Where to go in February: the best places for sunshine escapes and half-term breaks

Wondering where to go in February? Here's our guide to where's hot

With the joy of Christmas a distant memory but the promise of spring still some way off, it’s not surprising that February is a popular time to escape the winter chill.

Whether you’re looking for an rejuvenating weekend break, a sunshine escape or wondering where to go in the half term holidays with the family, here are the best places to visit in February…

Dubai, UAE

Best February holiday for: Football stars in the making

With pristine beaches, luxury shopping, thrilling desert experiences and more, it’s no wonder that Dubai attracts more than 16 million international visitors each year. February is the perfect time to visit – and not just because of the 25°C daily temperature highs.

Where to go in February - Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai

During this year’s February half-term, iconic Dubai hotel Jumeriah Beach Hotel will host a football camp led by former England international Ashley Cole.

Open to children aged five to 15, it’s the perfect opportunity for budding footballers to brush up their ball skills under the sporting star’s expert tutelage. Bookings are now being taken via course provider Football Escapes.

Where to stay: Facilities at Jumeirah Beach Hotel include six swimming pools, a wide variety of restaurants, and a family-friendly leisure club. Guests also get complimentary access to the neighbouring Wild Wadi Waterpark.

The Bahamas, Caribbean

Best February holiday for: Unusual activities in the sun

In 2019 the Bahamas saw a devastating hurricane hit its northern shores, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. The southern parts of the islands, though, were relatively untouched by the weather, and now visiting the Bahamas could well help the relief efforts on the islands affected – the area needs your tourism.

February is an excellent time of year to touchdown on this archipelago, with lows sitting around 22 C making even the coolest days beach worthy. There are some pretty unusual activities too…

Swimming pigs of the Bahamas

Swimming with pigs is probably not top of your holiday bucket list, but hear us out – this experience is a must-do in the Bahamas. Don’t miss a visit to Pink Sands Beach where the grains are tinged a pretty pinkish colour, and enjoy snorkelling, kayaking and plenty more water-based activities in the gorgeous Exumas islands.

Where to stay: Pink Sands Resort, for direct access to the most Instagrammable beach in the Bahamas

The Winelands, South Africa

Best February holiday for: Wine and sunshine

Travel to South Africa in February and you’ll get to enjoy the height of their summer months. It averages 27°C daily at this time of year, and there’s no better place to enjoy the sunshine than in the Winelands, just east of Cape Town.

Spend your days meeting local winemakers and sampling their products – there’s a selection of truly exceptional Chardonnays, Pinotages and Cabernet Sauvignons here. Come night-time, dine at some of the country’s finest restaurants, like the newly opened Le Chene restaurant on Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, where the views (pictured) are as impressive as the food.

Where to stay: Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa, where wine and winding down go glass in hand.

Rajasthan, India

Best February holiday for: A sense of adventure

Want a taste of adventure for your February holiday? You’ll be spoiled for choice in Rajasthan, with its world-famous temples, magnificent fortifications, 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.

Where to go in February: Rajasthan, India

Hawa Mahal temple, Jaipur

There’s nothing quite like the opulent palaces and regal forts that dot hilltops 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.

Where to stay: Samode Haveli in Jaipur, a stunning, sumptuous hotel set inside a traditional mansion.

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. It’s just six hours from the UK but basking in February sunshine, with daytime highs around 25°C.

Where to go in February - Cape Verde

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

If you’re planning a half-term holiday, most of the family-friendly resorts are found 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.

Where to stay: Meliá Llana Beach Resort & Spa, where sun and style collide.

Icehotel, Swedish Lapland

Best February holiday for: A unique mini break

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, and this year – the hotel’s 30th – they include a West End theatre production, an ice-carved kaleidoscope, a frozen feline lair and an icy amusement park.

Where to go in February: Icehotel, Swedish Lapland

A room at the 30th Icehotel

There’s sledding, snowshoeing and snow-mobiling to do nearby, so you won’t ever get bored in this winter wonderland.

Where to stay: Discover the World offers Icehotel breaks on a bed and breakfast basis including return flights from £1,061 per person.

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.

Where to go in February: Zanzibar

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.

Where to stay: Baraza Resort & Spa, the definition of luxury, and voted one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 hotels in the world in 2018.

Madrid, Spain

Best February holiday for: A European 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.

Where to go in February: Madrid, Spain

View of San Isidro Church from Plaza Mayor, Madrid

A prime shopping destination, Madrid has all the big designers you love, plus a few to discover too. Pop into Capas Seseña to purchase beautiful 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.

Where to stay: 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.

New Orleans, USA

Best February holiday for: Letting your hair down

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’.

Where to go in February - New Orleans

A krewe member during Mardi Gras, New Orleans

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.

Where to stay: The Eliza Jane, where romantic-industrial design meets one of the city’s best restaurants.

Sri Lanka

Best February holiday for: Getting off the beaten track

While Sri Lanka’s beaches are certainly divine, a wealth of treasures await intrepid holidaymakers – such as striking temples in the island’s centre, tea plantations and colonial architecture in the hills, and incredible whale watching off the wild south coast.

Where to go in february - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is best travelled by train

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.

Where to stay: Jetwing Yala, a surprisingly affordable beach-front hotel, surrounded by picturesque, grassy dunes.

Antarctica

Best February holiday for: The ultimate wildlife encounter

Welcome to Earth’s last wilderness – where humpback whales breach glassy waters, elephant seals wallow and penguins leap from icebergs.

Where to go in February - Antartica

An Antarctic cruise is the best way to see this icy landscape. Book onto a small ship (80-200 passengers) for unrivalled access to Antarctica, as vessels with 500 or more passengers are not allowed to dock. Must-book activities include kayaking, walking trips and whale watching from tiny Zodiac boats.

Where to stay: Riviera Travel’s 14-day Voyage to Antartica, including nine nights on-board the MV Ocean Atlantic, two nights’ luxury hotels and flights to Argentina, starts from £9,328 per person

Thailand’s west coast

Best February holiday for: Island hopping

This is where to go in February for the ultimate winter antidote. Thailand’s west coast will help wash away your blues thanks to its the tropical waters, where wild and wonderful islands await, each one with more beautiful beaches than the last.

Where to go in February - Thailand's islands

Beach at Ang Thong National Marine Park, Koh Samui

Phuket offers off-the-chart luxury, whilst Koh Samui is ideal for families. But don’t limit yourself to one island – hop into one of the colourful boats that dot the ocean and go exploring.

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.

Where to stay: Bo Phut Resort & Spa for a seriously special pampering break.

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