February is one of my absolute favorite months to travel, because it provides perfect weather at some of my favorite destinations, but it also offers the cost benefits of low season in others. As Mark Twain puts it so aptly, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” What are you waiting for? 😉
Diving in the Maldives
The Maldives is a diver’s paradise, with 26 sand atolls creating the perfect conditions for amazing coral and sea life and the surrounding ocean providing the ideal haunt for large pelagic species such as whale sharks, manta and eagle rays, and hammerhead sharks. February is absolutely stunning in the Maldives. There are typically clear, sunny blue skies and light balmy breezes. Every. Single. Day. The ocean there is to die for with incredible visibility up to 25 meters and waters so warm you can dive in a swimsuit. I highly recommend booking a liveaboard to make the most of your time, but if you are looking for something a bit more relaxing, the Maldives boast some of the most exclusive, luxury destinations in the world.
Carnevale in Venice
I LOVE Venice, but every time I visit, I can’t help but feel saddened by its over-flooded canals, faded pastel dilapidated facade, and streets that are more crowded with tourists than locals. However, during Carnevale, Venice comes alive again for the party with ladies in fanciful costumes, Arlecchinos and Pulcinellas around every corner, and more confetti than you can shake a broom at. There are opulent masquerade balls, gambling events, costume contests, art and cinema displays, and fun interactive events in all the major squares—and all this is in addition to the beautiful and romantic vistas Venice has to offer year-round. In 2015, Carnevale is happening around February 17, with events taking place starting Jan 31 and culminating on February 17. Click here for a list of events.
Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan
Join two million guests on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, to witness the awe inspiring sight of 300 ice and snow sculptures filling an entire city. In the Sapporo Snow Festival, snow sculptors from all over the globe flock to Sapporo to make their mark on 32,500 tons of snow in the international snow sculpture competition. There are also snow events for the kids, such as tobogganing and snow ball fights, and international snowboard stars come to compete in the big air competition that amazingly takes place in the middle of a city block. After spending the day braving subzero temperatures, you can indulge in a bowl of steaming ramen at Sapporo’s Ramen Alley and then warm up with a soak at one of Sapporo’s many onsens. The 2015 Snow Festival will be held from February 5 through February 11, but book accommodation as soon as possible, because lodging fills up fast.
Skiing the Zugspitze in Germany
February snow makes skiing the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze, the epic experience that it should be. Spend the day making fresh tracks on three glaciers 2,962 meters above sea level on 20 kms of pistes. Then refuel on fresh, German mountain food and strudel while enjoying spectacular panoramic views. Plus, it’s not bad having all of Germany at your feet! For an off-day, take in the sights at the nearby Neuschwanstein and Hohenswangu Castles or take a day trip through quaint Austrian border towns.
The Beaches of Western Thailand
February brings superb weather and strong sun rays to Western Thailand’s gorgeous beaches. While much of Western Thailand is tainted by over commercialization and pollution, there are some places such as Ko Tarutao National Marine Park, Nai Thon Beach, and Hat Farang that still offer natural beauty that is unspoiled by longtail exhaust and hoards of tourists. For how to plan a trip to Thailand, click here.
Europe is an amazing destination in February, because it’s off season so everything is cheaper. And let’s be honest—everything feels better when it’s being enjoyed at a discount. While most of Europe is freezing and dreary, the weather in Spain is actually quite lovely—sunny and clear with temps in the mid 60s. There are oranges growing in the streets, accordion players serenading you in the squares, and plenty of paella restaurants to plunder. Plus, the crowds are at an annual low, giving you free rein to enjoy all the incredible food, music, history, and culture that Spain has to offer without having to share it with a mob of people.
What’s your favorite February destination? 🙂