The Best Places To Visit In February - Sunshine hours are increasing and festival season is in full swing across Europe during this exciting month. Deciding where to go in Europe in February is half the fun, with world-famous carnivals, sensational ski slopes and stunning winter scenery still gracing charming cities. When it comes to cheap February holidays, it can be one of the most budget-friendly times to visit the continent.
Everything from airfares to hotel rates and entrance fees attract discounts to coincide with the quiet period after the busy holiday season in many major cities. While that's great news for your wallet, it also means more crowd-free moments to yourself with some of the world's most incredible destinations. Best of all, you can get more than a glimpse of local life beyond the tourist side.
The Best Places To Visit In February
Halloween fever begins to sweep some of the best places to visit in Europe in February, which precedes the season of Lent each year. Each celebration is influenced by the local flavor depending on where you are, with colorful public parades and flaming street parties. Ski resorts are often at their best when covered in snow during the month and you definitely won't miss the magical scenery on the white-clad roads.
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For many ski enthusiasts around the world, a trip to Europe in February just translates to Zermatt. With the sun high in the sky, the best of both worlds collide through snow cover and the ability to sit out on picturesque terraces after a day of action. Set against the backdrop of the mighty Matterhorn and literally surrounded by peaks, the car-free town is a Swiss chocolate dream with church bells ringing in the wind and quaint chalets lining the narrow streets.
There are 360km of pistes to explore, plus a lift that will take you skiing in Saronia, Italy. At an altitude of around 3883 meters, it is also home to Switzerland's highest ski area, the Matterhorn Ski Paradise.
Little ones don't miss out on the fun with the mascot, the woolly little black-nosed sheep, popping into town and on the slopes just for them. When hunger strikes, prepare for a decisive stroke, everything from traditional mountain restaurants to gourmet Michelin restaurants await your attention.
Venice's Carnival is perhaps the most famous in Europe, with flamboyant masquerade masks available in shops all year round to symbolize the floating city. It's a bucket list event for people all over the world, so it's not one of the cheapest vacation spots in February, but it's one of the most exciting! With masquerade balls, candlelit canals, food displays and an endless parade of elaborate costumes, there's nothing quite like it.
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For a romantic winter trip to Europe on Valentine's Day, it's hard to beat gondola rides along the Grand Canal, walking the maze of mysterious streets and sipping prosecco in St. Mark's Square. But those visiting Venice with children will find plenty to keep their little ones entertained, too.
It's no doubt cold this time of year, but there's a wonderful world of indoor art and culture to explore, including opera season at the Galleria del Accademia and La Fenice.
Tucked away in the Austrian Alps and dressed in winter white, Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. Pastel colors, wooden houses, glistening snow and a glassy lake rest against the mountain landscape, creating a true fairytale picture. Indeed, it is enough to settle down in a variety of cozy cafes, pour steaming cups of specialty coffee and marvel at the fantastic scenery just outside the window.
If you feel the need to move, stand on the 360-meter-high Skywalk and take in the views from above. Next, immerse yourself in a sauna or hot tub, which you're likely to find at your hotel or wellness spa.
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Visit Altaussee, the oldest salt mine in the world, and visit the World Heritage Museum for an interactive tour through time. Of course, if you want to ski, snowboard or sled, winter sports are right on your doorstep.
Madrid is one of the best places to visit in Europe in February for low-season shopping, sightseeing and museums. That doesn't mean there isn't fun to be had in the city that never sleeps.
Carnival takes place over five days of the month, with theater troupes in the Plaza de la Villa, masked balls and the symbolic burial of sardines at the end of the party. This tradition is also responsible for the chocolate sardines that serve as the main Halloween treat for the taste buds.
If you like to hit the pavements, the average daytime temperature of around 12°C keeps you fresh enough to shop on the famous Gran Via and get lost in the charming cobbled streets.
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Hop in and out of world-class museums unheard of by the crowds, including Spain's most famous Museo del Prado. When temperatures drop at night, it's the perfect time to tuck into tapas with a black cava baja or follow your nose to hot chours.
Papier-maché figures, flower-filled floats and Mardi Gras characterize the Nice Carnival, one of the oldest festivals in the world. The 13th century saw the first pagan festival, which now heralds the arrival of spring and makes the city one of the best holiday destinations in February.
The Battle of the Flowers is undoubtedly a highlight, where thousands of freshly cut flowers are thrown from floats to rain down on the magical crowd. The final night sees the Carnival King puppet burst into flames, along with spectacular fireworks over the Baie des Anges.
Although it's a little too cool for a dip, it's usually sunny with mild temperatures for walking the streets of the Old Town. Visit Castle Hill for panoramic views, the baroque cathedral of St. Reparta and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art for works by Andy Warhol and Yves Klein.
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Cooler weather is the best time to walk along the Riviera, with coastal paths leading to medieval towns and seaside restaurants.
If you're looking for a glitzy dose of luxury with your snow, St. Moritz is one of the best places to ski in February. Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, this fairytale ski resort offers an abundance of natural beauty. However, it is also decked out for true enjoyment with boutiques, galleries, museums, spas, nightclubs and grand hotels. Festivities during February include white surf and turf as well as ice cricket with the world champions.
Amidst all the glitz and glamour, it can be hard to remember to pick up your skis and get out on the snow. But if you do, the home of two Winter Olympics boasts 350km of pistes, the steepest start slope in Switzerland, one of the world's oldest natural ice rinks and 150km of winter hiking trails. are
Ice skate on the ice rink at Eisarena Ludains or watch Bavarian curling on certain days of the week. After all that, head out for mulled wine at a chic bar and keep your eyes peeled for celebrities.
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Germany offers some of the best winter holidays in Europe, and the carnival season here really kicks off on November 11 at 11:11 a.m., with the costumed community out in force. Once February rolls around, Cologne is where the air fills with festive spirit.
Costumes are more whimsical than elaborate, so dress up however you like. The floats often feature caricatures of German celebrities and politicians, and there's plenty of beer drinking, donut eating and cheering on the streets.
If you're not dressed as a clown, warm up by climbing the 509 steps to the top of Cologne Cathedral. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the second tallest building in the city and offers beautiful views.
If you're visiting Cologne with kids, you'll have the perfect excuse to visit the Cologne Chocolate Museum and enjoy a chocolate grand café after the tour. To shop for quirky treasures, explore the trendy boutiques in the Belgian Quarter or the designer shops on Schildergasse.
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For ice caves, glacier hiking and the wonders of the Northern Lights, Iceland is among the best European countries to visit in February. This is definitely a trip for those who really love winter activities in Iceland, as the cold temperatures make them possible. However, with views straight out of the snow fairies, it's worth getting up in plenty of warm clothes.
The annual Winter Lights Festival kicks off the month in Reykjavík, with incredible light installations lighting up the city. Pool Night allows visitors to try out some of the city's thermal pools for free, and Museum Night sees lots of theatre, dance, live music and lectures.
Many of Iceland's top attractions are at their dramatic best at this time and the chances of seeing the Northern Lights increase. Visit an ice cave in the naturally formed tunnels or try glacier hiking.
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