Where to go on holiday in February
* Great month for winter sun and adventure
* Fly 6 hours to enjoy temperatures of 34°C
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.
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. Scroll down to find my suggestions for where to go on holiday in February.
Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.
I would avoid the Mediterranean in February – it’s simply too cold and wet. You might get lucky with a sunny week, but the odds aren’t great. Wait until April before you visit the Med.
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 bikini 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 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.
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 good 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 causes most prices to spike.
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 the UK and you can expect temperatures of about 28°C with 9 hours of sunshine. Find more details on February weather in the Caribbean.
My favourite Caribbean islands include romantic St Lucia and the pristine Cayman Islands where you can really escape the modern world. If you like a bit of buzz with your sunshine head to Barbados, where you’ll need to book a table at the most popular restaurants. Best Caribbean 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, I 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 Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia and the Bahamas, some with butler service.
For culture, cool bars and salsa music, head to Cuba which is set to change 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.
Also see my recommendations for the best Caribbean holidays.
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 2016 runs from 23 January to 9 February and includes masked balls and grand dinners. Find out how you can join the party (and hire an appropriate costume).
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.
On the Algarve, the Vilalara Thalassa Resort has an outstanding spa, and offers themed short breaks and longer stays focussing on weight loss, stress reduction, giving up smoking and fitness and yoga.
For more in-depth recommendations, see our complete article on city breaks in February. We also recommend checking the latest special offers from Flybe, which flies from 27 UK airports (particularly handy if you’d prefer not to fly from London).
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.
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.
If you want to take a chance on the Mediterranean, head to one of 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.
Long haul luxury 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.
Goa in India is a great value beach destination, with wonderful food, spectacular sunsets and a choice of affordable beachfront hotels. In February you can expect 10 hours of daily sunshine and 28ºC temperatures. View the latest special offers.
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.
In South America, it’s Carnival time in Brazil (5 – 10 February in 2016). There’s no better time to be in Rio de Janeiro, or join this 12-day Rhythms of Brazil tour which includes three nights in Rio and stays in Iguacu and Salvador.
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 2016.
America has some fabulous ski resorts and deep powdery snow (due to the high altitudes and dry air). Try Colorado, or the resorts of Breckenridge for value, Aspen for glamour, Jackson Hole for breathtaking scenery and Crested Butte for Wild West charm.
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 don’t like the cold, find where’s hot in February.
February holidays in America
If you don’t mind the cold, you can even 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.
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: 27 October 2015
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