March brings with it lots of hope – snow is thawing, the days grow longer, and Europe welcomes the sunshine for the first time in months.
Up until Easter, everything remains cheap, giving even more reasons to take in the sun on a quiet beach. If you’re looking at a far-flung adventure, make sure to allow yourself time for relaxation and recovery. Break up safaris with wine tasting – after all, city breaks are about slowing down, and surf holidays necessitate hours of lying on the sand! Put a spring in your step this March with the 7 destinations below.
Take in the length and breadth of this compelling country. Usually sticky with humidity, March brings with it dazzling sunshine and the driest month in Vietnam. Perfect for a dual-pronged holiday, relax on the southern beaches and trek the craggy north. Explore Hanoi’s ancient pagodas, soak in Ho Chi Minh’s French colonial architecture, sail the Mekong, or take a bike ride over the bridges of Hoi An. In the Khoia Chau district up the coast you’ll find the Chu Dong Tu festival in March – this feast for the senses is rich with burning incense and exquisitely embroidered golden dragons.
Barcelona’s big sister. Although typically reserved, the city loosens up as her winter skin is shed and a wave of warmth sweeps by in March. The locals take to the streets enjoying Caipirinhas, dancing till dawn, while in the background Madrid’s expansive parks burst into bloom. The city’s temperatures of mostly 20ºC are perfect for exploring the belle-époque mansions, designer boutiques and world-class galleries – all without breaking a sweat. Although traditional tapas can’t be ignored, leave yourself some time to explore the new breed of trendy gastrobars emerging.
- Puerto Rico
There’s no better way to start the month than a beach party on Puerto Rico’s shores. This Caribbean isle is a mere two hours from Miami, and has long been a weekend playground for the US. Southern home comforts go hand in hand with the distinctly Latin flavor of Puerto Rico. Here you will find the largest virgin tropical rainforest, as well as the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. Both sides of island life are ideally sampled in March – light breezes lift the humidity, and beaches lose their crowds. If you seek a faster pace, be sure to hit up Mayagüez for salsa dancing, wander the cobbled streets of old San Juan, or head to Rincón for some whale watching.
- Canary Islands
Off the coast of North Africa, Spain’s tiny golden islands are heavenly in early spring. The days get sunnier and longer, and peak crowds are nowhere to be seen. Lanzarote provides stunning beaches, cool surf, and amazing locations to stay at. The lunar landscapes of Tenerife are captivating, and the Canaries are endlessly intriguing. Explore the whitewashed Renaissance palaces of Santa Cruz de la Palma, the plunging ravines of La Gomera, or the sleepy volcanic craters of Fuencaliente.
- The Maldives
No one minds travel clichés when it comes to night-snorkeling, island-hopping and turquoise beaches and ice-whit shores. Pair the aforementioned with a cocktail or two, and the Maldives make the perfect destination. Although idyllic year round, March is a fantastic time to spot sharks & manta rays, or enjoy the temperate 30° days in your private beach hut. Many spectacular hotels are also built with children & family holidays in mind. At the top of the list is Soneva Fushi’s The Den, complete with pirate ship, tunnels and treasure maps.
- South Africa: Safari
Take to the tip of this mighty continent if seeking a high-octane safari adventure. Nineteen national parks adorn South Africa, and the tail-end of wet season means lower costs and fewer tour groups – all for the small risk of the odd afternoon shower. If you’re here to see the Big Five, Kruger National Park in the country’s north-east is the place to be. For elephant lovers, head east, while the romantic seeking an Out of Africa style experience should head south, where they can track game on horseback in the lush Garden Route. Not looking to stray too far from the city centre? The closest safari to Cape Town is find in Little Karoo. Before heading home, dust yourself off at one of the many smart hotels in Cape Town. Best in March, the southern capital is free of visitors, but soaked in sun.
- Mexico: West Coat
Transplant Californian cool to a warmer climate, add larger waves, and you have the Pacific Coast of Mexico – it’s not hard to see why Hollywood heavyweights like to head to Cabo and graze by the pool. March makes an ideal time to stay as there’s virtually no rain, temperatures are rising, and whale-watching season is in full swing in Baja California. Star-spot over ceviche at Cabo’s One&Only Palmilla, before allowing yourself some time to take in the simpler pleasures too. The wild beaches and neon-bright shop fronts of Sayulita draw in travellers looking to chill out. In southern Oaxaca, the beach town of Puerto Escondido is the place to go for all day surfing, and all night partying. Just be sure to take in all the contemporary art the morning after!