The new year is now well underway and poor old February is at risk of getting overlooked as people rush to book up the favourable April to September peak travel window. But you’d be remiss to underestimate this 28-day delight (excluding leap years, of course), because while February may be the shortest month in the year, it packs some of the biggest adventures.
Climb Africa’s highest peak in prime climes, dance till dawn at carnivals across the globe and dive beneath azure waters in the Philippines to glide over coral reefs in the company of giants.
February is a great time of year to encounter whale sharks in the Philippines © Steve Woods Photography / Getty Images
Where are the best places to visit in February for wildlife and nature?
February is an excellent month to experience some of the world’s lesser-known animal encounters and natural wonders. In India, huge sheets of ice transform the landscape into a wild, wintry wonderland, providing a magical backdrop for challenging treks and the perfect setting to spot the region’s elusive snow leopards. Enjoy top-drawer skiing in Hokkaidō, but swap the traditional après-ski scene for a chance to see the balletic courtship dance of the 5ft-tall red-crowned crane.
If you’re looking to shake off the cold, however, head to Mexico to see millions of monarch butterflies take flight in the Michoacán Province’s Oyamel fir forests or journey to the Philippines for the chance to snorkel alongside whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish.
Inspired to have your own epic encounter? Discover more about these animal adventures.
A vineyard overlooking Lake Wanaka on New Zealand's South Island © Karel Cerny / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for food and drink?
Post-festive season, you may be feeling as though you’ve had one mince pie too many, but now is not the time to start watching your waistline – these foodie escapes will have you dreaming about your next dinner and reaching for your passport.
Explore Singapore's edible offerings at the city's vibrant hawker centres and enjoy sightseeing in cool, dry conditions. Mendoza, Argentina and New Zealand’s South Island entice travellers with world-beating wineries amongst incredible landscapes. But if a detox is truly what’s in order, Daylesford, Australia abounds with artisan eateries and rejuvenating mineral water springs.
Find out more about getting your foodie fix this February.
A climber gazes up at Kibo, one of Kilimanjaro's three volcanic peaks © Juergen_Wallstabe / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for adventure?
Whether under the ocean or atop mighty peaks, adventure can be found in every corner of the globe come February. To continue your wintry kicks, head to Lapland for dog-sledding and nights spent under the dazzling Aurora Borealis; or ski Wyoming’s snowy slopes before warming chilly fingers and toes around the region’s geothermal geysers and hot springs.
An incredible underwater world is waiting to be explored in Honduras that won’t leave you feeling the New Year’s pinch – Honduras is slated as one of the cheapest places to learn to dive. But for the ultimate high, head for Africa’s brooding beacon and climb Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
Start your year with an action-packed escape.
Water levels remain high in Tonle Sap Lake in February, making it an ideal time to explore the colourful floating villages © Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock
Where are the best places to visit in February for culture?
Who says the party season is over? February brings with it a wave of festivities as Brazil, Haiti and Venice all celebrate Carnival. So dig out those sequins, feathers and dancing shoes and prepare to party till dawn.
Those looking for a slightly slower pace at this time needn’t worry. Before the costumes come out and masked figures takeover the canals and backstreets, Venice rests in the proverbial eye of the storm, leaving you the run of the town in the absence of other tourists. Cambodia, too, sits in a sweet spot of dry skies and temperate days – ideal conditions for exploring the country's golden beaches, ancient ruins and floating villages.