Unconventional cities to explore
What’s a better way than having a cheeky spring fling before the schools break out for Easter causing mayhem and chaos than whisking yourself off to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world?
As it happens, March is the perfect time of year to travel. This is predominately when springtime celebrations are kicking into high gear to mark the new season, or being graced by dry weather and offering some much-needed sun after the bitterness of winter.
These are some of the best cities in the world to visit to shake off the cold and get some exotic sunshine to warm you up again while being able to join in some festivities too.
1. Fez, Morocco
Often overshadowed by its younger city sibling Marrakech, Fez is a lot larger and it is the imperial city of Morocco. It shines through with its authentic cultures and charms drawing you in instantly and takes you back to the old films but in real life. The vibrant streets and alleyways are lined with fragrant tanneries and wizened lively merchants which are well worth haggling with to get some authentic Moroccan wears and goods.
The great part is that it is less busy with tourists meaning that you won’t feel as cramped and can move around the city more freely to explore its more modern architecture and buildings as well as its eighth-century medina. Be sure to check out the Merenid tombs, Mount Zalagh and the Chouara Tannery.
2. Petra, Jordan
At this time of year, it has to be one of the Middle East’s most accessible countries that also has the strongest charm drawing you in and flocking to see its ancient ‘lost world’ architecture and wonders. Daytime temperatures are in the comfortable half of the 20s, while desert nights are warm enough for camping under the stars. This is why Petra stands out by far as one of its most popular cities to visit in March and for good reason too.
Boasting attractions such as floating in the super salty Dead Sea (which also supposedly has healing qualities) and the Wadi Rum which is a cinematic, rust-red desert with dramatic sandstone mountains and deep caves.
However, Petra is more famously known for its ancient Al Khazneh site which appears in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Mummy Returns and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Hint: Best way to get to Petra is by travelling to Amman, Jordan.
3. Chamonix, France
Spring time would not be complete without a quick visit to Chamonix in France where it is perched on top of the mountainside below the incredible Mont Blanc which looks straight out of a fairy tale. By this time of the year the snow has melted away enough for the skiers to have left and warm enough to take some delicious homemade picnics outside amongst the picturesque trees and flower fields.
Enjoy the local wine, food and delicacies. Breathe in the fresh clean mountain air. Take some time for yourself and enjoy the present while recharging your batteries and immersing yourself in nature and their many spa & wellness centres.
Hint: Best way to get to Chamonix, France is by travelling to Geneva, Switzerland.
4. Delhi, India
It wouldn’t be spring time in March if you didn’t experience Holi, the festival of colours which are the most vibrant, colourful and fun celebrations in the world. With an eruption of rainbow coloured powders, participants party across this city into the early hours.
It has become a must visit destination, especially as DJ’s line up play every year, delicious street food and animals everywhere. While you are there you may as well check out the grand temples, dusty bazaars in Old Delhi and its delightful cultures. For a modern approach, check out the Hauz Khas Village which has an array of trendy cafes, restaurants, bars and fashion boutiques.
5. Valencia, Spain
Normally when you think of Spain you probably think of ‘Benidorm’ which is full of rowdy British and considered just a normal holiday. However, Spain’s third largest city is a far stone’s throw away from that image and is unique all to itself. In the month of March, the Spanish have a fiery celebration, where they literally set everything on fire for the week-long Las Fallas festival which displays a host of giant, tongue-in-cheek papier-mâché sculptures.
These are paraded around the city and then in a blaze of glory are set ablaze on the final night with fireworks, parties, DJ’s and impressive lights. If watching oversized puppets being set on fire isn’t your thing then there are always the stunning golden sand beaches, intriguing architecture and of course a large jug of sangria.
6. Hoi An, Vietnam
Usually an incredibly sticky humidity which leaves your clothes sticking to every part of your body, but yet seems to disappear in March when it suddenly vanishes and is replaced by the driest month of the year. This make it the perfect opportunity to visit and enjoy everything Vietnam has to offer.
The best part is that it is slightly out of season too which makes it cheaper, less busy and more fun to explore. Hoi An is one of the best cities to enjoy with its rickety bridges, colourful lanterns hanging from every ceiling and phone wire and its beautiful white sandy beaches. Experience the hustle and bustle of the local markets, haggle for a cheap custom made suit, learn to cook traditional Vietnamese food or float around on a coconut boat.
Hint: Hoi An has no airport, so the only way to get there is by road from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities.
7. Siargao, The Philippines
A bit further afar from home but a place of almost uncharted beauty amongst the emerald archipelago and honestly the best place to relax after a long winter. While there are thousands of islands to choose from, and not technically a city, Siargao is a stunningly beautiful tear-drop shaped island surrounded by pristine white beaches, thatched roofed villas, vibrant coral reeds and enough sun to shake a stick at.
In March the heat is a lot more bearable on the beaches and you will find yourself with a coconut drink in one hand, fruit in another and preparing to snorkel with the eclectic marine life just waiting for you swim with them. Throw in the copious amounts of water sports you can join in surf as surfing, paddle boarding and diving – it’s the paradise island you have always dreamed of.
Hint: Best way to get to Siargao is by flying to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Philippines and from there taking a flight to the domestic Siargao Island Airport.
8. Las Vegas, USA
Who wouldn’t want to replicate The Hangover’s crazy but amusing antics with a group of friends or try your hand at winning it big like in Rainman while casino hopping along the famous strip? Also, known as the City of Sin it is actually a pretty interesting place when you look past all the pretty flashing lights and flashing neon.
Since it’s in the Nevada desert you can be sure that it will dry and hot, leaving the bitter cold at home and getting some much-needed vitamin D. If you’re a thrill seeker, head to the Stratosphere for their gravity defying rides, or catch a show at the MGM Grand to entertain you for the evening. Or if you want to feel like a true American, try your aim at their many gun ranges and pump some lead into paper targets.
Be sure to check out my website Take The Leap Travel for more information and travel advice as well as my Instagram @explorewithlee and @taketheleaptravel.
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