Traveling in the springtime can offer some of the best experiences. Between smaller crowds and warming weather, March is a great time to go on the adventure of a lifetime. There is so much you can experience in the shoulder season. This is a great time of year to pursue spring skiing, but you can also find warm, tropical destinations that already feel like summer. No matter what type of trip you’re trying to take this spring, these are some of the best countries to visit in March.
You might not think of Iceland as a good destination for March, but the truth is, the spring is a great time to visit the land of fire and ice. Iceland is known for its glaciers, volcanoes, and the northern lights, and visiting in the shoulder season is the best time of year to experience all of it.
The truth is, Iceland is crowded year-round, but visiting in spring instead of summer is going to give you slightly smaller crowds at a lot of the most popular tourist attractions like the Golden Circle and many of the waterfalls. There are some destinations that you’ll still want to book reservations to in advance, like the famous Blue Lagoon, a hot spring located just outside of Reykjavik.
Springtime is a fantastic time of year to visit in terms of weather. While it will still be quite chilly here in March, you won’t quite be getting the cold winter temperatures anymore. During the winter, there is only five hours of daylight, and during the summer, there is nearly 24 hours of sunlight. Spring and fall offer a good balance of both. During the summer, you are unable to see the northern lights, so if this is on your Iceland bucket list, it’s important to visit during a time of year when there is some darkness. Spring offers a good balance of aurora-viewing opportunities along with enough daylight to see all of the natural wonders you want to see.
Most people start their trips in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city, which is a 45-minute drive from Keflavik, the city where Iceland’s international airport is located. The city of Reykjavik is known for amazing architecture, walkable streets, and interesting museums. It’s also the starting point for a lot of tours.
You’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in Iceland, between waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, beaches, and volcanoes. Many people who visit drive the Ring Road, which encircles the entire island, allowing you to see most of the country’s most famous sites, waterfalls, and beaches. Trek on one of the country’s many glaciers with a guided tour, go whale watching, or visit an old lava field and experience where a volcano once erupted.
If you’re here hoping to catch a late-season view of the aurora, lots of tourists choose to take a guided tour, especially if you choose to visit Iceland without renting a car. 2024 is predicted to have better views of the northern lights than many previous years, so planning a last-minute trip this March could be your best chance to catch this bucket list view for yourself.
Heading to an opposite climate and landscape, Costa Rica is an incredible country to visit in March. Known for its pleasant weather, tropical landscape, rich greenery, and ocean views, you really can’t go wrong with Costa Rica any time of year.
While you’ll be catching the end of peak tourist season here, there is a reason so many people visit between November and April: this is Costa Rica’s dry season. Visiting in the dry season means you’ll be able to enjoy being outside more, and have to worry about inclement weather a lot less. If you’re really trying to avoid the rain, stick to the Pacific side of the country—the Caribbean side might start to receive some rain in March as Costa Rica gets closer to its rainy season.
No matter what side of the country you end up visiting, you’ll have a fantastic time exploring the beaches, hiking in the humid rainforests, and maybe trying something new, like surfing. In between the two coasts is rich rainforest, and while this part of the country can get humid, you can’t go wrong with such a green, tropical landscape for your March vacation. The country’s capital, San Jose, is a beautiful area to visit, especially if you’re interested in experiencing some of the country’s famous volcanos.
The Pacific side is fantastic for ocean activities. Take a surf lesson, or take a swim—you’re in the perfect place for incredible snorkeling. The beach town of Santa Teresa is a popular destination for Pacific coast travelers in Costa Rica and is known for its laid-back beach vibe. If you’re more of a nature lover, the Pacific side of the country has some incredible options for you, including Manuel Antonio National Park, which is known for its biodiversity, or Bellena Marine National Park, where you’ll catch the end of humpback whale season.
The Caribbean side is also known well for its natural landscapes. Visit Cahuita National Park and snorkel in this incredible stretch of protected coral reef. If you’re interested in experiencing some of the country’s wildlife, you might enjoy Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, home to many animals such as manatees and even crocodiles. Tortuguero National Park is also an incredible ecosystem to visit if you’re looking to take in wildlife. This is a must-see on the Caribbean coast, and March is a fantastic time to go to see turtles nesting.
If you’re less into nature and more into food and culture, the Caribbean side is a great place for a coffee or chocolate tour. Costa Rica is well known for its food, and the Caribbean side tends to host a very different menu than the Pacific side. Check out Puerto Viejo, one of the country’s most popular towns for foodies and tourists. This destination is also home to a fantastic nightlife scene, allowing you to get the best of both worlds—parties and nature—during your trip to Costa Rica.
If you’re more of a European traveler, you’ll be happy to know that Italy is a great destination to visit in March. Here, you’ll see a more classic spring—warm weather starts returning to the country, making spending time outside exploring more fun and comfortable. Of course, Italy is a big country, so the weather does differ depending on where you’re staying. Generally, though, you’ll be met with mild weather despite a chance of rain. It’s important to note that your weather will be less rainy the closer to April you visit, as the country moves into its dry season.
March is also a great time to visit Italy because you’ll be there before peak tourist season. This can help you save money on hotels and rentals, as there is less of a demand this time of year. This means that cities like Venice and Rome are going to be less crowded than they are in the summer. If you plan on visiting Venice in the springtime, though, keep an eye on the weather. Lots of rain often leads to high water, which can make exploring the canals impossible this time of year. In Rome, expect beautiful weather and good conditions for exploring bucket-list places like the Colosseum.
If you’re more of a traveler who loves nature and outdoor activities, you’re in luck. This is a great time to visit the Italian Dolomites and catch the end of ski season. As with any shoulder-season ski plans, it’s crucial to be flexible and know that plans can change based on the weather. Have a few options for places to go to catch some time on the slopes, just in case you need to reroute and find a place with better snowpack. Great options for spring skiing are Val Badia and San Candido.
There are some holidays and festivals you can look forward to during your visit to Italy in March. Depending on the year, you might get to experience Carnival and Easter in Italy, but sometimes these holidays land in February (Carnival) or April (Easter), so check your calendar to see if your trip is going to line up with one of them. These holidays can sometimes attract more tourists to the country, so if you’re hoping for a trip with fewer crowds, you might want to plan to be there when holidays are not happening.
Another important day of celebration in Italy is March 8, International Women’s Day. Italians use this day as a way to celebrate achievements in women’s rights and to celebrate those who have worked toward equality for women.
There are so many other places to visit during your spring trip to Italy, from Florence, where museums might be less crowded, to Tuscany, where mild spring weather can be the perfect setting for a wine tasting. With less heat and fewer crowds, you’ll be able to enjoy places like the UNESCO world heritage site of Matera, and the ancient sites located in Sicily. No matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll be able to find something to enjoy during a spring trip to Italy.
Spring is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Japan, and while you might experience more crowds during a trip here, it’s popular for a reason. For many people, experiencing the spring cherry blossoms in Japan is a bucket list item, and March is the perfect time to go to experience this.
Weather in Japan in March can vary depending on where you are and what activities you want to do during your time here. Some parts of Japan are warming up with the start of springtime temperatures. If you’re trying to catch the cherry blossom blooms, you’ll want to center your trip around warmer regions like Tokyo.
Japan has a lot of different climates throughout the country, which means a lot of different options for activities for whatever type of traveler you are. While cherry blossoms might be blooming in Tokyo, there is still snow in a lot of the colder regions of the country. This means snow sports are still an option, and with Japan having some of the best snow in the world for skiing and snowboarding, this is a great activity for you to do during your March trip to Japan. Shiga Kogen is one of the most popular areas for snow sports, and in the spring, you’ll likely run into fewer crowds, which means more runs for you.
March is also a great time for nature lovers to visit Japan, with many of the country’s national parks warming up. The warmer spring weather leads to good hiking and trail access in places like Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, which is one of the most popular destinations for getting outdoors in Japan in March. This is where you can view Mount Fuji, which is probably one of the most iconic sites in the whole country.
While Tokyo is fairly crowded this time of year due to the cherry blossoms, travelers who love cities should plan on spending time in this iconic Japanese destination. Tokyo is home to a lot of different events that take place in the month of March. Early March brings the annual Doll Fair, also known as Jindaiji Daruma-ichi. Here, you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling traditional Japanese wish dolls known as Daruma. In late March, catch Tokyo’s flower festival, which goes beyond the cherry blossoms to showcase other local flowers like tulips. This festival takes place annually in Showa Kinin Park.
No matter the type of traveler you are, there is so much to do and see in Japan in March, and with the weather finally warming up, this is a great place to spend your vacation this spring.
For a destination many people might not think of when they think of springtime, visit Morocco this March. Despite the fact that Morocco might not be on a lot of travelers’ radars, spring is actually one of the best times to visit this beautiful country. In the winter, it tends to be very cold here, and summertime brings extreme heat. The spring shoulder season is the perfect happy medium for a Morocco vacation, bringing warm and mild temperatures to northern Africa.
One of the most popular destinations in Morocco is the city of Marrakech. Due to the fact that March does not fall in the country’s peak tourist season, you’ll be able to explore Marrakech with fewer crowds. Marrakech is known for its souks, where you’ll find locally made textiles, pottery, and more. This is also a great time of year to explore the city’s many gardens—due to the warmer temperatures, flowers are blooming here in places like Majorelle Garden and Agdal Gardens.
Marrakech is of course not the only place to visit in Morocco in March. This is a great time to experience the Sahara Desert, as you won’t be met with hot temperatures like you would be in the summertime. Tourists are able to go on safari in the Sahara, and this is a great time of year to experience M’Hamid El Ghizlane, a small oasis in the middle of the desert, which hosts the International Nomad Festivals in the month of March.
There are lots of other destinations throughout Morocco that are fantastic to visit in March, such as the coastal city of Tetouan, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Medina. This is a unique coastal city worth your time, especially if you’re the type of traveler interested in experiencing a place’s cultural diversity.
Another fantastic and unique country to visit in March is the Maldives. While there is still a moderate amount of rain here in the month of March, this time of year is still outside of monsoon season, which happens in the summer. This island destination is located in the Indian Ocean, and is made up of more than 500 miles of islands near Sri Lanka. It’s the smallest country in Asia, making this is a once-in-a-lifetime destination that you just can’t miss.
This unique country is known for its clear blue waters and white sandy beaches. Each island is surrounded by incredible coral reefs and lagoons. While there are a lot of tourists present in the Maldives in March, this is a great place to visit if you’re looking for warm weather and a stunning beach vacation. While many people picture the Maldives as a relaxing getaway, this is also a great place to visit if you’re into adventure sports. There’s a little something for everyone here.
International flights land on Hulhumale Island, known for its presence as an urban city in this island nation. Explore the glass-topped mosque and enjoy the beauty of the Indian Ocean. If you’re a city explorer, you should also visit the small capital city of Male, known for its bazaars and the Friday Mosque.
Many people think of the Maldives as a destination for vacationers, but Maafushi is a great place to visit if you’re traveling on a budget. Here, you’ll be a little more removed from the crowds of the bigger cities and will have access to pristine beaches, cute coffee shops, and amazing snorkeling.
No matter where you end up staying in the Maldives this March, this is a great time of year to go out on the water and experience dolphin watching, snorkeling, diving, or other water sports like kayaking or windsurfing. Foodies can also look forward to incredible cuisine in the Maldives. Seek out dishes like Mas Huni, a traditional breakfast, or Ladhu, which is a fish curry.
There is so much to experience in the Maldives in March, which makes it the perfect destination to add to any traveler’s spring bucket list.