While February may be the shortest month in the year, you can pack some serious travel into this 28-day delight. Whether you need a restful break after the holiday season or an exhilarating adventure to kick-start your year, there’s a perfect destination just waiting for you.
Here are some of our favorite places to go in February.
Where are the best places to travel to in February for wildlife and nature?
Zanoaga meadow in Romania, hundreds of monarch butterflies in Michoacán, Mexico, and a giraffe seen on safari in Tanzania © iStock; Shutterstock; Getty Images
Carpathian Mountains, Romania
Why now? Track wolves and lynx through snow-clad wilderness.
Late winter is the breeding season for wolves and lynx in Romania’s share of the Carpathian Mountains. Now’s the time to track them across the snowy wilderness of Piatra Craiului National Park, joining an expert local guide to learn to read spoor and follow the peregrinations of these elusive predators as they search for mates.
Why now? To see millions of monarch butterflies take flight in the Michoacán Province’s Oyamel fir forests.
Visit Michoacán’s forests on a sunny February morning and you’ll witness an astonishing spectacle, as vast clouds of monarch butterflies take to the air. Each winter up to a billion of these incredible insects migrate thousands of miles from northeastern North America to the warmer climes of Mexico — specifically, Michoacán Province’s Oyamel fir forests, some of which are now protected as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Head to the El Rosario or Sierra Chincua sections for the densest clusters of monarchs.
Why now? Encounter hundreds of thousands of grazing wildebeest.
February is a great time to explore northern Tanzania, as herds of wildebeest cross the plains and zebras munch their way across the short grass of the southern Serengeti, stocking up on calories before giving birth, usually in early-to-mid February.
Where are the best places to travel to in February for food and drink?
A famous Montréal bagel, vineyards in Argentina’s wine country, and Singapore braised frog and spring onion in clay pot © Stocksy; iStock
Why now? Eat yourself heated in Québec’s culinary epicenter.
February in Montréal is cold, but the city is tailored to its climate and so is its eating scene. To inhale the extra calories you’ll need to function in these icy temperatures, try the classics: Montréal bagels and smoked-meat sandwiches – and (of course) poutine. Yet Montréal is more ethnically diverse than ever and its culinary offerings are similarly varied. Expect to taste Korean fried chicken, Haitian griot (fried pork chunks), Syrian kibbeh and more.
Why now? Head to the bodegas of Mendoza, Argentina for a beefy malbec against incredible landscapes.
This is the most intoxicating time to visit the heart of Argentinean wine country. Vineyards dominate here – every hillside is scored with vines – and in hot, sunny February they’ll be healthily heavy with fruit in anticipation of the March harvest. A festive atmosphere reigns, with every bodega (and there are around 900) open for tours, tastings and celebrations. The leafy, plaza-dotted city of Mendoza makes a good base.
Why now? Explore Singapore’s edible offerings at the city’s vibrant hawker centers.
Warmth is guaranteed year-round in Singapore, with average temperatures a fairly consistent 27°C (81°F). February, however, is one of the driest months and – and if you come after Lunar New Year (a national holiday), things aren’t crazy busy. Perhaps the chief reason to visit, though, is to eat. Hawker centers serve up phenomenal food in cheap, canteen-like settings, while top-end eateries are getting ever better. Seek out chili crab, spicy rendang curry and a range of Nonya dishes, unique to the region.
Where are the best places to travel to in February for culture?
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and a dancer with a Diablada mask in Bolivia © iStock
United Arab Emirates
Why now? Mix sun, sand, shopping and cultural experiences.
The UAE awaits discovery in this relatively comfortable month, when daytime temperatures linger around the 24°C mark (75°F). Don’t just limit yourself to the resort strands of Dubai: seek out sandy stretches such as Black Palace Beach, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali or Dibba in Fujairah. And cool off with some culture: explore the old center and forts of oasis city Al Ain; 10 millennia of history at the expansive Mleiha Archaeological Site; and the world-class museums and galleries of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, including the Louvre and the Guggenheim.
Why now? Dance with the devils during one of South America’s most raucous fiestas.
Visit Oruro, Bolivia in February and you’re guaranteed to get wet. Not just because it’s the rainy season (though you should expect downpours). Rather, the pre-Lent week of Carnaval heralds the most almighty water fight as well as huge parades headlined by the Diablada, the “Dance of the Devils,” joined by dozens of other colorfully costumed troupes. Other Bolivian towns including Tarija and Santa Cruz also celebrate Carnaval in kaleidoscopic style.
Where are the best places to travel to in February for adventure?
Swimming at Colombia’s Playa Cristal and cross country skiing at Jackson Hole Wyoming © Nadège Mazars/Lonely Planet; Getty Images
Why now? Discover a long-lost city amid coastal mountains.
For nearly four centuries, a set of ancient plazas and terraces lay shrouded in jungle high in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: a settlement known to Indigenous peoples as Teyuna (meaning “Mother Nature”) and now as Ciudad Perdida – the “Lost City.” Rediscovered in the 1970s, the site is only reachable today via a four- to six- day, 51km (32-mile) round-trip trek through humid jungle, culminating in a climb up some 1200 stone steps from the Buritaca River – a challenging but hugely rewarding adventure. February is a particularly pleasant month to visit Colombia’s Caribbean region. There are typically fewer visitors (and lower prices) than in December or January, and on-shore breezes provide welcome respite from the year-round heat.
Why now? Ski Wyoming’s snowy slopes before warming chilly fingers and toes around the region’s geothermal geysers and hot springs.
When snow cloaks the Cowboy State, special things happen. Skiers and boarders will love the Teton Mountains resort of Jackson Hole, nicknamed “The Big One” on account of its steep, squeaky-bum terrain and great powder (driest and deepest January to February). Further north, quite different thrills await in Yellowstone National Park. Heaving in summer, Yellowstone empties in winter. Park roads close, and the only ways to explore are via snow coach, snowmobile, cross-country skis or snowshoes. Geysers and hot springs steam in the icy air, and animals congregate at the thermal areas for warmth.
Where are the best places to travel to in February for relaxation?
Kriangkrai Thitimakorn in Cambodia and view of The Pitons in St Lucia © Getty Images; Lonely Planet
Why now? 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 monuments of Angkor: the weather is dry and wonderful across Cambodia in February. Warmer than the early dry season (October to January) but not yet sweltering, this might be the best month for exploring the vast, Unesco-listed Angkor complex.
Why now? Mix romance with relaxation – and perhaps a chocolate chaser – in this cooler, drier month.
Among Caribbean destinations vying for the “most romantic” crown, St Lucia has a couple of particularly enviable attributes: a roster of outstanding upmarket resorts that overlook gorgeous white-sand beaches lapped by the turquoise, bath- warm Caribbean, and a long heritage of cacao plantations fueling a passion for chocolate that’s been reignited in recent years. February, when the air is coolest and clearest, is the time to fall in love with (or, indeed, in) its most sensuous pleasures.