Where to go on holiday in February
* Great month for winter sun and adventure
* Fly 6 hours to enjoy 34°C temperatures
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times travel writer
February is one of the best months to go on holiday if you live in the UK, because the weather is so grim at home. If you want good weather, you’ll need to travel beyond Europe – the Canaries, the Arabian Gulf or Gambia maybe. There are wonderful long-haul options in the Caribbean and Asia. Or you could opt for the glamour of the Venice Carnival or the Northern Lights.
Here, our team of editors recommend the best destinations in February, from relaxing beach retreats to long-haul adventures and romantic Valentine’s breaks. If you’re travelling with school-age children, see the best family holidays in February half term. If you’re travelling solo, go to singles holidays in February.
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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.
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. There’s no shortage of direct flights from across the UK to Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Despite a reputation for ugly mass tourism, the Canaries are beautiful. And if you crave somewhere really remote, head to La Gomera – a short ferry crossing from Tenerife – or tiny La Graciosa just north of Lanzarote. Find the hottest Canary Islands in February.
In the Arabian Gulf, you can expect 25°C temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine. Dubai has a stunning range of attractions and iconic hotels such as Burj Al Arab, while Abu Dhabi has some of the region’s most glamorous hotels along with stunning beaches, culture and plenty of activities. Oman has souks and sand dunes, castles and pristine beaches where giant turtles hatch their eggs. Fast-emerging Qatar combines art, culture and swanky hotels with desert adventures, dune bashing and sky diving.
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 latest holiday deals.
It’s also a wonderful time to explore the ancient mysteries of Egypt, a five-hour flight from the UK. Visit the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings and relax on a luxury Nile cruise. Choose between a private tour and a small-group tour.
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 high season 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 daily sun. Find more details on February weather in the Caribbean.
My favourite Caribbean islands include romantic St Lucia, which has some superb luxury hotels, and the pristine Cayman Islands with their sophisticated hotels and restaurants – and some of the best scuba diving in the 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 Coral Reef Club in Barbados, Sugar Beach in St Lucia and Malliouhana in Anguilla.
For culture, cool bars and salsa music, head to Cuba which is slowly changing as American influences arrive. Get there before McDonald’s does! Stay for a few days in the lively capital of Havana , followed by the spectacular white sand beaches at Cayo Santa Maria.
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. Need a treat? Arrive in style on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. See more Valentine’s Day breaks.
This is also the time of the Carnival of Venice which in 2022 will run from 11 to 21 February and includes masked balls and grand dinners. Find out how you can join the party (and hire an appropriate costume).
For more in-depth recommendations, see our complete guide to city breaks in February.
Asia holidays in February
In Bali you will surrounded by natural beauty, whether you want to climb volcanoes, practise yoga or sip cocktails at sunset bars. You can look forward to temperatures of 31°C and 8 hours of daily sunshine.
Thailand is tremendous value, and the best of the weather in February (32°C and 9 hours of sunshine) is on the west coast. You could stay at the glorious barefoot luxury Koyao Island Resort try kayaking by starlight and encounter nature up close in Khao Sok National Park. Discover more ideas from Experience Travel Group.
Borneo has great beaches and wildlife encounters, plus this is one of the best times of year to climb Mount Kinabalu. We recommend Experience Travel Group, which has access to unique experiences and authentic encounters with wildlife and local people. Check out this Off The Beaten Track itinerary.
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.
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.
More long haul holiday ideas
Another money-saver is Mexico which has white sand beaches, buzzing nightlife, a wealth of culture and a choice of outstanding all-inclusive hotels such as the five-star Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.
It’s the height of summer in South Africa. Head down to the Cape Region for some amazing festivals and vineyard tours. February is 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.
In South America, it’s Carnival time in Brazil, and there’s no better time to be in Rio de Janeiro. Check out these amazing travel experiences. If it’s untamed wilderness you’re after, head to Chile for strange and beautiful moonscapes of the Atacama Desert – one of the driest places on earth – and the icebergs and glacial fjords of Patagonia. Cox & Kings has a selection of small-group tours and private tours including the chance to visit Easter Island.
Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands on a luxury small ship cruise. If your budget is tighter, how about Costa Rica for wildlife, forests, beaches and volcanoes. This 12-day Costa Rica Highlights is packed with unforgettable experiences.
On the other side of the world is the South Pacific where you’ll find some of the most spectacular sugar-white beaches in the world, colourful reefs and welcoming people. Some of the resorts in Tahiti and Fiji have to be seen to be believed.
Cool winter holidays in February
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 SNO which has the best choice of catered chalets and hotels. See their latest deals.
February is a good bet for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. One of the best places to view this spectacular display is Tromso in Norway. Or head to remote western Iceland on a four-night Orcas and Aurora escorted tour that combines the Northern Lights with whale watching, dolphin spotting and a tour of the volcanic coast.
In Sweden you can stay in the original ICEHOTEL while in Norway you can cruise the spectacular Lofoten Islands. In Finnish Lapland, you can view the Northern Lights from the spectacular comfort of a Glass Igloo.
Other outdoor options include cross-country skiing in Austria and snowshoeing in Switzerland. These are great options if you don’t fancy mainstream downhill skiing. See a full selection of winter breaks in the snow.
Or head south for an Antarctic expedition cruises. February is a perfect time to visit because the penguin chicks are still hatching, and the whale watching season has begun in earnest.
Last updated: 5 August 2022
>> You may also be interested to see our recommended honeymoons in February.