There’s a lot going on in February. Families are packing their thermals for memorable winter holidays in Finnish Lapland. Wildlife watchers are polishing their binoculars in anticipation of penguins in Antarctica, tigers in India, and whales in Sri Lanka. And culture vultures will be dreaming of Cuba, driving themselves around Tasmania, or touring the iconic Golden Triangle in India. And like a pointy bit in the Arctic Ocean, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading to discover our top 10 February holidays.
February is one of the best months for small ship cruising in Antarctica. It’s (relatively) warm and has near 24-hour daylight, there are plenty of penguin chicks and seal pups about, and it’s in the short window for crossing the Antarctic Circle. Zodiac tours get you up close with the wildlife, and limited passenger numbers mean you won’t spend hours waiting around for your turn on an activity.
Basing you in Saariselkä, north of the Arctic Circle, the beauty of this trip is that it offers a range of activities suited to all ages, and you can pick-and-mix according to your family’s preferences. Dog sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing – all the classic Finnish Lapland experiences are here. Plus you’ll stay throughout in an aurora cabin with a glass roof so you can watch for the Northern Lights from the comfort of your own beds.
Costa Rica is not shy about pushing its spectacular biodiversity to centre stage. With much of the country shrouded in protected forest, it contains some of the world’s most precious ecosystems and species. Wildlife holidays here introduce you to toucans, sloths and monkeys in rainforest canopies, and turtles in Tortuguero National Park, with expert naturalist guides showing you exactly where to look.
A self drive tour of Tasmania is a great way to meet the locals, and not all of them human. Travelling between farm stays and family-run B&Bs you’ll get a great introduction to Tasmanian culture, not least through delicious home cooking. And with the odd wilderness cabin thrown in, you might find an endangered Tasmanian devil on your porch steps, a kangaroo bouncing off in the distance, or a platypus down by the stream.
A small group tour of Cuba is a sociable, and convenient, way to experience the unique culture of this Communist outpost in the Caribbean. Watch expert cigar rollers at work, try out some steps with an informal salsa class in Viñales, discover life in rural Cuba with a stop in Trinidad, and learn the history of the Revolution with a knowledgeable guide escorting you throughout. This is a fantastic way to discover many of Cuba’s unique highlights in a short space of time.
India is lovely in February – warm and dry – and you’re at the start of the main tourist season so you’ll hopefully miss most of the crowds. The celebrated Golden Triangle route takes you from Delhi, to Agra and the Taj Mahal, and on to Jaipur, and can be combined with Ranthambore National Park. This is also a good time for tiger-spotting in national parks such as Pench, but wrap up warm for morning game drives.
October to February is, in general, Southeast Asia’s drier season, so you’ll enjoy cooler, less humid days perfect for adventures. Chill on Thailand’s beaches, hike with Vietnamese hill tribes or visit some excellent elephant sanctuaries. Cambodia and Laos offer more off-the-beaten track community experiences and Angkor Wat’s ancient temples are, of course, a highlight. Alternatively, discover untouched islands, home to sea gypsies, sailing around Burma’s Mergui Archipelago.
Sri Lanka is a popular destination in February, whether you’re there for the whale watching off Galle, the food, or the islands. Small group tours uncover the highlights from Dambulla and Kandy to Horton Plains and the Kitulgala rainforest, but if you fancy exploring a little differently, why not take to two wheels on a cycling holiday instead?
While you can see the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos Islands year-round, the warmer, wetter season is the best for calm seas and underwater visibility, and February falls slap-bang in the middle of it. Cruise holidays sail from island to island, rarely staying in one anchorage for too long. Snorkelling, hiking volcanoes, diving, following giant tortoises around – there’s simply too much to do in the Galapagos Islands to hang around.
Spain takes wellness seriously, with yoga retreats in Valencia and luxury fitness holidays on the Costa Blanca on the menu in February. Walking and showshoeing are popular in the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada – a sustainable winter holiday alternative to downhill skiing. In Valencia, daily yoga and meditation sessions are combined with classes in nutrition and philosophy for a holistic approach.