March is a transitional month bringing blooming flowers of Spring in the North and varied shades of Autumn in the South. Colours envelop the whole month, especially when people dress in green and raise a drunken stupor on St. Patrick’s Day or enrol in the colourful pandemonium that is the Indian festival of Holi. It is also the bearer of soothing weather and, in turn, unlocks travelling options for people around the globe. Reserve March for your travel plans if you yearn to soak in the hues that rise hearing its call.
1. Rovaniemi, Finland – Aurora
Geomagnetic disturbances due to the March equinox make the Northern Lights dazzle the endless nights of Finland even more intensely. Most of the snowfall would have already occurred before March, making for clearer skies with hardly any clouds. Also, reduced cold allows extended late-night quests. The whimsical Aurora is quite hard to track down, but the network of seasoned local guides makes sure that you don't leave the ‘Official Hometown of Santa Clause’ unsatisfied. Rovaniemi also does not fall short of keeping you entertained during intervals between your search. Sunny days make for fun ice-fishing excursions, and peak snow covers mean sleigh and snowmobile rides are also viable to elevate your experience.
2. Osaka, Japan – Hanami
Late March is when blooming sakura make the lively city of Osaka blush — transferring the city and its people to a repose. The concrete jungle of Osaka is interspersed with several parks and old-timey buildings that are adorned by thousands of sakura trees. The Osaka Castle is one such place that enamours anyone who enters its grounds during this season. Shake off the dullness of a monotonous urban life on pleasing cycling and walking tracks, especially the one along Okawa river that runs through the heart of Osaka. Make the most of this opportune time to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones while enjoying hanami, a traditional picnic under the roseate filter of sakura.
3. Delhi, India – Holi
Indians welcome spring by splashing colours, getting wasted on bhang, dancing around bonfires and conjuring delectable sweets. Having its roots in Hinduism, Holi has now become a festival for all — borrowing traditions from throughout India, with each region adding a slight twist to the festivities. Things get rather rowdy during Holi, and as such, even some locals have a hard time navigating the raucous on the streets. So, if you are a foreigner looking to take part in this explosion of colours let an experienced guide take you to some of the best hotspots of Delhi avoiding the hooliganism. You can also book tickets for the 'Holi Moo Festival' that provides a non-toxic environment with natural colours, cultural performances, local & foreign musicians and an assortment of exquisite flavours of India.
4. Dublin, Ireland – St. Patrick’s Festival
This Christian festival has been taken over by merrymakers all over the world, much to the dismay of the Church. But don’t worry about that because Dublin doesn’t either! Pack your greens and drop in early to join in the festivities that span the whole week leading up to St. Patrick's Day. Trace the footsteps of St. Patrick with a guide through cathedrals and historical sites. Taste Irish delicacies at food fairs that pop up throughout Dublin. Get into the competitive Irish spirit and take part in the Shamrock 5k Fun Run & Walk. Do all this before the crowning St. Patrick's Day Parade that is held on the final day of the festival. After which, you can head to the Temple Bar district to chug a Guinness and party into the night.
5. Sabah, Malaysia – Colourful Corals & Lush Forests
With March ushering in the dry season, the jungles of Sabah unveil its richness – elephant herds head down river and orangutans become easier to spot in their natural habitat. Nature-lovers would thrive on hikes and safaris in these ancient forests. Afterwards, they can then choose from an exquisite selection of sandy beaches to unwind. Beaches are also the starting points from where you can set off to explore the famed corals and the nearby Lankayan Island that turns into a hotbed of whale sharks this time of the year. Other small islands can act as perfect venues if you decide to party until the crack of dawn.
6. Antwerp, Belgium – Chocolate Week
Dark, white or a mixture of both, beautifully moulded by hand and made using secret ingredients, Belgian chocolates are heavenly and so damn expensive! To satiate your desire for these delectable goodies, descend to the city of Antwerp for its Chocoladeweek. Buy a 10 Euros pass consisting of ten coupons that you can exchange for chocolaty treats from some of the best Belgian chocolatiers. Overlap this experience with a pleasant walking tour on the Flemish Baroque streets of Antwerp. Chocolate mavens can further dig deep into its traditions and history at Chocolate Nation, the largest Belgian Chocolate museum in the world. Uncover the journey of cocoa beans and sample various chocolates along the way.
7. Sorrento, Italy – Coastal Sunsets
Travel to this dreamy coastal town just as it gets out of the clutches of winter. Mildly cold evenings and frequent showers make the idyllic streets of Sorrento even more romantic. The haunting ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum turn even more gloomy, but a drive down the Amalfi Coast will surely uplift your mood. Not every day is rainy though, and on clear days Sorrento gets almost 8 hours of brilliant sunshine. Unwind after a fulfilling day of exploration by sipping on aperitifs as you witness the sun sink into the sea. Being a low season, this Italian getaway will not cost you an arm and a leg even if you hire a guide for an in-depth tour!
8. Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Emerald Waters & Mayan Ruins
This laid-back destination does not entice a clutter of foolhardy Spring breakers in March. You might still come across some, but most of the swarm heads to Cancun, which preserves the serenity of this immaculate coastal city. This being the tail end of the high-season, accommodations get affordable, and the region is not jam-packed with tourists. Playa del Carmen's beaches, cenotes and other natural allures surely make for an excellent summer getaway, but you would be amiss to overlook its Mayan heritage. Accompanying local guides on hikes through the nearby ruins of Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum will fill you with wonder. This would also be the ideal time to get to know the historical Mayan community of the region.
9. Cape Town, South Africa – Intoxicating Nature
With summer on its last legs, heading down to this port city offers an exquisite experience in March. Make this city your base of operations as you check out the proximate tourist hotspots. Reduced heat means you can cross the intoxicating Winelands on foot, without breaking a sweat. Also, hiking to the top of Table Mountain becomes doable; but do not miss out on the panoramic views of the cableway. Seek the aid of a guide in mapping out your travel plans to avoid the large number of sports enthusiasts who come out in droves for Cape Cycle Tour, Cape Epic and the Two Oceans Marathon. Your guide might throw in a quick overnight safari at a nearby private game reserve to enhance your travel experience.
10. Colorado, United States of America – Array of Adventures
Adventure seekers should place this destination at the top of their list for spring. One of the best skiing destinations of the world, Colorado has several top-class ski-resorts. Come prepared for varying temperatures due to increasing duration and shine of the daylight. This, in turn, opens hiking routes in the lower regions like the trails of Pike Peak and Garden of the Gods. Mountain streams also regain their vigour, much to the delight of white-water rafting aficionados. Local guides can chart a perfect road trip for you and your family for a rip-roaring vacation chock-full of outdoor adventures.