15 Best March destinations in Europe in 2023

March can be an excellent time to visit Europe as long as you aren’t coming for sunbathing. It’s true that the March weather in the northern areas is still going to be quite chilly, so we don’t recommend many of those places on the list below. But the March weather along the Mediterranean is generally mild. Best of all, the prices are low, crowds are small, and you’ll be able to see everything you want without waiting in long queues.

If for some reason you are actually looking for a warm place to visit in March you should instead check out our list of cheap destinations with great weather in March. Or if you mainly want to sit on a beach you’ll want to see our list of the cheapest Caribbean islands to choose the best one for you.

Notable March 2023 holidays in Europe

  • March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day (Mostly USA and Ireland)
  • March 19 – St. Joseph’s Day (public holiday in Switzerland, parts of Spain, and a few other places)

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 technically in Europe that has warm enough weather for sunbathing in March is 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.

It’s worth noting that Tenerife is only one of the Canary Islands and there are beach resorts on many others including Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and La Palma. Depending on the travel agency you are checking, the hotels might be separated by island rather than all just for the “Canary Islands” so it’s worth checking more than one.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €59 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €83 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €18 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 here and heading up through Florence and Venice (mentioned below). Easter is April 9 in 2023 so March will be quieter than usual since Easter is a big deal in Rome, regardless of which month it occurs in.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €54 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €68 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €22 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. The Carnival celebrations are huge here and they run from February 11 to February 21 in 2023, so you’d have to come earlier to get involved.

  • 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 €21 per person

>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence 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 €94 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €28 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. Believe it or not, Nice was originally popular as a winter resort because it had mild weather while places to the north were sometimes freezing. In other words, it’s a year-round destination these days. 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. There’s an outdoor market running through the middle of the town and it’s a great place to pick up snacks and even meals at a very good price.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €53 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €72 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €18 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 reliably 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. London feels really overloaded from June through September so an off-season visit can be more enjoyable by comparison.

Being a city where most of the famous attractions are indoors and 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. As 2023 approaches, the British Pound is at its weakest point in about 40 years so things here are really cheap as long as that lasts.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from £61 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from £98 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from £18 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 €57 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €83 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. If you’ve got an extra day or two you might also visit the fascinating city of Toledo, which is only an hour away by train. You can do it as a day trip, or stay a night or two in a hotel, which will probably be even a bit cheaper than Madrid itself.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €47 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €72 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €19 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. Picasso was actually born here and they have a really good Picasso Museum in Malaga. It’s different from the other famous (and worthwhile one) in Barcelona.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €52 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €84 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €18 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. Lisbon is actually known for excellent hostels, so even if you aren’t a backpacker you might consider a private room in a hostel because they also include something of a social life built in.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €42 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €62 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €17 per person

>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon 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 marble 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 €34 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €39 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €22 per person

>>Check hotel deals for Split
>>>Split 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 SantoriniMykonos, or Rhodes. Those are the largest and most popular islands for tourists, and they have town centers that are going all year round. On the other hand, the first two of those islands are now so overcrowded in summer that it’s best to avoid them at least in July and August.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €44 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €58 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €13 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. Sliema is also where most of the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife can be found, so you’ll probably only want to visit Valetta once to see the historic center and famous cathedral. 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 €59 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €64 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.

One down side to visiting Iceland in March is that the weather really isn’t pleasant enough to want to explore much more of the island than the south coast, which is where most of the famous attractions can be found. And Iceland has been going up in price in recent years as well, so nothing about it will be cheap. In fact, most hotels have shared bathrooms in the hallways, partly because they don’t have enough people to clean them all. Still, it’s absolutely worth visiting Iceland whenever you can make it.

  • Good 3-star hotels in March from €126 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in March from €159 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in March from €41 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.

If you are coming to Switzerland for more than two days it’s definitely worth looking into a Swiss Travel Pass, which provides unlimited free transportation on most trains, boats, and cable cars. These things are very expensive without the pass, but if you don’t want to splurge on that you should at least get a Half Fare Card, which will pay for itself in a couple days as well.

  • 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

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  1. Tess says:

    Roger
    I will travel on the trains whenever possible and limit driving only to the Andalucia area .Looks like Sevilla might be an option for flying to Lisbon? Would you be able to give your input on the travel flow and mode in between:Madrid,Sevilla,Granada,Grazalema,Ronda,Malaga(hiking at gorge if time)Nerja,Tarifa,Morocco and Lisbon. I am getting bogged down trying to figure out where to pick up rental car and what cities to do train or bus or drive to. Perhaps overnight in Tarifa and perhaps Grazalema or Ronda as a home base when visiting the Southern part? Malaga is considered as my friend wants to do the Caminito del Rey hike which I am reading is a bit commercialized and touristy?
    Thanks so much

  2. Tess says:

    Dear Roger,
    The above very helpful in planning our March adventure and appreciate any advice with the logistics. We will be limited to flying in and out of Barcelona or Madrid. In what order and modes of transportation should we plan? As I understand we will need to rent a car at White hill towns and wondered if we should use it to reach Tarif,Nerja etc? Would flying over to Lisbon to save time be a good idea?
    Barcelona,Madrid,Sevilla,(Cordoba)Granada,Grazalema(hiking),Ronda,Malaga(hiking at gorge if time)Nerja,Tarifa(dolphin,whale watching if applicable),Morocco(day trip) and Lisbon.
    Thank you
    Tess

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Tess,

      Spain is similar to most other European countries in that rental cars can be great for visiting small towns or national parks and so forth, but for visiting cities they can be a liability. It would be very difficult to find parking in Barcelona that doesn’t cost a lot and you definitely don’t want to drive around the city for sightseeing because most sights don’t have parking lots.

      But for going to a gorge and hiking and that sort of thing, a rental car can be ideal. Malaga has a crowded center, but if you stay a bit away from the center you might be able to find parking. Tarifa is a wonderful little city and many hotels outside of the center have parking because it’s so popular with wind surfers and whatnot.

      The only train to Lisbon leaves Madrid at night and arrives in Lisbon the next morning, so flying is usually a better option. Parking in Lisbon is difficult as well, but you could probably find something if you wanted to visit on your rental car portion of your trip. I hope this helps and I’m happy to answer other specific questions if you have them. -Roger

  3. Helen says:

    Hi Roger, I know this is a late reply but i am wondering if you have any ideas of a good destination within Europe for me to bring my two parents on holidays too. they want to go the last weekend in march, first week in April for 4 nights. I cant decide where to bring them that has lots of culture and sites but easy to get around. They have seen Rome and Paris so they are off my list. My mother has her sites set on Greece but i believe that Greece is off season in march April.Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated thanks.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Helen,

      It’s true that Greek islands are mostly shut down (as far as hotels and tourist restaurants) until late April, although Athens is lively and the late March weather there is decent. Still, Athens wouldn’t be my top choice for 4 nights that time of year.

      I’d say my top recommendation in late March would be Barcelona or even Lisbon. Barcelona is now dealing with “over tourism” and it can be so packed from June through August that it can be overwhelming, but in late March it should be quite pleasant and the weather is fairly mild (compared to elsewhere in Europe). Barcelona is also a fascinating and booming destination with many good day trips so 4 nights should be entertaining there.

      Lisbon has even nicer weather that time of year and it’s also a bit cheaper and less crowded, so it’s one to consider. It could be very nice for a 4-night visit because there are great day-trip options including the nearby historic town of Sintra, or you could even take a train to Porto in about 2 hours 45 minutes and then back to Lisbon for your flight home.

      Barcelona is mostly flat and the public transportation is quite good. Lisbon is rather hilly, but it’s still pretty easy to get around with taxis and trams. The rest of my top recommendations are in the article above, so I hope this helps a bit more. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger