Where to go on holiday in February
* Great month for winter sun and adventure
* Fly 6 hours to enjoy temperatures of 34°C
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times travel writer
After a winter of lockdowns and travel restrictions, we will all be craving a holiday by February 2021. Our team of editors recommend the best destinations, from relaxing beach retreats to long-haul adventures and romantic Valentine’s breaks. But you’ll need to check the latest Covid-19 air corridors if you want to avoid quarantine.
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As a 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 if 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 where 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.
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, Windjammer Landing 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 2021 runs from 30 January to 16 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
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. See the Golden Triangle on a private tour with chauffeur-driven car with TransIndus.
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.
Borneo has great beaches and wildlife encounters, plus this is one of the best times of year to climb Mount Kinabalu. Check out this Off The Beaten Track itinerary. Or be one of the few tourists to visit the mystical mountain kingdom of Bhutan.
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.
More long haul holiday ideas
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. 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 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
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.
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.
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: 29 September 2020
>> You may also be interested to see our recommended honeymoons in February.
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