8 Best Places to Travel in March
Published on: August 16th, 2017
Last modified: November 8th, 2023
March is a fantastic time to travel, often considered a shoulder season month, sitting between peak travel times. This means you can experience the weather when it's just right, and there’s smaller crowds too. March is also a month of transition – In the southern hemisphere the balmy summer turns to a colourful autumn, and the northern hemisphere looks towards the warmth of spring.
With this in mind, we asked our travel designers to select the best places to travel to in March. Their favourite March travel destinations range from the mountains of Bhutan and Nepal to the vineyards of Argentina and South Africa; from the ancient sites of Egypt to the Cherry Blossom of Japan. Whether you’re seeking epic landscapes, scenic hikes, intriguing history or outstanding cuisine, these destinations are sure to deliver.
Spring in Japan means one thing: the arrival of the cherry blossoms. For a few weeks each year, the country’s cities and most iconic sites, including the Fujigoko lakeside areas around the iconic Mount Fuji, are blanketed with pale pink flowers. Although it’s hard to predict when exactly they’ll bloom, late March often marks the start of the sakura season in Kyoto and Tokyo.
Even if the timing doesn’t quite work out to see the cherry blossoms, Japan is still magnificent in March. This is a great time to explore the fascinating city of Tokyo, renowned culinary culture in Osaka, grand historic sites in Kyoto and endless natural wonders across Hakone, Takayama, Okinawa and beyond. As for where to stay, our travel designer Rachel highly recommends the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Kyoto to enjoy an immersion in Marchs’ spring colours from its garden terraced suites.
Need to know: Some of our favourite sites to visit across Japan that are particularly stunning during cherry blossom season: Osaka Castle, Golden and Silver Pavilion and Heian Jingu shrine in Kyoto, the Imperial Palace and Ueno Park in Tokyo.
Bhutan is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas, known for its soaring peaks that are punctuated with Buddhist temples and brightly coloured prayer flags. March is undoubtedly among the best times to visit Bhutan, as the skies stay clear and wildflowers bloom across the mountains and valleys. You might even catch the springtime tshechu, a vibrant festival featuring traditional masks, music and dances.
This is a dream destination for avid hikers and nature lovers, with a wide array of trails and an impressive choice of sustainability focused hotel options to choose from. We love Six Senses Bumthang, which blends right into the surrounding dense blue pine forest and sits close to a pristine flowing river.
Need to know: In March the patron saint of Bhutan is commemorated during one of Bhutan’s most popular festivals, tshechu. The festivities take place at Paro Dzong in Paro and features masked dances and music performances.
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Mount Everest in person, then it’s time to plan a trip to Nepal in March. Springtime here brings pleasant weather and fewer travellers – which means less-crowded hiking trails and cultural sites. It’s also a wonderful time to explore the ancient capital city of Kathmandu.
The Annapurna region is gorgeous in March, full of spring flowers that line the valleys between the staggering mountains, interspersed by traditional villages. Stay at the authentic Yeti Mountain Home Phakding or the elegant Shinta Mani Mustang, both of which are perfectly positioned for access to hiking trails. The Shinta Mani promises a glass of chilled rosé during one of its ‘core experiences’, traversing the streams and forests of the beautiful Jomsom Valley.
Need to know: Nepal is at its most colourful in March with the combination of Rhododendron season (March to May) and the important Hindu festival of Holi that celebrates love and the start of spring amid clouds of brightly coloured powder.
Unlike the other places on this list, Patagonia isn’t a country; it’s a region that includes parts of both Chile and Argentina. But considering how spectacular it is in March, it deserves its own focus. By this time of year the winds are less intense, the high season is over and autumn has arrived, decorating the pristine glacial landscapes with brilliant leaves.
March is one of the best times to visit Patagonia to avoid the crowds, according to our travel designers Lily and David. They recommend staying at Awasi Patagonia in Torres del Paine, which offers private, tailored excursions for each guest, or at Estancia Cristina in El Calafate, where you can enjoy hiking, horse riding and all of the other amazing things to do in Patagonia.
Need to know: Among the best Patagonian hiking trails to tackle at this time of year are the Base of the Towers and the French Valley, both in Torres del Paine, and Mirador Fitzroy in the Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.
If you’re headed to Argentina in March, don’t miss Mendoza. The country’s wine capital holds the Vendimia harvest festival around this time each year, which is an unforgettable experience if you want to gain insight to the culture of wine in this part of Latin America. We especially love Cavas Wine Lodge, with its individual casitas, private rooftops, cosy seating and open fires, the perfect blend of romance, luxury and world-class wine and food.
March is also a great time to visit Iguazú Falls; you’ll avoid the intense heat and humidity of summer, while still getting to see the falls when they’re impressively full. Stay in one of Awasi Iguazú’s stilted villas right on the river, and enjoy activities from boat rides to birdwatching.
Need to know: Photographers (amateur or experienced) can capture stunning landscapes in Mendoza in March. At this time the vivid red, yellow and orange colours of this beautiful autumnal month combine with the dramatic backdrop of the snowcapped Andes for some seriously impressive shots.
This long and narrow country is positively packed with stunning scenery, and March is among the best months to enjoy it. It’s the perfect time to plan a grand tour of Chile, from Santiago to the Lake District all the way to Easter Island. The latter is still sunny at this time of year, although its main tourist season has passed – so it’s a great time to venture to this island of monolithic Moais. Our travel designer Jen highlights Explora Rapa Nui as one of her favourite places to stay.
If strolling through vineyards sounds more your style, March is also ideal for visiting Chile’s wine region (think harvest festivals and autumn leaves). We love the modern architecture of Vina Vik hotel with its dramatic river-like entrance above the cellars, keeping them cool for optimum wine making temperatures. There’s more contemporary design in the Lake District at AWA, the elevated swimming pool with lake views that reflect the colours of spring on the water is stunning.
Need to know: For those keen to try Chile’s top wines, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Crménère and Pinot Noir should all make it onto your list.
To fully appreciate the majesty of Egypt, it’s important to visit at the right time of year. March is one of the best months to do so, as temperatures are starting to rise but haven’t yet reached uncomfortable levels. You can spend all day exploring Cairo, Luxor or even the Sahara in comfort. It’s a particularly good time for a family trip to Egypt as well.
Follow the Nile south to reach Aswan: a gateway to the iconic site of Abu Simbel. We would suggest spending at least a night or two here, ideally at the charming BenBen Hotel. In Luxor, we love the classic glamour and intricate details of Al Moudira.
March is also harvest time in South Africa’s Winelands, boasting bountiful vineyards and vibrant festivals including the boutique Stellenbosch Street Soiree festival. At the start of March the streets close to vehicles and instead hay bales, bunting, street food and wine stalls line the streets. Stay at the lovely Leeu Estates or one of South Africa’s other world-class vineyard hotels to soak it all in. We also love the understated luxury of More Quarters Apartments in Cape Town.
Need to know: Looking to spot the big five? For seriously luxurious lodging in areas known for their wildlife, Singita Ebony and Chitwa Chitwa in Sabi Sands and the intimate Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in the private Lion Sands Reserve
Where to Stay
Six Senses BumthangThe Six Senses Bumthang is reached on a drive through dramatic landscapes of terraced farmland, deep river valleys and precariously perched farmhouses. Set in a pine forest on a hillside above a rushing stream, Six Senses Bumthang was built to immerse guests in the natural beauty of its surroundings, history and traditions, honouring the natural environment rather than impacting it. The lodge takes its name “The Forest in a Forest” from its setting. In total there are eight suites and one large villa featuring spacious balconies and calming forest views across the valley. The communal areas consist of a cosy living room and lounge, designed almost completely in wood and glass, except for splashes of deep green in the plush sofas. The hotel has its dining area, the beautiful Tongtshang Restaurant where guests can dine inside or outside on the terrace. The Six Senses Spa features two treatment rooms and a hot stone bath facility. The area around the hotel gives guests the chance to learn more about Bhutanese culture and visits to the nearby Wangdicholing Palace, a wonderful example of traditional Bhutanese architecture, are recommended. There’s lots of activities at the hotel too including full day treks to the valley’s most important sites as well as opportunities to bike and horseback ride. Other activities include visits to local villages, archery lessons and mushroom foraging. Bumthang is home to some of the Kingdom’s most revered pilgrimage sites and Kurjey Llakhang is believed to have been the resting place of Guru Rinpoche.
Shinta Mani MustangLocated in the magnificent Annapurna region of Nepal, Shinta Mani Mustang features exquisite 29 suites, all with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that frame mesmerising mountain views of the Nilgiri range. Renowned designer Bill Bensley has curated the decor of each suite, drawing inspiration from the vivid tapestry of Tibetan art and local imagery. At the Nilgiri Restaurant, indulge in dishes that embrace the seasonal flavours of the local community. The indoor dining area and outdoor patio offer exceptional views of the Nilgiri range, while the outdoor terrace transforms into the perfect vantage point for stargazing under the clear night sky, complemented by the comforting warmth of crackling fire pits. Aara Bar elevates the experience with a distinguished selection of handcrafted cocktails, imported whiskeys, an exquisite wine collection, as well as the opportunity to sample the local liquor known as aara, from which the bar takes its name. The spa and wellness program promises a realm of indulgent serenity, with personalised experiences meticulously tailored to cater to your specific needs.
Awasi PatagoniaYou wouldn’t think that the spectacular Patagonian region of Torres del Paine could get any better regarding luxurious design-led hotels, but it has, courtesy of the exclusive sibling hotel to Awasi Atacama, and the only lodge in the area to offer tailor-made excursions for each guest. Adding to that, a portion of the proceeds from each guest’s stay helps to support The Awasi Patagonia Conservation Project, which aims to create a natural corridor for wildlife. Awasi guides also help to monitor the puma populations and keep hunters away, increasing the properties, and its guests, positive impact on the region. 14 wooden-clad, shipping crate-style ‘villas’, which were inspired by the old outpost shelters, lie scattered over the wind-protected private reserve, facing the epic Lake Sarmiento and the famous three-tower peaks. Inside, the warming and minimal Scandinavian cabin decor nicely cushions you from the harsh weather outside, with natural wood interiors, large inviting beds, your own living room with log fireplaces, a hot tub and with every modern amenity to hand. The master villa, which has two bedrooms, is perfect for families. The dispersal of these freestanding villas befits the solitude of your surroundings, giving you a pleasing level of privacy but also a heightened experience of the landscape’s isolation. The main house, just a short walk from the villas, features a Relais & Chateaux restaurant, terrace and living area. Awasi is renowned not only for its style, but for tailoring its tours to each individual guest and for serving delectable gourmet food. Guests can choose whatever excursions they want to do, without having to compromise for the sake of a group.
Oberoi Philae Nile CruiseSailing on the Oberoi Philae is an exceptionally elegant way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the iconic River Nile. Equipped with numerous modern comforts, exceptional dining, an outdoor rooftop swimming pool, spacious accommodations and a wellness centre - this cruiser is a floating top-end hotel.
Explora Rapa NuiAnother luxurious addition to the Explora hotel range. The Rapa Nui hotel doesn’t disappoint, very much in the concept of the other Explora properties with stunning architecture, beautiful curving wooden interiors, exemplary service and activities. Set on a hill in a quiet area away from the more populated Hanga Roa. The 30 well-appointed rooms each have a sea view and are tastefully decorated in keeping with the surrounds. Rooms are equipped with hydro-massage baths to relax in after a day exploring. Hotel facilities include an outdoor pool and jacuzzi as well as a spa area to relax in. All meals and full program of activities are included in the cost. The hotel is also renowned for its innovative educational scheme, the Explora Rapa Nui Terevaka Outreach Programme, aimed at allowing students to gain knowledge in enriching the island’s scientific and touristic potential.