From Singapore to Tenerife: Best holiday hotspots for February 2020

Jan 7, 2020

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February is a month where a little travel can go a long way. While frosty rain pelts the U.K., jet off to Tenerife’s sunshine beaches, plan a Valentine’s Day getaway to Italy’s most romantic town or sneak away for a snowy holiday in the winter wonderlands of Swedish Lapland.

The month is also an ideal time to travel since most people have already finished their Christmas holidays and it’s not quite half-term time, there’s fewer crowds and also better rates on airfare and hotels. Expect to find off-peak award availability, too.

So, if you’re planning some late winter travel, here’s the best holiday hotspots to visit travelling from the U.K. in February 2020.

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Singapore

There are two things visitors must do when visiting Singapore for the first time: visit the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for epic views of the Southeast Asian city and have a Singapore Sling cocktail at the historic Raffles Hotel. And February is an excellent time to do both.

Visiting the small, island city-state in February is ideal, as there’s plenty of sunshine and little haze and rainfall, meaning those views atop the Marina Bay Sands will be extra impressive. Plus, the Raffles Hotel has recently re-opened after a two-year renovation. If you plan to go a step beyond enjoying a cocktail or two at the Long Bar and actually stay at the emblematic hotel, all guests now have their very own butler service.

Once you’ve gotten the typical tourist attractions out of the way, Singapore also has its own tropical wetlands reserve, Sungei Buloh. Walk and hike through canopy-covered or coastal trails admiring over 150 species of migratory birds.

Read more: 7 of the best winter sun escapes from the U.K.

Sungai Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore. Photo by Credit:Calvin Chan Wai Meng/Getty
Sungai Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore. (Photo by Calvin Chan Wai Meng/Getty Images)

For a more cultural experience, visit the Katong neighbourhood in the eastern part of the Central Region to wander past Peranakan colonial villas and shophouses. This quaint area is full of vintage cafes, historic restaurants and plenty of shopping. Make sure to stop and sample the beloved Peranakan spicy noodle soup laksa, complete with coconut milk and prawns.

If you want to enjoy the perfect weather, it’s best to skip Singapore’s city beaches and ferry over to the nearby islands of Batam and Bintan (points for also getting to visit Indonesia on this trip, as both of these islands are part of Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago).

Verona, Italy

Verona is already known as one of the most romantic destinations in Europe. But going around Valentine’s Day is even more loved up thanks to the Verona in Love Festival.

But let’s backtrack. “Fair Verona” is famous for romance because it’s where Romeo and Juliet took place. You can even visit the balcony where Romeo professed his love to Juliet. For more romance, the towering Arena is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, dating back to the first century and still showing opera, theatre and musical performances.

The nearby Castelvecchio Museum and bridge are also worth a visit, both known for their red brick medieval design. A peaceful walk through the manicured Giardino Giusti (slightly outside the city centre), to the sound of church bells and the fresh scent of flowers, is also particularly romance-inspiring.

Verona in Love. Photo by Tony Anna Mingardi/Awakening/Getty
The Verona in Love Festival from above. (Photo by Tony Anna Mingardi/Awakening/Getty)

If this still isn’t enough, the aforementioned Verona in Love Festival takes place in February, with events like a special market laid out in the shape of a heart in Piazza dei Signori, special romance-inspired guided tours of the city and plenty of swoony decorations like the famous Lamberti Tower lit up in red. Couples can also reserve special themed dinners and wine tastings, enjoy live performances and reduced museum entry, participate in treasure hunts and bask in all the romantic cheer this city in love offers.

The festival culminates in the Giulietta & Romeo half marathon on 16 Feb 2020 — it’s safe to say that this is probably the most romantic group run you may ever do.

Tenerife, Spain

Though the Canary Islands are always a good idea for a sunny winter escape, a summer holiday or basically any holiday at all, Tenerife is one of the best spots to hit in February thanks to its epic Carnival celebration.

While Venice also has a special Carnival celebration, the chilly weather and rain can put a literal dampener on things. And although Brazil has arguably the most legendary Carnival, jetting off to the far-flung festival in South America can be costly and exhausting. The solution: Tenerife! Not only is Tenerife the largest of the Canary Islands, it also has one of the largest Carnival celebrations in Europe.

The colourful cultural event is celebrated in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, from 19 February to 1 March 2020, and beyond the elaborate costumes and parades, expect nightly street parties, galas, competition, concerts, events for kids and more.

Playa BeLichtwolke
Playa de Benijo in Tenerife. (Photo by Lichtwolke/Getty)

For visitors preferring rest and relaxation instead of wild nights of partying, the Canary Islands Music Festival features soloists, conductors and groups from around the world (until 9 February 2020). Couples visiting the island for Valentine’s Day should skip the tacky all-inclusive scene at Playa de las Americas and instead head to the rugged black sand beach of Playa de Benijo and Anaga Natural Park.

Read more: From Surrey to Thailand: The best hotels to do Dry January

Families can enjoy El Médano beach, which has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby and a section of more shallow water ideal for kids.

Lapland, Sweden

A snowy winter escape can often be just as rejuvenating as a summer one, especially when it comes to the Sweden’s Lapland, in the northernmost part of Sweden. February is a great time to head to Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park, known as one of the best spots in the world to see the northern lights.

The Aurora Borealis captured in a clearing in a Swedish coniferous forest.
The northern lights. (Photo Dave Moorhouse/Getty)

Of course, this destination is ideal for those looking to participate in cold-weather activities like reindeer sledding, skiing and snowshoe hiking or simply holing up in a cosy cabin with a blazing fire.

With an ice hotel featuring 20 suites created almost entirely from snow and crystal-clear ice from the Torne river and a tree hotel with rooms life a UFO cabin, a mirrored cube and a cone, there’s no shortage of one-of-a-kind accommodation experiences.

The long-awaited Arctic Bath Hotel in Swedish Lapland, which welcomes guests starting in January, will add something even more unique to the mix. A sustainable property with overwater cabins inspired by timber, it’ll include a floating sauna and activities like husky tours and ice fishing.

You can also immerse yourself in the culture of the Sámi, the indigenous people of this region. Shop the local handicrafts they create and learn about their history of reindeer herding.

New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Mardi Gras is one of the wildest times of the year to visit the southern city of New Orleans. Though the climactic parades will wind through various neighbourhoods on 25 February 2020, party animals will find the entire month of February leading up to the big day filled with all sorts of parties, events, live music, parades and all round debauchery. (In New Orleans, Carnival season starts on Twelfth Night in January, and the parades get more frequent the closer it gets to Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.)

The French Quarter in New Orleans. Photo by peeterv/Getty
The French Quarter in New Orleans. (Photo by peeterv/Getty)

If want to make the trip with your family, the city has something for you too: Family Gras. With games, parades, costumes, Creole and Cajun cuisine, art, face painting and concerts, the celebration is perfect for those wanting a slightly calmer version of the famous festival (from 14 to 16 February).

The moderate, spring-like weather in New Orleans in February will have you in T-shirts by day and light jackets by night, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of sunshine to match.

New Orleans may seem far away, but it’s actually fairly simple to get there now that British Airways flies nonstop from London to New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport (be ready for a flying time of about 10 hours, though). Remember, much of February is considered off-peak by BA and single Avios redemptions are available in the following categories: World Traveller (off-peak 16,250/peak 25,000), World Traveller Plus (off-peak 32,500/peak 50,000), Club World (off-peak 62,500/peak 75,000) and First (off-peak 85,000/peak 100,000).

Egypt

See the wonders of ancient Egypt in February, when the mild temperatures make the month one of the best times to visit — you’ll face fewer crowds of tourists than you would when visiting around the Christmas holidays.

Start with Cairo, where you can see the Great Pyramid of Giza and, if you’re lucky, visit the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum — the opening has been long delayed and has now been pushed to later this year. The museum, among its many treasures, will house over 5,000 items from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Until then, there’s always Cairo’s famous Egyptian Museum, which boasts 120,000 artifacts, including mummies in its Royal Mummy Room.

Hot air balloons float into the sky at sunrise on the west bank of the Nile. For about an hour, they fly over the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, fertile farmland, archaeological dig sites, and the Nile River.
A hot air balloon ride in Luxor, Egypt. (Photo by photography by p. lubas/Getty)

Whether it’s a hot air balloon ride over Luxor’s Valley of the Kings or a cruise along the mystical Nile River, Egypt has plenty to suit any kind of traveller. And the beaches along the Red Sea (and the Mediterranean near Alexandria) offer truly amazing diving too, with incredibly well-preserved reefs, a plethora of different fish species, shipwrecks and the opportunity to see sharks and manta rays.

And for a special sighting in Abu Simbel, visit the famous temple at sunrise on 22 February 2020 for the Abu Simbel Festival. On this particular day every year, the sun rises at just the right point in the sky to shine inside and illuminate some of the statues in the most important room of the temple. (Think of that one scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark). After the sun rises high in the sky and the statues fall back into their shadows, you can dance, eat, drink and shop alongside locals and tourists alike.

Bottom line

Whether you want to visit ancient Egyptian temples, lounge on volcanic black sand beaches or celebrate Mardi Gras, February is an excellent time to travel — especially if you need to escape the winter blues. Don’t forget to dig for great hotel and airfare prices or off-peak award availability, which are common during this winter month.

Featured image by IronHeart/Getty

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