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The 8 Best Places to Travel in March

Is there a month on the calendar that holds more excitement and promise than March? The beginnings of spring are in the air, the sleepiness of winter starts to retreat, and world travelers start to get hungry for adventure. A March vacation is ideal in many ways. Traveling in March means warm enough weather to spend a lot of time outdoors, off-season deals on flights and hotels, and an impressive roster of international events. The the entire northern hemisphere is excited about the start of spring, too, and offers plenty of festivals to help you kick it off right.

If you’re looking for the best places to travel in March, we have the scoop of 8 international events and destinations that will make for the perfect early-spring vacation. Whether for this year or next, here are some exciting March vacation ideas to make room for on your bucket list:

1. South by Southwest Festival – Austin, TX

If it is difficult to succinctly sum SXSW up, that is because it has become THE most important international festival for all things on the cutting edge of pop culture. But SXSW isn’t your typical festival held on fenced off festival grounds. SXSW takes over the entire city of Austin – businesses all over the downtown district host events, concerts, and screenings.

best places to travel in march

Held over a two week span, the most influential figures in music, film, and tech converge in Texas’ hip capital city. Big-name bands, indie darlings, and up-and-coming hopefuls all flood into Austin’s many bars and live music venues, with hundreds of concerts held each day. Exclusive film screenings and panel discussions from some of the biggest names in tech will give you plenty to think about in between the incredible party atmosphere.


2. Starkbierfest – Munich, Germany

Miss out on Oktoberfest this year? Can’t wait until autumn for more German merriment and beer songs? Held every year at the beginning of March, Munich’s Starkbierfest is the more in-crowd version of the famous Oktoberfest in honor of some seriously boozey brews.

march vacation ideas starkbierfest

Paulanerkeller Main Hall during Starkbierfest

Starkbier, which means strong beer in English, was traditionally brewed during the week following Karneval as a sort of loophole for monks who fasted for lent. Also known as “liquid bread,” Starkbier is so hearty that it helped satiate the monks without counting as real food. Today, Starkbierfest is celebrated across most of Munich’s largest breweries. The beer halls fill with locals and beer lovers looking to put back a few steins of strong beer. Far less crowded than Oktoberfest but with plenty of beer, food, music, and good moods to go around, Starkbierfest is among Germany’s best festivals.


3. Holi Festival – India & Nepal

One of the most visually striking festivals in the world, the Festival of Colors is a yearly celebration in Nepal and India in honor of the Lord Vishnu. Meant to ensure a successful and plentiful spring harvest, people across the subcontinent celebrate by smearing colored powder on each other, throwing colored water, and lots of dancing. best places to travel in march

The Holi festival makes for an incredible March vacation idea, filled with fragrant foods and bright colors. Most major cities in India and Nepal host celebrations making the whole region one of the best places to travel in March. But different cities celebrate with their own unique flavor and customs, so pick a city that’s right for you.



4. Las Fallas – Valencia, Spain

For a few days each March, the Spanish city of Valencia becomes an open-air arts festival. Over 600 giant wooden sculptures called Fallas are installed throughout the city with various elaborate lighting, music, and pyrotechnic displays to match. Official festival programming is filled with special shows and dance parties, and the city streets are bustling with pedestrians, food stands, and markets. Named one of UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” festivals, Las Fallas is an indescribable event worthy of a March vacation.

march vacation las fallas

At the end of the festivals, the sculptures are burned in a breathtaking fire show. Source.


5. Museum Night Fever – Brussels, Belgium

Museums make for incredible event venues. So what happens when 27 world-class museums in one of Europe’s most historical and culture-rich cities hosts edgy art events on a single night? The result is Museum Night Fever, one of Brussels’ most anticipated annual events. For less than 30 euros a ticket, you can have access to more than two dozen museums across this picturesque city, hosting all sorts of concerts, exhibitions, parties, installations, and performances.

best places to travel in march

Ben Heine Flesh and Acrylic at Museum Night Fever – 2014. Source.

See elaborate art installations in front of dinosaur bones, concerts in antique auto halls, and elaborate performance art pieces before some of Europe’s greatest painting masterpieces. For anyone who loves visiting museums during their travels, this early-March festival in Brussels is a must-see.


6. Northern Lights – Reykjavík , Iceland

Seeing the Northern Lights is an item on many bucket lists, and March is one of the best times to do it. November through March are the darkest months of the year in Iceland, which makes this the peak season to see the Northern Lights. But given Iceland’s brutal winters, travelers generally aren’t eager to head to this tiny island nation when it isn’t summer. March is still chilly in Iceland by most standards, but for those looking to see the Aurora Borealis at its peak should take advantage of the off-season. Not only will you beat the crowds that fill the country during the summer months, but you’ll have prime viewing of the Northern Lights.

march vacation ideas northern lights


7. St. Patrick’s Day – Dublin, Ireland

Americans may like to celebrate St. Patty’s Day just as much as the Irish, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing. Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is held each March, filling the city’s winding, maze-like streets with green-clad revelers. While there is certainly a raucous good time to be had in the cities many pubs and breweries, the official celebrations tend to be much tamer and more family-friendly than in the States. Watch the official parade for incredible Irish dancing and music, giant floats, and a ton of national pride.

best march vacation ideas


8. Maslenitsa – Russia & Ukraine

Since pagan times, Eastern Orthodox Christians have held a week-long celebration each March in honor of the coming spring. And in countries with winters as brutal as Ukraine and Russia, spring couldn’t come soon enough. And what better way to celebrate the season than with piles and piles of pancakes, colorful costumes, burning effigies, and the storming of a gigantic snow fort?

maslenitsa russian soul

Dmitry Lovetsky / AP (Image Source)

Maslenitsa effectively the Slavic Orthodox version of Carnival, and it similarly takes place just before Lent. Like its western counterparts, Maslenitsa involves a whole lot of feasting before worshipers will need to fast. Blini, thin pancakes, are the main feature of these feasts and are eaten with a variety of toppings and fillings: caviar, jam, sour cream, meats, cheeses, and most notably, butter.

And though the festival has taken on a more explicitly Christian flavor since the fall of the Soviet Union, there is no denying its pagan origins. Take for example many of the events that take place as part of the fesitval: organized fist fights, trained dancing bears, burning effigies, and finally a massive snow fort to be stormed and torn down by hundreds of spectators.

(An English transcription of this video can be found here)

Maslenitsa is celebrated every March throughout Russia and Ukraine, both in large cities and small towns. Information about where to celebrate in Ukraine can be found here and in Russia here.

March is an excellent month to take advantage of the warming weather and off-season prices. Plan your spring vacation to one of these international festivals and events today! Looking for more of the best places to travel in March? Check out our list of 77 International Events for your Bucket List and 17 Extreme Bucket List Items for Adrenaline Junkies. Excited to read more insider recommendations on the top places to travel? Check out our full collection of posts on the best places to travel by month!



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