March is a tricky month for heat-seekers. Most of Europe is a touch too chilly for a proper beach break, with the exception of the Canary Islands, but there are plenty of fine options if you’re willing to go medium- or long-haul. Below are 10 sultry shortcuts to the sun just before Easter, but there are many more great destinations for March, or other months of the year, with 1,000 Dream Trips, our new interactive tool that helps readers plan their holidays. For the best short-haul options for Easter warmth, see our guide.
1. Gran Canaria
Forever in the enormous shadow of its neighbour to the west, Tenerife, Gran Canaria is nonetheless never so eclipsed that it cannot provide temperatures around the 20C mark as March makes the rest of Europe shiver. In truth, the third-largest Canary Island is a fabulous destination. The capital Las Palmas offers elegant culture at its Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno – but saves its best for the beach in the shape of Playa de las Canteras.
Tui, Ryanair, Jet2 and EasyJet all serve the island. See our guide to the best hotels on Gran Canaria.
Only fully-vaccinated adults can visit Spain. Unvaccinated children aged 12-17 can visit with a negative PCR test. There are no restrictions on under-12s. See our Spain travel advice page for more details.
2. Essaouira, Morocco
Where once, Morocco only really gleamed on the map – for British tourists at least – via the (admittedly alluring) souks of Marrakech, now it can suggest Fes, Agadir and Tangier as accessible reasons to visit. And Essaouira. Pinned to the country’s Atlantic coast 110 miles west of Marrakesh, here is all the food and market frenzy you may expect of any Moroccan city – but also long beaches which are oases for surfers and windsurfers.
Trailfinder’s 10-day Marrakech, Mountains & Beach itinerary concludes with several days in Essaouira and costs from £1,298 per person. Flights extra.
All adults must be vaccinated to visit Morocco, while all those aged six and above must also present evidence of a negative Covid test. See our country-by-country Covid restriction guide for more information.
3. Las Vegas
If you take the line that it doesn’t matter when you visit Sin City – for you will be locked in the casino trebling your life savings – then the temperature outside is irrelevant. But Nevada’s big beast is arguably near its best in March – not so hot that you cannot brave the poolside, not given over to the desert chill either. A brief flight away in Arizona, however, the more elevated Grand Canyon may be dusted with snow – which is all the more reason to visit one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
Virgin Atlantic offers four-night packages to Las Vegas from £675pp.
Only fully-vaccinated adults from the UK can enter the United States, while everyone aged two and older also needs to present a negative test to enter. See our country-by-country Covid restriction guide for more information.
Sometimes it is hard to imagine Dubai as it was barely more than a century ago – a fishing village gazing at the Persian Gulf. Certainly, it was a place far removed from the metropolis that beckons travellers today – its Atlantis The Palm and Burj Al Arab resorts smiling for the cameras. But then, if you come for the luxury to be found in both, or the reliable warmth outside, such back stories scarcely matter.
BA Holidays offers three-night mini-breaks in Dubai from £429pp.
Arrivals must show evidence of a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure. See our country-by-country Covid restriction guide for more information.
You know you can count on a destination for winter warmth when it goes under the nickname of The Sunshine State. Florida lives up to this boast in all areas of the calendar – and in all corners of what, with 1,350 miles of sandy flanks to its portfolio, is the portion of the United States with more coastline than any other, Alaska excepted. For all that, it can be difficult to resist Orlando, whose theme parks and hotels guarantee holiday fun.
America As You Like It offers a seven-night, two-centre holiday combining the theme parks of Orlando with the pristine beaches of Sarasota from £835pp (flights extra). See americaasyoulikeit.com/floridaspecial.
Neither as grandstanding as Dubai, nor as grand as Abu Dhabi, Oman is the calmer cousin of the Arabian Peninsula. But it should not be underestimated as a possibility for winter sun. Both Zighy Bay and Sur are alluring places for beach escapes; Muscat is a city of underappreciated culture and sophistication.
Steppes Travel (01285 880 980; steppestravel.com) sells a 10-day “Luxury Holiday to Oman” which begins in the museums of Muscat, and concludes on a lounger at the Six Senses resort on Zighy Bay. From £8,950 a head (flights extra).
Visitors to Oman must have evidence of Covid vaccination, a recent negative test, and proof of travel insurance which covers possible Covid treatment. See the FCO website for more details.
For all its notoriety, at least in terms of the 20th century, it is sometimes forgotten that Cuba is big. The largest island in the Caribbean, it stretches from verdant Pinar del Rio in the west to historic Santiago in the south-east. So where to start in this country of 42,426 square miles? Certainly the crumbling, chaotic capital Havana – before the beach resorts of north-coast Varadero issue their loud siren call.
Tui offers one-week packages to Cuba from £614pp.
Arriving from the UK must be vaccinated and present evidence of a PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Children under the age of 12 are exempt. See the FCO website for more details.
Being bereft of the crashing waterfalls and major wildlife zones which symbolise Africa at its best, Mozambique still feels somewhat undiscovered. All the more reason, then, to encounter the safari secret of Gorongosa National Park, the Portuguese colonial heritage of Ibo Island, and a coastline that ebbs for some 1,535 miles.
Trailfinders offers a nine-day itinerary combining South Africa’s Kruger National Park with the beaches of Mozambique, from £5,605pp.
Travellers must present a negative PCR test, regardless of whether they have been fully vaccinated, issued within 72 hours of arrival. Children under five years old are exempt. See the FCO website for more details.
Let’s deal in statistics. Some 1,192 islets and coral outcrops – stretched across 26 atolls and 35,000 square miles of water – make up this archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean. Very few of these soft shards veer away from the template – golden sands, swaying palm trees, azure shallows. If you want variety of terrain, do not visit the Maldives. If you want temperatures in the thirties Celsius and unrestrained beach luxury, you have chosen well.
A seven-night holiday to the five-star Anantara Kihavah Maldives Resort costs from £4,000 per person, with flights, via Scott Dunn (020 3733 4841; scottdunn.com).
All travellers over the age of one are required to present a negative PCR test result taken no more than 96 hours before departure. See our country-by-country Covid restriction guide for more information.
The resorts and hotels dotted along Jamaica’s north coast at Montego Bay and Ocho Rios proffer the sort of sunny escapes where the European winter feels like a bad dream. Throw in an afternoon on Seven Mile Beach, at Negril, on the west coast, and the thought of Britain still shivering in March seems even more distant.
A one-week all-inclusive holiday at couples-only Sandal Negril costs from £1,908pp with Thomas Cook.
All travellers aged 12 years and above must present a negative Covid test result. Unvaccinated arrivals must stay at a hotel within the island’s “resilient corridor” and may only join approved excursions. See the FCO website for more details.