15 Best Places to Visit in February | USA, Europe and the World
Whether you’re looking for a romantic Valentine’s break, a ski trip, a carnival fiesta or just want to escape the winter blues, there’s somewhere out there for you to explore and enjoy in February. We’ve scoured the globe in search of the best February getaways, so you don’t have to worry about planning, you can just get out there and soak up the sun.
From US destinations to far-flung adventures, our list of the best places to visit in February should give you more than enough ideas to help scratch those itchy feet!
While Mardi Gras dates vary from year-to-year the festivities, generally run throughout February and March. Here we’ve chosen a handful of epic carnival celebrations for you to get you started.
1. Venice, Italy
The Venice Carnival, also known as the Carnevale di Venezia or the Festa Veneziana, is one of the city’s biggest celebrations, with thousands of locals and tourists alike coming together to mark the start of Lent. The carnival festivities run throughout the month of February, kicking off with a huge water parade along the canal and ending with an elegant masquerade ball.
There will be plenty of opportunities to witness spectacular masks and costumes, enjoy Venetian music and cuisine and take part in traditions and spectacles that have been celebrated for decades. The Flight of the Angel and The Flight of the Eagle are two additional events during the carnival that see people take flight on a zipwire from the top of the St Mark’s Basilica clock tower across the square. This collection of carnival celebrations makes Venice a fantastic destination for a February getaway to remember!
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is arguably the most famous Mardi Gras in the world, known for its colourful carnival costumes, lively samba music and parades and parties that last all week. The whole city pretty much grinds to a halt forty days before lent so that everyone can celebrate in style.
In order to catch the best views of the carnival, head to the Sambodromo ‘stadium of samba’ where you can witness local dance troupes battle it out to become the city’s number one samba school. You won’t be able to resist dancing along in your seat as you feel the rhythm of the music and see the dancers shimmy to their heart’s content!
3. Nice, France
Another destination that is a must for February is Nice in France. Each year this stunning southern town explodes into colour with the Carnival de Nice that runs for two weeks before Shrove Tuesday. Floral floats pass through the streets with extravagant displays, carnival costumes, masks and make up, and the stand-out statement of the festival the grosses tetes (or ‘big heads’) which represent people from politics and popular culture that have made an impact over the past year.
This is a fun-filled fiesta that culminates in the Bataille de Fleurs and the burning of the King of the Carnival. This festival really feels like it marks the start of spring, with flowers in the air and smiles on every face.
For those seeking winter sun, look no further than this lovely lot. With beaches, culture, wildlife and shopping there really is something for everyone.
Oman is a wonderful place to escape the winter and enjoy some all-important February sun to raise your spirits! Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the country is filled with sights and activities to create a trip of a lifetime.
Explore the sand dunes of Wahiba Sands, visit the stunning Grand Mosque in Muscat, discover the Raz Al Jinz Turtle Reserve and Scientific Centre and spend your time roaming the city souks for souvenirs and personal treasures to take home to remind you of your adventure. Oman really is a fabulous country filled with rich cultural traditions and impressive landscapes that will leave you wondering why you never visited before!
5. The Gambia
The Gambia is an excellent mid-haul destination (from the UK and USA) that allows you to soak up some winter sun without having to trek all the way to the Far East or Central America. Flights to The Gambia take just 6 hours from the UK (and 8 hours from NYC) so you can hop on a plane and be relaxing on the gorgeous Gambian beaches in no time.
The dry season runs from October to May in The Gambia, and with temperatures in their 30s throughout the year you know you can expect amazing weather in which to enjoy this palm-fringed paradise.
6. St Lucia
St Lucia is a real Caribbean paradise that offers luscious landscapes, pristine beaches and a wealth of wildlife so that even the most discerning travellers will be impressed. St Lucia in February sees temperatures of around 28°C throughout the day which is ideal for lounging around on the warm sands and dipping in and out of the alluring azure waters.
When not relaxing on the beach, travellers can head inland to hike to the peaks of the Pitons or drive into the crater of the La Soufriere volcano. Whether you want a laid-back all-inclusive break or an active February adventure, St Lucia has you covered.
If you’re a bit of a culture vulture and want to see some fascinating sights this February, check out our list of top sight-seeing sensations.
7. India's Golden Triangle
India’s Golden Triangle, comprising of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, is a cultural hotspot for those who want to explore the intriguing history and breath-taking buildings of the Mughal Empire. This region features astounding architecture such as the Agra Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, the pink city of Jaipur, and of course, the Taj Mahal.
The variety and vibrancy of this magical region allows you to get a taste of India, through the sights, smells and sounds that attack your senses during your journey. February is a great time to discover this part of the world as the weather is mild, rainfall is minimal, and all routes are easily accessible.
Colombia has recently become one of the most popular destinations in South America thanks to its rich diversity, colourful cities and friendly locals that make it the destination of a lifetime.
Colombia comprises of colonial towns, lush valleys, ancient sites and rugged beaches, so there is a little of something for everyone. Soak up Colombia’s coffee culture and street art and dance the night away to one of Colombia’s many different dance styles. February is the dry season in Colombia, with Cartagena receiving no rainfall and lovely temperatures between 23-32°C. Medellin and Bogota are slightly cooler and receive a bit more rain, but there’ll still be plenty of sunshine in which to explore the cities.
9. New Orleans, USA
If you want to combine sight-seeing with festival fun, then look no further than New Orleans, Louisiana. This bustling city boasts epic Mardi Gras parades and parties throughout the month of February as well as a whole host of year-round sights that are well worth a visit. Spend your time discovering the French Quarter, the Garden District and the jazz scene along Bourbon Street to get a sample of the city. Visitors may also want to enjoy a dinner cruise onboard a classic steamboat or catch a New Orleans Saints or Pelicans game.
Whether you want to see wildlife or natural phenomenon we’ve got you covered with this selection of natural wonders.
10. Tromsø, Norway
If you don’t mind embracing the cold during your February getaway, then head up to Tromsø in Norway to make the most of this magical winter wonderland. The stunning snow-scape around Tromsø is a picturesque place to spend Valentine’s Day, enjoying outdoor activities during the day and cosying up around the fire at night.
As Tromsø lies so far north in Norway, visitors will witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets during the short winter days, followed by seemingly endless hours of night in which to look out for the Aurora Borealis, the natural night-sky phenomenon! The town of Tromsø itself is colourful and cultural, but the best adventures are to be had out in nature around the city.
11. The Galapagos Islands
February is an ideal time to visit the Galapagos Islands as daytime temperatures are in the high 20s and low 30s and water visibility is crisp and clear. This means that you can enjoy activities on both land and sea, witnessing the incredible array of wildlife that resides on these remote islands.
A cruise is the very best way to explore the Galapagos Islands, and the pleasant sea breeze will help cool you down when the February humidity gets too much. Galapagos giant tortoise hatchlings may be spotted in February, and there might also be a chance to see nesting green sea turtles too! Does it get better than that?!
12. Kenya and Tanzania
An East African safari is an excellent choice for a February vacation as the changes in the weather make for great wildlife sightings. February is the best time of year to see wilderbeest calving in the Serengeti as they get ready to migrate up towards the Masai Mara.
Millions of wildebeest congregate to feed their young on the fresh grasses, and you may be lucky enough to witness some calves taking their first momentous steps! February is also a good time of year to see migratory birds in Kenya and Tanzania before they head further north later in the spring.
The dry season in Kenya sees waterholes starting to dry up, which means that a variety of wildlife will be gathering around the remaining few sources during this time.
February is the peak of the ski season so you’ll want to book up early to ensure you don’t miss out on some mountain adventures this winter!
13. Verbier, Switzerland
For a stylish ski break in February, why not head to the chic mountain resort of Verbier in Switzerland? This luxury resort is part of the 4 Vallées ski area and features epic off-piste terrain, a fun après scene, Michelin-starred dining, Matterhorn views and more hotels and spas than you could shake a stick at.
Verbier is awesome for advanced skiers in particular as the region features some bucket-list-worthy ski runs and off-piste adventures. Not only that but Verbier is picture-perfect too, with classic European ski chalets perched high in the mountains and doused in snow.
14. Jackson, Wyoming, USA
Jackson Hole in Wyoming, USA is a fun ski destination for a winter break as it features challenging terrain, great restaurants and spectacular scenery to boot! The ski area is located right next to the Grand Teton National Park which means you can combine your ski holiday with wildlife watching for a two-in-one vacation.
While Jackson Hole can get seriously cold during the winter season, once you wrap up and get on the slopes, you’ll be warm in no time. Whether you stay in Jackson itself or opt for Teton Village, you’re sure to have a fantastic ski vacation to remember.
15. Niseko, Japan
If you’re seeking an alternative ski destination to Europe or the US, check out Niseko in Japan for some February fun in the mountains. Niseko features an abundance of light, dry powder which makes for ideal skiing conditions which both beginners and advanced skiers can enjoy.
February is also a slightly quieter time of year to visit Niseko (unlike the Christmas, January and the Chinese New Year) so you shouldn’t have to wait too long to get up the slopes. It is worth noting, however, that February also sees the Sapporo Snow Festival which definitely puts it up there as a bucket list destination for February.
The Sapporo Snow Festival features snow sculptures, ice rinks, illuminations, ice bars and gourmet treats so that even those who don’t want to hit the slopes can be entertained!
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