Places to Visit in Europe in March – Top Destinations for Early Spring Travel

March presents a unique opportunity for travel in Europe as the continent begins to shake off the chill of winter and welcomes the fresh blossoms of spring. Visiting Europe during this transitional month often means fewer crowds, allowing for a more leisurely exploration of its renowned cities and hidden gems.

From the sunnier climes of the Canary Islands to the burgeoning tulips of Amsterdam, the weather is varied enough to cater to a range of preferences, whether seeking the warmth of the Mediterranean or the last snows of alpine adventures.

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Cultural festivals and events start to spring up during this time, offering a glimpse into the continent’s diverse heritage and traditions. The Amsterdam Coffee Festival is a highlight for caffeine fans, while the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations turn cities like Dublin into a vibrant sea of green.

On top of these cultural offerings, the changing seasons make specific destinations ideal to visit before the peak summer crowds descend.

Places to Visit in Europe in March – Key Takeaways

  • March is an ideal month for quieter European travel with diverse weather options.
  • Various cultural events, like the Amsterdam Coffee Festival, offer unique experiences.
  • Seasonal changes highlight destinations such as the Canary Islands and Amsterdam for their natural and cultural attractions.

Weather and Seasonal Considerations

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In March, Europe transitions from the cold of winter to the warmer temperatures of spring. This seasonal shift brings varying climates across the continent and offers unique advantages for travellers during what’s known as the shoulder season.

March Climate across Europe

  • Winter: In northern Europe, your experience may still be wintry in March, with cooler temperatures and possible snow.
  • Spring: Heading south, you’ll find that countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece welcome early spring with milder temperatures.
  • Average Temperatures: Expect a broad range from about nine °C in more temperate regions to a mild 20°C in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean.

Spring Awakening and Shoulder Season Advantages

  • Lent/Easter: Travel during Lent can be quieter, moving towards Easter when some destinations might begin their high season.
  • Shoulder Season: March is the shoulder season, where you can enjoy:
    • Shorter queues at attractions
    • Lower prices for accommodation and flights
    • The blend of late winter and early spring weather offers a diverse experience, from skiing in the Alps to enjoying the outdoors in the Med.

Cultural Festivals and Events

In March, Europe offers various cultural festivals and events spanning multiple traditions and celebrations.

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

On 17 March, Dublin becomes a vibrant hub of activity for St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s national holiday. With parades showcasing elaborate floats and musicians, Dublin’s streets come alive. You can experience:

  • Traditional Irish Music
  • Street performances
  • The famous St. Patrick’s Festival Parade

Las Fallas in Valencia

The Spanish city of Valencia hosts Las Fallas from 15 to 19 March. This unique event marks the arrival of spring with:

  • Extravagant firework displays
  • The construction of ‘fallas’ (monumental sculptures)
  • A ceremonial burning of the sculptures on the final night

Holy Week and Easter Traditions

Holy Week preceding Easter is observed widely across Spain with processions and religious fervour. You will witness:

  • Solemn processions in Seville featuring ornate floats
  • Traditional garb was worn by the ‘nazarenos.’
  • Various regional customs mark the culmination of Lent

International Chocolate Festival in Óbidos

In the historic town of Óbidos, Portugal, the International Chocolate Festival in March indulges your sweet tooth with:

  • Chocolate sculptures
  • Cooking classes and workshops
  • Chocolatiers from around the world showcasing their creations

Top Destinations for March Travels

March presents a unique chance to experience Europe’s diverse landscapes, from city grandeur to tranquil beaches and the allure of snowy mountains. Whether you’re seeking culture-rich urban jaunts, serene seaside retreats, or adventurous highland hideaways, this month offers it all.

City Breaks in Europe’s Capitals

  • Lisbon, Portugal: March brings mild weather to Lisbon, perfect for meandering through its historic quarters and outdoor cafés.
  • Barcelona, Spain: Experience the buzzing atmosphere and Gaudí’s masterpieces without the peak season crowds.

Coastal Escapes and the Mediterranean Charm

  • Algarve, Portugal: Enjoy the serene beaches and dramatic cliffs while the tourist footfall is still low.
  • Valletta, Malta: Explore this fortified city with its unique Mediterranean warmth and cultural heritage blend.

Mountain Retreats and Northern Lights

  • Bled, Slovenia: Bled offers a picturesque lake with an island church and a castle, all against the backdrop of the snow-capped Julian Alps.
  • Lapland: Offering a chance to witness the Northern Lights and engage in winter sports.

Practical Travel Tips and Advice

When travelling through Europe in March, it’s essential to consider crowds, family needs, and local experiences. This section offers guidance to ensure a memorable journey.

Navigating through Tourist Crowds

  • Tourist Attractions: Avoid peak hours by visiting popular spots like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia early in the morning or late afternoon.
  • Timing: Plan your visit around local festivals; for instance, Tenerife’s vibrant carnivals in early March draw significant crowds.
  • Alternatives: Seek out lesser-known attractions in cities like Malaga to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere without the masses.

Family Travel: Accommodating Kids

  • Accommodation: Choose family-friendly hotels with amenities for children, ensuring a comfortable stay.
  • Educational Trips: Engage your kids with educational visits to sites like Tenerife’s science museums during school breaks.
  • Recreation: Look for local parks or playgrounds for downtime between sightseeing to keep children entertained.

Sampling Local Cuisine and Nightlife

  • Local Dishes: Venture into Malaga or Barcelona to sample authentic paella and tapas in residents’ favour at local eateries.
  • Festivals and Events: Experience the Beer Festival in Barcelona to enjoy a selection of local and international brews.
  • Nightlife: Discover the vibrant nightlife safely by sticking to well-lit main streets or joining guided night tours.

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