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.
(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)
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. For those adults who don’t want to travel with lots of kids, avoid the spring-break weeks that can 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 specific family departures. —Allie Almario, Trusted Travel Expert for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
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February and March are great months to visit Cartagena because of sunny days, clear skies, and a fresh breeze that makes the temperature much more comfortable; March sees fewer crowds, since the low season is about to start. January has similar weather conditions and famous literature, cinema, and classical music festivals, but hotel rates are much higher, and the old town is much more crowded. —Eric Sheets, Trusted Travel Expert for Colombia
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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.— Madelyn Byrne Willems, Trusted Travel Expert for London Apartments
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Lake Como, Italy
On Lake Como, March is when the camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons bloom, giving visitors an infusion of spring color. It’s also the “pre-season” in terms of tourists, so there are good rates for rental villas. The weather is generally mild, but if there’s a chilly day, just repair to the fabulous spa at Casta Diva Resort.—Mara Solomon, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy Villa Vacations
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By late March in Granada and the rest of Andalusia (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. Keep in mind that during Holy Week, Seville is full of people, with processions day and night. —Virginia Irurita, Trusted Travel Expert for Spain
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In March there is still a lot of snow for all of Norway’s great winter activities—skiing, of course, but 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. —Jan Sortland, Trusted Travel Expert for Norway
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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 2017, the date will be March 13. (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.—Sanjay Saxena, Trusted Travel Expert for India
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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 cancelled 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.—Julian Harrison, Trusted Travel Expert for Southern Africa Safaris
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The end of February and March are autumn in South Africa, so it is warm but not too hot, and very little rain falls over the country. —Mary Jean Tully, Trusted Travel Expert for Ocean and River Cruises
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March is one of the driest months for cruises hitting a range of ports in Asia. In Myanmar, while it gets hot in the middle of the day, temperatures are comfortable first-thing in the morning and late in the afternoon, and there are a number of festivals. In Japan, you will experience the famed cherry blossoms in full bloom. And there are signs of spring in southern China—in Hong Kong, Macau, Hainan, and Yunnan. Northern China can be chilly, but the Great Wall is gorgeous with a dusting of snow.—Mary Jean Tully, Trusted Travel Expert for Ocean and River Cruises
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March is one of my two favorite months to travel in China (October being the other one). It’s the tail end of the low season, so prices are relatively low, and because there are no public holidays, hordes of domestic Chinese travelers are few. Plus, since Beijing’s coal heat is turned off in March, the city’s air is cleaner.—Mei Zhang, Trusted Travel Expert for China
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Some places are ideal to visit at a certain time because of local festivals that you can witness. March is perfect in Vietnam for exactly the opposite reason: Tet (Vietnamese New Year) brings the entire country to a halt in February, but by March everything is back up and running. March is also the best overall option for weather across the length of the country, as it’s not too hot and generally there isn’t much rain.— Andrea Ross, Trusted Travel Expert for Southeast Asia
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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. —Jean-Michel Jefferson, Trusted Travel Expert for New Zealand