21 Best Places to Visit in February for an Unforgettable Escape

best places to visit in Feb
Escape Winter’s chill with these top February destinations

Picture yourself basking in the warmth of the Canary Islands, dancing through the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro, marveling at the icy splendor of a big 5 safari in Kenya, or strolling hand-in-hand through the romantic avenues of Paris and Venice.

That, distinguished reader, is February travel at its finest—an enchanting blend of sun-soaked adventures, cultural vibrancy, and romantic escapades. In this guide, we highlight some of the best places to visit in February, each offering its own allure and unforgettable experiences. We also delve into unique activities, local festivals, and hidden gems that await you in these captivating destinations, ensuring your February getaway is as magical as it is memorable.

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Executive Summary

  • February offers a diverse range of destinations, from the sunny Canary Islands to the cultural vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and the serene beauty of Quebec City in winter.
  • From witnessing the Northern Lights in Arctic locales like Tromso to engaging in winter sports activities, February presents opportunities for both adventure seekers and those seeking quiet retreats.
  • Cities like Paris and Venice shine as romantic getaways in February, perfect for Valentine’s Day celebrations with their iconic landmarks, intimate settings, and special experiences tailored for couples.

February’s Finest: Top Destinations for Every Traveler

From the undeniably gorgeous Canary Islands to the classically chic Paris, here’s a round-up of the best places to visit in February.

Sun-Soaked Serenity in the Canary Islands

Where to go in Feb
The Canary Islands are known for their impeccable beaches and vibrant cultures

Promising sun, sand, and plenty of fun, the Canary Islands are an inviting destination for travelers. February is an especially good time to visit, with the temperatures being just right for some outdoor fun.

In Lanzarote, you’ll discover a breathtaking array of beaches, uniquely beautiful landscapes, and lots of volcanoes where you can hike. La Graciosa and Fuerteventura, on the other hand, promise gorgeous, quietly secluded beaches where you can escape the summer crowds.

In the Gran Canaria, you’ll discover a beautiful diversity of landscapes ranging from the golden dunes of Maspalomas to the white sand beaches of Playa de las Canteras. Last but not least we have Tenerife where you’ll find Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, a dormant volcano that offers spectacular views and a variety of hiking trails.

Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival Extravaganza

Where to go in February
500,000 tourists attend the Rio carnival each year

Next, we samba our way to Rio de Janeiro, the vibrant city that hosts the world-renowned Carnival celebrations. As February reaches its peak, Rio transforms into a kaleidoscope of samba rhythms dazzling costumes, and colourful parades. This, dear reader, is more than a party; it’s a cultural phenomenon, a dazzling display of artistry and celebration that makes Rio one of the most exhilarating February holiday destinations.

Joining the dancers or simply watching in awe, the Rio Carnival pulsates with life and joy, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of February travels.

Quebec City: The Winter Wonderland

Where to go in February
ice skating in Quebec offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural experience

Quebec City enchants visitors with its unique winter charm. The Quebec Winter Carnival, a frosted festival with iconic red-clad Bonhomme and elaborate ice sculptures, invites visitors to revel in a world of ice and snow. Dare to brave an ice bath, or join in the frozen lake canoe races. You can also revel in the carnival’s offerings of ice skating and dog sledding, a perfect way to embrace the winter season. Despite February being one of the winter months, the warmth of the Quebecers shines through, showcasing their joie de vivre in a city that turns the cold into a cause for celebration.

Northern Lights and Arctic Adventures

where to visit February
Caused by solar wind colliding with Earth's atmosphere, the northern lights create an ethereal spectacle that captivates observers,

Venture north and let the February sky reveal its most mesmerizing spectacle. As you enter the realms of the Arctic Circle, destinations like Tromso in Norway and Iceland offer the chance to witness this natural wonder. The long, clear nights of February are ideal for aurora viewing, a dance of colors against the backdrop of snow. But it’s not just about the lights; these locations offer an array of activities and adventures in and around the snow.

Tromso’s Midnight Sun Magic

Tromso, the gateway to the Arctic, captivates with its promise of the Northern lights and a culture rich with Sami traditions. In February, the sky above Tromso becomes a canvas for the auroras, while the city itself celebrates Sami Week, a vibrant tribute to indigenous culture.

With temperatures hovering around freezing, the city offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural festivities. Whether you’re captivated by the lights or drawn to the celebrations, Tromso in February is a spellbinding destination that combines the wonders of nature with the warmth of tradition.

Iceland’s Glacial Majesty

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is a February winter sun marvel with its dark nights and fewer crowds. Here are some activities you can enjoy during this time:

  • Traverse the icy wonderland with snowmobiles
  • Explore ice caves
  • Watch whales breach in the freezing waters
  • Bathe in warmth in geothermal pools
  • Attend the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival, which brightens the lengthening days with cultural and artistic celebrations.

From glacier hiking to snorkeling between tectonic plates, Iceland’s glacial majesty in February is a symphony of contrasts and experiences that defy the cold.

Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, cities beckon couples from far and wide in search of romance. Paris and Venice, with their winding streets and iconic landmarks, set the stage for stories of passion and romance. These cities, alive with the spirit of love, offer enchanting experiences, from gondola rides under starlit skies to intimate dinners with views of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris: City of Love and Lights

where to visit in Feb
The Eiffel attracts millions annually with its stunning views and intricate iron lattice work

Paris, the City of Light, enchants visitors with its historic sights, charming streets, and intimate cafes. Here, you can wander through the cobblestone streets, share a kiss atop the Eiffel Tower, or cruise along the Seine, all under the enchanting glow of the city’s lights.

You can also indulge in a wide array of intimate experiences, from tandem bike rides to creative workshops, and end the evening with a show at the Moulin Rouge, which comes complete with gourmet dining and champagne toasts.

Venice’s Mystique

Venice, the city of canals and mystery, casts a spell on lovers with its timeless beauty and iconic landmarks. Here, lovers can;

  • Stroll hand in hand through St Mark’s Square, serenaded by the echoes of history and the soft splash of oars on water.
  • Take a gondola ride and let the gondolier serenade you with beautiful melodies.
  • Attend an opera performance and let the music transport you to another world.

Exotic Island Escapes

Escape the ordinary with a getaway to these exotic islands that seem to have been plucked straight from a daydream.

Maldives’ Underwater Wonders

best places to travel to in February
The Maldives captivates with its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs.

The Maldives is a sanctuary for those seeking underwater marvels. February, especially, is a great time to visit with the calm waters offering a gateway to an aquatic wonderland, where you can encounter huge varieties of marine life in its natural habitat.

Snorkelers and divers can explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, graceful manta rays, and even majestic whale sharks. Above water, this majestic island destination offers luxurious overwater bungalows, pristine white-sand beaches, and unforgettable sunsets. Whether you’re relaxing in a hammock or embarking on an underwater adventure, the Maldives promises an idyllic escape filled with natural beauty and tranquility.

Tropical Bliss in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Oxygen Jungle Villas provide an exclusive and luxurious retreat amidst the lush rainforests of the South Pacific coast. Each villa is designed with modern elegance and eco-friendly principles, featuring spacious rooms, private plunge pools, and panoramic views of the ocean or surrounding jungle. Guests can unwind in style, surrounded by nature’s tranquility and the soothing sounds of tropical birds and howler monkeys, or indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments inspired by local ingredients, further enhancing their relaxation and well-being.

Cultural Carnivals Around the Globe

February is not only a time of cultural celebration, but also marks the beginning of the carnival season. From the colorful streets of New Orleans to the masked elegance of Venice, carnivals offer a glimpse into the soul of a city. Embrace the rhythm of Mardi Gras, lose yourself in the spectacle of Venice’s grand masquerades, or explore the unique traditions of Caribbean festivals.

These are the places where the music never stops, and the celebration of culture and history is as vibrant as the costumes that adorn the revelers.

Mardi Gras Merriment in New Orleans

Where to go in Feb
Festivities in Mardi Gras feature parades, masked balls, and indulgent feasting.

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras is a jubilant explosion of culture, where the French Quarter becomes the epicenter of celebrations. The air is thick with the sounds of jazz and the sight of flamboyant parades as the city indulges in a feast for the senses.

With its unique blend of African, French, and American traditions, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a carnival that encapsulates the essence of the Big Easy’s vibrant spirit.

The Masked Splendor of Venice Carnival

In Venice, the Carnival is a historic celebration that transforms Piazza San Marco into a stage for the extraordinary. Daily costume shows and masquerade balls invite visitors to don their own masks and become part of the age-old tradition.

The Venice Carnival is not just an event; it’s an experience that allows you to step back in time and become enveloped in the city’s mysterious allure.

Winter Sports and Snowy Escapades

Embrace the invigorating chill of February with winter sports that transform snow and ice into playgrounds of excitement. From the pristine slopes of Valais, Switzerland, to the adrenaline-fueled runs of Whistler, Canada, these destinations are sanctuaries for skiers and snowboarders alike. Beyond the pistes, you’ll find a world of winter enchantment, with activities like toboggan and sled dog adventures waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re carving fresh tracks or cozying up in an alpine chalet, these February’s snowy escapades offer a rush of endorphins against some of the most breathtaking backdrops nature has to offer.

Alpine Skiing in Valais, Switzerland

Ski enthusiasts know that the Valais region of Switzerland is synonymous with alpine perfection. As February unfolds, the snow-covered landscapes of resorts such as Grimentz Zinal and St Luc Chandolin become havens for skiing aficionados. With the deep snowpack and pleasant climate, this month is prime time for hitting the slopes, offering a mix of challenging runs and panoramic Alpine views that are simply unmatched.

Valais in February is where the essence of winter sports comes to life, providing experiences for both seasoned pros and those new to the joy of skiing.

Snowboarding Thrills in Whistler, Canada

Whistler, Canada’s winter wonderland, is a magnet for snowboarders seeking thrills and awe-inspiring scenery. The resort’s world-class facilities cater to all levels, from beginners to those looking to push their limits on the half pipes and backcountry. February’s consistent snowfall and ideal conditions make it the perfect time to visit, with the majestic mountains of British Columbia providing a stunning backdrop for every turn and jump.

Whistler is not just a destination; it’s an experience that encompasses the very best of snowboarding and the vibrant après-ski culture that follows.

Tranquil Retreats Away from the Crowds

Occasionally, the ideal February escape offers solitude and an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Away from the bustling tourist spots, places like Tasmania, Australia, and the Eastern Cape of South Africa provide serene sanctuaries where time seems to stand still. Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape offers exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities as animals gather around watering holes. Here, mild temperatures and fewer tourists create the perfect environment for exploring untouched landscapes and experiencing the true essence of tranquility.

The Quiet Charm of Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania is a gem of natural beauty and quiet charm, where you can:

  • Wander through untouched wilderness
  • Encounter native wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Explore the peaks of Mount Wellington
  • Visit the bustling Salamanca Market

With mild and pleasant weather, featuring temperatures averaging around 18°C, February is the perfect time to explore this island’s diverse offerings.

Eastern Cape’s Untouched Beauty

best destinations to go in February
South Africa's Garden Route is a breathtaking coastal stretch known for its lush forests, sparkling lagoons, and dramatic cliffs

Discover the untouched beauty of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, a region where the wild coast stretches out with pristine beaches, waterfalls, and dramatic cliff faces. February is a particularly great time to visit the Mkambati Nature Reserve which offers the chance to spot diverse birdlife and wildlife, while also uncovering unique attractions like the Grosvenor Shipwreck and Waterfall Bluff.

Addo Elephant National Park is another key attraction in the Eastern Cape. In February, it is easy to spot wildlife in the park as animals gather around the watering holes, providing excellent opportunities for viewing and photography. The park is home to over 600 elephants, as well as lions, buffalo, black rhinos, and a variety of antelope species.

For those interested in marine life, the park also offers the chance to see the endangered African penguin and Cape fur seal along the coast. Whether you’re exploring the vast savannahs or the rugged coastline, Addo Elephant National Park delivers a diverse and unforgettable wildlife experience.

In addition to its natural attractions, the Eastern Cape is rich in cultural heritage. The region is dotted with historic sites and quaint villages, where visitors can learn about the Xhosa culture and traditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela’s birthplace in the village of Qunu, which provides deep insights into the life and legacy of South Africa’s beloved leader.

Overall, the Eastern Cape offers a perfect blend of adventure, nature, and culture, making it one of the best holiday destinations to travel in February.

Heritage and History: Timeless Cities

Journey back in time through the rich tapestries of heritage and history in cities such as Luxor, Egypt, and Kyoto, Japan. These destinations stand as custodians of the past, with their ancient sites and enduring traditions offering a window into bygone eras. Amidst these timeless cities, February provides a unique perspective, away from peak tourist seasons, allowing for a more intimate exploration of rich histories and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

From the tombs of pharaohs to the temples of emperors, these UNESCO World Heritage Site cities invite you to uncover the layers of history that have shaped our world.

Luxor’s Ancient Splendors

Luxor, often referred to as the world’s greatest open-air museum, is a treasure trove of ancient Egyptian history. Some of the must-visit sites in Luxor include:

  • The Valley of the Kings, with its royal tombs, stands as a testament to the grandeur of past civilizations.
  • The Karnak temple complex, with its colossal structures, offers insights into the architectural brilliance of the ancients.
  • Luxor Temple, another magnificent temple, is a must-see for history enthusiasts.

February’s warm sunshine creates the perfect conditions for exploring these ancient sites along the Nile, where history is etched in every stone.

Kyoto’s Temples and Traditions

Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japan, blooms with history and culture. The city’s temples and shrines are a canvas of elegance, particularly in mid-February when the plum trees bloom, signaling the approach of spring. Celebrate the Plum Blossom Festival at Kitano Tenmangū Shrine, or partake in Setsubun festivities at Yasaka Shrine, where the old meets the new in a dance of cultural vitality.

Kyoto’s rich history is matched by its culinary traditions, offering warmth through dishes like Shabu Shabu to offset the February chill. A visit to Kyoto during this month is an embrace of Japan’s soul, where the past is always present.

Coastal Getaways for Beach Lovers

For those with dreams of sandy shores and the soothing sound of waves, February provides paradisiacal coastal getaways. Some top destinations include:

  • Mauritius
  • Tenerife
  • Cape Town
  • Barbados
  • Miami

These destinations boast warm weather and stunning beaches that beckon beachgoers to their shores. Whether it’s the luxurious resorts of Barbados or the vibrant nightlife of Miami, these destinations provide a sun-filled respite from winter’s grip, offering beach lovers the perfect escape.

Embrace the coastal life, where the horizon meets the sea and every sunset is a reminder of the world’s natural wonders.

Cape Town’s Garden Route Adventure

where to go in Feb
Cape Town offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a thriving culinary scene

Cape Town, a jewel at the southern tip of Africa, is an ideal starting point for a journey along the famed Garden Route. With February’s hot weather, the route unfolds like a storybook of scenic landscapes, charming towns, and endless beaches. Each stopover becomes a chapter in an adventure that can include everything from wine tasting to whale watching, all under the warm embrace of the South African sun.

California Dreaming on Magazine Street

Magazine Street, with its eclectic boutiques and vibrant dining scene, captures the essence of coastal life in California. Here, shoppers can find treasures ranging from antiques to gourmet delights, while food enthusiasts can savor the flavors of the region. Whether it’s browsing through the offerings of local shops or indulging in a seafood Po’ Boy, Magazine Street is a microcosm of California’s lively and laid-back culture.

February on Magazine Street is a blend of shopping, dining, and soaking in the coastal ambiance that makes California a dream destination for beach lovers and urban explorers alike.

Artistic Inspirations: Cities of Creativity

In cities worldwide, art extends beyond art galleries and museums to become a vibrant part of the urban fabric. Barcelona and New York stand out as dynamic canvases where creativity flourishes in every corner. From Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces to the diverse collections along New York’s Museum Mile, these cities inspire with their history of innovation and their ongoing contributions to the world of art.

February is an opportune time to explore these hubs of creativity, where the winter chill means fewer tourists and more space to immerse oneself in the artistic spirit that defines these vibrant cities, especially outside of the peak tourist season.

Barcelona’s Architectural Wonders

Barcelona is a testament to the power of artistic vision, largely shaped by the genius of Antoni Gaudi. His creations, from the whimsical Park Güell to the iconic Sagrada Familia, are imbued with a surreal beauty that challenges the imagination. Gaudi’s work, characterized by vibrant mosaics and organic forms, is a cornerstone of Barcelona’s identity as a city of creativity.

The MACBA and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies further cement Barcelona’s status as an art lover’s paradise, offering contemporary perspectives that complement the historical artistry of Gaudi’s era. In Barcelona, every street is a gallery, and every building tells a story of artistic aspiration and achievement.

New York’s Museum Mile

best destinations to go in February
New York's Museum Mile boasts renowned institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art

New York’s Museum Mile, an illustrious stretch along Fifth Avenue, is an urban treasure trove for art aficionados. With institutions like The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Mile offers a world-class cultural experience.

February in New York is a time when the city’s cultural heartbeat is palpable, with fewer crowds allowing for a more personal encounter with the masterpieces on display.

New York, often considered a capital city of creativity, with its endless energy and artistic heritage, is a city where creativity knows no bounds. Its vibrant city center makes it an essential destination for those seeking inspiration.

Summary

From the romantic streets of Paris to the historic wonders of Luxor, each destination has offered a unique slice of the world, proving that February is far from a mere bridge between winter and spring. It’s a month brimming with potential for explorers, romantics, and adventurers alike. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of discovery, and make your next February one for the books. Wherever you choose to go, the world is waiting to unveil its wonders to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best holiday destination for February?

For sunny weather in February, consider holiday destinations like Cape Town, Cuba, Cancun, Malaga, or Egypt. Every day is usually sunny with little to no rain in these locations.

Can I see the Northern Lights in February?

Yes, February is a great time to see the Northern Lights due to the long, clear nights. Tromso, Norway, and Iceland offer optimal conditions for aurora viewing. Enjoy the spectacle and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Where can I find a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day?

You can find a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day in cities like Paris and Venice, which offer charming ambiance and iconic landmarks for the perfect backdrop for love.

Are there any unique winter sports destinations recommended for February?

Yes, you should consider visiting Valais in Switzerland or Whistler in Canada for unique winter sports experiences in February. Both destinations offer excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions.

What makes February a good time to visit museums and art galleries in cities like Barcelona and New York?

February is a great time to visit museums and art galleries in cities like Barcelona and New York because there are fewer tourists, allowing for a more intimate and enjoyable cultural experience.