15 Best March destinations in Europe in 2018

If you are coming to Europe in March you are obviously not looking for sunbathing destinations. Still, many of Europe's best and most popular cities have surprisingly decent weather in March, so it can be an excellent time for a city visit. More good news is that most of southern Europe is mostly dry in March, so a light jacket or sweater is probably all you'll need most of the time.

If you are looking for a warm-weather destination in March you should probably think about Asia or perhaps the Caribbean. As long as you don't need it to be actually hot, the Canary Islands are warm and pleasant enough that some people do sunbathe in March, so it's the first place on the list below.

Notable March 2018 holidays in Europe

  • March 17 – St. Patrick's Day (not a big event in Ireland)
  • March 25 – Palm Sunday (Notable in some southern countries)
  • March 25 – Semana Santa/Holy Week (The whole week is a celebration in Spain)
  • March 30 – Good Friday (Notable in some southern countries)
  • April 1 – Easter Sunday (A big deal in Italy and many others)

Europe's only March beach destination

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • March avg high: 71F/22C
  • March avg low: 60F/16C
  • March avg precip: 1.1″/2.8cm

The only destination that is techically in Europe that has warm enough weather for sunbathing in March are the Canary Islands, just off the southern coast of Morocco. Since they are officially part of Spain they count as being in Europe, and they are quite popular this time of year because of that fact and how easy they are to reach from Britain and Scandinavia in particular.

Tenerife is the largest of the islands and the one that is most oriented towards English speakers, so it's the first choice of many. You'll be surprised at how many people are sunbathing in Tenerife when it's just barely warm enough. Fortunately, the evenings don't get cold and there usually isn't much wind, so it feels quite nice. The best climate can be found in the southwest corner of the island near Los Cristianos.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €57 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €77 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €17 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Tenerife
>>>Tenerife prices and travel tips


The destinations below at least have decent March weather, and plenty to see this month

Rome, Italy

  • March avg high: 60F/16C
  • March avg low: 42F/6C
  • March avg precip: 2.6″/6.5cm

Since Rome's top attractions such as the Vatican Museum and Ancient Rome can be so insanely crowded during the warmer months, March is pretty much perfect for a visit for most people. The crowds are still far smaller than during summer and hotel prices are still way down as well. You can even wander a bit off the beaten track and feel like you are one of the only tourists in town.

Flights to Rome are also reasonably priced in March, so it's a good month to begin a trip beginning hear and heading up through Florence and Venice (mentioned below). By the time April comes around, and especially around Easter on April 16 in 2017, the city fills up.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €50 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €54 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €24 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
>>>Rome prices and travel tips


Florence, Italy

  • March avg high: 59F/15C
  • March avg low: 41F/5C
  • March avg precip: 3.2″/8.0cm

If you are going to be visiting Rome (above) you should also include Florence on that trip. The cities are only about 90 minutes apart by high-speed train, so you could technically visit Florence as a day trip. But really you are better off staying at least a few nights because Florence is more peaceful than Rome, and has a lot to offer.

Florence itself is filled with top museums and other sights such as the famous cathedral, but it also makes for an ideal base for day trips. Pisa is only an hour away, and Siena is only a bit farther, while there are several hill towns that make for wonderful excursions as well. Florence is the capital of Tuscany so it's known as a food and wine center. Hotel prices are a bit lower than in Rome as well.

By the way, Venice is still a bit chilly in March, but it's still worth a visit if you have an extra day or two.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €50 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €67 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €22 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips


Split, Croatia

  • March avg high: 57F/14C
  • March avg low: 46F/8C
  • March avg precip: 2.5″/6.3cm

Most people are far more aware of Dubrovnik, which is a bit down the coast of Croatia from Split and just a bit warmer as well. But Dubrovnik's historic center is also much smaller and far more expensive than Split's, so many people prefer going here instead. The March weather is pleasant, even if you'll need to wear a jacket or sweater still.

Split is actually even a bit older than Dubrovnik and the white-on-white city center is very similar. Better still, Split is a real city where tourists eat among locals and there is always something going on. Dubrovnik's walled city is almost 100% tourists, so it feels more artificial even though it's quite impressive. You can visit both if you are in the area, and hotel rates this time of year are very reasonable. Local apartment rentals called “sobes” are abundant and usually cheaper than hotels.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €30 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €35 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €28 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Split
>>>Split prices and travel tips


Paris, France

  • March avg high: 55F/13C
  • March avg low: 43F/6C
  • March avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

If you read our remarks about Rome above, and about how March is the last month before summer to avoid massive crowds, they apply equally to Paris as well. As you can see, it's still a bit chilly in Paris in March, but that will also enable you to wear some of your more fashionable outfits that you could never wear on a summer visit.

As you'd expect, hotel rates in March are quite reasonable in Paris, and airfares are modest as well. This city just doesn't get much rain at any time during the year, and March is yet another fairly dry month, so you can probably leave the umbrella at home. The most popular attractions such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are less crowded as well. Consider a Paris Pass if you intend on hitting many of the top attractions in only a few days.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €82 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €95 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €33 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Paris
>>>Paris prices and travel tips


Nice, France

  • March avg high: 59F/15C
  • March avg low: 46F/8C
  • March avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

Nice is mostly known as a summer retreat for French and English people with means, but it's also a lovely city on the Mediterranean and an ideal second city to visit in France after Paris. The March climate is warm enough to spend a fair amount of time out of doors, which is not something you can say about many other European cities.

In addition to a pleasant historic town center, Nice is an ideal base for exploring the French Riviera. Cannes and Antibes are very short train rides away to the west, and Monaco is about 20 minutes by train to the east. If you want to do those day trips then getting a more affordable hotel in the area of the train station is wise.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €68 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Nice
>>>Nice prices and travel tips


London, England

  • March avg high: 51F/11C
  • March avg low: 39F/4C
  • March avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

Since London never really has reliabably good weather, it can be worthwhile to visit in March when you know it's going to be chilly but probably won't rain much. At least the hotel rates are way down and the crowds are far smaller than during summer.

Being a city where most of the famous attractions are indoors and it has an excellent public transport system, visiting in March won't feel much different from visiting in July, except you won't have a zillion other tourists to compete with at every turn.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €67 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €129 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €25 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
>>>London prices and travel tips


Barcelona, Spain

  • March avg high: 61F/16C
  • March avg low: 44F/7C
  • March avg precip: 1.7″/4.3cm

It's obviously still a bit cool in Barcelona in March, but it's warm enough to stroll around and enjoy the fascinating architecture with very little chance of rain. Really the main feature of a March visit will be to be clear of the monstrous crowds that now take Barcelona over from May through September.

This is a city that can be too hot for many in July and August, so these shoulder-season visits will be more comfortable for anyone who doesn't love sweating. Of course the hotel rates are still way down as well, just as you'd expect this time of year. You'll definitely want to also visit Madrid, mentioned below, which is only 3 hours away on a high-speed train.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €54 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €73 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €26 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Barcelona
>>>Barcelona prices and travel tips


Madrid, Spain

  • March avg high: 60F/16C
  • March avg low: 42F/6C
  • March avg precip: 1.0″/2.5cm

You can see that Madrid has a similar climate to Barcelona in March, but it typically gets even less rainfall. It's best to visit both cities on the same trip because they are both huge, filled with interesting sights, and surprisingly different from one another.

Madrid is where you'll find the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, and the city center is also more dense and more city-like than Barcelona. The famous nightlife goes pretty much all year round in both cities, so you can dress up a bit in the cooler weather but still leave your umbrella at home.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €44 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €70 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €17 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Madrid
>>>Madrid prices and travel tips


Malaga, Spain

  • March avg high: 64F/18C
  • March avg low: 46F/8C
  • March avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

The best March climate in Spain can be found in the historic city of Malaga along the Mediterranean coast. This is the gateway to the Costa del Sol resort towns, but those tend to be very quiet this time of year so staying in Malaga itself is probably a better idea.

It's not quite warm enough for sunbathing in Malaga in March, though it can be close late in the month. Even so, this city has a proper downtown with shopping, restaurants, bars, and other attractions. Flights into Malaga are fairly cheap this time of year, and if you are coming from Madrid they can be even cheaper than the train, depending on when you buy.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €54 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €84 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Malaga
>>>Malaga prices and travel tips


Lisbon, Portugal

  • March avg high: 66F/19C
  • March avg low: 48F/9C
  • March avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

While Spain has the reputation for the sunniest and warmest part of Europe during winter, it's really Portugal that deserves the crown more. Lisbon is a wonderful and historic city with a surprisingly good climate all year round. This city is also unusually cheap for Europe, especially for how posh the historic center feels. Hotel rates in March are even more reasonable, of course.

Some people start a Europe tour by flying into Lisbon and then taking the overnight train to Madrid, or flying to Madrid or somewhere else. If you are starting a Europe tour in March it can be good to start in a place like Lisbon with a nice climate, and then head north as temperatures climb a bit each week.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €37 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €57 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €19 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon prices and travel tips


Athens, Greece

  • March avg high: 60F/16C
  • March avg low: 44F/7C
  • March avg precip: 1.6″/4.0cm

Many people visit Athens for a few days on their way to visit one of the islands, but the islands are virtually closed down until after Easter, so in March you'll want to just focus on the mainland. Athens is one of Europe's cheaper large cities, and it's obviously one of the most historic cities in the world. Hotel rates in March are very reasonable, and the attractions such as the Acropolis and Archeological Museum are far less crowded.

If you really want to also visit an island you might consider Santorini, Mykonos, or Rhodes. Those are the largest and most popular islands for tourists, and they have town centers that are going all year round.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €46 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €56 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Athens
>>>Athens prices and travel tips


Valletta, Malta

  • March avg high: 61F/16C
  • March avg low: 50F/10C
  • March avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

You'll be excused if you only know Malta from the Maltese Falcon because this small island just south of Sicily is really only popular with Brits and some Scandinavians. But you can see above that its southern location gives is a very pleasant climate this time of year, and it's a very friendly and easy to visit island as well. Since it was once run by Britain, English is one of the official languages and everyone in the tourism industry speaks it fluently.

It obviously won't be warm enough for sunbathing, but it'll be pleasant to spend a lot of time outdoors. The capital city of Valletta is quite small and compact, so most visitors will have a better time staying in Sliema, which is a short ferry ride across the bay from Valletta. There are many other villages along the waterfront, with plenty of good restaurants and nightlife never far away.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €60 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €69 for two people

>>>Check hotel deals for Valletta
>>>Valletta prices and travel tips


Reykjavik, Iceland

  • March avg high: 38F/3C
  • March avg low: 28F/-2C
  • March avg precip: 3.2″/8.0cm

We've listed this suggestion as Reykjavik, which is obviously the capital, but really you'll probably only be visiting the city on your way in or out of the country. March is the last full month of the best Northern Lights viewing, which is best done in smaller towns and rural areas far away from Reykjavik itself. Some people visit Iceland in December, January, or February for the Northern Lights, but you can't do much else in those months because the days are so short. In March the sun is out for around 12 hours each day, although it is low in the sky.

Another reason to visit Iceland in March is that it's before the busy summer season begins so you won't be competing with all of the other tourists. Hotel rates are more affordable, although prices have been going up so even the cheaper places may feel a bit expensive at this point. Still, this is an amazing island and it becomes the favorite destionation in the world for many who visit, including yours truly.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €98 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €126 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €33 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Reykjavik
>>>Reykjavik prices and travel tips


Interlaken, Switzerland

  • March avg high: 50F/10C
  • March avg low: 33F/1C
  • March avg precip: 3.2″/8.0cm

If you are touring around Europe and you want to catch the most amazing Alpine views possible, you'll want to head to the Interlaken area. There are observation decks such as Schilthorn and scenic railways such as Jungfraujoch with views that you will never forget if you catch them on a clear day.

The Interlaken area is also home to quite a few ski centers, and there should still be good snow in March. But it's also an adventure and trekking area so there is something interesting to do all year round. Hotel rates near ski lifts can be pricey, but hotels in towns without ski lifts can be good bargains this time of year.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €76 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €128 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €23 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Interlaken
>>>Interlaken prices and travel tips




18 Responses to “15 Best March destinations in Europe in 2018”

serena hawley says:

looking for a good price on an all inclusive from march 11-15

 
    Roger Wade says:

    Serena,

    There are only a few all-inclusive resorts on Tenerife and the other Canary Islands, but you could try there. And the mid March weather is okay for sunbathing for part of the day, though still a bit chilly for most people.

    If you can put up with the flight time I’d recommend trying Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The all-inclusive resort deals there are outstanding, which would make up for a pricier flight. The March weather there is also warm and sunny every day.

    Your cheapest option close to Europe for all-inclusives with warm March weather would be Sharm el-Sheikh. The value is amazing, but that’s partly because some Europeans would prefer to avoid Egypt right now. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

     
Paula says:

Looking for a fairly warm location with good accessibility for a wheelchair.

 

    Paula,

    I’m happy to try to help, but you might find more information on a website that discusses accessibility. In my experience I can say that most European cities do quite a good job with accessibility, although in some cities such as Paris, it’s most convenient to get around on the Metro, and not all stops have elevators. My first suggestions would be Barcelona and Madrid, since they have reasonably warm weather in March and are also mostly flat. Both of those cities are also compact enough that if you stay in a hotel in the central district you can see most things without needing public transportation.

    I know quite a few European cities have special taxis and buses that can load in a wheelchair, but I don’t know enough about them to give advice myself. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. -Roger

     
Amanda says:

Hi,

My friend and I are hoping to go to Rome for Spring Break this year, March 11-18. We are thinking that we would stay in Rome for four nights and Florence for two nights. I was hoping that you would have some suggestions for our trip as well as cheap places to go and means of travel since we are both in college and don’t have THAT much money. Thank you!

 

    Amanda,

    That sounds like an excellent Spring Break trip. You might even consider doing Rome in 3 nights then Florence in 2 nights and then 1 night in Venice. They are all less than two hours apart by train, and Venice might be the single most amazing place you’ll ever see in person. Venice is also small enough that 24 hours is a long enough visit.

    By far the best way of getting around is by train, especially as the high-speed links between those cities are fast and cheap. Once you decide on a schedule it’s best to buy the train tickets ASAP for the best prices from the official Italy rail site. Even the train from Venice back to the Rome Airport won’t cost too much if you buy early.

    I don’t often give specific itinerary suggestions for within cities as I feel that guidebooks and other websites do a much better job of that. I can highly recommend Rick Steves Italy guide, which is available in a book and also an ebook version. He does an excellent job of explaining the top sights and best strategies for saving money. You can also get advice from Lonelyplanet.com among others, but most of those guides tend to list everything so you are left to read it all and then sort out the highlights yourself.

    The area around the Rome train station is convenient and pretty cheap for hostels and budget hotels, although a bit seedy at times if you get too far south. I hope this helps. If you have other specific questions I’ll be happy to try to answer them. -Roger

     
elana says:

Hi
we are looking to take a family trip to europe at the end of march. We mostly like to hike and are nervous that the weather won’t be so good. We are a family of 11 so we are looking for something on the lower end, budget wise- any suggetsions?

 

    Elana,

    One nice thing is that nowhere in the popular countries in Europe do they experience extreme weather with any regularity. Rain is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, and in the southern countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece, you won’t get any snow in March except at the highest elevations. Really my top recommendations for a March trip are all in the article above. And if you want to focus on hiking and outdoor activities it’s probably best to think about Spain and Portugal for the best March weather. Again, there are parts of the world where you might get heavy rain for a week straight in March, but in southern Europe you’d be extremely unlucky to get more than a couple of rainy days in a row. It will be a bit of a gamble, of course, but most likely it’ll be reasonably warm and mostly dry. Northern Spain has mountains and plenty of good hiking, but for the warmest and clearest weather you might look more to southern Spain and Portugal. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

     
Rob Smith says:

Hi
we are planning a 18 day trip to switzerland & italy. And would like to avoid snow and rain as my wife is pregnant.

We are not much interested in arts & museums. We like nature & scenic places.

We had following cities in mind:

Geneva
Montreux or chamonix
Milan
Como
Florence
Rome
Amalfi

Could you recommend places to visit in switzerland and italy for 15 days in last week of march & 1st week of april. We want to avoid cold or rainy weather. we are not much into arts & museums.
Mostly we would like to visit scenic places.

 

    Rob,

    It can rain any day of the year in Switzerland, but it’s a very modern and well organized country so it’s usually pretty easy to avoid getting too wet. To be honest, Geneva is a pretty dull city that happens to have a nice location on a lake. Montreux is similar and also with very nice views. I don’t think I would visit both of them, especially with so many other things to see in Switzerland. The most scenic and interesting city is Bern, which is also the capital. Interlaken and Lucerne are the most scenic places in Switzerland, and you probably won’t get snow in those places unless you go up into the mountains.

    Milan is Italy’s second largest city but it’s not much of a tourist city (and it’s not very Italian). Unless you’ve already been to Venice I would recommend going there instead. The Lake Como area is indeed nice and it’s easy to reach from Milan on a local train in about an hour. Florence and Rome are the other two big tourist cities (along with Venice) and I would recommend 3 days in each of them.

    The Amalfi Coast is a bit hard to reach and there isn’t much to do there aside from relax and enjoy the views. The easiest way to visit Amalfi is to take a train from Rome to Naples and then another local train from Naples to Sorrento, which is a lovely town on its own. Once in Sorrento you can take the local bus (leaving in front of the train station every hour) that goes along the Amalfi Coast including stops in Positano and Amalfi itself. It’s probably easiest to just stay in Sorrento and visit for the day. I’m not sure if you had any questions and I hope this helped. -Roger

     
Jermaine says:

To each is own but I would recommend staying longer in Florence than in Rome. Personally, aside fro the collisuem and ruins Rome is just okay… Florence is beautiful and much better imo. Just my two cents. Enjoy

 

    Jermaine,

    I actually agree with you. Rome is amazing, but it’s also overwhelming and so I think 3 days is a perfect stay for a first visit. But in Florence I think staying a week or even more would be lovely. I think the food is better as well. Thanks for the comments. -Roger

     
Sumithra says:

I am living in Warszawa and planning on a holiday from 24th March to 30 March with my daughter in Europe. Which place would you suggest is best. Do you think going to Italy – covering Rome, Venice and Florence would be good or is there any other place I can go. I wanted to take her to Greece – Athens and Santorini during this time but am not sure as hearing mixed reviews. Please advise. And thanks for your help.

 

    Sumithra,

    Athens and Santorini are very nice and definitely worthwhile, but if you haven’t yet been to Italy I would recommend going there first. Also, Athens is nice in March, but Santorini will be very quiet because the tourist season doesn’t really begin until mid April and it’s still quiet until June there.

    With 6 days the fastest trip to Italy I would recommend would be to fly into Venice (or nearby Treviso) and spend about 24 hours there. Then take the two-hour train ride down to Florence and spend two nights there. Then take the 90-minute train ride down to Rome and spend your final 3 nights there, before flying back to Warsaw. With only 6 days you don’t really have much flexibility to do it any differently, so I hope that sounds okay. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

     
MOHAMMED says:

I’d like to ask about the best places to visit in Europe (other than the UK) in the end of March and April which have many activities and the weather is warm or ok.
Thanks in advance!

 

    Mohammed,

    Actually, the whole article above is specifically written to answer your question. Spain, Portugal, and Italy all have reasonably nice weather in late March and early April, although none of them may be as warm as you hope. If you are interested in history, food, and culture I would go to Italy. But if you are more interested in hiking and relaxation and smaller crowds I would go to Spain and/or Portugal. I’m happy to help with more information if you have specific questions. -Roger

     
Srini says:

Hi Roger,

Could you please let me know which places are good to visit in Europe in 2/3 week of March. like Portugal or Malta or canary islands,etc.

Regards,
Srinivas

 

    Srinivas,

    Actually, the whole article above was written to answer this question. I included the weather averages so you could see which places are warm and which places are still cold but worthwhile. The Canary Islands has warm weather all year and some people even sit on the beach there in December, but I find it to be kind of a boring place for cultural purposes because almost everyone there is just there to relax. Malta might be warm enough in March and at least it has enough permanent residents that it has interesting culture, particularly in the Valletta area and Sliema, which is just across the bay from Valletta.

    And the southern coast of Portugal and Spain are getting warm that time of year as well. I’m not sure this helps, but I’m happy to answer specific questions if you have them. -Roger

     

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