The new year is now well underway and poor old February is at risk of getting overlooked as people rush to book up the favourable April to September peak travel window. But you’d be remiss to underestimate the 29-day delight (in 2020, at least), because while February may be the shortest month in the year, it packs some of the biggest adventures. Climb Africa’s highest peak in prime climes, dance till dawn at carnivals across the globe and dive beneath azure waters in the Philippines in the company of giants.
12 places to go in February
12 places to go in February
From the serene canals of Venice to the snowy landscapes of Yellowstone, we size up the best places you should visit this February.
Where are the best places to visit in February for wildlife and nature?
February is an excellent month to experience some of the world’s lesser-known animal encounters and natural wonders. In India, huge sheets of ice transform the landscape into a wild, wintry wonderland, providing a magical backdrop for challenging treks and the perfect setting to spot the region’s elusive snow leopards. Enjoy top-drawer skiing in Hokkaidō, but swap the traditional après-ski scene for a chance to see the balletic courtship dance of the 5ft-tall red-crowned crane.
If you’re looking to shake off the cold, however, head to Mexico to see millions of monarch butterflies take flight in the Michoacán Province’s Oyamel fir forests or journey to the Philippines for the chance to snorkel alongside whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish.
A vineyard overlooking Lake Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island © Karel Cerny / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for food and drink?
Explore Singapore’s edible offerings at the city’s vibrant hawker centres. When you’re done with dishes of spicy rendang curry or chilli crab, enjoy sightseeing in cool, dry conditions. Wine-loving travellers will want to head to the bodegas of Mendoza, Argentina for a beefy Malbec, or to New Zealand’s South Island, where the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival celebrates the region’s produce. Both destinations offer world-class wineries amongst incredible landscapes. But if a detox is truly what’s in order, Daylesford, Australia abounds with artisan restaurants and rejuvenating mineral water springs.
Colourful houses and wooden boats of a floating village on a lake
Explore the colourful floating villages of Tonle Sap in Cambodia © Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for culture?
February brings with it a wave of festivities as Brazil and Venice all celebrate Carnival. So dig out those sequins, feathers and dancing shoes and prepare to party till dawn. The Winter Carnival is on the go in Québec City through early February, with ice sculptures, parades and snow sports. Expect it to be freezing (-5ºC to -15ºC; 23–5ºF), but there’s plenty of hot chocolate and Carnival grog – spiced rum, gin, syrup and hot water – to help warm you up.
Cambodia sits in a sweet spot of dry skies and temperate days – ideal conditions for exploring the country. Relax on the golden beaches of Sihanoukville, visit the floating villages of Tonlé Sap, and allow a few days to wander the ancient temples at Unesco-listed Angkor,
A herd of African elephants move around the grassland. In the background a large freestanding mountain, with snow near the top, rises in the haze
February is prime time to climb Kilimajaro © khanbm52 / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for adventure?
Whether under the ocean or atop mighty peaks, adventure can be found in every corner of the globe come February. To continue your wintry kicks, head to Lapland for dog-sledding and nights spent under the dazzling Aurora Borealis; or ski Wyoming’s snowy slopes before warming chilly fingers and toes around the region’s geothermal geysers and hot springs.
An incredible underwater world is waiting to be explored in Honduras that won’t leave you feeling the New Year’s pinch – Honduras is slated as one of the cheapest places to learn to dive. But for the ultimate high, head for Africa’s brooding beacon and climb Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
You might also like:
The best places to swim with whale sharks
Plan your next adventure with these expert tips from a Lonely Planet writer
Where to go when: the best places to visit through 2020
Article first published in December 2017, and last updated in December 2019