Best holiday destinations in March

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 18.06.2024

If you’re trying to figure out where to go for a memorable March trip, keep reading. Here we present the best holiday destinations in March — from blissful beach breaks in beautiful Barbados, and uncovering culture in Bali, through to satisfying sojourns in chic European cities and scenic UK destinations. As a bonus, we also share tips on unmissable events and top places to stay.

Streets of Dublin, Ireland  © massimofusaro/Shutterstock

Streets of Dublin, Ireland  © massimofusaro/Shutterstock

1. Dublin, Ireland

Why visit: St Patrick’s Day
Temperature: 4°C-11°C (39°F-52°F)
Travel time from UK: 1-1.5 hours
Average daily budget: £80+

For culture-loving travellers, Dublin is one of the best holiday destinations in March for a whole host of rewarding reasons.

First up, St Patrick’s Day. Celebrated on 17th March, it’s a top month time to visit Dublin to experience that legendary Irish craic. 

Alongside the huge parade, you’ll get to enjoy a programme packed with diverse cultural events, with an area of the city devoted to festivities. 

St Patrick’s Day aside, Dublin exudes infectious energy at every turn, offering traditional pubs, hip bars and elegant architecture to rival any European capital. 

While in town, be sure to take advantage of all the great things to do in Dublin for free — from strolling Phoenix Park — one of the largest city parks in Europe — to touring the National Botanic Gardens, both of which are especially glorious in spring.

Editor's tip: to experience Dublin plus a range of Ireland's natural attractions, see our customisable Castles and Cliffs in Ireland trip.

Where to stay: for a cool vibe in the centre of town, try Marlin Hotel Stephens Green.

Temple Bar Inn is also pretty darn chic, with great breakfasts and a pretty terrace.

Planning a trip? Find out the best ways to get to Ireland.


Looking for tropical bliss? Barbados is one of the best holiday destinations in March © Shutterstock

2. Barbados, Lesser Antilles

Why visit: blissful beaches, nature and nightlife
Temperature: 24°C-29°C (75°F -84°F)
Travel time from UK: 8-10 hours
Average daily budget: £100+

Picture yourself strolling along a powdery white-sand beach. Maybe you stop at a rum shack to sip an ice-cold cocktail to the tune of rustling palm trees. Maybe you pause to have your toes tickled by the turquoise waters. Maybe you’re feeling more energetic and take to the bath-warm water to snorkel, surf or sail.

All that considered, it’s clear why Barbados is one of the best holiday destinations in March if you’re seeking to escape the spring chill in Britain.

Beyond the beach, wildlife lovers will want to get back to nature at Chancery Lane Swamp. Or how about heading to Harrison's Cave to view an astounding gallery of stalactites. The tram tour takes you through streams of crystal-clear water that cascade from waterfalls.

Keen on culture? Visit Barbados' UNESCO-listed capital, Bridgetown.

Then there's the island’s top-notch nosh and nightlife, not least its famous Friday fish fries — think fresh food, and beats that boom well beyond the golden hour.

Where to stay: travelling on a budget? You’d be wise to take a look at Worthing Court Apartments.

Looking for something more romantic? Check-out Bougainvillea Barbados. This Maxwell Beach beauty has a swim-up bar, three pools and a spa.

Tegenungan Waterfall on the Petanu River, Kemenuh Village, Gianyar Regency, north of Ubud, Bali © Shutterstock

Tegenungan Waterfall on the Petanu River, north of Ubud, Bali © Shutterstock

3. Ubud, Bali

Why visit: culture, adventure and New Year meditation
Temperature: 24°C -31°C (75°F -88°F)
Travel time from UK: 15-16 hours
Average daily budget: £50-£100

Surrounded by forests, rivers and rice paddies in Bali's uplands, Ubud boasts a bounty of temples, galleries, museums and meditation centres. 

And, given that the weather in Bali in March sees the country shift to the dry season, it’s a great time to explore before the arrival of peak season crowds. 

March is also when Bali celebrates Nyepi — the Day of Silence and New Year.

To start your trip in immersive style, make a beeline for Ubud Palace. This vibrant cultural hub showcases traditional dance and art in a splendid historic setting.

Outside town, soul-stirring walks await along paths that run through lush rice paddies, offering views of Gunung Agung volcano. 

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) temple is another highlight around these parts. This ancient archaeological site unveils shrines, bathing pools, and an incredible cave decorated with mystical carvings. 

Planning a family trip? Read our guide to travelling in Bali with kids.

Where to stay: looking for luxury? Set in lush greenery, Kupu Kupu Barong Villas and Tree Spa offers a well-appointed spa, restaurant and spacious villas with sweeping views of a tropical landscape. 

To get back to nature in chic style, set in the jungle, Natura Villa Ubud Bali overlooks the glorious Petanu River Valley and offers high-class spa treatments and fine food.

Madrid La Latina district © Shutterstock

Madrid's La Latina district © Shutterstock

4. Madrid, Spain

Why visit: saintly spring celebrations and pre-peak-season exploration
Temperature: 6°C-16°C (43°F- 61°F)
Travel time from UK: 2-2.5 hours
Average daily budget: £100-£200

March marks the beginning of spring in Madrid and sees the city in celebration mode.

One of the highlights of this time of year is the Feast of San José (Saint Joseph's Day), which is marked on 19th March.

Expect Madrid’s streets to be enlivened by parades and traditional dances, plus you’ll get to enjoy culinary treats aplenty — don’t miss buñuelos (fried dough balls).

While Madrid attracts stacks of tourists around the year, visiting in March means you'll avoid the madness of summer season crowds, and the stifling heat. 

All the better for visiting the likes of the Prado Museum, Reina Sofía Museum — home to Picasso's Guernica — and the Royal Palace of Madrid .

Editor’s tip: for inspiration — or to take the hassle out of planning your trip — browse our customisable Made for Madrid itinerary. 

Or, if you’re short on time, read our day-by-day itinerary for spending the perfect weekend in Madrid.

Where to stay: for all-out luxury, try Relais & Châteaux Hotel Orfila.

At the other end of the scale, if you’re watching the pennies, look to bed down in budget-friendly Lavapiés. Ok Hostel Madrid, for example, offers excellent facilities that punch well above its price range.


Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur © Shutterstock

5. Golden Triangle, India

Why visit: explore extraordinary historic sites during Holi festival
Temperature: 18°C-30°C (64°F-86°F)
Travel time from UK: 8-9 hours
Average daily budget: £50-£100

Starting in India’s capital, Delhi, and taking in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Golden Triangle is — arguably — India’s most remarkable tourist route. 

As for why it’s “Golden”, that’s thanks to the extraordinary religious and historic sights presented by its three stops. Namely, DelhiAgra and Jaipur

In Delhi, you’ll get to explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, while Agra offers access to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. 

Meanwhile, Jaipur’s Amber Fort and City Palace are out-of-this-world.

Travelling the Golden Triangle in March has added wonder, thanks to the month hosting the Hindu spring festival of Holi.

Mainly held on March’s full moon day, and also known as the Festival of Colours, it’s a vibrant – and magical — experience.

Editor’s tip: our customisable Essential Golden Triangle itinerary covers the route’s top attractions in immersive style.

Where to stay: for period charm in Old Delhi, Maidens has you covered. It offers understated luxury in a lovely old colonial mansion, plus there’s a pool and restaurant.

For a modern, four-star stay in New Delhi, try The Singh Empire.


Tepla river, Karlovy Vary, West Bohemia © Shutterstock

6. West Bohemia, Czechia

Why visit: wellness and walks on the wild side
Temperature: 0°C-9°C (32°F- 48°F)
Travel time from UK: 2-hour flight plus 1.5-hour train
Average daily budget: £60-£100

West Bohemia is something of a utopia for relaxing travel — think chic spa towns, and remarkably enchanting natural landscapes, with March presenting pleasant conditions for walking on the wilder side in the region.

On that subject, West Bohemia’s Šumava National Park — a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — encompasses Central Europe’s largest forest, along with glacial lakes and Boubín primaeval forest. 

Offering all the haunting allure of a fairy-tale, hiking to Black Lake — the largest, deepest lake in Czechia — and legend-rich Devil’s Lake is an unforgettable experience. 

Back on the more beaten track, the spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně reveal more West Bohemian beauty in serenely elegant style.

All that considered, when it comes to the best European holiday destinations in March for travellers who want to mix wild walks in nature with wellness, West Bohemia is hard to beat. Just wrap up warm to enjoy it to the max.

Expert’s tip: read up on where to enjoy hiking and history in the enchanting Czech Republic.

Where to stay: stopping off in Pilsen? The four-star Riverside Hotel Plzeň is pretty and well-appointed in a great location.

Want to linger longer near Karlovy Vary? We love Hotel Château Cihelny. The rooms are elegant, the grounds stunning, and you’ll be within easy reach of wonderful walks. 

Panajachel Town and Atitlan lake with Mountains, Guatemala © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

Panajachel Town and Atitlan lake, Guatemala © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

7. Lake Atitlán, Guatamala

Why visit: adventure and culture
Temperature: 14°C-25°C (57°F-77°F)
Travel time from UK: 15-hour flight plus transfer
Average daily budget: £40-£80

If you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, and vibrant culture, consider heading to Guatemala in March, with Lake Atitlán delivering all that (and more).

You’ll be pleased to hear that the weather in Guatemala in March is warm and dry — all the better for immersing yourself in indigenous culture, taking in breath-taking views, and going hiking and kayaking.

The fact the lake’s name derives from the Mayan word for “where the rainbow gets its colours” gives a sense of the magic that awaits.  

Editor's tip: for more reasons to visit, explore our Guatemala itineraries, and arm yourself with our tips for travelling in Guatemala.

Where to stay: surrounded by coffee plantations on the shore of Lake Atitlan just outside Panajachel, Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlán offers a private beach area, outdoor pool and tropical gardens. 

For an elegant oasis of calm in the centre of Panajachel, you can’t go wrong with Regis Hotel Spa.


Knysna on South Africa's Garden Route © Shutterstock

8. The Garden Route, South Africa

Why visit: epic scenery and road trip experiences in warm weather
Temperature: 16°C-26°C (61°F-79°F)
Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours
Average daily budget: £70-£150

Sitting in a shoulder-season month at the end of summer, the weather in South Africa in March is warm with lots of sunshine.

As such, it’s a glorious time to explore the Garden Route. Stretching between Mossel Bay in South Africa’s Western Cape and the Storms River Mouth on the western edge of the Eastern Cape, this classic trip encompasses a whopping range of landscapes and experiences.

Sublime beaches and mountain forests. Lakes and lagoons. Nature reserves and vineyards — few routes offer such diversity.

For example, Knysna Forest is a top spot to camp, hike and mountain bike, with its Outeniqua Trail offering an epic 7-day trek to Plettenberg Bay. Meanwhile, Kaaimans River in the Western Cape is a divine destination for hiking, abseiling and white-water kayaking. 

Expert’s tip: looking for an active holiday? Consider cycling the Garden Route.

Where to stay: kick off your trip in style by overnighting in Lagoon Beach Hotel & Spa in Cape Town. With direct beach access, it overlooks Table Mountain and Robben Island.

Along the route, stop off in Belvidere Manor Lagoonside Cottages in Knysna.


Chateau de-Sully sur Loire, France © Shutterstock

9. Loire Valley, France

Why visit: crowd-free exploration of châteaux and vineyards
Temperature: 4°C-13°C (39°F -55°F)
Travel time from UK: 1.5-hour flight, plus 1.5-2.5-hour train ride

Come March, the Loire Valley’s sleepy villages have shaken off their winter chill, while out in the vineyards buds are starting to burst, and wildflowers are cropping up along the riverside. 

Beyond being wowed by the region's natural beauty, why not follow in the footsteps of French nobility by touring the likes of Châteaux Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny?

You’ll also want to go wine-tasting in a region that’s celebrated for fine white wines like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, along with crisp rosés and sparkling varieties.

March is also a lovely time to follow scenic walking routes and cycling paths, including the Loire à Vélo, which runs along the river. To further up the high-octane stakes, you could go canoeing or kayaking. 

And, given that March is a quieter time to visit compared with the summer months, you’ll be able to enjoy all this in more intimate style.

Editor's tip: a feast of fragrant French experiences can be found in our Walks in the Alpilles and Lavender Fields trip.

Where to stay: for elegant style, consider Chateau de Briançon. It’s housed in a 17th-century château 3km from the centre of Bauné.

Traveling on a budget? Check-out Break Hôtel in Vierzon.

Beach of São Rafael in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

São Rafael, Albufeira, the Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

10. The Algarve, Portugal

Why visit: peaceful beach strolls and crowd-free culture
Temperature: 10°C-18°C (50°F- 64°F).
Travel time from UK: 2.5-3 hours
Average daily budget: £70-£120

If you’re looking for a March holiday destination that delivers mild temperatures and low-season visitor numbers, consider visiting the Algarve region of Portugal.

With an average daily high of 18°C (64°F), the weather in the Algarve in March is ideal for strolling some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, along with enjoying the region’s world-class golf courses and soaking up cultural sights without having to vie for space.

On that subject, don’t miss exploring charming towns like Lagos, Albufeira, and Faro with their historic architecture and fabulous local eateries.

March is also a good time for adventurers to hike the Rota Vicentina coastal trail and the rugged landscapes of Monchique Mountains.

Editor's tip: if you love your grub and authentic travel, you'll also love our Real Algarvian Experience itinerary.

Where to stay: for sweeping views of the Atlantic and four-star accommodation, try the adults-only Boa Vista Hotel & Spa in Albufeira.

Travelling as a family and fancy Faro? Try Hotel Faro & Beach Club.

Joshua Tree National Park, USA © Martin Froyda/Shutterstock

Joshua Tree National Park, USA © Martin Froyda/Shutterstock

11. Southern California, USA

Why visit: fun-and-sun-filled road-trips
Temperature: 10°C-22°C (50°F72°F)
Travel time from UK: 10-11 hours
Average daily budget: £120-£200

Visiting Southern California in March means you’ll get you enjoy a wide range of activities in mild-to-warm weather, especially if you opt to embark on an iconic California road-trip.

While planning your trip, be sure to factor in spending time on some of the region’s famous beaches, among them Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach and Laguna Beach. 

Home to incredible museums and galleries — including the Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and San Diego Museum of Art — you'll also want to devote at least a few days to soaking up culture in cities.

Meanwhile, outdoor adventurers should plan to hike Griffith Park, explore Joshua Tree National Park, or visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see its desert wildflower blooms.

When you want to relax and soak up the finer things in life, you could take a trip to Temecula Valley Wine Country for wine-tasting tours and vineyard visits.

Where to stay: for a romantic stay in Santa Monica, LA, see Channel Road Inn. The B&B rooms are nestled in lower Santa Monica Canyon, with ocean views, a hot tub and free bike rentals.

Not curtailed by budget? Known as “The Pink Palace”, there’s a reason celebs love the luxurious Beverly Hills hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

Street scene at night in Berlin, Kreuzberg at Oberbaumbrücke (Oberbaum Bridge) © AdobeStock

Kreuzberg, Berlin © AdobeStock

12. Berlin, Germany

Why visit: cool café culture and festivals in crisp climes
Temperature: 0°C-9°C (32°F-48°F)
Travel time from UK: 1.5 hours
Average daily budget: £80-£150

Into art and edgy culture? Packed with world-class galleries and museums, you'll love Berlin at any time of the year. But with tonnes of special events happening through the month, Berlin might be one of the best holiday destinations in March for culture vultures.

From world-renowned photography gatherings, and Festival Days at the Berlin State Opera, to MaerzMusik, and the Spring Festival at Kurt-Schumacher-Damm, there’s something for everyone.

Alongside experiencing festivals and seeing iconic sights like the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, don’t miss exploring hip and happening districts like Kreuzberg. 

Gritty and glamorous, fun and funky, there are plenty of reasons you voted cosmopolitan, dynamic Berlin one of the coolest cities in the world.

On a budget? No worries — here’s some of the fab things you can do in Berlin for free.

Like to immerse yourself in the destinations you visit? You'll love our customisable tour of Berlin and Potsdam.

Where to stay: cool couples might want to consider staying in the Eastern & Western Comfort Hotelboat — cosy cabin rooms moored on the River Spree.

Or, for five-star luxury, you could splash out on Hotel Adlon. This Brandenburg Gate icon has a double Michelin-star restaurant.


Muscat, Oman © Shutterstock

13. Muscat, Oman

Why visit: ancient culture and outdoor activities in Mediterranean warmth
Temperature: 20°C-30°C (68°F-86°F).
Travel time from UK: 7-8 hour
Average daily budget: £100-£200

With an almost Mediterranean climate, visiting Oman in March means you’ll get to enjoy immersive experiences in near-perfect conditions.

Atmospheric Muscat is a wonder to wander, with cutting-edge, contemporary architecture sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with ancient marvels, such as the Grand Mosque. 

Muscat is also the ideal base from which to visit the otherworldly Wadi Shab canyon, cave and pool, and Bimah sinkhole. You could also snorkel and go on whale and dolphin-watching excursions.

All that considered, it’s clear why Oman is one of the best places to visit in March, not least if you’re looking for a thoroughly diverse trip.

On that subject, you could consider going wild camping in Oman, booking a trip that covers epic dune and canyon hikes, or enjoying a blissful beach break.

Still need convincing? Discover ten reasons to visit Muscat.

Where to stay: for five-star finery in a secluded cove close to top hikes, try Jumeirah Muscat Bay.

Travelling as a family? Check-out Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah. It offers lovely rooms and grounds, and stuff to keep kids happy.

Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall in England © Lukasz Pajor/Shutterstock

Kynance Cove, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, England © Lukasz Pajor/Shutterstock

14. Cornwall, England

Why visit: crisp spring walks and glorious gardens
Temperature: 6°C -11°C (43°F-52°F)
Travel time from UK: N/A
Average daily budget: £80-£150

Come March, there's something pretty special about walking in Cornwall, not least the South West Coast Path, which offers stunning views of the rugged coastline and cliffs.

March is also the perfect time to see wildflowers in full bloom. For example, bluebells are especially dazzling in the woodlands of St Loyes, Tehidy, Luxulyan, and Enys Gardens, near Penryn., 

Talking of gardens, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project are other notable Cornish attractions.

When you’ve had your fill of botanical delights, don’t forget that the county is packed with enchanting historic sites, from St Michael's Mount — an iconic castle on an island — to Arthurian Tintagel Castle.

Cornwall's not short of charming villages, either, with the likes of St Ives and Padstow known for their art galleries, boutiques and seafood restaurants.

Editor's tip: love exploring the epic outdoors? Check out our customisable hiking in Northern Cornwall trip.

Where to stay: looking for something special and unique? Book a room in Bodmin Jail Hotel.

Or, for epic views on the edge of the Atlantic, try The Land's End Hotel.

Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine, Chile © Shutterstock

15. Torres del Paine, Chile

Why visit: hiking, wildlife and heavenly landscapes 
Temperature: 5°C-15°C (41°F-59°F)
Travel time from UK: 14-hour flight to Santiago, plus domestic flight and bus/car transfer to Torres del Paine
Average daily budget: £150

Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region is a richly-rewarding destination for intrepid travellers who want big, back-to-nature experiences. 

What’s more, visiting in March means lower prices than in the December-February high season. It also means fewer folk on trails through extraordinary panoramas of glaciers, icebergs, and spiky mountains. 

In addition, late March sees blazes of orange and gold add spice to the already spectacular landscape as the park shifts to its autumn livery. 

Arguably best of all, though, is an increased chance of seeing puma cubs. Usually born in December, by late March and April they’re usually ready to venture out.

Not keen on planning? Book a customisable, tailor-made trip from Santiago to Torres del Paine.

Where to stay: offering epic views, plus a pool and spa, Río Serrano Hotel is a stylish option.

Planning to explore further afield? Hotel Estancia El Ovejero Patagónico is well-located for Argentina crossings.

Old town and Prince Palace in Monaco © Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock

 Monaco © Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock

16. Monaco, French Riviera

Why visit: chic sightseeing, big spending and exhilarating events
Travel time from UK: 
Average daily budget: 

Small in size, but big on style and showstopping events, Monaco is a fairy-tale princedom with unique personality.

A magnet for yachters and strutting-their-stuff-ers, Monaco rises from the rocks like a haven for hedonists. Quite literally in the case of its Old Town, which perches on the Rock of Monaco. 

Even if you’re not a millionaire and have no intention of gambling, it’s worth taking a gander at Casino de Monte-Carlo’s Belle Époque building. 

The same goes for the opulent Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Built by man behind the Paris Opéra Garnier, just stepping into its fresco-filled foyer will take your breath away.  

As for why Monaco is one of the best holiday destinations in March, this month sees Monte Carlo host the Printemps des Arts festival. Expect a roaster of international artists perform everything from classical recitals, to juggling extravaganzas and contemporary dance.  

March also sits outside the summer high season, which means flights and hotels might not be quite so pricey.

Where to stay: for palatial style, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo is a luxurious, historic five-star near Monte Carlo Casino.

Trying to keep things real? In a high-end hotspot, Hôtel de France is a pretty reasonably priced and well-located. 


Elm Hill, Norwich © Shutterstock

17. Norfolk, England

Why visit: boating, birding and blissful strolls 
Travel time from UK:  N/A
Average daily budget: 

If you’re looking for a UK staycation that delivers soulful scenery and wildlife, Norfolk is one of the best places to visit in March.

First up, March is when seal-spotting trips begin. After leaving Morston quay, the ferry stops at Blakeney Point Nature Reserve. From late spring, this beauty-spot’s dunes, salt marshes and mudflats attract tonnes of seabirds. 

Talking of water, boating the Norfolk Broads is another wonderful way to see the region. Take your pick from rowing, motor boating, or skippering a sailing boat. 

Prefer to keep your feet on dry land? The Norfolk Coastal Cycleway traverses an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Meanwhile, Norwich city has plenty to keep history buffs and foodies well and truly sated. After spending a morning marvelling at the medieval majesty of Norwich Cathedral, head to Elm Hill.

Stop off in indie boutiques and eateries as you wind your way up the impossibly picturesque incline, all the while surrounded by blossoming trees. It's clear why this is one of the UK's most photogenic streets.

Need more convincing? Here are fifteen reasons to visit Norfolk.

Where to stay: city-breaking couples might want to consider staying in The Maid’s Head Hotel, Norwich

Or, for a stylish rural retreat, take a look at Heacham Manor Hotel. This country house has a golf course and award-winning restaurant.


Naples, Italy © Shutterstock

18. Naples, Italy

Why visit: modern verve and thrilling day trips to islands and ancient sites
Temperature: 8°C-16°C (46°F-61°F).
Travel time from UK: 2.5-hours
Average daily budget: £80-£150

While the smouldering heat of summer suits the city’s personality — and its volcanic vista — visiting Naples in March means you’ll get to experience it in more comfortable conditions. By which we mean mild spring temperatures, and smaller crowds. 

Like its Mount Vesuvius backdrop, it’s fair to say Naples is firecracker of a destination. From the heights of Vesuvius ­— and its funicular railway — to the depths of its subterranean caves, the city smoulders with rough-round-the-edges appeal.

In fact, as city-based holidays go, Naples is truly hard to beat, not least because so many unforgettable day trip destinations are right on its doorstep. 

For example, you won’t want to miss taking trips to Pompeii and lesser-visited Herculaneum, the Amalfi Coast, and glamorous islands.

Take your pick from sailing to the seductive isle of the Sirens — namely, Capri — or how about heading to Ischia? Less-visited than Capri, this idyllic island boasts hot volcanic springs and hiking routes.

Back on land, you could head to the cliff-top resort town of Sorrento, where a maze of medieval alleys and sweet-scented piazzas await just over an hour by train from Naples.

And, if that’s not enough, Naples is also the birthplace of pizza, and packed with unusual things to do

Editor’s tip: to experience the full range of this remarkable region, see our customisable Best of South Italy itinerary.

Where to stay: loaded with ornate style, Palazzo Doria Napoli is hard to beat when it comes to period glamour and location.

On a budget and fancy staying by the bay? Try Hostel of the Sun.

Yoshinoyama, Nara, Japan spring landscape © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Spring landscape in Nara, Japan © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

19. Nara, Japan

Why visit: a thrilling fire festival and scenic spring exploration
Temperature: 5°C-15°C (41°F-59°F)
Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours flight to Osaka; 1-hour train ride to Nara
Average daily budget: £80-£150

March sees the historic Japanese city of Nara in early-spring mode, which means mild weather, and fewer crowds compared with the peak tourist seasons.

During the first two weeks of the month, the city plays also host to the Omizutori festival, which makes Nara one of the best holiday destinations in March. 

One of Japan’s oldest festivals, this sees huge burning torches adorn the balcony of the Nigatsudo Temple. 

March is also a wonderful time explore Todai-ji Temple, in which the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), houses Japan's largest bronze statue of Buddha.

You’ll also want to visit the UNESCO-designated Kasuga Taisha Shrine, soak up the serenity of Yoshiki-en Garden, and stroll Nara Park, where deer roam free and you might just get to see some spring cherry blossom in bloom.

Where to stay: for exquisite five-star style and mountain views, try SETRE Naramachi.

Meanwhile, Hotel New Wakasa — a 12-minute walk from the Kintetsu Nara Train Station — offers Japanese-style rooms with woven-straw flooring.

Santos Juanes Church in Valencia Pablo © Casino/Visit Valencia

Santos Juanes Church, Valencia © Casino/Visit Valencia

20. Valencia, Spain

Why visit: a fiery festival, food and culture
Temperature: 8°C-19°C (46°F-66°F)
Travel time from UK: 2.5 hours
Average daily budget: £80-£150

March sees Valencia — the third largest city in Spain — usher in spring in fiery style. That’s thanks to its week-long Las Fallas festival.

Featuring fireworks, parades, and monumental satirical papier-mâché sculptures (ninots), this event is sure to heat up your spring holiday before the temperatures — and tourist numbers — rise. 

Though the perfect place for a vibrant city break, Valencia also lends itself well to longer holidays, offering a mix of the ultra-modern (hello, City of Arts and Sciences!) and handsome historic landmarks, like Valencia Cathedral.

Given that the city lays claim to having invented paella, foodies will also be in their element here, with a local version of the dish typically blending rabbit, chicken and snails. 

Not a fan of molluscs? Ask for it sincaracoles, or try it arroz negro (with cuttlefish). 

Editor’s tip: to take more Spanish marvels, take a look at our customisable Iconic Cities of Spain itinerary. It covers Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Barcelona.

Where to stay: for sleek minimalist style in a top location, try Helen Berger Boutique Hotel.

Longing to stay by the sea? The 5-star Las Arenas Balneario Resort has direct access to Valencia's Las Arenas Beach.

Still undecided? You’ll find more ideas in our feature on the best places to visit in spring, and our month-by-month guide to where to go when.

You might also want to make use of our trip ideas platform.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 18.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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