Spring sun? Done. Cyprus gets plenty of rays in March with highs reaching a pleasant 19C. And while it isn’t exactly sand and sun-lounger weather, this Mediterranean island has plenty going on beyond the beach. Spend time exploring the charming street-side shops and cafes in Paphos, dine on traditional Cypriot cuisine in one of Pissouri’s picturesque tavernas, or head off hiking into the Troodos mountains, now wonderfully verdant as spring blooms.
If you’re a history buff, you will be in your element wherever you stay in Cyprus, too. From Paphos to Larnaca, you’ll find an abundance of ancient landmarks, from the Greek ruins of the Tombs of the Kings to the surprisingly well-preserved Roman amphitheatre in Kourion. Consider yourself more of a wine connoisseur? Head to the island’s traditional winemaking villages such as Omodos for luscious vineyards and world-class wines.
There’s never a bad time to visit Spain’s second city, but Barcelona starts to really heat up in March – literally and figuratively – as the mercury jumps to around 16C and parades hit the streets throughout the month.
See vintage cars race though the city’s streets on Sunday, March 12 as part of the Barcelona to Sitges rally or, indulge your sweet tooth at Sant Medir Festival. This distinctly Catalan celebration is packed with tradition; stacks of castellers form human towers over the course of the day and sweets are handed out to onlookers. The main event is held on March 3.
Phuket’s heady mix of aromatic food markets, neon-lit nightlife and paradisiacal beaches is hard to resist. Luckily, for those looking to get away in March, it’s one of the best times to visit – monsoon season is yet to hit (though it’s in full swing by April) and balmy 34C days are common.
And while it might be tempting to spend your days on a sun-lounger, there’s plenty worth leaving the sand for. Strap on your snorkelling gear to explore the clear waters of the Andaman, kayak around the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay (of James Bond movie fame) and dive into the colourful streets of the historic Phuket Town.
This classic Spanish costa needs no introduction – it’s home to favourites, Alicante and Benidorm, after all! The string of beachfront resorts is certainly the main draw of the White Coast; fly-and-flop holidays are the name of the game here.
And March is one of the best times to pick up a bargain break in the Costa Blanca. The weather generally plays ball – it’s not unusual to see the mercury reach 20C in early spring – and the crowds that come with the school holidays are blissfully absent.
Away from the big two resorts, try Villajoyosa for its colourful houses and pretty old town or opt for Calpe for a quiet holiday, where relaxing is the only order of each and every day.
The Maldives is indulgence turned up to a hundred – think, pristine private beaches lined with lush palms, luxury resorts perched on the clearest of waters and a pervasive sense that relaxing is the only thing required of you. It’s once-in-a-lifetime stuff, and March, with balmy 31C days and little-to-no rain, makes the perfect time to experience it.
Diving and snorkelling are popular daytime pursuits on holidays in the Maldives, while evenings can be spent admiring pink-tinged skies, cocktail in hand, as the sun sets. And be sure to leave your resort at least once during your stay: boat trips to other islands are generally easy to come by, whether you’re after secluded beaches or a chance to experience daily life.
If there’s one time to get to know the Irish capital, it’s March. The five-day St Patrick’s Festival, which includes the spectacular St Patrick’s Day parade on Friday 17, is the event of the month – one so big copycat celebrations have popped up all over the globe. Join the green-hued revelry, making your way through the Temple Bar throng, before nipping off for a quieter drink away from the city centre.
Away from the festivities, there’s still much of Dublin to explore. Visit the the Book of Kells at Trinity College, learn how to pour a pint at the Guinness Storehouse and discover the secrets of Kilmainham Gaol.
Looking for some late-season skiing? Try Val d’Isère near Tignes in the French Alps. The ski season runs until early May, so it's likely you'll get a great run in March - even with the less-than-perfect conditions other ski resorts have experienced this winter. Beginner and intermediate skiers are well looked after here, with plenty of pistes to practice on. For advanced skiers, there’s legendary Olympic-level runs to test your skills.
As for your après ski selection, Val d’Isère has the lot: thumping nightclubs, laidback bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, and casual cafes sporting two-for-one cocktails will cater to every taste. For jaw-dropping mountain panoramas to accompany your vin chaud, try L’Etincelle or LOULOU at Airelles.
Get there within three hours from Geneva, Lyon, Chambéry or Grenoble airports.