As spring blossoms across the Northern Hemisphere, the American Southwest opens to a range of outdoor adventures, while lengthening days in Iceland allow for more time exploring wild, volcanic landscapes. Japan’s springtime 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.
In South Africa, the wine harvests are in full swing, and vibrant carnivals for the Jewish festival of Purim take place across Israel. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies show the beaches of Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives at their best. However, cooler climes in New Zealand makes this an excellent month to explore, with quieter walking trails, near-empty coastlines and a good chance of sunshine.
The best time to visit Iceland is subjective, depending on what you want to experience. For a good balance of activities, though, visit in March. After the dark days of winter, March sees daylight lengthen as spring begins so that you can spend more time outdoors exploring the country’s volcanic landscapes.
That said, there’s still a touch of winter in the air — you can continue to do activities like ice carving, and it’s possible to see the northern lights later in the evenings if skies are clear. Of course, whenever you visit Iceland, rain is a possibility, but as long as you bring the right clothing, it shouldn’t impact your experience.
Don't miss the Small group ice cave tour.
Flight time: 3 hours upwards depending on the airline (London to Reykjavík)
Time difference: UTC -1
March Temperature (Day): 10 to 3°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 60 to 144mm, varies by region
2. The USA - Visited
Short days and snowfall can affect some parts of northern USA into March, but in return, you’ll see fewer visitors and good value for money, with a wider choice of hotels. Visit a city like New York, Boston or Chicago, and you’ll still find plenty to do, thanks to their eclectic collection of museums, galleries and restaurants.
Elsewhere, the southern half of the country begins to warm, days are generally sunny, and you can enjoy a mix of outdoor activities in the Southwest’s national parks without the crowds of summer. Hawaii, while having the chance of rain, also experiences pleasant temperatures.
Don't miss: Where to go in the USA by season, ask me
Flight time: Between 7 (New York) & 20 hours (Honolulu)
Time difference: UTC -5 to UTC -10
March Temperature (Day): 10 to 35°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 0 to 291mm, varies by region
3. South Africa - Visited
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.
Don't miss: The Winelands
Flight time: 11 hours (Johannesburg)
Time difference: UTC +2
March Temperature (Day): 17 to 31°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 3 to 174mm, varies by region
4. 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.
Don't miss: What to do in New Zealand: ask me as you have so much choice!
Flight time: 26 hours via LA or 25 hours via Hong Kong
Time difference: UTC +12
March Temperature (Day): 15 to 23°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 53 to 572mm, varies by region
5. Thailand - Visited
Warm weather can be found across Thailand in March, making it the best month to visit if you’re planning a grand tour across the country. The highlands of Chiang Rai and the surrounding hills will be temperate enough for hiking or spending the night in a remote community village. Thailand’s multitude of coastlines, islands and islets are bathed in sunshine and the clear waters calm enough for snorkelling to the south. Off the west coast, divers stand a chance of seeing manta rays and whale sharks.
The peak season is tapering off, so larger cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai will be quieter, although we still recommend booking early to secure your pick of the accommodation.
Don't miss: Cruising in Thailand
Flight time: 11½ hours (Bangkok)
Time difference: UTC +7
March Temperature (Day): 26 to 34°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 6 to 96mm, varies by region
6. The Maldives - Visited
With warm temperatures, low humidity and very little rainfall, the Maldives in March is the paradise island getaway you might be dreaming of. The calm climate also results in still waters, making for great visibility for diving and snorkelling, with sightings of turtles, manta rays and reef sharks likely. Long daylight hours also mean you can make the most of your island resort’s white-sand beaches, water sports and world-class dining. This is a popular time to travel, so we suggest planning well ahead to get your choice of resort.
Don't miss: each island is completely different, ask me for more information.
Flight time: 11 hours
Time difference: UTC +5
March Temperature (Day): 31 to 31°C, depending on the region
March rainfall: 83 to 83mm, varies by region