UPDATED: This article was originally published in January 2018
You’ve decided you want to travel more this year (good on you), but you’re struggling to choose your next destination. Surely there’s an easier way than trawling through endless travel mags and guidebooks for the answers, right? That’s where our ultimate month-by-month travel guide comes in: your easily digestible list of places to visit, things to experience, and amazing weather to chase around the world.
Now, let’s take a closer look at February. As we finally bid goodbye to those January blues, you might start thinking about a weekend, week or couple of weeks away. Whether you’re after Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches, music and dancing at Rio Carnival, whale spotting along the coast of Mexico, or discovering the origins of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Here’s your guide for where to travel in February.
Remaining relatively untouched, even by the most seasoned of travellers, Oman still doesn’t top as many bucket lists as it should. Not as concerned with opulence as its closest neighbours, it boasts an incredibly rich history instead, and is chock-full of culture, out-of-this-world scenery and curious locals. But when to go? Omani winter ends in February, and brings an ideal sightseeing climate with it.
Explore everything from ancient Portuguese forts, perched like proud sandcastles, to elaborately decorated mosques, with their sky-touching minarets. And if you can’t resist a local market, prepare for a real assault on the senses in Muttrah, as you stroll around the fishing harbour and find your way into the smoky souq.
So much more than blue skies and white-sand beaches, this teardrop isle has a lot to offer travellers. Colonised by the English, Dutch and Portuguese, Sri Lanka is an intriguing melting pot of different cultural influences. And the further forward it moves in its history, the more its own identity starts to shine through.
With the monsoon season behind us, February is a great time to cycle amongst the ruins of ancient Anuradhapura. Pay a visit to the sacred old Bo Tree, which harks back to the spiritual beginnings of Buddhism. Clamber to the top of Sigiriya, a rock fortress originally guarded by a huge stone lion. Hike through the picturesque tea plantations, and get a window into local Tamil life in Haputale.
Looking for a slice of authentic Asia? The Philippines are the answer. This stunning archipelago, made up of close to 7,000 islands, are slap-bang in the middle of the dry season in February (and you’ll have missed the January crowds too). Whether you love trekking, snorkelling or sightseeing – there’s something for everyone here!
Experience the overwhelming chaos of the capital, Manila, with its museums, art galleries and Spanish colonial architecture. Unwind with a dip or kayak in the turquoise lagoons that pepper Palawan. Climb to the summit of Mount Pinatubo, a volcano with an emerald-coloured lake in its crater, and witness the unique hanging coffins in Echo Valley, a fascinating local tradition like no other.
Colourful and vivacious, there’s no disputing Brazil and its people know how to live life to the fullest, and nothing confirms that more than Rio Carnival. Thought to be the biggest on the planet, attracting millions of revellers every year, it’s a whirlwind of sequins, floats and a lotta, lotta of fun. As you’re in Brazil anyway, you might as well see what else this South American giant has going for it.
After visiting Sugarloaf Mountain and Cristo Redentor. Why not travel to Paraty? Meander down its cobbled streets, taking in the colonial architecture that makes it one of the Costa Verde’s most charming towns. Or catch the ferry to Ilha Grande and spend a day or two relaxing in sun, swimming and sailing your way around the island.
Not only is Singapore at its least rainy, least humid and most sunny in February, than at any other time of the year, but it also marks the celebration of Chinese (Lunar) New Year. Marina Bay becomes filled with stilt-walkers and lion dancers, and the streets are lined with brightly coloured paper lanterns.
Whilst still being a fairly new nation, this hasn’t stopped Singapore establishing itself as a cultural icon that travellers flock to. Learn how this city-state came to be in the mind-blowing Singapore History Gallery at the national museum. Go for a treetop walk through Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Don’t forget to dig into a traditional Indian thali or indulge in a spot of late night shopping at the 24-hour Mustafa Centre in Little India too.
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If it’s a bit of well-deserved R&R (rest and relaxation) you’re after, head for the sun, sea and sands of paradisiacal Zanzibar. In February the days are warm, and the water is at its clearest, making it the perfect spot for keen snorkelers and divers. Unearth pristine coral reefs that are home to hawksbill turtles, rays, parrotfish, cuttlefish and more. You may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins too.
Diving not your thing? Not a problem, there’s plenty more to explore on this Tanzanian archipelago. Take a trip to the heady Spice Islands, visiting the clove farms that reside here. Hike through the Ngezi Rainforest in search of vervet monkeys, or take a trip to the secluded village of Mkia Ya Ngombe for a glimpse of local life.
There’s no denying Mexico is massive! Its size means temperatures and weather vary across the country throughout the year, making it tricky to pinpoint the best time to travel. Whilst February marks the middle of winter here, it’s still mild and (more importantly) dry – perfect for taking in the sights and enjoying time on the beach.
Aside from all the usual amazing highlights i.e. uncovering quaint San Cristobal de las Casas, heading to Mexico City’s museums and discovering its many Mayan ruins. February also offers the chance to witness two incredible wild events. The monarch butterfly migration as they make the journey to Canada, and the arrival of humpback, blue and grey whales for breeding off Mexico’s Pacific coast.
From the bustling streets of Yangon, to the serenity of Inle Lake – it’s easy to see why diverse Myanmar is fast becoming one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations. And as it happens, February has sightseeing-friendly temperatures and lower chances of monsoon-style downpours too.
Not sure what this mysterious country has to offer? Allow us to give you a taster… Get ready to be blown away by sunsets over the temple-studded plains of Bagan and be wowed by the beauty of the golden Shwedagon Paya. Meet Buddhist monks on top of Mandalay Hill, stroll through vibrant green rice paddies in Shan State, sample deliciously spicy local cuisine and boat to the floating markets (to name but a few of Myanmar’s delights).