13 February 2017
Read on to discover 10 destinations that offer sunshine, adventure and spring blooms.
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
Perhaps the most famous flower garden in the world, Keukenhof Gardens opens for a mere eight weeks, welcoming plant-lovers from all over the world. Why? It’s a chance to see more than 7 million bulbs in bloom.
Dates in 2017 are 23rd March to 21st May, and there are 800 varieties of tulips creating a blanket of bright colour over 79 acres (32 hectares). The park doesn’t just cater for botanists, though. There are activities for children (including a petting farm and treasure hunt), an exhibition, flower shows, and more.
Travel Counsellor Damian visited Keukenhof Gardens as part of a river cruise with Avalon Waterways and said the gardens were one of the highlights of his trip, while Travel Counsellor Trevor also visited Keukenhof for the day. Trevor enjoyed "seven hours viewing the vast array of colours of all the different flowers available. We even enjoyed a cruise round the some of the Bulbfields for a little under an hour. For me the Orchid House was the most impressive display, with so many varieties."
Keukenhof Gardens are only a 45-minute drive from Amsterdam, and 30 minutes by bus from Schiphol Airport, so you can combine a city break to the beautiful city of Amsterdam with a day trip to marvel at millions of flowers.
Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya, Mexico
With eight hours of beaming sunshine each day, a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya offers a perfect escape from the gloomy grey days of winter!
You’ll find some of the best beaches on Mexico’s Caribbean coast – picture sparkling, bright blue sea and picture-perfect sandy beaches – but this huge country offers travellers much, much more than its beaches.
Visit Mayan ruins overlooking the sea in Tulum, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of biosphere reserve Sian Ka'an, and don’t miss the incredible aquatic parks, Xel-Ha and Xcaret.
Mexico’s rainy season officially runs from June to September, whereas March is warm and dry, without being too hot. Expect glorious sunshine and toasty temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.
The land of bright white sands, bright green tropical vegetation, and mouthwatering, fruity-spicy-sweet jerk sauce, Jamaica is an adventurous and laidback island paradise. This dreamy Caribbean island is warm and sunny all year round but March is one of the driest times of the year, with temperatures touching 30 degrees Celsius.
The beaches are dazzling but there are plenty of activities if you want to step away from the tropical waters. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park offers a spectacular seven-mile hike to the highest peak in Jamaica, at 2,256m (7,402ft) above sea level. Bird watchers can spend hours searching out rare birds among the brilliant green foliage – there are more than 290 bird species in Jamaica. And, among other activities, there’s a maze of fascinating underground caves to explore, too.
Florida Keys, USA
Tucked at the bottom of Florida, this delightful chain of islands is made up of Key West, Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and Big Pine Key (and the Lower Keys). One way to visit the Keys is to start in Miami first. Travel Counsellor Kate drove from Miami to the Everglades, about an hour's drive, and then down to Key Largo, a further hour, for her tour of the Florida Keys.
The sparkling waters are ideal for snorkelling or scuba diving, and deep sea fishing. And away from the emerald sea and sandy beaches, you’ll find cultural activities galore, including art galleries, museums and theatres.
Kate visited Key Largo, Key West, Islamorada, and Key Colony: "I loved the Florida Keys and there are so many Keys to stop off and visit. There's so much to do and see, like the Dolphin Research Centre or the Turtle Hospital, or trips out to the coral reefs, but what also struck me was the amazing turquoise blue waters that surround you all along the US Highway 1 down to Key West."
On your trip, don’t miss tasting freshly caught fish and stone crab claws, or sipping Key West rum. And, of course, that famous sweet treat, Key Lime Pie!
Warm weather and a spectacular landscape brimming with wildlife and brilliant flora make South Africa a fantastic destination for everyone in the family. There’s so much to do across the country, no matter the age of your travellers. Little ones will love spotting lions and elephants, while adult travellers can explore South Africa’s fascinating heritage and incredible wineries.
If you’re travelling with children, there are lots of outdoor activities aside from safaris. Spotting penguins running on Boulders Beach, zip-lining through forests, incredible nature trails, and epic cable car journeys are a few to add to your list. Read our Insider Guide to South Africa for more ideas.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai offers year-round sunshine but temperatures in the summer months (June to September) are very hot. In March, though, expect glorious weather in the low 20s˚C (high 60s˚F) – perfect for lazing on the sparkling beaches and for exploring all that this glittering city offers.
And in March, you’ll get to experience the biggest sporting event in the Dubai calendar – the Dubai World Cup. This dazzling sports and social occasion marks the end of the horse racing season (which runs November to March) and is held at the Meydan Racecourse.
San Diego, USA
San Diego offers something for both couples travelling on their own and families with little ones in tow. The beaches are beautiful, there are plenty of cultural attractions for adults and children, and the weather in March tends to be in the mid-teens, ideal for exploring the city and the lovely coastline of La Jolla.
One of the highlights of visiting San Diego in March is going on a whale-watching trip. Around 20,00 gray whales make the return trip between Alaska and Mexico each year. And San Diego is one of the best places in California to spot them.
March sees the start of Japan’s iconic sakura, cherry blossom season. Trees across the country bloom with exquisite, pale pink flowers, and thousands gather for hanami, cherry blossom-viewing picnic parties. The sight of sakura is truly mesmerising and is a wonderful spectacle to witness.
Maps chart the first blooms, so you can tour this fascinating country and follow the cherry blossom as you go. In March 2017, the cherry blossoms are forecast to arrive in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima over the last two weeks of March.
Pink sandy beaches, 75 miles of coastline, and culture combined with charm make Bermuda a spectacular spot for a spring getaway.
Nestled in the North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda has a pleasant temperature all year round, so it’s ideal if you like to explore whilst enjoying the balmy weather. Golf, nature trails, and scuba diving are just some of the activities to enjoy. And in March, you can marvel at the giant humpback whales migrating to Canada to feed. These majestic creatures are an utterly mesmerising sight as they jump in and out of the deep blue waters.
Love to sail? June 2017 sees Bermuda host the prestigious 35th America’s Cup, with races starting towards the end of May.
From the magical, pastel-hued buildings in Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, to the colonial buildings that grace dazzling Havana, Cuba is a wonderful blend of history, beaches, and culture.
Wander around Old Havana to gaze at the breathtaking mix of architecture, watch the sun go down over the Malecón (the 8km-long sea wall), and listen to the astounding music that seems to come out of every bar. Travel Counsellor Andrew explored Cuba in September 2016, ticking off one of the destinations on his travel wish list: "One of the highlights in Havana for me was the Museo de la Revolucion, which took me through the journey of the Cuban Revolution, Bay of Pigs & the Cuban Missile Crisis. The second highlight for me was the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana or the National Museum of Fine Art."
Andrew's other Havana must-dos include, "going for a ride in the Old American Vintage Cars (be careful as they break down… a lot!), wandering through the streets around Plaza Vieja (UNESCO have restored many buildings), wandering down to El Capitolio and Paseo Del Prado and also walking along the Malecón. The Hotel Nacional is an icon of Havana, with stunning views overlooking Havana and the water - it’s a great place to relax and watch the sun go down."
Cuba isn’t simply Havana’s colonial architecture, cigars and music, though. The beaches are beautiful, the countryside is tropical, and there are plenty of cultural activities to keep you busy.
March lies in Cuba’s dry season (November to April), so you can explore this vibrant country in temperatures of around 28 degrees C.
Ready for a getaway in March? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to plan your trip!