Feeling like you’re coming down with a bout of spring (travel) fever?
It’s time to get excited about new hotel openings, game-changing flight routes and incredible destinations you may not have considered before. Plus, you’ll still find off-peak award availability for most airlines. And around the world, there are cultural celebrations, art and music festivals and other events worth flying for. Whether you’re dreaming of throwing oranges in Italy or jamming to live music in Texas, here are six of the best places to visit this March.
Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to the 12 best places to visit every month of 2019.
For points rich travelers, the hotel scene in Taiwan is exploding. Kimpton’s first-ever property in Asia, the Kimpton Da An, will start welcoming guests on March 1, propelling this destination to the top of our list of places to travel this month. In October 2018, Hilton returned to the Taipei market after 15 years with its newly opened Hilton Taipei Sinban, and Hyatt has also taken an interest in Taiwan: Both Park Hyatt and Andaz will manage the new 46-story, 500-room Taipei Sky Tower, though it won’t be open until 2020.
Until then, there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy Taiwan this March. Taipei is an easy flight from other popular Asian destinations such as Hong Kong and Bangkok, and travelers should consider combining a trip to Taiwan with a stop at Art Basel in Hong Kong (March 29 to 31).
And though hordes of tourists flock to Japan to see the famous cherry blossoms, Taiwan is also a great (and far less crowded) place to admire the blushing pink blooms. Seeing them at the Yangmingshan National Park is particularly enjoyable in mid-March, and it’s a quick day trip from Taipei. The Yoshino cherry blossoms around Wuji Tianyuan Temple (just outside of the park) may also be approaching peak bloom around March.
March is a month full of activities and festivals in Texas. The most obvious, of course, is South by Southwest (SXSW), during which more than 2,000 artists perform during a series of film, media and music events in Austin (from March 8 to 17). Wannabe cowboys and cowgirls should head to Houston for the rodeo, which has everything from barbecues to horse shows, concerts to carnivals, and even wine tasting in addition to the standard steer riding and roping.
For the ultimate spring relaxation escape, visit the recently opened Miraval Austin, a Hyatt property (you may have to call to book using Hyatt points). Spend your days horseback riding, practicing yoga and hiking before unwinding with a signature spa services featuring Laurel products. Try the vasudhara, a type of Thai massage done while you float in a pool with underwater sound therapy that will leave you feeling completely renewed.
But it’s not just humans flocking to Texas. Over 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to the Bracken Cave outside of San Antonio (they’ll hang out there until October) and March is one of the best times to see them. Evening guided tours are available, too.
With the newly launched AI Boraq high-speed train, travel between Tangier and Casablanca has never been easier (or faster). The ride, which used to take almost five hours, now takes just about two, giving travelers more time to enjoy their destination instead of being stuck on sluggish transportation.
With pleasant daytime temperatures and ample sunshine, spring is the ideal time to visit the North African country before the suffocating heat of summer sets in. Plus, a spate of new luxury properties are in the works, including the Oberoi Marrakech, The Ritz-Carlton, Tamuda Bay and a St. Regis, also in Tamuda Bay. In the meantime, travelers can enjoy glamping in the Sahara Desert or posting up at any one of the amazing boutique riads you’ll find around the country. (One of my personal favorites? The intimate seven-room Palacio de las Especias.)
If you stay in Morocco through April, you can even snag a return flight on Royal Air Maroc to Miami: The service launches from Casablanca on April 3, 2019.
Many regions of Nepal have made a strong recovery since the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2015. In fact, Nepal is actively promoting tourism with a Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. But we think you should go sooner: before other travelers catch on, before prices skyrocket and while your tourism dollars can still help some of the regions that are actively recovering.
March in Nepal means mild weather, making it an ideal month for outdoor activities. Hiking to the Everest base camp continues to be one of the nation’s most popular treks. If you plan to visit, just make sure you do so in a sustainable way. Joseph Shea, an assistant professor of environmental geomatics at the University of Northern British Columbia, told TPG that it’s best to, “explore locally with the help of a socially and environmentally conscious tour operator …” That might mean a guided cooking class with locals in Kathmandu.
But quite possibly the most local experience you can have in Nepal is participating in the Holi festival (March 20 and 21), during which people celebrate by dancing, singing and throwing colorful powder and water at each other. Essentially, it’s a giant, rainbow-colored water fight to celebrate the coming spring season and the triumph of good over evil.
Is there ever a bad time to visit Italy? Probably not. But March may be one of the best (albeit underrated), times to visit. After all, spring is on the way, but you won’t encounter the rush of summer tourists.
If you’re wondering where to begin, try Matera, which is the European capital of culture in 2019. Best known for its sassi — stone caves carved into the mountainside — the town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, affords endless photo opps. The nearby national park of Murgia Materana has more than 100 caves built into the rock. Visitors can also explore ancient cave dwellings where people once lived.
Then, start hitting the festival circuit (it’s not what you think). Trade the beaded cowboy hats and desert raves for masquerades at Carnevale in Venice (through March 5). Visitors can enjoy parades, concerts, street festivals and, of course, elaborate masquerade balls. In the small town of Ivrea, in Turin, Carnevale (from March 2 to 5) is celebrated a bit differently: People throw oranges at one another, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages when locals would throw beans at each other. Each square has a ‘safe’ area where those preferring to watch, rather than participate, can view the spectacle.
And in Sicily, travelers can enjoy the beautiful almond tree blooms. Stunning pink-and-white flowers erupt in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento during the Sagra del Mandorlo, the Almond Blossom Festival (March 1 to 10). The event is marked with live music, parades, puppet shows for the kids and even beauty pageants.
Finally, end your Italian festival extravaganza in Rome with the commemoration of Julius Caesar’s death at the Roman Forum (March 15). The celebration reenacts the death of the famous politician and general, which occurred on the Ides of March, in 44 BC. After viewing the spectacle, rest your head at the First Roma Dolce Hotel, opening in March 2019. The boutique hotel has a patisserie theme, promising guests a new and innovative food experience alongside luxurious digs.
Besides gorgeous, warm weather ideal for a beach getaway, visiting Puerto Rico now is better than ever. The island destination has recovered spectacularly from Hurricane Maria, and the message is clear: Puerto Rico is open for business. In fact, according to the tourism bureau, 15,000 hotel rooms will be available by mid-2019 (finally back to pre-Maria numbers).
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort reopened in late 2018 after a $60 million renovation, as did the El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton; and Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property. There was also the grand opening of the boutique hotel, Candelero Beach Resort. This property was completely transformed (it was once the Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar), and now features five different culinary concepts — soon to be eight by the end of spring 2019 — such as a ceviche spot and wine bar. If it’s a design hotel you’re after, check out the O:LV Fifty Five Hotel, a recently opened adults-only boutique property with decor created by local designers and artisans, plus a rooftop infinity pool.
And as of Feb. 14, Spirit now flies new daily routes from a handful of cities to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU). Think: Tampa International (TPA) and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI).
Once there, March means festival after festival in the island’s capital, San Juan. Sip rum at the Rum Festival (March 2) or imbibe on sangria at the Sangria Festival (March 9). For a more family-friendly, booze-free adventure, visit the Coffee and Chocolate Expo (March 30 to 31) or the Circo Fest, which features outdoor street acts, music, dancing, acrobatics, art and more (March 9 to 10).
Featured illustration by Abbie Winters
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