Beach sunrise at Bluebay Beach, Zanzibar

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Where to go on holiday in February

With the feeling that spring is still a way off, defeat the winter blues with a February getaway. Escape from the bleak landscapes, chilly temperatures, and shortage of daylight of the UK in February and head for sunnier climes and far-flung shores.

If it’s summery weather you crave – and who could blame you – then we have plenty of enticing options; bask on the idyllic paradise island of Zanzibar, with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters; or feel the powder soft sand beneath your toes as you pad to the crystal clear ocean in Cancun. 

For a taste of culture, take your pick from Hong Kong and the excitement of the Chinese New Year festivities, the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, or the Golden Triangle in Agra. 

Here are some ideas on where to visit in February for the sunniest weather, best wildlife viewing and most exciting cultural events. And, if the thought of February in the UK leaves you feeling particularly world-weary, why not opt to contrast one destination with another, to really make the most of your break – our Destination Specialists can put together your dream itinerary, just for you.  

Rice terraces at sunset in Japan

Best holiday destinations in February

Sri Lanka

If you’re seeking serenity, stunning scenery, culture and unspoilt white sand beaches, then head for Sri Lanka. February is a beautiful month to visit the hill country, south and west coasts of Sri Lanka – these regions enjoy an abundance of sunshine (nine hours per day), average temperatures of 27°C and highs of 31°C (although higher altitudes are cooler), and minimal rainfall (monsoon season here is May through September; whilst dry season is December to March). The sea is calm with a temperature of about 28°C, which is ideal for swimming or snorkelling among the tropical marine life. Drier conditions are good for wildlife spotting in national parks, as the animals – including elephants and buffalo – gather around water holes and leopards like to bask in the sunshine. Dry weather also makes February a great choice for trekking the Knuckles Mountain range. The months of December through to April are also good for spotting whales and large pods of dolphins just miles from the coast. Explore tea plantations, rolling hills and lush rainforests as well as Buddhists temples and Sigiriya – the ruins of an abandoned palace on top of an immense, soaring boulder.

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Beach

Zanzibar

One of the best times to visit the tropical archipelago of Zanzibar is February, when it's sunny, dry, warm and temperate. With an average high of 29°C during the day – and nighttime lows on average around 26°C – Zanzibar typically enjoys nine hours of sunshine per day (you'll avoid the main rainy season, from mid-March to late May). If you crave sun-drenched shores and palm-fringed white sand beaches then Zanzibar is, quite possibly, your dream retreat: the vivid aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean are around 29°C – perfect for swimming and water sports. As well as picture-perfect beaches and glorious sunsets you might opt to take a traditional dhow (sailboat) to some of the smaller islands; scuba diving is especially good along the south coast at this time; and a visit to Stone Town – with its open air markets and bazaars in the old town – is a pleasant way to spend your time. The Sauti za Busara festival and carnival also takes place and sees performances from musicians from all over Africa and the rest of the world.

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Hong Kong

Visit Hong Kong in February and you’ll experience this city’s biggest and most vibrant festival: Chinese New Year. You won’t be able to avoid being caught up in the party atmosphere – visit temples to pray for good fortune; watch parades and performances; peruse the festive markets; and gaze at the city, decorated with lanterns, as you admire the spectacular fireworks over Victoria Harbour. Because of its subtropical climate, Hong Kong is considered a year-round destination although it does experience seasonal differences. February is a mild and dry month – with average highs of 19°C, the likelihood of temperatures dipping below 10 °C is fairly uncommon. Rain is rarely heavy but sometimes a mist rolls across the city. Travel in February and you’ll avoid typhoon season (May through to September), as well as the heat and high humidity associated with June through August – you'll find that cooler temperatures are more conducive to exploring the city. In addition to Chinese New Year, the international Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) is also held, showcasing opera, theatre, music and dance performances.

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Banff and the Canadian Rockies

For snow sports fans, February is an ideal month to venture into the heart of the Canadian Rockies to explore Banff’s spectacular mountains. Banff is one of the best places in the world for skiing and – whether you’re a novice or a seasoned skier – you’ll find stunning natural beauty and an abundance of near-perfect powdery snow combined with luxury hotels and exceptional hospitality for a world-class skiing experience. While February isn’t quite as cold as December and January, the weather here is certainly crisp despite an average of three-four hours of winter sunshine per day. You’ll need to wrap up warm and pack all the right snow gear because the average temperature in Banff is around -1°C – dropping to -12°C at night. Snow is a regular occurrence but there’s usually less snowfall during February than the previous two months. With three distinctive ski resorts – Banff Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt Norquay, boasting a vast total of 8,000 acres of varied terrain – besides skiing, there’s a wide variety of outdoor activities, from snowshoeing and sleigh rides to ice skating, trekking and historic tours.

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Barbados

Barbados benefits from a tropical climate, with high temperatures, all year round but has two well defined seasons – the dry season, which runs from November through to May, and the rainy season from June to October. February in Barbados means plenty of warm, sunny weather, with average highs of 29ºC, falling only slightly to 23ºC at night, and a solid nine hours of sunshine each day. The Caribbean island also enjoys an Atlantic breeze which helps to keep you cool and, at 27ºC, the sea is warm yet also lovely for a refreshing swim. Visit this time of year and you will avoid the hurricane season which runs from June to November, where most significant storms occur between August and October. Good weather is pretty much guaranteed in February – it’s the perfect getaway for a warm winter break. Beaches here are good and varied – the sea is usually calm on the west coast, as this is the Caribbean side, so head here for swaying palms and sunset rum punches. In contrast, you’ll find surf in the south and observe wild wave-lashed cliffs on the east coast, due to the Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by coral reefs, Barbados is a top snorkelling spot and great for watersports.

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Orcha

Northern India

Owing to its vast size and varied topography, India has several diverse weather patterns across its regions which mean that the optimum time to visit can vary quite drastically. The majority of India is tropical and experiences three main seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. With the Himalayas blocking cold winds from reaching most of India, winters are warm while it can get very hot in the summer. February is one of the best times to visit northern India. Much of the scorching heat has ebbed away, leaving a pleasant, dry and mild-warm climate – ideal for sightseeing – with average temperatures of 17.8 °C in the morning, rising to a fairly hot 25.2 °C in the afternoon. Head to the lush tea estates of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas; and witness the spectacular sights of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra on our Golden Triangle tour, including the magnificence of the Taj Mahal – one of India’s most iconic landmarks.

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Second Line parade

New Orleans

The best time to visit New Orleans is in the spring, from February to March, when the weather is mild and comfortable and the unique Mardi Gras celebrations are in full swing. The average temperature in New Orleans reaches a high of 18°C during the day, dropping down in the evening to around 10°C, with an average of six hours of daily sunshine. Mardi Gras festivities include everything from carnival parades, light displays and live music to eye-catching costumes and tasty street food. In addition to the lavish Mardi Gras celebrations there is plenty more to see and do here, including the bars, burlesque clubs and live jazz venues of Bourbon Street; kayaking on Bayou St. John; exploring the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park; and Black History Month.

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Cancun beach

Cancun

While Cancun has a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round, February is a great month for a getaway here. Head to Cancun and you'll experience near-perfect weather conditions. Not only can you can look forward to seven hours of sunshine per day but February falls in the dry season (from November to April). Average highs of 29ºC are an ideal temperature for reclining beside the pool or relaxing on one of the stunning beaches. At an enticing 26ºC, the turquoise ocean is lovely for swimming and you can also enjoy a variety of water-based sports and activities here. As evening falls, the air temperature remains warm, only cooling to 18ºC. You may also wish to explore the Mayan city of Chichen Itza – a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – or the peaceful paradise tranquility of nearby Isla Mujeres.

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