February is the time that we wave goodbye to winter, and say hello to Valentine’s Day! Your wallet may still be recovering from the festive burn but fear not! Travellers this month will still be able to bag themselves a real bargain as it falls outside peak holiday season. So whether you want to head abroad to catch the last of the winter sun or plan a romantic trip away in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s our pick of the most fabulous places to visit this February…
If you’re likely to mourn the passing of the party season, don’t let it stop! Head to the Big Easy in late February to experience the raucous revelry of Mardi Gras. New Orleans is one of the most famous places in the world to celebrate this event – expect a fortnight of carnival action with colourful floats, parades and plenty of toe-tapping tunes provided by the talented musicians this city is renowned for. Here, you can explore the beautiful French Quarter by day and dance to world-class jazz, blues and soul by night before tucking into hearty local dishes like gumbo and jambalaya that reflect the city’s French, Creole and Cajun heritage.
If you’d prefer to stay a little closer to home, head to Europe for a visit to Venice where yet more carnival action takes place in and amongst the romantic waterways of this famous floating city. The temperatures are far from balmy at this time of year with highs of just 8C but we believe the wreaths of mist and brisk air showcase Venice at its best. During carnival, reality is suspended as the crowds of revellers step back in time, to a masquerade world filled with courtesans and noblemen. People-watch in the streets, take a romantic ride in a gondola and treat yourself to tempting pastries in this lead-up to Lent.
If getting away from the crowds is more of a priority, consider tranquil Kerala, India’s peaceful southern state. February marks the tail end of peak season when the tourist groups dwindle yet the rains still stay clear. Book yourself a stay on a gently meandering houseboat as you discover the lazy side to life in the backwaters of this enchanting state where coconuts, palm trees and delectable thalis will become part of your day-to-day life. Experience the charm of the Keralan people and then head to the low-key beaches of Varkala for yet another dose of downtime.
Portugal’s quirky second city makes for an excellent visit at any time of year but, despite the cooler climes, February is particularly appealing as it plays host to one of the biggest film festivals in Europe. Fantasporto is a celebration of horror and fantasy films attracting tens of thousands of movie fans from all over the world keen to indulge their passion. As well as a world-class line-up of film-based entertainment, Porto is a place where medieval charm and contemporary attractions blend to perfection. Explore the cobbled streets of downtown Porto; discover the picturesque sights of the Ribeira; take a ride on a shuddering tram; and indulge in plenty of wine and port in between movies.
If the cosmopolitan charms of Melbourne appeal, February is one of the best months to make the most of them. The weather is at its best with average daily temperatures of 21C, ideal for enjoying the city’s vibrant rooftop bars, open-air swimming pools and leafy green parks. Foodies will love Melbourne’s famous café and street food scene whilst shopaholics will embrace the thrift stores and independent boutiques that characterise the city. Plus, if you decide you want to get out of town for a day or two, you have the beautiful beaches of Mornington Peninsula, the lush Dandenong Ranges, and the Daylesford hot springs just a short drive away.
We hope you’re feeling suitably inspired by our round-up of February destinations – just don’t forget to book the right travel insurance for your trip. Medical Travel Compared offers a free online comparison tool that can help you pinpoint the best plans for your money. Get your quote today!