March is a tricky month for heat-seekers. Most of Europe is a tad too cold 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.
If you take the line that it doesn’t matter when you visit Sin City, 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.
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.
It may not boast as many hotels or leisure destinations as the UAE, but Oman, the calmer cousin in the Arabian Peninsula, should not be underestimated as a possibility for winter sun. Both Zighy Bay and Sur are alluring places for beach escapes. And the capital Muscat is a city of underappreciated culture and sophistication.
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.
Koh Lao Liang, Thailand
While most of this stunning country is overrun by tourists, thanks to its very welcoming bohemian vibe, the towering limestone cliffs, quiet beaches, impeccable sand and crystal clear waters in Koh Lao Liang make it an idyllic paradise island. Since day-trippers are not allowed and there is only one resort which accommodates no more than 50 people at a time, it is the perfect place for that much-needed unwind time.
Being bereft of the crashing waterfalls and major wildlife zones that 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.
Cuba, just in case you did not know, 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 very interesting capital Havana – before the beach resorts of north-coast Varadero issue their loud siren call.
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 it can be just perfect.
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.
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.
The Daily Telegraph