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Where to go on holiday in February

Where to go on holiday in FebruaryFebruary holidays

* Great month for winter sun and adventure

* Fly 6 hours to enjoy temperatures of 34°C

By Mark Hodson, The Sunday Times travel writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

If you’re searching for holidays in February, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve carried out extensive research to discover the best holiday destinations for any budget. My recommendations include relaxing beach retreats, long-haul adventures and romantic Valentine’s breaks.

If you’re travelling with school-age children, see our pick of the best family holidays in February half term. If you’re travelling solo, see our pick of the best singles holidays in February.

February is peak season in the Caribbean – with prices to match – but you can also find less expensive options. If you avoid the school holidays there are cheap winter sun deals and ski bargains as well as many mid-haul destinations (less than 7 hours flying time) with excellent weather. Here are my suggestions for where to go on holiday in February.

Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

Cheap holidays in FebruaryTenerife Morocco is one of the best holiday destinations in February

Mid-haul holidays

I would avoid the Mediterranean in February – it’s simply too cold and wet. You can get lucky with a sunny week, but the odds aren’t great. The Med is great to visit in April, May or June.

However, Morocco is one of the best holiday destinations in February and it’s just three hours flying time from the UK. With highs of 20°C it’s not quite beach weather, but there is plenty of sunshine and cities like Marrakech are wonderful for sightseeing. You can also hike in the Atlas Mountains or go quad biking or horse riding. Another great way to explore Morocco is on a group adventure tour.

If you fly a little further – just over 4 hours – you can get to the Canary Islands where you’ll find temperatures of 21°C and an average 7 hours of daily sunshine. You’ll find no shortage of direct flights from across the UK to Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. If you want somewhere more remote and exotic, head to La Gomera – a short ferry crossing from Tenerife – or tiny La Graciosa which lies just north of Lanzarote.

For something more adventurous, you could explore the dramatic landscapes of Oman in the Arabian Gulf, a fascinating country where you’ll find top-notch hotels plus remote beaches, historic forts and villages and vast desert dunes. Neighbouring Dubai is the place for glitzy hotels, glamorous restaurants and endless shopping and entertainment. In both you can expect 25°C temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine.

Another great option in the Middle East is Jordan where you can explore the desert in a 4X4, camp under the stars and visit the Dead Sea and the rock-carved city of Petra.

It’s less than 6 hours flying time to the warm beaches of The Gambia on the west coast of Africa. This is a great destination for cheap holidays in February with temperatures of 34°C and 9 hours of sunshine. The hotels are a very high standard, the people are friendly and there are lots of fascinating excursions. See the February holiday deals.

If you don’t have children in tow, try to avoid travelling in the second half of February when half-term week sends prices significantly higher.

St Lucia in FebruaryBermuda in February

Caribbean holidays in February

February is a wonderful time of year for a holiday in the Caribbean – most islands are about 8 hours flying time from London and you can expect temperatures of about 28°C with 9 hours of sunshine. Find more details on February weather in the Caribbean.

Popular Caribbean islands include St Lucia, the Cayman Islands and Barbados, where you’ll need to book a table at the best restaurants. Best hotels include Sandy Lane in Barbados, Smugglers Cove in St Lucia and Malliouhana in Anguilla.

If you want a smaller island with a slower pace, great beaches and lush countryside, we recommend Tobago and Grenada where the Calabash ranks among the best hotels. If you just want to kick back and be pampered, head for the adults-only Sandals, which has all-inclusive holidays in February in JamaicaAntiguaSt Lucia and the Bahamas, some with butler service.

Head to Cuba which is set to change rapidly following the rebuilding of diplomatic relations with America. This will be an exciting time for the Cuban people but you’ll want to visit before McDonald’s arrives! Stay for a few days at the Hotel Saratoga in the lively capital Havana, followed by beach time at Melia Cayo Santa Maria or explore on a self-drive holiday or small group tour.

If you want a see several islands in comfort, join a cruise around the Caribbean. Iglu has a great selection of deals. If you feel adventurous, join a tall ship cruise with Star Clippers.

Also see our detailed recommendations for the best Caribbean holidays.

VeniceCarnival in Venice

February short breaks

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, of course, and what better way to spend a romantic weekend together than on a short break? Venice is the classic destination for romance, and many people think the city is at its most beautiful in winter. This is also the time of the Carnival of Venice which in 2015 runs from February 7 to 17 and includes masked balls and grand dinners. Find out how you can join the party (and hire an appropriate costume).

For more indepth recommendations, see our complete article on city breaks in February.

For a closer-to-home Valentine’s weekend away in England why not stay at the beautiful Lucknam Park hotel set in 500 acres of parkland near Bath, or Maison Talbooth in the rolling hills of Essex. Other outsanding UK hotels include the Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire, Whatley Manor in the Cotswolds and Pen-y-Dyffryn hidden away on the Wales-Shropshire border.

Family holidays in February half term 2015

February half term holidays

There are some great family-friendly holidays in February, although prices do tend to rise over half-term week, particularly at ski resorts. If you plan to ski with children we recommend Esprit Ski or if you want somewhere with some serious style and great food you could try San Cassiano in Italy.

You can also save up to 20% on self-catering ski apartments in France with Pierre & Vacances.

For relaxing winter sun, the Canaries and Bahamas are both great options. If your kids are a bit more energetic, try Egypt for its history including these innovative Tintin family tours. Before you book, check the latest Foreign Office advice on Egypt.

You could take a chance on the Mediterranean by heading to the most southerly islands. Try the contemporary-style Daios Cove on the island of Crete or the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus, where you’ll find average temperatures of 17ºC. In the Algarve, where I have enjoyed good weather in February half-term, you could rent a luxury staffed villa or – if you have young children – the charming Hotel Martinhal.

Find more half term holiday ideas, or check out our sister site, 101 Family Holidays.

Long haul holidays in February

Northern India is perfect in February, with temperatures of 24°C and 8 hours of daily sunshine. You don’t want scorching heat if you’re visiting the Taj Mahal, the tea plantations of Darjeeling and the bustling streets of Delhi. We recommend a private car tour with TransIndus. India is also great for tiger safaris – try this trip with Audley Travel.

February is a good time to explore Southeast Asia before the onset of the hot season. Immerse yourself in the history, culture and culinary joys of Malaysia (32°C in Kuala Lumpur), Vietnam (33°C in Saigon) or head to Burma (34°C in Yangon), one of the world’s hidden tourist gems.

Bali offers world-class beaches, whether you prefer to discover the traditional local culture or hang out at lively bars. You can look forward to temperatures of 31°C and 8 hours of daily sunshine. Or combine Bali with other islands in Indonesia, one of Asia’s up-and-coming destinations. You could do Sulawesi and Java or visit Komodo to encounter its famous dragons.

Thailand is tremendous value, and the best of the weather in February (32°C and 9 hours of sunshine) is on the west coast – Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak. Cambodia has similar climate conditions – you can stay on the beach, explore the capital Phnom Penh and – of course – the stunning temples of Angkor.

It’s the height of summer in South Africa so head down to the Cape region for some amazing festivals, buzzing nightlife and tasty vineyard tours. February is also a great time of year for wildlife safaris, especially in Kenya’s Masai Mara. The mass wildlife migration from Tanzania to Kenya is also underway and a truly amazing sight.

Everybody’s perfect holiday in Africa is different, whether you want game drives, walking safaris or to test yourself with a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you have children, try this one. But speak to a specialist first to find the right holiday for you.

Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands on a luxury small ship cruise. We recommend these private tours (they aren’t cheap!).

This is also a great time to explore Australia or New Zealand – air fares get very expensive over Christmas and New Year – but the weather is still great. Try this Aussie golden triangle of Sydney, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. Or explore Kangaroo Island.

Cool winter holidays in February

Not everyone is looking for sunshine. Head to Moscow or St Petersburg in the depths of winter and you’ll find these cities at their most romantic and evocative. Wrap up warm and go skating on frozen rivers.

For grown-up ski holidays treat yourselves to a luxury stay at The Lodge, Verbier. If you’re on a budget, try Peak Retreats which has great deals on self-catering accommodation in France or Ski Total which has charming chalet hotels. See their holiday deals for February 2015.

America has some fabulous ski resorts and deep powdery snow (due to the high altitudes and dry air). Try Colorado or and the resorts of Breckenridge for value, Aspen for glamour, Jackson Hole for breathtaking scenery and Crested Butte for Wild West charm.

If you can only take one or two days off work, try a ski weekend with Powder Byrne.

February is one of the best months to spot whales and penguin chicks in Antarctica – a great time to visit this pristine wilderness.  Take a 9-day classic cruise across Drake’s Passage and the Antarctic Circle to the Antarctic Peninsula itself.  Other options include a longer voyage taking in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and an Active Antarctica cruise that includes snow-shoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, cross-country skiing and scuba-diving.

If you’re still recovering from Christmas and the New Year, you could detox on a fitness holiday with fitscape or indulge on an in:spa retreat in a beautiful location in Europe.

Finally, February is a good bet for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. We recommend you head to Tromso in Norway, or to Iceland, some one of the best vantage points.

In Norway you can stay in a Snow Hotel or an Igloo Hotel and try a wintry adventure such as fishing for King crabs, snowmobiling or taking wildlife safari in the stunning Lofoten Islands.

If you don’t like the cold, find where’s hot in February.

February holidays in America

It’s the thick of winter in many parts of America, but there’s never a bad time to visit the vibrant cities of New York or Chicago.

For warm weather you could head to the desert – take a short break in Las Vegas and head out to the Grand Canyon. You can also combine Vegas with New York.

If you don’t mind the cold, you can track wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

For beaches, eye-popping volcanic landscapes and good times, you can’t beat Hawaii. Join an escorted tour of the islands, take a small ship cruise to discover the best bits or simply chill on the beach in Kaua’i. You can even take a cycle tour of Big Island.

Florida is a good bet to be hot and sunny in February. You could lounge and shop in South Beach Miami, rent a car and drive to the Florida Keys or see all the big sights on a two-week fly-drive. It’s also a good time for cheap deals in Orlando.

You may also be interested to see our recommended honeymoons in February.

Last updated: 15 December 2014

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