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With 10% of the planet’s biodiversity tucked away in the Andes Mountains, Caribbean white-sand beaches in the north and the lush Amazon rainforest to the south, Colombia seems to have it all. But it doesn’t stop there; it also offers chic metropolitan cities with killer nightlife, such as Medellín and Bogotà, while colourful Cartagena is arguably the country’s coastal jewel.
If your preconceptions of one of Europe’s wealthiest countries are dominated by bankers, watches and chocolate, Zurich will go some way to convince you of a Switzerland that is also creative and forward-thinking. Along with major art institutions, you’ll find a range of concept stores and independent galleries. The stereotype of everything being impeccably clean and on time is no lie either.
This is the time to see Japan’s iconic sakura (cherry blossom). Take a couple of weeks off and travel around the country, which is fairly easy to get around thanks to high-speed bullet trains. Go and see sumo in Osaka, ski in Hokkaido and have a spiritual experience hiking the Kumano Kodo trail in the Kansai region to the south. A city overflowing with Buddhist temples, botanical gardens, Shinto shrines and wooden houses, a visit to Tokyo’s much calmer and more traditional counterpart rivals the buzz of the nine-million metropolis.
There’s something about Miami which makes you smile as soon as you step off the plane. Now so much more than just South Beach (which is still gimmicky and great, of course), there’s a thriving art scene in the Design District while edgy Wynwood is full of dark bars for doing dark deeds. A recent spate of hotel and restaurant openings make it the perfect beach-city break.
Visiting Venice in one of its quieter months will allow you to enjoy its unique beauty without the throngs of tourists and their dreaded selfie sticks. We don’t need to explain the romance behind Venice’s lively canals and architecture – it’s a place you can return time and time again. Don’t forget to explore the city outside of the canals, where secret islands with candy-coloured architecture await.
Unfortunately for the local tourism industry, events in neighbouring countries have driven tourists far away from this breathtaking UNESCO world heritage site in Jordan’s southwestern desert. However, with the right guide and a bit of research you can have an unforgettable experience exploring this archaeological wonderland.
One of the party capitals of the world, Tel Aviv is home to some of the best restaurants and nightclubs. Good weather, boutique hotels and a young, vibrant crowd make it a great city-break alternative for those who wish to venture beyond the European capitals.
Head to this paradise island to laze in a hammock and forget the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Wholly pedestrianised, instead of lots of tourists it’s home to flamingoes and pelicans. Go in June if you want to swim with whale sharks, though the temperature soars at this time of year.
Spend long warm days and breezy evenings exploring the wonders of crumbling palaces and cities in shades of pastel pink and powder blue, such as Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, in India’s northern state. Leave room in your luggage for all the trinkets and jewels you won’t be able to resist buying in the bustling markets and shops.
If you’re after a European city break that guarantees sunshine and alfresco dining already in March, the Spanish capital will never disappoint. Soak in the city’s impressive architecture, wander around the Prado’s galleries and unwind over tapas and paella, washed down with local cerveca.
Life in this Middle Eastern city mostly revolves around eating, drinking and dancing. Stroll around the city’s sleepy Armenian neighbourhoods by day, promenade along Beirut’s famous corniche, watch locals fish, families play and men bronze themselves on the rocks of the Mediterranean. Dip in and out of the city’s excruciatingly cool art galleries, museums and concept stores.
A Southern Belle’s paradise, Savannah is a prime destination to visit in early spring in order to avoid the area’s sticky summer heat. Bring along someone with a hearty appetite to indulge in stacks of fried green tomatoes and pitcher after pitcher of sweet tea. Cap it all off with a self-directed bike tour of Tybee Island to check out plantation-style houses and adorable piers.
With surf clubs, desert hikes and 300 days of sunshine a year, Agadir is the place for beach bums with a taste for culture. Mornings are spent checking out the Kasbah and the city’s many souks before catching a few waves and capping it all off with a mint tea on the beachfront promenade.
Despite Chad being one of Africa’s largest countries, many people would struggle to place it on a map. While media coverage tends to focus on the area’s political instability, poverty and unrest, if we peer beyond the headlines, Chad is home to some of the world’s most extreme landscapes, rife with jaw-dropping oases and bountiful wildlife. Spend days trekking through the Sahara where otherworldly environments stretch further than the eye can see, visit Lake Chad or go on safari in Zakouma National Park. Visit in March, when thirsty animals congregate around watering holes – colourful birds swoop down for a drink and hippos paddle around to cool off.
The St Tropez of South America, the Hamptons of the South, the Pearl of the Atlantic… endless fond nicknames have been given to the ritzy resort city of Punta del Este. There are more than 20 miles of white-sand beaches here, so rise early to nab a good spot or spend days hopping between them to find your favourite before exploring the city’s galleries and museums to get a taste of Uruguayan culture. Evenings should be spent celeb-spotting at Punta del Este’s glitzy yacht harbour or watching the sun set from hilltop Punta Ballena. Visit in March for warm weather without the crowds of high season.
Founded in 2004, when the towns of Oku, Osafune and Ushimado were merged, Setouchi brings together small-town optimism with a big-city modernism in the southern Okayama Prefecture. Immerse yourself in Setouchi’s diverse landscapes by strolling along the shore of the Seto Inland Sea in Ushimado or visiting Osafune to trek across rolling hills and alongside meandering streams. Head to Oku to peruse the mushroom and oyster farms that make up much of the city’s industry, before popping into the boutique shops that line the district’s main street. Visit in March for sakura season, when cherry blossom trees bloom brilliant pink flowers that cover the fields and line city streets.
Right at the northernmost tip of Norway’s railway system, Bodø is the gateway to Norway’s Arctic Circle. Almost entirely destroyed after a Luftwaffe bombing in World War II, the city has been gradually rebuilt as a cultural hotspot in Nordland county. It’s an ideal launchpad for expeditions into the dramatic landscape, glimpsing the Northern Lights and escaping into the arctic wilderness. Go in March to see Saltstraumen – the world’s strongest maelstrom – at its peak.
What’s happening in the world in March?
27 February – 6 March: Paris Fashion Week, France
2-9 March: Rio Carnival, Brazil
8-17 March: SXSW, Texas
20-21 March: Holi, India
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