10 March Break Destinations To Save Money & Avoid The Crowds, According To Lonely Planet
These popular destinations will be off-peak. ✈️
A new semester is underway at Montreal universities, which means many students are already looking forward to reading week. The break falls during late February or early March for most institutions — an ideal window for off-peak travel to some top destinations, according to Lonely Planet.
The travel guide released recommendations for the best places to visit in the early spring for those looking to chill out, go on an adventure, eat well, engage with culture or reconnect with nature. There's even one Canadian locale on the list and it's only a stone's throw from Quebec.
People relax on a beach in Gran Canaria.
Gran Canaria, Spain
The Spanish-run Canary Island off the coast of Africa is a wellness escape with "over seven hours of daily sunshine in March" — basically the opposite of dark-by-4-p.m. Montreal. Visitors will find no shortage of meditation outlets for yoga, tai chi and qigong, but you can also opt for a hiking trail or just make a beeline for the beach.
The North African country may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of surfing retreats that are good for your body and your mind. But there are surf camps along the Moroccan coast that host visitors between October and March, when the weather starts to warm up "but waves are still big, long and consistent," according to Lonely Planet. If you're looking for a true escape, most camps are all about facilitating sunrise yoga and then hitting the beach.
Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse in North Wales.
The varied topography of the Central American country offers everything from rainforest and volcano exploration to whitewater rafting. March makes an ideal month to visit before the wet season and after peak holiday crowds.
The Welsh countryside is rife for exploration, especially in early spring when everything is in bloom. Lonely Planet highlights the Dee Valley for adrenaline whitewater activities, like rafting, kayaking, body-boating and paddleboarding.
Sugar house covered in snow.
New Brunswick, Canada
This coastline province is a road trip away from Montreal, and during March, it's celebrating maple syrup. Sugar shacks abound so you can fill up on sweetened sausages and other flavoured meats. There will still be some snow, so you can try your hand (foot?) at cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or winter hiking in places like Fundy National Park.
Early spring marks the slow tourist season for this Middle Eastern haven for all things delicious. The cuisine is top-notch, from lahmacun flatbread with toppings and baklava to fresh kebabs and grape leaf-wrapped dolma, among other delicacies. There are also food-themed tours and cooking classes to pick from, so you can bring some of the country's culinary secrets home with you.
Football players stand in a circle on a pitch.
Tiwi Islands, Australia
If you want to immerse yourself in a unique cultural experience, the March football games sporting Aussie rules and hosted on these twin islands off the coast of Australia are one-of-a-kind. Over a third of the Indigenous population (of under 3,000 people) plays the game and the level of fandom is apparently off the charts.
It's off-season during March in Italy's third-largest city, meaning comfortable weather and fewer people. The coastal destination serves some of the "best pizzas in the country" and its near Pompeii, if you want to check out the history of the region first hand.
Cherry blossoms in front of Karatsu Castle.
Depictions of cherry blossoms show up in most things Japanese, but they only bloom in spring. If you time your trip right, you can catch thousands of blossoming trees away from the massive crowds that descend on the country to catch the spectacle later in the season.
The Caribbean island offers beautiful scenery for nature lovers, snorkelers and divers. You can spend all your time on the beach, or check out the local wildlife. March is egg-laying time for nesting sea turtles, so you can either watch from a respectful distance or volunteer to help out with conservation programs.