February is one among my favorite months to journey in Europe. Positive, the climate isn’t all the time dependable, however there’s a surplus of fantastic occasions scheduled throughout the continent. From the age-old traditions of February’s energetic carnival celebrations and the romantic name of Valentine’s Day overseas to ski slopes stacked with contemporary powder and northern lights adventures within the Arctic, narrowing down the checklist of finest locations to go to in February in Europe is considerably of a problem.
That stated, for those who do wish to try to escape the chilly, gray, gloomy days at residence, there are a handful of heat locations to go to in Europe in February, too. The center of the month can also be a well-liked time to go to a few of Europe’s most family-friendly vacation locations in the course of the February half-term break. Plus, as an added bonus, there are additionally often loads of offers to snap up within the low season away from these massive occasions.
That will help you plan the place to go in Europe in February, I’ve break up this text into 5 sections, overlaying ski and snow, winter solar, romantic escapes, cultured metropolis breaks, and offbeat celebrations. I’ve additionally prevented generic suggestions like ‘go to London as a result of it’s much less busy’ and as an alternative centered on locations which have one thing particular taking place in February so that you could make your well-timed go to notably unforgettable.
Finest European journey, snow and ski locations in February
For contemporary powder lovers, the perfect European holidays in February happen on the pistes, however snowboarding isn’t the one exercise accessible this month. Northern lights chasing, snowshoeing, and adventures within the Arctic all abound within the winter climates of the north.
The French Alps
Arguably essentially the most iconic ski vacation spot on the planet, France’s reign as the final word place for first-class pistes and après-ski is undisputed. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpe, with its greater than 150 ski and winter sports activities resorts, has one thing for everybody — starting from essentially the most indulgent and luxe properties with direct entry to a few of Les 3 Vallées finest ski runs to extra inexpensive ski passes in Le Semnoz.
France’s slopes are additionally a wonderful February half-term vacation spot as they’re fast and straightforward to succeed in, both on a brief flight to Chambéry, Grenoble or Lyon or by bundling everybody within the automobile and driving over on the Channel Tunnel. Household-friendly ski resorts are in no brief provide, with corporations comparable to Sno having devoted packages and lodges appropriate for kids of any age. Some chalets and resorts provide youngsters’ golf equipment, teenagers’ ski colleges, and even creches and youngster care.
One other of the perfect occasions in February in Europe occurs across the upscale resort of Courchevel when the Pyrotechnic Arts Pageant brightens the skies with fireworks and torchlit evenings (weekly between fifteenth February and seventh March 2024).
Norway’s least populated area, Nordland, is maybe finest identified for the cinematic Lofoten Islands. Right here, the surroundings is spectacular in February, when snow coats the dramatic peaks, and Rorbu cabins (conventional fishing huts) add a splash of color. However there are loads extra winter snow adventures to have within the north of the nation, with ski resorts round Narvik and snowshoeing within the Arctic — a part of Lapland can also be inside Nordland’s borders. Better of all, a few of Norway’s finest long-distance practice journeys depart and arrive from right here, and the Nordland Journey Go will assist you to discover the entire area car-free.
However there are a few further explanation why Norland is among the finest locations to go to in Europe in Winter 2024. Firstly, the aurora borealis (northern lights) are predicted to be notably spectacular this winter because the 12-year Photo voltaic Cycle is anticipated to hit its peak in early 2024, which means so long as there’s a clear night, the sky ought to placed on a correct present fairly usually.
Secondly, the distant metropolis of Bodø has been topped one of many EU’s Capital of Tradition 2024 — the primary time any metropolis within the Arctic has been given the title — and the year-long programme of cultural occasions will launch on the third of February 2024. To rejoice, an out-of-this-world floating stage will likely be within the metropolis’s harbour to formally declare the beginning of Bodø2024.
The Austrian Alps are the place winter comes alive, and with snow adventures and snowboarding being two of the perfect issues to do in Austria, February is a improbable time to go to this mountainous and scenic area. There’s a big array of ski resorts to select from on this nook of Austria, starting from well-known slopes round Ischgl and Serfaus to extra beginner-friendly runs at Kitzbühel. Cross-country snowboarding can also be attainable, whereas there are many sledging alternatives for the youthful ones.
February’s appeal isn’t simply contemporary snow, although; the Tyrol area is laden with historical past and custom. As with many different international locations in Europe in February, carnival time provides a splash of color to the in any other case white landscapes. The Tirolean Carnival parades happen in most cities, and you’ll count on loads of conventional gown alongside costumes of witches and picket masks. A few of Tyrol’s finest carnival occasions solely happen each 3 or 4 years. In 2024, it’s the flip of Imst Schemenlaufen (4th February 2024), one of many Alps’ most vital masked parades, which is inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity checklist. As this occasion solely occurs each 4 years, it’s price attempting to attend for those who’re in Austria in February.
In case you simply desire a brief and fast getaway, take into account an extended weekend in Innsbruck. Among the finest cities in Europe to go to in February for a ski vacation, due to its proximity to the mountains, there are additionally sufficient museums and cultural points of interest to fill at the least at some point. From Innsbruck, you’re additionally well-placed for some intense snow-covered treks in Karwendel Nature Park.
The place to go in February in Europe for Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day falling on a Wednesday in 2024, it’s somewhat tougher to plan a romantic midweek getaway. Nonetheless, you don’t must rejoice your love on the commercialised day itself, and a metropolis break on one of many weekends is unquestionably higher than a bunch of roses. Positive, you possibly can decide from any of the extra romanticised cities on the continent, comparable to Paris, Florence or Prague. Or, you possibly can plan the place to go in Europe in February for Valentine’s Day round one among these superior annual occasions as an alternative.
Beginning with maybe the obvious selection for a romantic metropolis break, Venice is actually top-of-the-line locations to go to for Valentine’s Day — however I’m interested by the magic of one of many world’s best carnivals (third – thirteenth February 2024) reasonably than charming if chilly gondola rides.
Courting again to the twelfth century (though some reviews imagine it was informally established some 200 years earlier than), Venice Carnival has lengthy been one of many best festivals on the planet, filled with color, glam, debauchery and secrets and techniques — typically hid behind these fabled Venetian masks, which additionally date again to the Center Ages. These days, it’s a mixture of grand and opulent ticket-only balls, road performers, competitions and parades. So why not whisk your beloved away for a go to to Venice in February to rejoice on this metropolis of romance?
In case you’d choose one other close by romantic various, then take into account Verona, town of Romeo and Juliet, the place Valentine’s Day can also be an enormous celebration. With many romantic and memorable issues to do in Italy, there isn’t any scarcity of February metropolis breaks to select from.
Sitges, one among Europe’s most gay-friendly locations, hosts its big carnival celebration between the eighth and 14th of February 2024, making it a wonderful and secure place for the LGBTQ+ neighborhood to rejoice Valentine’s Day. One of many oldest carnivals in Catalonia, big parades, costumes and crowds descend on this seaside city, breaking its winter hibernation in essentially the most kaleidoscopic method.
There are two massive parades, with the second being on the thirteenth of February, 2024 — ideally for partying into Valentine’s Day correct — and the principle LGBTQ+ golf equipment and bars host their very own events all through the week.
Away from the celebrations (though it’s practically unimaginable to keep away from them), you’ve bought a few improbable museums, comparable to Cau Ferrat, sea-view eating places, and a cute if small Previous City to go to. After all, one among Sitge’s foremost attracts is the seaside, and whereas it isn’t one of many warmest locations to go to in February in Europe, you would possibly get fortunate with some sunny days to high up your tan.
Côte d’Azur, France
Paris may be France’s most blatant selection for a Valentine’s Day getaway, however if you wish to flip your romantic journey right into a week-long trip, then a luxurious go to to the French Riviera may be the right reply.
Finest identified for glamour, movie festivals, fairly pastel-hued houses and one among Europe’s smallest international locations, Monaco, there isn’t any scarcity of first-class eating places and romantic resorts to steal away alongside the shoreline. Nevertheless, there are a number of of France’s finest occasions scheduled within the south throughout February, and I’d extremely advocate you make your go to to the Côte d’Azur much more particular by planning it round one among these.
Maybe essentially the most well-known is Good Carnival, one of many world’s greatest, the place this upscale seaside resort comes alive with parades (the illuminated nighttime procession is especially improbable), flower battles (yep, you learn that proper), and common revelry. The ridiculously engaging city of Menton, nearer to the Italian border, additionally holds a giant annual bash, the Fête du Citron, on the identical dates (each run between February Seventeenth and March third, 2024). The Lemon Pageant is a flamboyant and nearly fantasy pageant the place the colors and flavours of citrus fruits set the stage for parades, artisan shops, and native produce tasting. Lastly, there’s additionally the brief however candy Fête du Mimosa (14th – 18th February 2024), which begins on Valentine’s Day itself and is anchored across the blossoming of the domestically beloved Mimosa timber.
Finest European cities to go to in February
When placing collectively my picks of the perfect cities in Europe to go to in February, I’ve centered on locations which have annual occasions scheduled, the meals and bar scene is robust (for these colder nights), and sufficient museums or cultural points of interest to maintain you busy in case of some showers. In case you simply need inexpensive foods and drinks with higher possibilities of blue skies, then take into account Valletta (Malta), Lisbon (Portugal), or Chania (Crete, Greece).
Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Sicily is all the time a good suggestion, and for those who’re visiting Europe in February, then town of Agrigento, already an archaeological surprise, must be firmly in your sights for the gorgeous almond tree blossoms that brighten town. In addition to admiring the flowers, there’s an official Pageant of Almond Blossom (the 2024 dates are to be confirmed), which incorporates performances, parades and puppet reveals. Later within the month, a grand feast to rejoice town’s patron saint can also be held.
However even when blossoms aren’t your factor, Agrigento is maybe the perfect cause to go to Sicily year-round. It’s laden with historical past, and the Valle dei Templi, an enormous archaeological and World Heritage Website consisting of historic Greek temples, will astound you as you stroll the ridge linking these historic wonders. And whereas the climate is way from assured right now of 12 months, Sicily’s southern place makes it one of many warmest locations to go to in Europe in February.
Stylish Copenhagen is among the finest European metropolis breaks in February, due to the Vinterjazz pageant (1st – twenty fifth February 2024) bringing one thing further to this already cultured metropolis. For over three weeks, a number of live shows may be appreciated in varied venues, starting from chilly open-air performances to spectacular up to date live performance halls. There are just a few free occasions, so that you’ll wish to scan the schedule to e book tickets prematurely.
After all, one other bonus of visiting after Christmas and earlier than the favored summer time season is that lodging costs are often decrease. On condition that the prices of travelling in Scandinavia can rapidly drain your pockets, saving some Danish Krone in your lodging is actually welcome.
Alongside the jazz live shows, you’ll be able to nonetheless cram loads right into a two day weekend go to to Copenhagen. Some 50-odd glorious museums provide loads of respite from any showers, with a number of, such because the standout SMK Artwork Museum, simply occupying half a day. If opulent halls and royal historical past are extra your factor, then town’s handful of palaces and castles are certain to impress, whereas iconic sights comparable to the colorful Seventeenth-century Nyhavn Canal and overrated Little Mermaid statues spherical off any go to.
Extremely underrated, many individuals look forward to finding a sterile and bureaucratic Belgian capital once they first go to Brussels, however in actuality, it’s something however. There’s glorious delicacies on practically each road nook with world gastronomy effectively represented; the nation’s penchant for first-class craft beers ensures that even on chilly winter nights, the bars are tempting; and town’s assortment of celebrated cultural establishments, galleries and museums can fill numerous wet days. Plus, who doesn’t love Belgian chocolate?
As an added bonus for visiting this European metropolis in February, you’ll even be handled to the Shiny Pageant of Lights, which runs from the fifteenth to 18th February 2024. Installations from native and worldwide artists convey unimaginable illuminations to among the metropolis’s most outstanding landmarks, giving a magical life to the in any other case chilly nights.
Heat European locations in February for winter solar
In case you’re questioning the place to go in Europe in February for solar, then my strategies of the perfect heat European locations in January — the Algarve, Malta and the Canary Islands — nonetheless apply. Nevertheless, February brings with it a number of extra glorious decisions, with big carnivals beneath (hopefully) blue skies being the principle cause I’ve chosen them. And given how even the warmest winter locations in Europe can’t assure infinite blue days, at the least for those who get unfortunate with some worse-than-expected climate, you’ll have these unforgettable cultural experiences to cherish as an alternative.
Andalucia (or Tenerife), Spain
Spain’s southern Andalucia area is one among mainland Europe’s warmest winter locations, with February temperatures within the metropolis of Seville typically reaching 17°C (62°F) within the daytime. Nonetheless, the odd bathe and chilly evenings are to be anticipated, however fortunately, by evening, you’ll be able to heat up with the area’s unimaginable space of carnival celebrations.
Irrespective of the place you determine to go to on this passionate area, you’ll possible discover a get together. A number of the most well-known festivals are the massive and sometimes humorous road get together of Cadiz Carnival (eighth – 18th of February 2024), which lasts effectively over every week, the equally grand Málaga Carnival (third – eleventh of February 2024), which dates again a whole lot of years, and the Carnaval Colombino in lesser-visited Huelva. It’s a good time to plan a highway journey via Andalucia to take in the area’s tradition of tapas, flamenco, and Islamic structure, as costs and crowds may be skinny alongside the coast, stopping on the events alongside the best way.
However if you wish to be part of the most important February festivities in Spain, you then’ll want to move to Tenerife, the most important of the Canary Islands, for the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Flamboyant in all methods, this fifteen-day occasion consumes the island’s capital, and it comes with an added bonus: the temperatures are even hotter down right here as a consequence of being nearer to the Sahara than Spain correct. This 12 months, occasions begin in January and finish on the 18th of February, 2024.
With an nearly year-round spring local weather, the autonomous Portuguese archipelago of Madeira is one among Europe’s warmest locations in February. Daytime temperatures round 16°C (61°F) are pretty frequent, although with the odd bathe right here and there and chilly evenings, an umbrella and jacket are nonetheless suggested. Whether or not your February goal is to try to catch some winter solar, swim in pure swimming pools shaped from lava, or hike unimaginable mountainous trails above the clouds, you’ll discover all of it right here.
Simply be warned, not like a lot of Europe’s finest seaside locations, the vast majority of the seashores on Madeira are pebbly or volcanic sands. If you’d like the extra typical golden sands in your doorstep, you then’ll must take the two-hour ferry to Porto Santo, Madeira’s little sister, the place a golden seaside stretches out so far as the attention can see. With little tourism on this secondary island within the offseason, the motels that do stay open year-round typically provide nice worth offers.
Nevertheless, as with lots of the different locations on this checklist, Madeira’s February spotlight is the island’s two-week-long carnival (seventh – 18th of February 2024). Normally beginning within the second week of the month, you’ll be able to count on loads of flower-themed costumes and vibrant dancers washed again with the native Madeira wine or poncha (a typical sugarcane rum drink) throughout the island, though the most important celebrations are in Funchal, the capital metropolis.
Technically positioned in Western Asia, the Mediterranean nation of Cyprus is nonetheless thought-about one of many warmest locations to go to in Europe in February. With a gentle winter local weather — temperatures are sometimes round 15°C (59°F) with a mixture of sunny and cloudy days in February — it’s a reasonably dependable wager for a little bit of winter solar if not a full seaside vacation.
Throughout this lovely island, you’ll discover some spectacular shorelines, seashores and bays. And never solely are the island’s golden sands and turquoise waters fairly, if barely chilly, however there are many points of interest to maintain you entertained if rain showers do seem. From the traditional archaeological points of interest of Pahos — such because the 4th-century BC Tombs of the Kings — to the border-defining metropolis of Nicosia’s museums, Cyprus’ finest points of interest are diversified and interesting.
February additionally has one other compelling cause to go to Cyprus: the carnival. Commencing across the center of the month, you’ll discover celebrations in loads of cities and villages. Two of the most important are in Paphos, which culminates in a grand parade (in 2024, this can truly be on the ninth of March), and Limassol (eighth of February – Seventeenth of March 2024), famend for its consuming, dancing, and all-round revelry.
Extra ‘offbeat’ locations to go in February in Europe
Ending on my favorite matter of visiting Europe’s most underrated cities and cities, listed below are a number of extra of my private suggestions of the place to go in Europe in February which might be typically criminally neglected.
Some of the attention-grabbing locations to go to in February in Europe is the small northern Portuguese village of Podence. For a lot of the 12 months, this offbeat spot not removed from the Spanish border flies beneath the radar. However in February, that each one adjustments when the Carnival of Podence (18th – twenty first February 2024) brings a flurry of exercise.
Nonetheless, though the occasion is UNESCO-listed as a consequence of its lengthy historical past and distinctive costumes, most guests to Europe in February haven’t even heard of it. For people who do wish to go to, advance planning is important, as whereas hundreds of individuals do descend on the village for the mid-February occasion, the tourism infrastructure merely isn’t there to accommodate such a crowd. Hiring a automobile and staying in close by bigger cities comparable to Braganca, Macedo de Cavaleiros, and even Vila Actual are, due to this fact, the perfect methods to organise your go to.
However what makes this small random carnival so particular? Firstly, it’s the story behind the celebration and distinctive costumes of this distant area. The roots of the carnival have been as a ceremony of passage, paganism, fertility, and celebrating the winter’s finish. Secondly, the performances by the ‘Caretos’, who’re wearing conventional vibrant streamer costumes and masks, are nearly hypnotizing.
Over the 4 days, bonfires are lit, the sound of the gaita (a bagpipe instrument of Northern Portugal and Spain’s Galicia area) rings via the mountain air, and torches topped by flames are whipped round by the dancing Caretos. It’s a complicated, vibrant and generally nearly satanic feeling occasion, however if you wish to expertise Europe’s hidden gems, that is one place to search out them.
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Like lots of the hottest locations to go to in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sarajevo’s tourism is commonly mentioned in conversations about struggle. And whereas the nation’s capital actually has tales of horror to convey, I imagine it’s vital we don’t simply go to cities due to their previous, but additionally to see and study from their blossoming future — fashionable Sarajevo is each an enchanting mixture of cultures, religions and traditions, but additionally a forward-looking metropolis of classy espresso homes, galleries and festivities.
What makes it top-of-the-line European cities to go to in February for an offbeat break is the Sarajevo Winter Pageant (the fortieth anniversary is that this 12 months, beginning on the seventh of February 2024), which has a packed programme from early February into mid-March. One of many annual cultural highlights in Bosnia & Herzegovina, you’ll discover artwork exhibitions, literary occasions, live shows, theatre and opera performances each inside the metropolis’s cultural establishments but additionally within the close by Olympic Mountains — the pageant was truly first launched as a part of their flip internet hosting the winter video games. For an perception into the tradition of a rustic typically skipped by travellers, this February occasion makes for a great time to go to.
Outdoors of the programmed occasions, you’ve bought one of the crucial engrossing cities in Europe to discover. Do take time to study concerning the nation’s latest and hard-to-process historical past on the Museum Of Crimes Towards Humanity And Genocide, and naturally, you’ll possible wish to study extra concerning the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which triggered the beginning of World Conflict One. However away from this haunted previous, delve into town’s medley of structure — there are superb mosques and Islamic-style touches inside Vijećnica (City Corridor) — and discover the ever-growing cafe tradition, take all of it in from the Yellow Fortress excessive above, and get misplaced within the bazaar of Baščaršija. You may even hit the slopes for a fraction of France’s costs within the resorts past town limits.
In case you’re questioning the place to go in Europe in February with out flying overseas, why not plan a UK staycation a bit nearer to residence and head to Durham in the course of the half-term holidays? Stacked with vital historic websites, comparable to Durham Fort and Cathedral — each of which have main Harry Potter vibes — alongside a good vitality and choice of inexpensive eating places due to the student-heavy inhabitants, it’s one among my favorite locations in England.
However the high two causes to go to Durham in February are for the annual Fireplace & Ice occasion (twenty third – twenty fourth February 2024), when town is adorned by interactive shows, frozen statues, and nightfall fires blazing for a few days. Secondly, the spectacular open-air Beamish Museum, which reveals bygone eras in reconstructed cities and homes with actors and real-life rattling trams, hosts a devoted February half-term programme for youths.
In case you’re up in Scotland and don’t fancy crossing the border, you would possibly wish to plan a go to to Aberdeen as an alternative for the SPECTRA Pageant of Mild, which illuminates the attractive cobbled streets and fashionable corners of this unsung Scottish metropolis.
Uncover extra of the perfect locations to go to in Europe by season and month: