It may still feel like winter at home, but March finds wildflowers blooming in many parts of the world, and festivals of all sorts happening around the globe. Here’s a round-up of destinations that are at their prime in March.
The Galapagos, Ecuador
In March, water temperatures and clarity are the best they get all year, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. It’s also hatching season for Galapagos tortoises, and male frigate birds can be seen with their telltale neck pouches puffed up and flared out to attract females. Adults who don’t want to travel with lots of kids should avoid the spring-break weeks that range from late March to mid-April. The opposite is true for families: Book way ahead for those peak spring-break weeks that often feature family-focused departures.
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March is a great month to visit Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast: You’ll find sunny days, clear skies, and a fresh breeze that makes the temperature much more comfortable.
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The Caribbean trade winds that prevail in March and April make for ideal sailing conditions. The summer humidity hasn’t yet arrived, and evenings are fresh and breezy. You can charter a crewed catamaran that will take you wherever you want to go: tiny, palm-studded islands with hardly another soul in sight, or spots with open-air beach bars and restaurants.
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By late March in southern Spain, temps are in the 60s, the aroma of orange blossoms is in the air, the light is beautiful, and there are fiestas (and bullfights) all over the region. Before the crowds descend for Holy Week and the spring festivals, March is a great time to visit the iconic sites in Seville and Granada, or go off-the-beaten path in Ubeda and Baeza.
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Many of Puglia’s charming boutique hotels and seaside osterias reopen in March after the winter off-season, making this a lovely time to visit while the locals are still well-rested from their time off and the summer crowds haven’t yet arrived. Learn the art of making burrata—a local speciality of this food-focused region—picnic in an olive grove, and visit a glass artisan’s atelier. (Just don’t expect to go for a dip in the ocean, as water temperatures are in the 50s.)
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While many Greek islands go into hibernation in the winter, with resorts and restaurants shuttering for the season, Crete is large enough that it stays vibrant year-round. It’s also Greece’s most southern—and thus warmest—island. Not everything will be open in March, but it’s a great time to get a dose of local culture, and hotel rates are lower than you’ll find later in spring.
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If you think Notting Hill couldn’t get any more colorful, you should see it in the early spring, decked out with blossoms on its tree-lined streets. March brings glorious fields of daffodils to Kensington Gardens too—and everything’s in bloom in Chelsea. The icing on the cake is Kew Gardens, just a short trip outside central London and the perfect spot to celebrate the arrival of spring.
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Malta and Gozo
March sees few of the cruise-ship visitors who arrive daily in Malta come summer. With highs in the mid-60s and a lush green coating on the hills brought out by winter rains, this is a particularly great time of year for countryside walks and cycling on neighboring Gozo, which is smaller and more rural than Malta.
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Chile is roughly twice the length of California, so it covers vast latitudes and corresponding climates. March sees some of the best weather throughout the country: warm temperatures in Patagonia, dry days in the Lakes District, and lacking the oppressive summer heat in central Chile and Easter Island. You’ll also avoid high season, which starts before Christmas and lasts through February.
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By March, the weather is warming up—making it possible to spend a night out in Wadi Rum—the almond and olive trees should still be in blossom, and the crowds are thin.
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Cape Town, South Africa
By March, temperatures have begun to cool, and the fierce southeasterly wind calms down—which means that outdoor activities (sea kayaking, shark diving, trips to Robben Island) are seldom canceled due to weather. It’s also one of the best months for hiking and cycling, and the “March lilies” are flowering all over the city. This being harvest time, there is frenetic activity at the nearby wine estates, accompanied by many jovial festivals.
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In March there is still a lot of snow for all of Norway’s great winter activities—skiing, of course, and also dogsledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, snowshoeing, and so on—but also lots of sunshine, average daytimes highs in the 30s, and long days. Statistically, this is also the best month to see the Northern Lights.
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Queenstown, New Zealand
It’s the end of summer down south, and the weather is just warm enough: around 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the day, with nice cool evenings. You have access to all of the back-country activities that bring people to this world capital of outdoor adventure.
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The date for Holi—India’s famous festival of colors—is set by the Hindu calendar, but it almost always falls during March; in 2024, the date will be March 25. (This is one celebration where you simply can’t be a bystander, and you don’t want to show up in your best attire: Everyone throws vibrantly colored powder and water at one another.) Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur are all great places to be during the merriment that is Holi.
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Other Smart Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why March is a good time to go.
Central and South America
Africa and Middle East
Asia and Pacific
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