Spring officially arrives on 20 March, but if 2018 was anything to go by (who can forget the Beast from the East?) there is still plenty of time to find warmer weather.
Here are the best places to visit in March.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Discerning Brazilians decamp to Fernando de Noronha when they’re in need of some R&R: this archipelago of 21 islands offers incredible snorkelling or scuba diving, sharing clear waters with sea turtles and dolphins. And thanks to a ban all single-use plastics coming into effect on 13 March, you’re not likely to see any rubbish spoiling the postcard-perfect beaches of this National Marine Park.
The best place to stay is barefoot luxury retreat Pousada Maravilha, sitting on a bluff overlooking the ocean (from £356 per room per night in mid-season, including private transfers from the mainland, a beach kit and breakfast à la carte). The launch of Norwegian flights to Rio de Janeiro in March also means it’s easier for Europeans to reach Brazil on a shoestring.
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Average temperature: 27C
Flight time: 18h 40m (via Recife and Frankfurt)
The spice-scented, glinting passageways of Marrakech’s souks make a welcome change after grey UK winter. In less than four hours you can be wandering the exotic Jardin Majorelle and the new Yves Saint Laurent museum next door. More lush gardens are to be found at the recently rebranded Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech (rooms from £260), set in a century-old olive grove with a 3,500 sqm spa, golf course and two outdoor pools.
Average temperature: 23C
Flight time: 3h 35m
All eyes turned to Rajasthan’s lake city when Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton flew in for a certain lavish wedding. Your invite to the Ambani-Piramal nuptials may have gone astray in the post, but there are more celebrations in town in March – and everyone’s welcome. Mewar Holika Dahan on 20 March marks the advent of spring with garlanded statues of Hindu deities launched on boats across the lake, a bonfire in the palace grounds and the skies ablaze by fireworks. The following day, Rangwali Holi sees clouds of rainbow colour transform the streets as revellers hurl powder paint at each other.
Average temperature: 34C
Flight time: 12h 35m
British Columbia residents dub March “Powder Month” thanks to the abundance of snow that drops around this time. Want to make the most of it? Rise early with Fresh Tracks to enjoy a huge mountain-top breakfast and early-bird access freshly groomed runs.
Whistler town is more than just a place to sleep between skiing sessions, though – the sleek architecture of Audain Art Museum is equally impressive as the British Columbian artworks inside, while 25,000 sq ft outdoor spa Scandinave is the ideal place to soothe burning muscles after a day on the slopes.
Average temperature: -2C to 7C
Flight time: 9h 35m
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Whereas many Thai islands have been crippled by overtourism, neighbouring Cambodia has many pristine, underdeveloped gems to tempt winter sunseekers.
Koh Rong, for example, has the requisite swaying coconut trees, clear turquoise waters and untouched white-sugar sands, such as 7km-long Sok San Beach. Tellingly, there are just two resorts on the island, the most recent being the five-star Royal Sands. You can spend four nights of blissful hammock lazing and snorkelling in its local reefs at the end of InsideAsia Tours’ Cambodia in Style (£3,170pp) – a 10-night itinerary that also includes the temples of Angor Wat and buzzy Phnom Penh.
Average temperature: 26C
Flight time: 14 h 20 m
Moldova’s capital is a hive of activity in March as the annual cultural festival of Martisor kicks off. Meaning “Little March”, the celebrations were recently given the badge of Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco.
Festivities continue over 10 days with Martisor Music Festival, which involves some 40 concerts around the city, from classical to jazz. Between events, check out Chișinău’s grandiose Stalinist architecture, observe the perennial chess games in Cathedral Park and sample your way around wineries in the surrounding countryside. Both Wizz Air and Air Moldova now offer direct flights from London.
Average temperature: 8C
Flight time: 3h 25m
It’s high time to explore the land of the rising sun before Olympic fever descends there in 2020. Kyoto’s parks and gardens are especially photogenic this month as cherry blossom season arrives: follow the locals’ lead with some relaxing hanami (blossom viewing) strolls and picnics beneath the trees.
For even more zen experiences in the great outdoors, Kyoto is on the frontier of the Unesco-listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails – book a self-guided hiking tour through this serene landscape, with stops at hot springs, shrines and ryokan inns (Oku Japan is offering six days from £1,010).
Average temperature: 13C
Flight time: 15h 25
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