From Argentina to Ireland: Best holiday destinations for March 2020
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Spring is on its way — and it may be time for that well-deserved holiday. Since Easter falls in April, March will be a relatively quiet travel month this year, one in which you can often find off-season flight and hotel deals or on the other hand, celebrate major festivals like Holi or Saint Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, March is a month without bank holidays, but if you still have that itch to travel consider taking some annual leave and jetting off into the sunset.
Whether it’s the sunshine of the British Virgin Islands, the call of Irish beer or the monuments of Rome, here are some of the best places to visit for a holiday in March.
Tourism in Italy’s capital has grown by leaps and bounds in past years. In 2018, Rome had over 15 million visitors and 36 million overnight stays, according to the Italian Federation of Tourism. The city has seen so much tourism, in fact, that many new rules have been put in place — so don’t plan to sit on the Spanish Steps anytime soon — or you could get fined.
For those hoping to avoid the throngs of tourists, visiting in March, the start of shoulder season, may offer you the best of both worlds: warming sunshine and fewer visitors before the busier season kicks in. You may even spot some of the city’s flowers, like poppies and wisteria trees starting to bloom.
Use your Bonvoy points at brand-new Regency, a Tribute Collection Hotel opening in March located near the Villa Borghese Gardens and a short walk away from the Spanish Steps. Also a newcomer and impossibly chic, the Hotel Chapter Roma is set on former metalwork and silversmith street of the city. The design hotel is known for its eye-catching artwork and uses steel, brass, copper and bronze as an ode to the former profession that once monopolised the area.
On 8 March, partake in festivities for the Festa della Donna — Women’s Day. Runners should plan to visit the city on 29 March, where Colesseum and Vatican visits can be combined with cheering on the Rome marathon competitors.
British Virgin Islands
Quieter after the busy winter season, the British Virgin Islands still see incredible weather in March: sunny skies and warm temperatures before the summer hurricane season hits. The BVI archipelago, consisting of four larger islands and several other smaller ones, is just east of Puerto Rico.
And, after a four-year, multi-million-pound renovation, the Rosewood Little Dixie Bay on Virgin Gorda has finally re-opened for luxurious stays, complete with villas featuring private pools and the Sense Rosewood Spa.
Although you can’t fly nonstop from London, Virgin Atlantic does operate a flight between Gatwick (LGW) and Tortola with a stop in Barbados (BGI), codeshared with Caribbean airline LIAT. And, make sure to take your passport along, as British Nationals do need to use it to enter, receiving a one-month entry stamp.
If you can make it over towards the end of March, make sure to stay for the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which takes place this year from 30 March to 5 April.
Further reading: Why February is one of my favourite months of the year to travel
Galway is one of the two European Capitals of Culture in 2020, so it makes sense to visit this year. While the official opening ceremonies take place in February, March offers a number of musical, dance, art, gastronomy and cultural events.
And of course, no mention of Ireland would be complete without including the country’s most famous celebration: Saint Patrick’s Day. Galway’s festivities take place from 14 to 17 March this year. The city will showcase its 117th Saint Patrick’s Day Parade starting at 11:30 a.m. on March 17 with a concert and children’s rides to follow in Eyre Square. The square’s main fountain will run green in honour of the special event.
If you’re wondering where to stay, expect newness coming soon to Galway’s hotel scene. About 600 new hotel rooms will be added by the end of 2020 as hotels expand and new ones open. For now, plan to stay at boutique inn The Lane, a cosy spot full of Irish charm that opened in 2019.
Although you can reach the city in just over two hours by car from Dublin, it’s best to fly into Shannon (SNN), which is just an hour-long drive from Galway. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus offer flights between various London hubs and Shannon and Ryanair also flies the route from Manchester non-stop.
Further reading: The ultimate survival guide for flying Ryanair
It starts getting warmer in Nepal in March, meaning many of the hiking trails re-open and the water levels are just right for those wanting to do extreme activities like white water rafting. While the mountaintops are still snowy, the lower trails show all the signs of spring with budding Nepalese trees and flowers.
For those hoping to conquer Mount Everest, the second half of the month is likely best, when temperatures are higher but you won’t yet have to worry about monsoons. Plus, in March, the days are increasingly longer and tourism hasn’t quite picked up yet, so you can expect fewer visiting trekkers clogging up the trails.
The famous Holi festival also takes place in Nepal on 9 and 10 March. Plan to celebrate by throwing around and getting covered in colourful powder and water. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and welcomes in the spring season.
With a goal of two million visitors in 2020, Nepal has also recently upped its hotel presence, with properties like the Aloft Kathmandu and the Kathmandu Marriott Hotel both opening up in 2019 (this was the brand’s first debut into the country of Nepal), offering visitors more variety when it comes to accommodation.
Further reading: How to trek the Himalayas on a budget
While Paris is never a bad idea, France has many stunning spots to visit in March. It’s best to head south for hopes of better weather, but it’s definitely not French Riveria season just yet. Instead, consider a visit to Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is often forgotten about once the autumn wine harvest season is over, but it shouldn’t be. March is the perfect time to go, as wineries have more availability for tours but aren’t too busy with “en primeurs” (wine futures: buying wine as an investment before it is bottled) which occur at the beginning of April for the professionals.
From 13 to 15 March, visit the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants de Bordeaux. This is a fair where you can learn more about independent winemakers and join in the fun by tasting their blends. Geared towards the general public and not professionals, this is an excellent way for tourists to learn more about Bordeaux wines and support the local winemaking industry.
Continue your Bordeaux wine journey with a visit to the La Cité du Vin, a massive interactive wine museum perfect for introducing you to the world of French wine. Although you can easily tour the region’s wineries on your own by car (make sure to make appointments first), you can book a private or group tour with Bordeaux Wine Trails.
Mendoza is in the Southern hemisphere, meaning March is autumn and harvest season in this famous Argentinian wine region. Visiting in March means you can enjoy the Vendimia Festival (1 to 9 March). The celebration includes events such as a grape blessing ceremony, concerts, election of the harvest queen and a massive parade and party on the last day.
Beyond that, wine lovers can explore the region and taste and tour at the many wineries the region has to offer. If you want to get a little exercise in alongside your sipping, you can do a cycling winery tour, which allows you to visit some of the wineries by bike.
Don’t expect autumn weather though, as no blustery skies will be had. Instead, daytime temperature can reach close to 30 degrees Celsius going down to 15 to 20 degrees Celsius at night.
Many of the wine lodges offer it all — onsite winery and vineyard tours, farm-to-table cuisine and relaxing spa treatments to round things out. Entre Cielos is one of the most unique spots, where you can stay in tube-style lofts directly overlooking the vineyards and enjoy exclusive wine-inspired spa treatments. And for those with an excess of Hyatt points, a stay at the regal Park Hyatt Mendoza will cost you just 12,000 points per night.
Whether it’s an easy hop to a European spot like Galway, Bordeaux or Rome, or something far-flung and exotic like Argentina, Nepal or the British Virgin Islands, you can never go wrong with a March travel adventure.
Featured photo of Mendoza, Argentina by Edsel Querini/Getty Images
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