Where To Head In February

February is the month of love, but it’s also the month squeezed between the celebrations of the holiday season and the hope of spring. Because of that, it’s often overlooked when it comes to holidays. In actuality, there’s plenty of romance to be found in quiet, if chilly, European city breaks, and there’s also pleasure in escaping dreary days in Britain and chasing the sun further afield. We can also look forward to some unique festivals and carnivals – from Mardi Gras to Belgium’s unique Binche Festival – bringing some brightness to proceedings.

All this makes February a smart time to travel. To get you started on planning the perfect trip, here’s our pick of where to head in February.

Paris, France

It might be an obvious choice, but where better to spend the month of love than in the city of love? It’s also the perfect choice for any visitors wanting to travel more sustainably, as the Eurostar from St Pancras makes it a quick, no-fly destination. At around 9C, it will no doubt be frosty, but many of the best things in Paris are indoors anyway. Double down on the romance of it all with a Valentine’s river cruise, or a Valentine’s dinner with views of the Eiffel Tower. Add in a glass of Champagne, and it will be a trip you and your beau won’t forget in a hurry.

New Orleans, USA

It’s a pleasant 19C in February, but that’s not the main reason most visitors come to New Orleans this month. As well as being a great place for getting away from the rainy UK, it’s also Mardi Gras – New Orleans’ biggest and best annual celebration of the year. Originally a series of society balls thrown by the French many years ago, this carnival is now a riot of colour, music, street parades, and a lot of partying, aided by New Orleans’ unusual rule that drinking is permitted on the streets. The carnival is the culmination of two weeks of festivities. The final weekend up to Shrove Tuesday is the busiest time for New Orleans, so plan ahead and book early for a ringside seat.

Ari Atoll, The Maldives

If all you want to do is jet off to somewhere hot and sunny, The Maldives is always a popular choice. February is an ideal time to visit as it’s well away from its monsoon season, and blue skies wallpaper your days. The temperature is relatively consistent at around 29C – so perfect weather-wise. Most of all, February is also a great time for spotting sea life. In the west of The Maldives, in the Ari Atoll, you can go whale shark-spotting, unlike on the eastern area where they drift around and can’t always be seen. Also, diving conditions are at their peak, and visitors can also spot manta rays and tiger sharks in these clear and calm waters. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth.

Lapland, Finland

Lapland is arguably at its peak at Christmas, but when the flurry of activity has calmed a little in February there’s just as much wonder to be found here. Yes, it’s freezing at around -6C, but that only makes it more of an incredible experience to try the world’s only sauna gondola: a wooden cable car that soars over the Yllas ski resort while inside you relax in its sauna. It’s also the ideal time to go dog sledding, as visitors are fewer, but the snow is still deep and the days are starting to get a little longer. And you can still see the magical northern lights in February – just without the crowds, and with lower prices too.

Binche, Belgium

Head to this small town in the Wallonia region of Belgium where you can see something you literally won’t see anywhere else in the world: the Binche Festival. No one knows exactly how or when this strange festival started, but every February groups of Gilles – usually men, dressed in traditional outfits with a straw stuffed hunchback and a massive hat of ostrich feathers that look impossible to carry ­– parade through the streets. In the morning these same men wear clown-like masks that are a little bit terrifying, and they throw blood oranges into the crowd. If it all sounds bizarre, it is. But it’s also fascinating, visually stunning, and one of a kind.


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