6 Best Places to Go in February
Published on: August 16th, 2017
Last modified: November 2nd, 2023
February is a fantastic month to travel to some of the world’s most incredible destinations. It’s a month that can drop you straight into a winter wonderland in Finland or whisk you away for sunshine-filled adventures in Australia.
It’s also an inspirational month for travel. With half the globe in the depths of the winter, it feels exciting to plan a trip to a place with different weather, or capitalise on the joys of the climate in your own hemisphere.
If you want to escape to somewhere sunnier (or snowier), or dive into different cultural celebrations, take your family on a thrilling adventure or plan a romantic escape with your partner, this is a great time to do it. We’ve asked our travel designers to highlight the best places to go in February, drawing on their expertise and their own travel experience.
February in Brazil brings to mind one thing: Carnival. This legendary celebration lights up the streets of Rio de Janeiro for several days each year, complete with costumes, parades, parties, samba and live music. Just make sure to plan far in advance, as hotels book up fast. For contrast, head south of Rio to Ibitipoca, known for forests, wildlife and sustainability efforts such as reforestation, rewilding muriqui woolly spider monkeys, creating wildlife corridors and supporting local communities and culture.
We also recommend the northeastern city of Salvador in Bahia during February for distinctive Carnival celebrations. Bahia is the home of capoeira and Candomblé (an Afro-Brazilian religion) and there’s a wealth of other history and African influences to discover. Bahia also boasts the idyllic beach town of Trancoso.
Need to know: We suggest a suite at the Fasano Rio, right in front of the famous Ipanema beach which can be slightly quieter than the bustling Copacabana Beach in February.
February is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, which means wonderful weather in Australia – especially coastal cities like Sydney and Melbourne. December and New Year’s tend to get busy in the land down under, but it quiets down by February, so you’ll be free to enjoy this beautiful country – and, away from the cities, its best luxury lodges – without the crowds.
Keep in mind that February can be very hot in the Outback and the Top End and it’s also the rainy season in certain regions. Our travel designers recommend the island of Tasmania, which has its own culture, spectacular wilderness and endless opportunities for adventure.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand is a dream come true if you want to get back to nature, offering infinite expanses of untouched wilderness, mountains, volcanoes, vineyards, lakes and beaches. If you’re wondering where to go in February, it’s an ideal choice; the warm summer weather is perfect for exploring national parks and relaxing on secluded stretches of sand.
Our travel designers Ros and Charlie recently travelled to Taupo on New Zealand’s north island where they hiked through the surrounding forests – and thoroughly recommended the tranquillity of the experience. The exquisitely comfortable Huka Lodge is the perfect place to return to after a day of outdoor adventures.
Need to know: Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake at 616 km2 (238 sq mi) where you can cruise on private catamaran tours.
Botswana may be one of Africa’s best destinations to go to in February – but not for the reasons you might expect. This is the green season, which means you can spot lots of baby animals and birdlife. It’s also the best time to visit Botswana for photography, with beautiful light and colours. And since it’s the low season, there will be fewer crowds.
Our travel designer James highly recommends the opulent Xigera Camp and the intimate Wilderness Chitabe Lediba, both with privileged locations in the Okavango Delta. February is also the best time to go to the Kalahari, as the desert starts to get greener and animals flock to the area. Witnessing this dry landscape burst into brilliant life is truly remarkable.
Need to know: The Kalahari in February is filled with wildlife: look out for giraffes, brown hyenas, warthogs, wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards, lions, blue wildebeests and elands.
Bolivia sometimes gets overshadowed by its larger neighbours, but this country is bursting with its own natural beauty, a massive diversity of experiences from culture filled city visits to high altitude jeep explorations and tours to one of Latin America’s largest pre-columbian archeological sites at Tiwanaku. February is the rainy season in Bolivia so it’s a fantastic time of year to see the iconic ‘mirror effect’ in the Uyuni salt flats as the rains flood the salt pans.
For an unforgettable experience, take the Travesia journey across Bolivia with a private guide and local driver, stopping at four exceptional lodges along the way. And to fully experience the magic of Uyuni, you can stay in an Airstream Deluxe Camper in the middle of the salt flats – the perfect combination of adventure, exclusivity and comfort (not to mention total privacy).
Need to know: While visiting the Salt Flats to admire the ‘mirror effect’, be sure to visit Uyuni’s other top attractions too; there’s the eerie train graveyard, Isla del Pescado (an island covered in cacti and shaped like a fish), Colchani (a tiny village that produces a lot of salt) and a visit to the famous Salt Hotel is an experience not to be missed.
Many recommendations of where to travel in February focus on sunny locations south of the equator. But if you don’t mind cold weather, Finland has its own special appeal. Here winter looks straight out of a storybook, with pristine snowdrifts, sparkling ice and all the activities you can imagine, from snowmobiling and ice fishing to riding a sled pulled by dogs or even reindeer.
February is also a great time to catch the northern lights, especially in Finnish Lapland. Stay at Octola, an isolated oasis designed according to traditional Sámi practices. You can venture out into the snowy wilderness on skis, snowshoes or a snowmobile, then return to the cosy wooden chalet and dine on local delicacies. If you ask us, this is winter at its very best.
Need to know: Wrap up warm if you travel to Finland in February as average temperatures are a chilly -7°C (19°F) and there will be snow and ice everywhere, even in the cities.
Where to Stay
Fasano RioThe Fasano Rio is the most stylish hotel in Rio. Set on Ipanema beach front and designed by Phillipe Starck, this is a stunning property. The Fasano brings an air of understated cool and luxury that has been somewhat lacking in some of the other beach-front hotels in Rio. The rooms are immaculately decorated with a combination of period pieces, original artwork and chic-modern style. We recommend the Deluxe sea view category or above. Each has a private balcony with views out to sea and king size beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down pillows. For that extra touch of luxury and pampering, there is also butler service. The facilities include an excellent bar, perhaps the city’s best seafood restaurant and a stunning rooftop infinity pool.
Travesia: Atacama - Altiplano - UyuniTravesia is a journey across the desert, mountains and salt flats; from Chile to Bolivia, or in reverse. A private 4×4 vehicle with an expert Explora guide and local driver lead an immersive exploration of unique landscapes, thrilling activities with evenings spent in mountain homes and isolated lodges. The exceptional Explora situated on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama is a wonderfully placed lodge to explore the Atacama desert and all it has to offer from breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wildlife, exciting activities and enthralling history and culture. From the orange, pink and yellow desert of the Atacama to explorations across the border into Bolivia across the jaw-dropping Altiplano. This epic journey is designed to discover the staggering natural beauty of high altitudes with volcanoes, geysers, deserts, lagoons and finally – the world’s largest salt flats. Throughout the Travesia journey (which will be either 8 or 11 nights), along with scenic transfers between each lodge, there’s an array of activities available to suit every kind of traveller. Each activity, whether adventurous or reflective, will dive deep into local nature, geography, history and local myth and legend. There are four lodges stretched across the Travesia route, for weary travellers to rest and restore: Explora in Chile and Chituca, Ramaditas and Lodge Uyuni, all in Bolivia. Each property is designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy and spaciousness of the surrounding landscapes, ensuring deep rest after a long day of exploration. The architecture of each lodge highlights the natural beauty with a low environmental impact approach to the construction and daily operations.
Huka LodgeSince 1924, Huka Lodge has maintained the spirit of generous hospitality as was espoused by its charming founder, Irishman Alan Pye. Originally harbouring a reputation primarily as a trout fishing paradise, it is now known as an exceptional luxury retreat, and regarded among the best in the world. The lodge sits upon the banks of the exceedingly picturesque Waikato River, its rushing waters on the literal doorsteps of 20 spacious junior suites. The Owner’s Cottage enjoys a muted woodland palette and is upmarket and refined, white wooden beams arching over comfortable living spaces which are warm and rustic. Constructed with strong cedar, heart timbers, stone and brick, The Alan Pye Cottage is a nod to early 20th-century architecture with a reinterpretation of contemporary design. The kitchen at Huka Lodge upholds a tradition of generous cuisine, changing daily to accommodate all palates and preferences. Raw honey is collected from the numerous bee hives from the local breeding programme on the property, ideal for deserts as it’s not too sweet. Outside the lodge, activities abound. Enjoy anything from white water rafting to the lodge’s gorgeous namesake of nearby Huka Falls. Traverse the horse riding trails or similarly embark along hiking trails through this volcanic region.
Bamurru PlainsA luxury bush camp on the vast floodplains of the Northern Territory, Bamurra Plains is a wonderful way to experience this unique and beautiful landscape. Set within 300km2 of private land to the west of Kakudu National Park, guests will enjoy access to miles of undisturbed coastal floodplains, savannah woodland and paperbark swamps. Reconnecting with nature needn’t mean going back to basics, and ten safari-style bungalows ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay. Each bungalow overlooks the floodplains and features mesh walls so you can hear, see and almost touch the wildlife and wilderness that surrounds you. Décor reflects the region’s indigenous, hunting and pastoral history with buffalo horns, explorer maps, Aboriginal art and old photographs adorning the walls. Each bungalow comes with a species list so you can identify the animals that wander past. The largest Kingfisher suite features a generous living space and enough room for extra beds, making it a great option for adventurous families. With no internet access, TV or mobile signal, switching off has never been easier and you’ll soon find yourself tuning in to the sounds of the bush as you drift off to sleep. Dining at Bamurru Plains is a real treat, with locally sourced produce used to create a menu that is authentic yet contemporary. Meals are served in the wildlife observation deck and there is a self-service bar which guests are welcome to use. In this sanctuary of flora and fauna lives a vast, thriving eco system which includes many species of bird hiding in the swamps and savannah woodlands. Enjoy the heights amongst the tree tops when you settle down to an evening in The Hide while those who love to fish are encouraged to embark on a river fishing or airboat fishing excursion.
OctolaThe team at Octola pride themselves on welcoming you into a luxurious home-from-home, where you have the space to unwind and feel truly in touch with nature. This secluded haven is far removed from the crowds, but still affords you the best in comfort and personalised service. Octola’s has been inspired by the style of Lapp and Sámi tradition. Even the lodge’s shape has been derived from the traditional Lapp ‘laavu’ buildings, that in the past used to provide shelter for the people living the nomadic lifestyle. Settling into a wooden chalet is truly the essence of Lapland, offers you an authentic Arctic experience. Enjoy total privacy surrounded by the wilderness and spend your days enjoying some of the various outdoor Arctic activities on offer in the area. Octola’s team of wilderness guides, chef and butler will all ensure you have a memorable stay. Take a seat in the dining room and enjoy a sumptuous menu of Nordic cuisine featuring the freshest regional produce. With 10 bedrooms available, the retreat can either be booked out for exclusive use, or you can book a wing.
Wilderness Chitabe CampSister camp to the Wilderness Chitabe Lediba, these eight traditional Meru tents in the Chitabe Concession occupy an island in the south-east of the Delta, providing very luxurious accommodation with a reassuring amount of space. Suspended on stilted wooden decks amongst the riverine trees of the Chitabe concession, each tent features twin or double beds, en-suite facilities and both indoor and outdoor showers. With public spaces, such as the bar and lounge, built on raised decks, the views across the Okavango floodplain are brilliant to wake up to. With the area at large renowned for its broad range of habitats and substantial biodiversity, both night and day game drives are the activity of choice, and where bird watching also excellent. As your game drives take place in the same area as the Wilderness Chitabe Lediba, the viewing experience is identical.