Whether you're craving a far-flung adventure or some fail-safe winter sun, here's where to holiday in February...
Leave behind the winter chills in the UK and take a February holiday in one of these top destinations.
1. The Winelands, South Africa
Best February holiday for… Sipping in the sun
Travel to South Africa in February and you’ll get to enjoy the height of their summer months. It averages 27°C daily here at this time of year, and there may be no better place to enjoy it than the Winelands just east of Cape Town.
Spend your days meeting the winemakers and sampling their products – there’s a selection of truly exceptional Chardonnays, Pinotages and Cabernet Sauvignons here – and come nighttime, dine in some of the country’s finest restaurants.
Stay at: Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa, where wine and winding down go glass in hand.
2. Rajasthan, India
Best February holiday for… Culture shock
Want a taste of adventure for your February holiday? You’ll be spoiled for choice in Rajasthan, with its world-famous temples, enchanting cities and bustling markets. With cool temperatures (hovering around 18°C, bring layers) and long sunny days, this is the best time to explore without dissolving into a sweaty, stressed-out mess.
There’s nothing quite like the opulent palaces and regal forts that dot hillsides throughout the region. And don’t miss the unforgettable opportunity to ride out into the desert on camels and camp under the stars. You might even spot the Milky Way – the skies are seriously sparkly here.
Stay at: Samode Haveli in Jaipur – a stunning, sumptuous hotel set inside an old, traditional mansion.
3. Cape Verde
Best February holiday for… Winter sun
In travel terms, Cape Verde is the new kid on the block – a relatively little-visited cluster of islands off the west coast of Africa – just 6 hours from the UK but basking in February sunshine – with daytime highs around 25C.
The likes of Thomas Cook and Thomson offer some great-value bucket-and-spade holidays in Cape Verde, in family-friendly resorts mostly on Boa Vista and Sal – the two most popular islands. Venture a little further afield on the islands and you’ll find a fascinating fusion of Portuguese and West African cultures too.
Stay at: Meliá Llana Beach Resort & Spa, where sun and style collide to create paradise.
4. Icehotel, Swedish Lapland
Best February holiday for… A mini break you’ll never forget
The amazing Icehotel, the world’s first and largest igloo hotel, is created from scratch every winter using a unique mix of ice and snow. No two rooms are ever the same, so you’ll fall asleep in your very own ice suite, hand-crafted into glittering perfection: a truly unforgettable night in. There’s sledding, snowshoeing and snow-mobiling to do nearby, so you won’t ever get bored in this winter wonderland.
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5. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Best February holiday for… An idyllic island escape
There’s so more to Zanzibar than its silky sands and lavish seaside resorts – but they’re not a bad place to start if you’re looking for a sun-drenched February holiday.
Once you’ve had your fill of hammock lazing and cocktail drinking, there are heady spice gardens to explore, coral reefs to snorkel, and the beguiling (and bewildering) city of Stone Town. Explore its maze of crumbling backstreets and grand colonial houses before retiring to beneath a parasol once again.
Stay at: Baraza Resort & Spa, the definition of luxury, and voted one of Trip Advisor’s top 25 hotels in the world in 2018.
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6. Madrid, Spain
Best February holiday for… A fashionable city break
The capital of Spain isn’t its most famous city, often overlooked in favour of glitzy, coastal Barcelona. But this city has so much to offer, it would be a shame to dismiss its wide, elegant boulevards and pretty wrought-iron balconies.
A prime shopping destination, Madrid has all the big designers you love, plus a few little ones you won’t know but will adore. Pop into Capas Seseña to purchase exquisite, hand-made capes – perfect for the February chill – and stop by at Andres Gallardo to pick up some unique ceramic jewellery. For some culture, the Museo del Prado is spectacular (seek out the eclectic Garden of Earthly Delights painting) and the Sorolla Museum has an extensive collection by the Master of Light.
Stay at: Only YOU Boutique hotel, where exceptional service and an elegant old mansion make for a perfect luxury stay. Plus, there’s a brilliant Thai spa.
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7. New Orleans, USA
Best February holiday for… Mardi Gras mayhem
In February, New Orleans hosts one of the world’s biggest street parties: Mardi Gras. For one weekend, the whole city stops what it’s doing to dance, drink and sing – with outlandish parades by local groups known as ‘krewes’.
But while things get pretty wild at night, Mardi Gras is actually a big event for families too – with daytime street markets, parading musicians and outdoor entertainment. It might be a wallflower’s nightmare, but if you fancy a US break with a difference, New Orleans certainly delivers.
Stay at: The Eliza Jane, where romantic-industrial design meets one of the city’s best restaurants.
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8. Sri Lanka
Best February holiday for… Going off the beaten track
While Sri Lanka’s beaches are certainly divine, a wealth of treasures await intrepid holidaymakers – such as stunning temples in the island’s centre, tea plantations and colonial splendour in the hills, and incredible whale watching off the wild south coast.
Thanks to its new airports and ever-growing network of modern roads, it’s never been easier to get around Sri Lanka – but its rural rail network is the most enchanting way to travel. Wherever you venture you’ll enjoy spectacular countryside views, meet friendly local people and sample some of the tastiest street food you’ll ever encounter.
Stay at: Jetwing Yala, a surprisingly affordable beach-front hotel, surrounded by picturesque, grassy dunes.
Best February holiday for… The ultimate wildlife encounter
While Antarctica cruises certainly aren’t cheap (expect to pay at least £4,000 for a 10-night trip), there’s a reason why this icy wilderness is a bucket list favourite. Welcome to Planet Earth’s last wilderness – where humpback whales breach glassy waters, elephant seals wallow, and penguins leap from icebergs.
Though pricey, smaller cruise ships (with 80-200 passengers) offer unrivalled access to Antarctica, as vessels with 500 or more passengers are not allowed to dock. From a small ship, you can really explore your otherworldly surroundings – on kayaking and walking trips, and whale watching from tiny Zodiac boats.
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10. Thailand’s west coast
Best for… Island hopping
Where to go in February for the ultimate winter antidote? Wash away your blues in the tropical waters of Thailand’s west coast, where wild and wonderful islands await – each one with more beautiful beaches than the last.
Base yourself on Phuket or Krabi, and hop aboard one of the many little boats that ply these turquoise waters. Temperatures are in the high twenties during February holidays, but with a breeze that keeps things comfortable: perfect for lazy days of sunbathing and snorkelling.
Stay at: Bo Phut Resort & Spa for a seriously special pampering break.