To many people, February is synonymous with short days, long nights, and chilly weather. But to me, it’s the perfect month to head out into the world for a well-deserved vacation!
Eager to escape the freezing harsh temperatures with a relaxing vacation on a tropical island? Or do you want to take advantage of freshly fallen snow with a few days of skiing and snowboarding? Either way, there are plenty of exciting places to go.
These are the best places to travel in February.
1. Brazil for Carnival
If sipping caipirinhas and wearing flashy sequin costumes sounds like your idea of a fabulous vacation, then head to Brazil to celebrate Carnival. Traditionally held 40 days before Easter, Carnival is a spectacular, colorful festival full of live music, fireworks, dancers, and of course, millions of party-goers.
Although you’ll find festivities held throughout Brazil, Rio de Janeiro throws the largest celebration on the entire planet. Other than the wild street parties, Rio’s Carnival is also known for its over-the-top parades and live samba dancing.
Don’t forget to pack your best costume before hitting the parties. You’ll find people wearing everything from police and sailor uniforms to full-on feather and jewel-encrusted bikinis.
For 2020, Carnival in Brazil runs from February 21 until February 26.
2. Beijing, China for Chinese New Year
A festival honoring a rat may not sound like your idea of a good time, but China manages to do it beautifully. From January 21 to February 20th, the entire country celebrates the Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Rat—the next zodiac animal on the lunar calendar.
Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in China, and you can find activities and celebrations in almost every city in the country. Streets are decorated with red lanterns, firecrackers are lit in the street, and traditional New Year’s dishes are prepared and eaten.
You can expect the first few days of the New Year to be quiet, as many locals return home to spend time with family. However, the following few weeks will transform the city into a festive celebration full of parades, lion dancing, and fireworks.
Chinese New Year is also filled with superstitious traditions. For example, it’s a bad omen to injure yourself or cry during this time period. However, it’s good luck to eat Chinese dumplings and rice cakes, and to light firecrackers to scare away evil spirits.
One of the best things about winter is being able to hit the mountains for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. And honestly, there’s no better place for fresh powder and endless sunshine than in Chamonix, France.
Located at the base of Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Chamonix is a world-class ski resort that attracts millions of skiers (and après-skiers) each year. With six different ski areas and 50 chairlifts, you’ll have no problem finding a slope that fits your style and skill level.
After an exhausting day on the mountain, you can retreat down to one of the small villages for a relaxing evening. Since Chamonix is known for the resorts as much as the slopes, you can find high-end restaurants, lively cocktail bars, and charming boutique stores.
Although not as recognizable as the celebration in Brazil, Venice’s Carnival is equally impressive in its own way. It’s been around since 1162, making it the oldest and largest festival in Venetian history.
Instead of sequins and feathers, you’ll find everyone decked out in hand-painted masks and stylish Venetian cloaks. And instead of sun-soaked samba dancing parties, there are glamorous masquerade balls.
Watch live acrobats on the Rio di Cannaregio, enjoy the costume parade on San Marco square, and of course, indulge in a few mouthwatering Italian dishes. Carnival is the only time of year where you can try fritelle, a delicious fried doughnut filled with raisins, cream, and chocolate.
5. Abu Dhabi for Perfect Temperatures
If you’ve ever been to the Middle East, you’ll know that temperatures can skyrocket to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. This makes sightseeing or any other activity difficult and extremely uncomfortable. For this reason, February is the ideal month to visit these countries.
Abu Dhabi is a fascinating city known for it’s towering skyscrapers, manmade islands, and luxurious resorts. It’s also a shopper’s paradise with an impressive amount of outlet stores, shopping malls, and boutique retailers.
And with an average temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit in February, Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to hit the beaches. That way, you can soak up the sun without the fear of getting too blistered and sunburned.
6. Cyprus for Off-Season Prices
As one of the warmest countries in Europe during February, Cyprus is an ideal destination for beachgoers and history lovers. February is considered off-season, which means you’ll score big discounts on flights and hotels during this time. But best of all, you won’t have to deal with crowds of tourists.
When it comes to weather, the temperature is less hot and humid compared to summer, but still warm enough to swim and sunbathe off the coast. But if you’d rather spend the day exploring the island, there are still plenty of fun and exciting things to see.
Spend the day in the diverse city of Nicosia, which is teeming with Greek Orthodox churches, Muslim Mosques, and Turkish Baths. Or, visit the archeological ruins in Kourion to see a preserved village dating back to the 2nd-century BC. You can also hike up the Troödos Mountains, which offers panoramic views over the entire island.
7. Colombia for Beaches and Sunshine
Disconnect yourself from the chaotic hustle of life by spending your February on the beaches in Columbia. With endless hours of sunshine and dozens of picture-perfect beaches, you’ll get to enjoy that tropical vacation that you deserve.
Frolic on the beautiful white-sand beach of Playa Blanca island, or sip fresh coconuts under the palm trees on Playas de Providencia. Capurganá is also one of the premier destinations for diving, and the waters are teeming with trumpet fish, hawksbill turtles, and even nurse sharks.
Don’t forget to visit Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona on the north side of the country. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’s one of the most scenic places in all of Columbia. To help plan your trip, read our 2 Weeks in Colombia Itinerary.
Whether you’re partying hard in the streets of Brazil or enjoying a glass of champagne on the slopes of the French Alps, there are plenty of adventures waiting for you. And with a rewarding vacation, you won’t have to dread the thought of winter.
February is the shortest month of the year, so make sure you get out and take advantage of the time that you have!