Looking for the best places to visit in March in Europe? In this guide we round up the best winter sun and cold weather destinations, best places to visit for Festivals and Special Events in Europe in March and of course the best European cities to visit in March.
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Best European Cities to Visit in March
London in March
In my opinion there is no bad time to visit London but if you are planning a trip to London then March is worth considering. London in March is a special time to visit and you can achieve a lot in a London 4 day or even week long itinerary in March. As long as the UK and European Easter Holidays don’t fall in March you will find London to be much quieter than in summer meaning you can tick all the main items off your London Bucket List without the crowds!
One of the reasons I love London in Spring is because all of the beautiful spring flowers that come into bloom. One of my favourite day trips from London is visiting Kew Gardens where you will see the gardens in their full glory in Spring. My personal favourite place in the Gardens is the cherry blossom avenue which blooms from Late March to Mid April. London’s Parks and Green spaces are also beautiful in March as the flowers start to bloom and memories of winter fade away.
If you visit London in March there is a chance that you will see rain. But do not worry there are plenty of great things to do in London on a rainy day from some of the world’s best museums to tourist attractions such as the London Eye.
Rome in March
March is a great time to visit Rome. For me the main reason to visit Rome in March is to avoid the crowds (again try and avoid UK and European Easter holidays) and also to avoid walking around the city in the oppressive summer heat. Rome is best explored on foot and is far more comfortable to visit in Spring than in summer. Rome in high summer definitely isn’t the best time to visit Rome in my opinion. Yes March in Rome can be rainy but there are plenty of things to do in Rome in the rain.
There are also some great seasonal activities in March in Rome including Italian Fathers Day on March 19th and on March 9th the Fest Day of St Frances of Rome is celebrated. This is a big one in the Italian calendar as this is the only time of year you can visit the Tor de’ Specchi Monastery near Capitoline Hill. This is definitely something for your Rome bucket list and is a hidden gem given that you can’t go in the Medieval section of the Monastery at any other time of year!
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in March
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a dreamy destination to visit any time of year. Although March is considered low season, I think it’s a wonderful time to travel to this Balkans gem.
The weather in March is notoriously unpredictable. One day, it’ll be t-shirt weather, and the next there will be snow. As long as you come prepared, this can give you an opportunity to experience the best of both worlds. Sarajevo’s cosy cafes are perfect for whiling away afternoons sipping on Bosnian coffee or homemade honey rakija. On crisp evenings, the Old Bazaar looks picture perfect wrapped in a blue glow.
Although it’s too early for rafting on the Tara River, you can still enjoy some beautiful walks in Bosnia’s national parks in March, many of which are accessible as a day trip from Sarajevo. In late March, wild flowers start blossoming in the southern part of the country, covering historic sites such as Pocitelj in a blanket of white and purple blooms.
The best thing about travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina in March is the lack of crowds. Sarajevo is a compact city, and come high season, you can start to feel the crush. In March, crowds are very thin, and you’ll often find you have a tour guide or museum exhibit entirely to yourself. I spent the entire month of March in BiH in and even in notoriously busy Mostar, I was often the only person walking the cobbled streets.
Nominated by Wander-Lush
Athens in March
Athens is typically considered a summer destination, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t visit at other times of the year. In fact, visiting Athens during the shoulder season might actually be better, as you won’t get the high summer temperatures or the large tourist crowds.
In terms of weather, March can be quite variable. You may get a few rainy days, but the temperature is already starting to rise, and days with 20 C aren’t uncommon. For many people, walking around Athens in March will be more enjoyable than in summer. If you are interested in swimming, on the other hand, you will find that March is a little too early.
Visiting the ancient sites and museums in Athens is very pleasant in March. As it’s still shoulder season, there won’t be as many crowds as in summer. You can stroll around the Ancient Agora, or walk up the Acropolis Hill, and not even sweat! It’s an ideal time of year to explore the hills and outdoors areas in Athens, like Filopappou, Mouson Hill, and Lycabettus.
If you happen to be in Athens on the first Sunday of March or on 6thMarch, note that all sites and many museums will be free to visit. Also, the 25thMarch is a national holiday. Most of the sites will be closed, but there are parades and possibly other events, while the Acropolis museum is free to visit.
Finally, March is normally the end of the Carnival time. You might see people, especially children, dressed up and going around the city. For 2020, the last day of the Carnival is the 2ndMarch, and it’s a public holiday, marking the beginning of Lent. If you go up Filopappou Hill you will see people flying kites and enjoying special dishes that were prepared for the day.
Nominated by Dave’s Travel Pages
Best places to go in Europe in March – Cold Weather Destinations
Iceland in March
In my opinion the best time to visit Iceland is March! March is considered a shoulder season in Iceland travel and offers the perfect blend of Winter and Summertime activities. The days have started to get longer and the worst of the weather is finally over but you still may experience some snow and ice especially on higher ground.
One of the benefits of visiting Iceland in March is also the lack of tourists compared to the summer months. so whether you want to visit some of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, enjoying city life in Reykjavik or visit one of Iceland’s black sand beaches you will find them not too crowded. March is also a great time to visit Iceland with kids or with toddlers as there is a great mix of indoor and outdoor activities they will enjoy.
But the biggest draw for me in visiting Iceland in March was the chance to see the Northern Lights. March is really the last month to see the lights before the summer season but by visiting in March the weather won’t be as bad as in mid winter. When were visited in March we decided to stay at a hotel with a Northern Lights Alarm which meant we had a chance to see the lights every night without leaving the comfort of our hotel.
So if you don’t mind a but of cold then Iceland really is one of the best places to go in Europe in March!
Looten Islands in March
March is an amazing time to visit the Lofoten Islands in Norway, especially if you’re a photographer. The infamously changeable weather is tame enough to make exploring enjoyable, but the average temperatures are low enough to keep most tourists away – meaning you’ll get to have many places to yourself. Even better, you might get to see some of the most iconic views in Lofoten both with and without snow-capped peaks and pathways. If you pass a snowy scene on your way to somewhere, there’s a good chance you can also enjoy it without snow on the way home!
Situated in the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands have up to 24 hours of sunlight per day in the summer and don’t see the sun at all in the depths of winter. The best way to enjoy a relatively normal day in the Lofoten Islands is to visit in the in between seasons – and March is right in the middle of the extremes. At this time of year, you also have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights without having to wait up all night long. That means you can enjoy a full day of sightseeing and possibly see the Northern Lights before retiring to your cosy cabin to enjoy a full night’s sleep (or a hot tub under the stars!).
Nominated by A La Jode
Les Arc, France in March
Open until the end of April, the world’s 2nd largest ski resort is one of the best places for spring skiing.
Accessible from Lyon or Geneva, Les Arcs, is known for having five sites all in one destination. With 262 runs over a multitude of slopes, ranging from 1600-2000m it offers plenty of trails for all level of skiers.
Spring is great for skiing, as its cheaper and the clear blue skies mean less layers and a chance to top up your vitamin D. The slopes are also a lot quieter, so there’s no queues for the ski lifts, which are already open longer due to the increased daylight hours. March is also a great time for beginners to improve and for non skiers to enjoy the multitude of outdoor events and festivals on offer.
Les Arcs has several unique Spring offerings such as the highest mountain yoga session in Europe at the top of Aiguille Rouge (3200m), and also ‘First Track’. Where you can enjoy sunrise on the slopes and be the first to sample the freshly groomed pistes, followed by breakfast with the ski patrol at one of the mountain huts, all for an affordable 19 euros.
Nominated by The Wanderlust Within
Best Places to Visit in March in Europe for Winter Sun
The Algarve, Portugal
While much of Europe still experiences cold days in March, many with frost or snow, the Algarve region of Portugal is warming up nicely making it one of the best places to visit in March in Europe especially for those seeking warmer weather.
Many weather websites say the average day time temperatures are 15C/59F, but as a resident I know this to be conservative. In the month of March, temperatures are often above this and often climb into the low 20’s/70’s. The first year I visited in March I was in shorts and t-shirts, much to the amusement of locals. Occasionally March will see rainfall, but this often occurs at night. Or, if it is a daytime shower, it is just that, a passing shower with sunny blue skies following.
What makes the Algarve an ideal European destination in March is the fact that it is still quiet and considered off-peak season. Yes, many of the attractions and restaurants in the tourist destinations in the West are still closed, but in places like Portimão and the Eastern Algarve, nothing closes as they are considered more traditional Portuguese towns and regions.
You can wander through towns such as Faro and Tavira at a relaxed pace, sip “um abatanado” (Americano) while enjoying a pastel de nata in the warm sunshine, browse the ceramic and cork shops, all without jostling for space. You might not get a suntan during a visit in March, but the beaches are a perfect place for a long walk along the water’s edge. You won’t find sunbeds and parasols up but can still enjoy the beach without the summer crowds.
So, if you are looking to get some sun on your bones after a chilly winter, then the Algarve is one of the best destinations in Europe to visit in March.
Nominated by Passports and Adventures
The close-by, sunny and warm island of Gran Canaria is the place you want to be when the weather gets cold. Therefore, it is the best destination if you are looking for somewhere to go in Europe in March. And if you book in advance, the flight ticket might even cost you less than purchasing a train ticket within your own country. True story!
The island of Gran Canaria is located on the north-western coast of Africa, which belongs to Spain. It is famous for its pleasant micro-climate and its white sand and black lava beaches. So, expect sunshine and warm weather, even in March.
If you visit Gran Canaria, you should definitely stop by the infamous beaches of Playa del Ingles or the Puerto Rico beach. They are located on the southern side of the island. You can also take stunning hikes to the Roque Nublo, which is an iconic volcanic rock formation.
Next, also consider taking a hike to the Caldera de Bandama, which is a 1000meter volcanic crater. However, if you are really into natural scenery, then you will also fall in love with the stunning sand dunes of Maspalomas. There, you can take a romantic walk by the sunset, take part in a buggy tour and much more.
If you visit the island of Gran Canaria with children, then take them for a memorable experience at the Poema del Mar. It has the world’s largest fish tank! You’ll be able to explore various aquatic plants and sea creatures.
Lastly, you should also visit the buzzing capital of Las Palmas. It’s historical and lively at the same time.
Nominated by Greedy Gourmet
Best Places to Travel in Europe in Spring for Festivals
Minervino di Lecce, Puglia in March for the Tavole di San Giuseppe
The month of March is the perfect time to visit Puglia, the southern “heel” of Italy’s boot. Flanked by the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, the sunny Salento Peninsula is comprised of the province of Lecce and the southern regions of the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto. In addition to its well-deserved reputation as a prime beach, wine and food destination, it also happens to be a hub for several spring festivals.
One of the most important of these festivals is the Tavole di San Giuseppe (St Joseph’s Tables) celebrated on March 19th in honour of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and the legally recognized father of Jesus. San Giuseppe is also the patron saint of carpenters and of the dying, as his death exemplified that of a pious believer.
During this unique March festival, families create a Tavola di San Giuseppe ( St. Jospeh’s Table) in their homes and in public spaces according to religious traditions. The ceremonial tables feature 13 place settings, representing the Holy Family and 10 saints, as well as altar built on three levels representing the Holy Trinity. A statue or painting of St. Jospeh is always positioned on the highest tier.
A highlight of this March festival is the abundance of regional foods including ritual bread, pasta and chickpeas, fresh fennel as well as pickled onions (representing the transition to a new season). If you’re visiting towns such as Minervino di Lecce near Otranto, you’ll definitely have the opportunity to witness the creation of the altars and the preparation of the ritual foods. You can even join the Tavola di San Giuseppe festivities, a series of day and nightly events featuring special illuminations, religious processions, traditional music, cultural displays and more.
Nominated by a Taste for Travel
Ireland in March for St Patricks Day
There is no better destination to visit in Europe in March than Ireland. And for two very good reasons; St Patrick’s Day and the Rugby Six Nations Championship. The whole country comes alive during the month of March as we get ready to celebrate our patron saint’s day and enjoy the rugby in the hope that Ireland with win the cup.
And it doesn’t matter where you are located, March is a great month to visit the Emerald Isle. Each town and city has a parade of floats, dancers, music and performers of all kinds, held on the 17thof March which is also a bank holiday. Each town comes together to celebrate the day, with many schools taking months to prepare their float, practise their music with their bands and get costumes ready for the big day.
But the biggest celebration of all happens in Dublin where there is a festival across the three days leading up to the big event, the largest St Patrick’s Day parade in the country that sees visitors and participants from across the globe. There is always a great representation from America with other countries sending bands, dancers and performers too. The city centre shuts down for the parade and the parade travels from Parnell Square on the northside, crossing the Liffey and ending on Kevin Street on the southside. There is a carnival atmosphere, and everyone is in great spirits.
And if that’s not all, St Patrick’s day coincides with the Rugby Six Nations Championship which Ireland competes in every year. If there is a home game occurring around the same time as St Patrick’s Day, the city is even more alive with visiting fans. For these reasons Ireland is one of the best European destinations to visit in March.
Nominated by Travel Around Ireland
Valencia in March for the Las Fallas de Valencia Festival
Valencia is a beautiful city all on its own, but March is when it gets even more special. The Spaniards are famous for knowing how to throw a party, and Las Fallas de Valencia is one of their biggest, most amazing festivals. It celebrates both the beginning of spring and Saint Joseph’s day, and it’s not like any other festival you might have attended.
The tradition dates all the way back to the middle ages when artisans and carpenters would burn unnecessary pieces of wood after winter had ended. This ritual has immensely evolved over the years, and it is now an organized celebration taking place every year on March 15th-19th.
Instead of pieces of wood, the city is filled with huge cardboard and paper-mache sculptures. Since they are all judged and have a chance to win a prize, they must be whimsical, intricately detailed, and fit the annual theme. On the last day of the festival, the displays are burnt in what you can only describe as one giant bonfire. This incredible festival also includes firework shows, parades, illuminated streets, and so much more.
To make the most of your time at Las Fallas, be sure to attend all the different events, explore each and every neighborhood, and have some spare time to see the city itself. It is truly an unforgettable experience that anyone would love.
Nominated by My Path In the World
Other great places to visit in Europe in March
Lauterbrunnen in March
Spring is the best time to visit the Instagram famous fairytale location Lauterbrunnen. This cute swiss town is in its full glory in March. Most people have probably seen photos of the Staubbach waterfall online. It is most impressive after heavy rain or when the snow is starting to melt in the mountains. In March you will also see lots of fields filled with wildflowers. A really pretty sight! A big advantage is that March is still considered off-season in Lauterbrunnen. This means you can see the town without the crowds and accommodation prices are more affordable. Switzerland is quite an expensive country, so this is a huge bonus. There is a lot to do in the area. You can try mini-golfing in the town. But the most popular activity is hiking.
The walk from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg is really easy and also suitable for families. The path goes in the valley and offers gorgeous views to the nearby mountains. You will also spot several waterfalls along the way. In Stechelberg you can see Mürrenbachfall, which is the highest waterfall in Switzerland. You can also go cycling on the many cycling routes that the area offers. There is a lot of parking in Lauterbrunnen in case you make this a day trip from a nearby city, like Interlaken. Of course, like most swiss towns Lauterbrunnen is also well connected by public transport.
Nominated by Travel Hacker Girl
Where is your favourite place to visit in Europe in March?