With the beginning of spring both the nature and tourists wake up from their winter slumber. This can be seen all across the Europe, cities and towns, both old and new, celebrate spring in the most colorful of ways, with many different festivals and events. Here are some of the best destinations to visit during March.
1) Noordoostpolder, The Netherlands
Holland’s annual tulip bloom, taking place in mid April, is one of the most famous flower-related events in the world, but the largest flower garden in the world, Keukenhof, opens its gates in March. The flower-loving early birds can gaze upon the 32 hectare garden filled with snow whites, daffodils, and hyacinths. The Spring Fair in De Tulperij near Keukenhof is also one of the events held in March. Filled with flowers, but also with different activities and events for both children and adults, Keukenhof would make a great day-trip for anyone near Amsterdam.
2) Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavik, a popular destination during the whole year, is especially attractive in winter because of the Northern Lights. Now would be the time for Northern Lights viewing, because unlike the winter months, March gets up to 12 hours of sunlight each day, leaving enough sun and time for other activities. The National Beer Day takes place on the 1st March, during that day pubs and bars offer special prices that all beer-lovers can enjoy. Reykjavík Folk Festival, celebrated in the early March, is a great event to participate in if you are into the Icelandic music scene and the island’s past. Food and Fun, a seven day festival brings together many celebrated chefs from all over the world to cook with a selection of quality Icelandic ingredients. Even you can taste those dishes in many restaurants that participate in the festival.
3) Dublin, Ireland
Ireland might not be your ideal trip destination because of the inevitable rain, but it still has many things to offer, especially in March. St Patrick’s Day, celebrated on 17th March all around the world, is still the most fun in Dublin where the holiday actually that lasts three days. The pubs and bars come to life with all their Irish charm, and not only do they offer beer but also an insight into the city’s history and heritage. Make sure that you dress in green, attend the parade and visit the Temple Bar, the most famous in all of Dublin. This year’s National St. Patrick’s Festival celebrates Ireland’s rich heritage of Storytelling in a five-day programme showcasing the very best of traditional and contemporary Irish storytelling. The festival hosts a variety of events, performances and musical shows.
4) Venice, Italy
Ah, the sight of gondolas, canals and colorful houses have always attracted many, but the city of Venice is most magical and vivid in March. Italians don’t mind the chill in the air when it’s time for their Carnival. One of the most famous festivals in all of Europe, the Carnival attracts a huge number of both foreign and local tourists. This year the festivities last from 23rd February to 5th March and everyone can enjoy the masquerade balls, parades on both land and in the canals, food fairs, children’s carnivals and numerous other activities. When you’re done sightseeing in Venice head to the oldest and largest fresh produce market in Venice, the Rialto Market, and make sure to enjoy all the delightful fruits and vegetables, maybe even treat yourself with some gelato.
5) Valencia, Spain
The fiery Spain also awakens in March, and Valencia does so in an elegant fashion with Las Fallas, a festival that lasts from March 15 to March 19. Las Fallas celebrates the end of winter with gunpowder, lights, music and fiesta. These few days the city becomes a fairytale with both locals and tourists dressed in traditional Spanish attire, and fallas (giant papier-mâché figures) floating around the town satirizing parts of everyday life. Another event you could be a part of is the Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados, a beautiful ceremony honouring Valencia’s patron Virgin that takes place every 17th and 18th March. The streets are filled with people in traditional costumes, dancing to music as they make their way to the Plaza de la Virgen to offer flowers to the giant image of the Virgin. Las Fallas end with Nit del Foc (The Night of Fire) when the whole city is covered in enchanting light of the burning fallas. If you miss this celebration of life and joy you can always visit the The Museo Fallero (Fallas Museum) where you can see the evolution of fallas through the years and experience the Las Fallas.
6) Menton, France
Menton, one of the towns of the French Riviera, is the home of the Menton Lemon Festival (Fête du citron) which attracts people from all over the world. This year the 86th edition of the Festival takes place from 16th February to 3rd March with the theme of “Des mondes fantastiques” (Fantastic Worlds). The festival requires 145 tonnes of citrus fruits which are used to make colorful floats and statues. Those can be seen in Corsos des fruits d’or (Procession of Golden Fruit Floats) when decorated floats move along the Promenade du Soleil accompanied by music, people in colorful costumes and confetti. In the evenings you can enjoy the fireworks spectacle over the bay. Don’t forget to visit the long and narrow Biovès Gardens where many statues and sculptures made from citrus fruit are on display. During the night the gardens are lit up in the most enchanting way. Thanks to its blissful climate and amazing scenery Menton remains an interesting destination during the whole year.
7) Sofia, Bulgaria
The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, a cosmopolitan city with long and complicated history can be considered an open-air museum. If you don’t care much about history, Sofia has other things to offer, such as the Sofia International Film Festival. The Festival shows the best of the contemporary international and regional Bulgarian and Balkan cinema to international audiences. This year the Festival takes place in March, and it is just another reason to visit the city that grows, but does not age. If you find yourself in Sofia in March try to visit the National Gallery so you can enjoy the exhibition titled ‘Bulgarian Artists Today’. You can always take a break from the movies and arts on the Vitosha Boulevard, the main commercial street in the city, with many different posh stores, restaurants and bars to enjoy.
8) Binche, Belgium
Beautiful Belgian city of Binche prides itself with one of the most beautiful carnivals in the world which was even recognised by UNESCO. This year the Carnival of Binche takes place from 3rd March to 5th March. This annual carnival celebrates old traditions and Belgian culture with different events, performances and parades. Another attraction are the Gilles, dressed in vibrant colours, wearing wooden masks, shoes and large ostrich plumed hats. In the evening they march through the town throwing blood oranges. Do your best to catch one because they are considered to be a symbol of good luck! If you’re in town at another time of year, you can enjoy the merry spirit of the festival at the Musée International du Carnaval et du Masque.