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Travel Ideas in March

Best places to travel in March 2024

As winter turns to spring across the Northern Hemisphere, Japan’s blooms start to emerge, and milder temperatures coupled with the showings of early plum blossom make it a good-value time to travel here ahead of the peak season. Portugal also begins to warm, making it a good time for coastal hikes and city sightseeing without the summer crowds.

In South Africa, the wine harvests are in full swing and Kruger wildlife is at its healthiest among the fresh, green vegetation following the rains. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies show the beaches of Sri Lanka at their best. Meanwhile, cooler climes in New Zealand makes March an excellent month to explore, with quieter walking trails, near-empty coastlines and a good chance of sunshine.

Festivals and events around the world in March

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1. Chile

While much of Chile can be visited year-round, the jagged mountains of Patagonia are only easily accessed during the summer. With March falling at the tail-end of Chile’s summer, you can still go hiking in Patagonia and will see fewer visitors compared to earlier in the season.

Visiting Chile in March also gives you the chance to see autumn leaves beginning to show in the Lake District, and as the summer crowds thin out, the national parks become much quieter. It’s also wine-harvesting season, with several festivals taking places across the country’s wine region that feature grape stomping, live music and, of course, wine tasting.

Lake Pehoe, Torres Del Paine
Lake Pehoe, Torres Del Paine

2. South Africa

As South Africa transitions from summer to autumn, you’ll experience comfortably warm temperatures and little rain. Visit the Winelands to experience the wine harvest in full swing, and enjoy the beaches around Cape Town and along the Garden Route, where there’ll be fewer visitors than in the summer months (as long as you avoid the Easter break).

On safari in the Kruger region, the rains subside and you’ll experience the bush at its thickest and greenest, with rivers in full flow and animals at their healthiest. Some migratory bird species will still be around, and big cats will spend more time out of the shade during the day as temperatures become more comfortable.

Scenery over Stellenbosch
Scenery over Stellenbosch

3. New Zealand

As summer fades and visitor numbers thin, March makes an excellent time to visit New Zealand. Outside of Easter, you can enjoy quieter walking tracks, near-empty beaches and a wide choice of hotels while still experiencing pleasant temperatures and a good chance of sunshine.

Across the South Island, temperatures are slightly cooler. This is reflected in the dazzling displays of red and gold foliage you’ll see while driving, hiking or biking through the landscape of mountains and lakes. Wildlife is still plentiful at this time of year, including sperm whales and orcas off the coast of Kaikōura.

Kawarau River Valley, Queenstown
Kawarau River Valley, Queenstown

4. Japan

March marks the start of spring in Japan, with milder temperatures and the season’s first blooms. Visit in the first few weeks of March and you’re likely to catch the small, bright-pink flowers of plum blossom, and if you travel to Hokkaido, fields of tulips and phlox in a rainbow of colors.

It can be tricky to predict, but March also sees the start of cherry blossom season, with the first blossoms appearing in Okinawa in the south and moving slowly northward, with peak viewing around late March or early April. Japan’s gardens act as a seasonal showcase, as their protective winter coverings are removed and they sprout fresh foliage and flowers.

The Philosopher's Path in spring, Kyoto
The Philosopher's Path in spring, Kyoto

5. Portugal

With temperatures on the rise, spring flowers in bloom and fewer visitors than subsequent months, March is an excellent time to visit Portugal. While it’s not quite warm enough to spend hours on the beach, it’s a great time for coastal walks, and you can see the last of the huge winter waves that bring surfers to the west coast and the Algarve. Days gradually turn sunnier, and in cities like Lisbon and Porto you can stroll the historic streets, taking in sights without the crowds of summer (as long as you avoid Easter time).

Sandstone cliffs, Algarve
Sandstone cliffs, Algarve

6. Sri Lanka

March sees sunny skies, calm seas and low rainfall across the south of the island, making this an excellent time to laze by the golden-sand beaches around Galle or Bentota. Lower water levels make it easier to spot animals coming out to drink in Yala National Park’s lagoons and wetlands. Sperm, blue and fin whales can be spotted from the southern coast, as well as turtles and flying fish.

Up in the central hill region, temperatures have warmed enough for you to enjoy the poolside views of a converted tea plantation hotel or an alfresco tea tasting session. To the north of the island, March is the start of the kitesurfing season on the western beaches of Kalpitiya.

Views of Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Views of Sigiriya Rock Fortress

7. The Galapagos Islands

One of the hottest and wettest months of the year, March is also one of the most rewarding times to visit the Galapagos. The archipelago’s marine life is incredibly active, making for some excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities in the warm waters.

There’s also plenty to see on land. Sea turtles begin to hatch and make their hazardous first journey from the beach to the sea. Frigate birds nest on the islands of North Seymour, South Seymour and Genovesa, the males inflating their bright-red throat sacs to attract a mate. And, toward the end of the month, you might see waved albatrosses returning to Espanola Island for the breeding season.

Marine Iguanas, Galapagos
Marine Iguanas, Galapagos

8. Canada

To see Canada in a completely different light than in the summer, visit during winter. In March, the country’s still firmly wrapped in winter’s deep-freeze, with dazzling-white snow still coating many areas. This creates opportunities for activities you can only do in winter, from dog-sledding and snowshoeing to ice-climbing frozen waterfalls and pedaling through the snow on e-fat bikes. It’s also a good time for seeing the northern lights.

You’ll also find that (outside of the ski resorts) there are far fewer visitors at this time of year. In cities, you can keep warm in museums, galleries and cafés serving frothy hot chocolate.

  • Don't miss:
  • Flight time: 1 hour 25 (New York to Toronto)
  • Time difference: UTC -5 to UTC -6
  • March Temperature (Day): -26 to 50°F, depending on region
  • March rainfall: 0 to 14in, varies by region
Snowshoe experience, Banff National Park
Snowshoe experience, Banff National Park

9. Laos

It’s the dry season across Southeast Asia, with balmy temperatures and sunny skies across the region, bringing a raft of visitors and places do get very busy. This is an ideal time to combine a trip to lesser-visited Laos, with one its well-known neighbors, Cambodia or Vietnam.

Southern Laos’ riverside towns and islands are warm enough for relaxing days kayaking or exploring river-side temples. The higher altitude of the Bolaven Plateau gives respite from the tropical climate, with thick jungle marked with hiking trails and tiny village communities — with the occasional waterfall pool for swimming.

Vang Vieng Nam Song River, Laos
Vang Vieng Nam Song River, Laos
Last Updated: 11/01/2023 13:09:34