tour of Spain or Italy led by an expert guide, travelling with a small group of fellow foodies. Details here.
Go skiing. Springtime in the Alps can be magical with great snow, sunshine and no crowds. You could get a late ski deal on a self-catering apartment with Peak Retreats or a chalet holiday with Ski Total. Alternatively, you could venture north to see the Northern Lights, perhaps viewing them from one of these Glass Igloos in Finnish Lapland.
Last updated: 27 March 2020
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