February is less a good time to get outta town than it is an essential one. If a calendar month could conceive how to slap you round the face with the wet fish of reality, February would be that month. The outrageous gluttony of December has already morphed from a thing of deep shame to starry-eyed nostalgia, while the dizzying optimism accompanying January’s resolutions has matured into a grudging acceptance of futility. And the weather’s shite. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You poor thing. You need a holiday or vacation or whatever you want to call it. A break! We can help! Keep reading; we have suggestions. From a road trip through South Africa and a stunning waterfall in Venezuela to national parks in Nepal and Ethopia, these are the best places to travel in February. All hope is not lost.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best places to travel
Best places to travel in February
Could there be a better ‘up yours’ to February than carting yourself off to the Caribbean? No. The answer is "No." It’s the best time to visit: Sea temperatures are at a ludicrously pleasant 26C/79F, and the outside air peaks at a perfectly manageable 29C/84F. As for where to visit specifically, it’s hard to go wrong in Cuba, Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Antigua. Or for that matter the Grenadines, Aruba, the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.
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Sprawling across the south-central region of Nepal, Chitwan National Park doubles as a World Heritage Site and is positively rammed with extraordinary wildlife. The king of this particular jungle is the Bengal tiger, and while you’re far from guaranteed to spot one (there are only 100 or so), it’s regardless one of the most likely places in the world you can. Other mammals include leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs, rhinos and even the odd elephant or two.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, we’re delighted to confirm it is. Especially in February, when the skies are blue and the temperatures balmy. Stretching approximately 300km west to east from Whitsand to Storms River along the southern coastline of South Africa, the Garden Route makes for one of the world’s best mini road trips. So named for its incredible biodiversity, the region is packed with perfect beaches, pretty towns, azure lakes and lots and lots of greenery.
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Sprinkled a few hundred kilometres off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde is easy to miss. In fact, when explorers in the Middle Ages stumbled across the ten islands, they found not a soul, so it ended up being populated rather than colonised. Now it makes for a spectacular winter sun escape. Once you’ve had your fill of cocktails on the beach, head inland to explore the incredible volcanic landscapes.
Budapest is lovely and you should totally visit. Generally speaking this is a highly walkable city, with its grand, tree-lined avenues—as wide as motorways but without the traffic—but it’s perhaps best known for its ruin bars and thermal baths. The former will make hipsters feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven, and the latter are perfect for the winter months—nothing cleanses the sins of the night before like a dip in the thermal springs. It’s like your head being in a freezer with the rest of your body being in a... well, bath.
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Laos has a hard time being noticed with its three neighbours Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam relentlessly clamouring for your attention. But that’s precisely why we love it. Laos is modest, quiet and unassuming—just like the people who inhabit it. But once you peek behind the curtain of unaffectedness, you’ll discover a place of almost unimaginable beauty and depth. February is a perfect time to visit what is, in many ways, a perfect country.
This South American jewel has plenty going for it, but the main draw is Angel Falls, which thunder off a 979m ledge, making them the world’s highest. The wider Parque Nacional Canaima in which they can be found is a treasure trove of other natural wonders. And that’s just the start. Rain is rare in February, while temperatures of mid-20s/70s are not.
There’s never really a bad time to visit South Australia’s capital—the climate Down Under is generally as agreeable as its inhabitants—but if you can get to Adelaide in February, you’ll experience one of the world’s best fringe festivals. It’s second only to Edinburgh in size and scope, with over 7,000 artists contributing to over 1,000 events spread across hundreds of venues throughout the city. It runs from mid-February to mid-March.
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The door to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was firmly shut for several decades due to political strife, but in recent years it’s become very much ajar, and you should snap up the opportunity to slip in and have a look around before the rest of the world cottons on. Unmissable sights include Bagan (an enormous ancient Buddhist complex, best seen from a hot air balloon at sunrise), Mount Popa and Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Much of Myanmar’s top attractions are outdoors (or at least best viewed from the outside), and February offers the perfect weather to do so.
Ethiopia is an absolute wonderland for bucket list enthusiasts, and balmy February temperatures present an ideal time to see what it’s all about, and to remind yourself that there’s far more to this country than painful moments in its history. Take the Simien Mountains, for example: a trekking paradise if ever there was one. And then there’s Lake Tana, dotted with islets and ancient monasteries. Ever seen an active volcano? Erta Ale awaits. And don’t even get us started on the wildlife.