Where is hot in February half term? The weather in the UK in February can be pretty grim. With temperatures of only four to six degrees Celcius, plenty of instances where the mercury dips into the minus numbers and an average of three days of snow it’s no surprise that many of you look to escape to hot destinations in February.
February half term falls at the end of a long winter, all the fun of Christmas is long forgotten and the school germs have taken their toll on our immune systems – I think we all crave a bit of sunshine, heat and vitamin D by the time half term rolls around. So where is hot in February half term?
Best Holiday Destinations In February (Short Haul)
Half term is usually only a week long so in order to maximise your time the best holiday destinations in February (short haul) to head for are mostly in Southern Europe.
Temperatures don’t quite reach the scorching heights of the summer months, but the warmest places in Europe in February are still pleasant enough, averaging between 17 and 20 degrees Celcius.
Perhaps not quite hot and sunny enough to play on the beach all day, but the best places to go in February offer so many more opportunities for exploring and family adventures than just beaches.
With flight times of only three to four hours or so it really is incredibly easy to find somewhere hot in February half term that will keep everyone satisfied.
Up until recently the Azores islands were considered to be a fairly off-the-beaten-track destination. Consisting of an archipelago of nine islands, lying 1500km west of mainland Portugal, Lonely Planet has described them as being “the Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic”, which should give you an idea of just how beautiful they are.
With only a four hour flight time from the UK and an average temperature of 17 degrees, these Portuguese islands might just be one of the best places to go in February.
There are plenty of activities for more adventurous families, such as scuba diving, canyoning and kayaking. And for those with younger kids there are lots of family friendly hiking trails amidst spectacular natural scenery such as Sete Cidades on the largest island of Sao Miguel, plus thermal springs and waterfalls to explore.
February is also the ideal time to see blue whales on a whale watching cruise.
The Canary Islands are renowned for having good weather all year round and with each of the seven islands having a distinctive landscape, there is enough diversity to keep even the most intrepid traveller happy.
The four most well-known islands of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura all boast a balmy 20 degrees Celcius in February and a flight time from the UK of only four and a half hours.
Children will love the water parks, theme parks, museums and beaches of the Canary Islands – in particular there are loads of things to do in Tenerife with kids.
It’s worth noting that Pico del Teide, Tenerife’s volcano, might be closed due to snowfall on the higher ground.
The end of February half term marks the start of Carnival, with events stretching over several weeks throughout all the islands. The biggest celebration is in Santa Cruz on Tenerife with the election of the Carnival Queen taking place and the Carnival Opening Parade. It’s second only in size to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil!
Check out Expedia Holidays to the Canary Islands here.
Madeira, another Portuguese island just a 4 hour flight from the UK, averages 17 degrees Celcius in February and is known as the ‘island of eternal spring’. With only 18mm of rainfall throughout the whole month Madeira is considerably drier than the UK, which averages 45.2mm of rainfall in February just in London.
There are plenty of outdoorsy things to do whilst the sun is shining: Monte Palace Tropical Gardens; Jardines Botanicos da Madeira; Quinta das Cruzes (the manor house and gardens of the man who first discovered Madeira); the sea cliffs and viewpoints of Cabo Girao; and the waterfalls and hiking trails of Rabacal to name but a few.
If you go get an unexpected wet weather day the ‘Grutas e Centro do Vulcanismo’ (spectacular lava caves and a 3D interactive volcano experience) is a must-do and for football fans there is the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum as well.
It seems that February is the time for carnivals in Europe! Malta Carnival kicks off on Friday 21st February 2020. It’s a cacophony of colour and celebration with energetic parades, gigantic floats, grotesque masks and extravagant costumes. Most of the events take place in Valletta and Nadur.
Malta is situated in the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and east of Tunisia, with an average high temperature of 16 degrees Celcius in February. It might be too chilly to swim in the sea but the beaches are beautiful, it’s crammed with history and kids will love Popeye Village (the old film set for the 1980 Popeye film which has now been turned in to a mini theme park) and the aquarium.
Just a 3 hour 15 minute flight from London, February is Malta’s low-season so flight prices should be lower and the crowds far quieter than in the busy summer months.
Southern Morocco, (Marrakesh in particular), is a warm 17 degrees in February – perfect for experiencing the history and culture of this captvating place.
Explore the labyrinthine Medina, the bustling souks, the fascinating museums, the stunning gardens and the impressive palaces to your hearts content and all only a 3 and a 1/2 hour flight time from the UK.
In even-numbered years Marrakesh holds the Marrakech Binnale – a festival highlighting local and international artists. There are numerous displays of architectural, digital, literary and artistic works on display in various venues throughout the city, making February half term in 2020 the ideal time to visit.
Or explore Essaouira a historic port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast!
Best Holiday Destinations In February (Long Haul)
If the warmest places in Europe in February still aren’t quite hot enough for you, you’ll need to look at flying long haul to find hot destinations in February.
Some of the best holiday destinations in February are either near to or south of the equator where the seasons flip and it’s summer instead of winter. Of course the further you fly the more you’ll need to take jet lag into account, but to find 30 degrees in February it’s worth it, right?
So where is hot in February half term (long haul)? Australia would be an obvious choice as one of the best places to go in February but that might be a little bit too far to travel for just a week. Fortunately there are tons of other exciting places that reach 30 degrees in February to tempt you.
Just under a 12 hour flight away is the spectacularly incomparable Rio de Janeiro which has an average temperature of 30 degrees in February and only a four hour time difference from the UK.
February is also the month that Rio Carnival explodes into action – prices are higher but it’s definitely worth it for the experience. Carnival starts towards the end of February when the King of the Carnival gets given the keys of the city. Only then does the party officially begin and a kaleidoscope of colour fills the streets in the form of the samba parade, street parties and carnival balls.
There’s more to Rio than Carnival though: Copacabana beach; Tijuca National Park; Christ the Redeemer; the Botanical Gardens; The Escaderia Selaron Mosaic Staircase; street art at Boulevard Olimpico; and spectacular sunsets at Ponta do Arpoador and Pao de Acucar (catch a cable car to the latter) will be more than enough to keep the whole family wide-eyed and open-mouthed for the duration of your trip. Check out Expedia Holidays to Brazil here.
If it’s a relaxing beach holiday that you’re looking for then one of the vibrant Caribbean islands might be your answer to escaping the grey gloom of the UK winter.
Averaging between 26 and 30 degrees in February and only an 8 to 9 hour flight away the Caribbean islands have got to be one of the best holiday destinations in February.
A big plus point is that there are so many islands to choose from. Some of the most well-known include Cuba, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica (here’s some inspiration for things to do in Kingston in Jamaica with kids).
St Lucia has a lot to offer kids with cocoa plantations, exotic waterfalls, ziplines and a vast array of water sports. Plus of course great family accommodation. This review of the Windjammer St Lucia shows all the fabulous kid friendly amenities.
Lesser-known islands such as Turks & Caicos, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands all have just as much to offer and despite their proximity they are all very different from each other. They do share certain things in common though: stunning white sand beaches; azure waters and lush green forests.
You could spend the week simply relaxing on the beach or you could choose to spend half term island hopping, surfing/snorkelling/scuba diving, learning about pirates and diving into the history and culture of this fascinating part of the world.
If luxury is what you’re after for your half term break then look no further than Dubai. It’s one of the best places to go in February with temperatures in the low 30’s. Summer in Dubai is unbearably hot with temperatures of up to 45 degrees and no-one even ventures outside.
It’s also incredibly family friendly so alongside the jaw-dropping opulence and splendour of Burj Al Arab (who’s lobby atrium is tall enough to fit the Statue of Liberty in it!), there is also IMG Worlds of Adventure (an indoor theme park crammed full of rides and attractions), the wow-factor of Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), street art to explore at Dubai Walls, free public beaches such as Kite Beach to play on and numerous water parks to cool off in.
More adventurous families might be curious to venture into the wilderness of the desert sands on a tour. All of this for only a 7 hour flight (read my post on whether to choose Emirates or Etihad) and 3 hour time difference from the UK.
Florida is a good choice at any time of the year, but in February it has it’s driest weather, humidity is far less than in the height of summer and temperatures are a pleasant 25 degrees Celcius on average.
It’s also much less crowded, so if you’re looking to visit Walt Disney World, Universal Studios or anything else Orlando has to offer, it could be one of the best places to go in February, particularly as prices could be 20-30% lower than in their high season.
If Disney isn’t your thing there is still plenty of fun to be had. Florida State Fair in Tampa takes place in February, as does the Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth. And if it’s beaches you want then Cocoa Beach on the east coast or Clearwater Beach on the west coast will be ideal for a relaxing family holiday in the sun.
Further north is Destin, a great location away from the busyness of Orlando. With Gulf of Mexico beaches, wild dolphins to spot on tours, there are plenty of things to do in Destin with kids.
Other hot destinations in February in Florida are further south in Miami and the Florida Keys – with a 9 and a half hour flight time and only 5 hour time difference from the UK it’s the perfect place for a half term US road trip. Check out Florida prices on Expedia here.
The Gambia on the west coast of Africa might not be your first thought for somewhere hot in February half term but it’s well worth investigating as an option.
It boasts 10 hours of daily sunshine, temperatures of 30-34 degrees in February and only a one hour time difference from the UK (no jet lag!).
It might be a slightly unconventional place to visit but the uncrowded beaches fringed with palm trees; the nature reserves packed with wildlife; the forest eco lodges; the tiny fishing villages full of brightly painted pirogues (traditional long, narrow fishing boats); the colourful markets; a chimpanzee rehabilitation project and breathtaking sunsets mean that The Gambia should definitely make it onto your list of where is hot in February half term.
Another alternative choice for hot destinations in February is India. Northern India has temperatures of around 24 degrees – perfect for exploring the bustling cities of New Delhi and Jaipur. It’s also ideal for visiting the exquisitely beautiful Taj Mahal.
Further south, Goa offers a balmy 28 degrees and a heady combination of sunshine, sand, spirituality and spices. For children there is the ever popular Splashdown Water Park, a cinema, a Science Centre & Planetarium and cooking classes to keep them entertained if they get bored of the beach.
Flights take about 9 and a half hours from the UK and the memories you’ll make, the people you’ll meet and the culture you’ll encounter is a once in a lifetime experience.
February is the driest month of the year in Mexico, making it an ideal hot holiday destination for half term. Depending on whereabouts you go, flights can take anywhere from 10 hours (east coast) to 15+ hours (west cost, no direct flights from the UK).
Mexico is jam packed full of wildlife experiences, incredible landscapes, beautiful beaches, fascinating history and culture – there really is something for everyone there.
Baja California on the west (Pacific) coast of Mexico has pleasant 23-24 degree temperatures and February is the best month for whale-watching as gray whales calve in the lagoons and bays around the peninsula.
Central Mexico (average 25 degrees in February) is home to a Unesco World Heritage Site – the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Millions of large Monarch butterflies migrate there from the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada (over 4500km away) to spend the winter and the entire forest and sky turns orange as they take flight on warm, sunny days. It’s a perfectly do-able day trip from Mexico City, as is fascinating archaeological Teotihuacán, site of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.
In eastern Mexico the Yucatan province is home to the awe-inspiring Maya temple of Chichen Itza which has to be seen to be believed. Meanwhile Cancun’s white powdered sand beaches, opportunities for snorkelling in the aquamarine waters and an underwater sculpture museum will tick all the boxes for a perfect fun family adventure, especially when temperatures reach 30 degrees in February. Expedia has some deals on Mexico here.
For stunning beaches, look no further than Cape Town in South Africa – you can find my recommendations for the best Cape Town beaches here. The surrounding scenery is just as incredible – imposing Table Mountain acts a backdrop to the city and the Cape Of Good Hope lies just a couple of hours drive away.
With average highs of 28 degrees, the sea at it’s warmest and the added bonus of no jet lag, South Africa is the perfect hot destination in February for a family-centred half term break.
It’s also a great option for going on safari. Kruger National Park has the ‘big five’ and February is a month where you’ll likely see baby giraffes and zebras in the wild.
- For family friendly recommendations for January see here.
- For family recommendations for October see here
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