Ready to book a hotel for a weekend break in Europe? These are the best places to visit in March.
Whether you're seeking adventure or a low-key retreat, March is the perfect time to experience some of Europe’s loveliest sights and without the summer heat and roving crowds.
Is Dublin’s famous St Patrick’s Day Parade calling to you? Or perhaps you'd rather spend spring break lounging on a balmy Mediterranean island. Maybe you'll spend a week trekking through a remote forest in central Sweden, or admiring one of the most famous flower blooms on Earth.
March is also the beginning of festival season in Europe, so there are a dizzying number of opportunities to make merry with locals, be it at a citrus-inspired carnival in southern France, or a street parade with life-size puppets in Spain.
To help you find the absolute best places to travel in Europe during March, we looked at popular ,and sometimes underrated, annual events:
- Hotels in Zurich, Switzerland
- Hotels in Chios Island, Greece
- Hotels in Valencia, Spain
- Hotels in Dublin, Ireland
- Hotels in Chisinau, Moldovia
- Hotels in Óbidos, Portugal
- Hotels in Bled, Slovenia
There are a lot of ways to live it up in Switzerland’s poshest and largest city. In addition to the usual suspects — cafe-hopping in Zurich’s Old Town, or window shopping on Bahnhofstrasse — travelers can raise the bar this spring by having a meal at Dolder Grand. The acclaimed five-star hotel, which overlooks the entire city from atop a hill, will host a special six-course, dessert-only dinner this month, featuring drink pairings and elaborate treats by resident pastry chefs Andy Vorbusch and Jeslyn Teoh.
Our pick of hotels in Zurich:
Chios Island, Greece
It’s sure to be a night of passion on the Greek island of Chios when rival churches take part in an unusual tradition known as 'rouketopolemos' the night before Easter (March 31). Translated as “rocket war,” the event is exactly as it sounds: starting around 8:00 p.m., the neighboring churches begin firing thousands of fireworks at each other, causing the town to resound with the sound of hurtling comets and exploding rockets. The event is so popular, locals hike up into the hills to ensure a good viewing spot before the blazing proceedings get underway while drinking the local drink Mastika
Our pick of hotels in Chios, Greece
In March, the Spanish coastal city hosts a nearly month-long event known as Las Fallas, which includes street performances, a parade of giant papier-mâché puppets known as ninots, and the construction of a 50-foot high pillar made of flowers.
Our pick of hotels in Valencia, Spain
The streets of Dublin burst to life this month for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Travelers weaving their way through the capital in March will have plenty to capture their attention, whether it’s a guided podcast walking tour of Dublin Port, or the famous two-mile-long St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. The celebrations span the entire weekend, so plan on escaping the crowds and find a hotel in Dublin to recover from the St Patricks Day celebrations.
Our pick of hotels in Dublin, Ireland
Related to Dublin, Ireland : Best places to visit in Ireland
Squeezed between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is often overlooked by travelers in search of flashier eastern cities like Prague or Budapest. But on March 1, that all changes when the country erupts during the festival of Martisor, which means "Little March." The mass celebration — which was recently declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO — features a fertility amulet known as a martisor, that is traditionally pinned over the heart. Travelers who receive such an amulet from a local should consider themselves very lucky indeed.
Our pick of hotels in Moldova:
Here’s a surprisng reason to count Portugal near the top of your itinerary this spring: chocolate! That’s because the International Chocolate Festival, held in the medieval town of Óbidos, is an attraction for travelers of all stripes. As long as you have a hankering for chocolate, you’ll go home satisfied. The festival spans several days, turning Óbidos’ narrow cobblestone streets into showrooms where various cakes, truffles, pastries, and chocolate sculptures are on display. It’s a bit like an art fair — but better, because the art is all edible.
Our pick of hotels in Óbidos, Portugal
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled, located in the northern reaches of Slovenia near the Austrian border, is one of the best-kept secrets of eastern Europe. With a freshwater lake at its center, the region is awash with an enchanting, almost fairytale-esque beauty. In early spring, snow is still visible on the Julian Alps, but temperatures begin to rise, making it possible to hike up to Blejski Castle, or paddle around the lake in a traditional pletna boat. End your magical trip with a plate of delicious cremeschnitte, a traditional cream cake.
Our pick of hotels near Lake Bled in Slovenia