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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, go to 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. 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.

Quick links

Mid haulCaribbeanShort breaks – Long haulWinter cool

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

Mid-haul holidays

As a general rule, 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. You’ll find 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 f you crave somewhere really remote, head to La Gomera – a short ferry crossing from Tenerife – or tiny La Graciosa just north of Lanzarote.

In the Arabian Gulf, you can expect 25°C temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine. Abu Dhabi has some of the region’s most glamorous hotels as well as stunning beaches, culture and plenty of activities. You could combine it with neighbouring Dubai or delve into Oman where you’ll find souks and sand dunes, castles and pristine beaches were giant turtles hatch their eggs.

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.

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.

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 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 where you can really escape the modern world 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, Windjammer Landing in St Lucia and Malliouhana in Anguilla.

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.

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 at the Hotel Saratoga in the lively capital Havana, followed by the spectacular white sand beaches at Cayo Leviso.

If you want a see several islands in comfort, join a cruise around the Caribbean. Iglu has a great selection of cruise deals. If you don’t like big ships, go sailing with Star Clippers.

See my 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. Need a treat? Arrive in style on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

This is also the time of the Carnival of Venice which in 2019 runs from 16 February to 5 March 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 you could stay at beautiful Lucknam Park set in 500 acres of parkland near Bath, or Maison Talbooth in the rolling hills of Essex. Other outstanding UK hotels include the Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire and Pen-y-Dyffryn hidden away on the Wales-Shropshire border.

For more in-depth recommendations, see our complete guide to city breaks in February.

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.

It’s also one of the best months to visit Nepal where you can immerse yourself in the mysticism of Kathmandu, relax by the lake in Pokhara and gaze up at Mount Everest, and take an elephant safari in Chitwan National Park.

It’s a good time to explore Southeast Asia before the onset of the hot season. Get to grips with the history, culture and cuisine of Malaysia (32°C in Kuala Lumpur) or Vietnam (33°C in Saigon).

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. Or combine Bali with other islands of Indonesia, one of Asia’s up-and-coming destinations. You could do Sulawesi and Java or cruise around Komodo National Park 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 and Krabi. If you want to do more than lie on a beach, check out the private bespoke tours from Experience Travel Group.

Cambodia has similar climate conditions – you can stay on the beach, explore the capital Phnom Penh and – of course – the unique temple complexes of Angkor.

Looking for a more unusual destination? Try the Philippines. Think island hopping, idyllic beaches, superb diving and snorkelling and exuberant English-speaking people. One of the most popular two-centres is Manila and Palawan.

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.

Another money-saver is Mexico which has white sand beaches, tasty food, a wealth of culture and a choice of outstanding all-inclusive hotels.

It’s the height of summer in South Africa. Head down to the Cape Region for some amazing festivals, buzzing nightlife and tasty 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. It’s also dry season in Colombia and a great time of year to discover this compact friendly country as it emerges as one of Latin America’s most exciting destinations.

Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands on a luxury small ship cruise. We recommend these private tours (though they aren’t cheap!). If your budget is tighter, how about Costa Rica for wildlife, forests, beaches and volcanoes. This 12-day Costa Rica Highlights tour ticks all the important boxes.

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.

Or how about a fly-drive holiday in New Zealand? You can explore the mountains, glaciers and fjords of South Island or combine both North and South Islands on this epic 22-night Grand New Zealand adventure.

Cool winter holidays in February

Not everyone is looking for sunshine. Head to the elegant Russian city of St Petersburg in the depths of winter when it’s at its 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 best deals in February.

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 Spain, Italy or Morocco.

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 Norway you can stay in a Snow Hotel or an Igloo Hotel and try fishing for King crabs, snowmobiling or cruising the 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.

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

Last updated: 13 November 2018

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

Try our holiday quiz

If you’re still stuck for ideas, why not try our fun holiday quiz. Answer 10 easy questions like the one below to find out what kind of holidaymaker you are, and get personalised travel recommendations. Try the quiz now.

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