The best places to
visit in Europe in February

In Europe, February is the perfect time to go on a winter vacation. Fill in that slump after Christmas with a festive adventure to explore the stunning scenery of Europe, either seeking out some winter sun or embracing the cold in some of the more northern destinations. Valentine’s Day dominates the month so romantic, couples’ destinations are a popular place to visit. Although if you’re also looking for a solo trip you won’t be disappointed.

Europe acts as one of the most diverse areas of the world with ancient cities colliding with modern attractions to provide travellers with a unique destination. In February wrap up warmly and take your time sitting in the best coffee shops in the world or visiting some of the oldest museums on Earth

During February Europe as a whole tends to be pretty chilly, but with longer days and more sun, it’s the perfect time to venture out and see what the continent has to offer. As an offseason, the cities tend to be less crowded with tourists often waiting for the Easter break to take their holidays. This means February is the perfect time to explore without the queues.

What is the weather like in Europe in February?

In February Europe is extremely cold. Although it starts to warm up from January, there’s still a chill in the air and you can expect average temperatures to hover around 3 – 5°C. In some areas, you’ll be treated to snow, mainly in the northern areas where you can go skiing.

However, there are a couple of places that are ideal for those searching for winter sun. If you’re more of a beachgoer than winter city explorer, the Mediterranean region is a great place to get your tan while everyone else back home huddles up in their coats. The Canary Islands hover around a toasty 19°C while in the north Iceland is a biting -3°C.

Venice, Italy

February is the perfect time to visit Venice, as visitors can experience the famous Carnival of Venice; an 18-day extravaganza which sees the locals flood the streets of the ancient city, donning ornate masks and costumes. The elaborate carnival sees parades, concerts and balls overtake the city in celebration of artistic creations. Each year there is a concert for the most beautiful mask which is judged by an international panel of costume and fashion designers.

Naturally, this means that the city is incredibly busy with an influx of nearly 3 million visitors who come to take part in the celebrations. If you want all the fun of Venice without the people try to visit around festival dates, preferably at the beginning and end of the month.

During this colder month, Venice still offers what the city is most well-known for, rides on traditional gondolas that will now float through the misty waterways and give a unique experience rarely seen by others. The cold weather makes it an ideal trip to wrap up warm and see the city in a new light, from trattorias as you warm your hands with a hot cup of coffee.

Weather in Venice

In February Venice experiences an average high of 9°C and an average low of 1°C. These are colder than average for the busy tourist city but offer romantically lit alleyways and the chance to snuggle up in quaint coffee shops.

Canary Islands, Spain

There aren’t many options for winter sun getaways in Europe during February, but the Canary Islands are one of your saviours. Just off the coast of Africa, these islands enjoy the warmth of the continent while only being a hop, skip and jump from mainland Europe.

Composed of 7 small islands; Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, these islands offer plenty of options for sun-seekers to choose the kind of winter holiday they want. Tenerife is one of the most popular of them all with the southern beaches being the warmest of them all.

The Canary Islands offer not just miles of beautiful beaches, but also a number of activates for more adventurous holidaymakers. With an average sea temperature of 19°C, there’s no better time to jump in the water and snorkelling, swimming, cliff diving and scuba diving are all on offer. Each island offers its own unique landscapes to explore from the ancient forests of La Gomera to the lava fields of Tenerife.

Weather in the Canary Islands

Luckily the Canary Islands are one of those rare European areas that are warm all year round making it the perfect winter sun option. With average temperatures floating around 18 – 21°C and over 11 hours of uninterrupted sunshine it’s the ideal place to chill on the beach while sipping a mimosa. Who says European winter holidays are all about skiing?

Paris, France

When choosing a holiday in February nothing is more romantic than visiting Paris for a weekend getaway. The City of Love blooms in the colder months as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. If you’re lucky the city will be blanketed in a blanket of pristine snow. Couple this with the lights from the Eiffel Tower in the evening and you’ve got a recipe for romance.

February is a fantastic time to go to Paris to beat the crowds and find deals on flights and hotels. Due to the muddier weather, you’ll not have to queue for the Eiffel Tower or struggle to find a seat in one of the popular cafes. Wander around the tourist barren streets, occasionally stopping at a coffee shop for a warming drink or catch the last few days of the new year sales in some of Paris’ most luxurious stores.

As Valentine’s Day is officially in February why not take a romantic river tour along the river Seine, through the heart of Paris while taking in the breath-taking French architecture. A trip up the Eiffel Tower would also not go amiss with miles of gorgeous scenery to see.

Weather in Paris

The weather in Paris during February is chilly with an average temperature of 3°C. There tend to be bitter winds from the river, rain and occasional snowfall. However, due to this less than perfect weather most tourists will be scared off leaving most of the tourist attractions easy to visit.

Reykjavik, Iceland

As the world’s northernmost capital and posterchild for snowy winter getaways, Reykjavik offers much more than guaranteed snow. The city and surrounding area give those looking for a bit of adventure the perfect place to sink their teeth into with hikes and waterfalls galore.

Just out from the city is the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that channels its hot water from Iceland’s volcanic activity. The warm water, averaging 38°C makes it a wonderful respite from Iceland’s biting weather. The spa offers guests the opportunity to bathe in mineral-rich water, eat at the restaurant and experience in spa treatments.

In February Reykjavik itself is still in full winter mode. Visit the modern cathedral of Hallgrimskirkja, one of the tallest structures in the country with a striking tower. The city is also home to many bars with all sorts of cocktails designed to warm your stomachs. Why not try a white Russian at the Lebowski Bar, based on the 1998 film by the Coen brothers.?

One of the main reasons people visit Iceland is to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, one of the natural wonders of the world. A short drive from Reykjavik is Grotta Island Lighthouse which is one of the best places to see these lights in the country thanks to short daylight hours and clear skies.

Weather in Reykjavik

The weather during February in Reykjavik is incredibly unpredictable with rain, snow and storms aplenty. Make sure you bring your thermals as the temperature averages between -3°C to 3°C providing a biting wind and chilly nights. Although there is only a short 7 hours of daylight a day this will increase your chance to see the Northern Lights at night.

London, England

Possibly not on the top of everyone’s list but with enough punch as the rest of the list, London is one of the top spots for a European city getaway this February. Whether you’re visiting during the peak of Summer or in the darkness of Winter, there’s something for every season.

As the capital of the United Kingdom, London is like any other tourist hub with an endless list of things to do and see. The city is steeped in history and due to this has plenty of staggering museums and art galleries to explore away from the winter chill. The Natural History Museum is the cherry on top of the cake playing host to some of the rarest dinosaur skeletons on the planet while the Tate Modern is the mecca of contemporary art.

Of course, all the usual London attractions will also be there such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. Take a ride on the London Eye and see the city from 135 meters up before walking along the embankment or venture further afield and explore the quirky side streets of Camden Town.

Weather in London

London has a reputation for being bleak and grey. While you may not get the winter sun of some of the other destinations, London is still distinctly warmer than some of the other Northern European cities. The city experiences an average temperature of 7°C which it’s not too cold and not too warm. However, bring your umbrella as London happens to get a lot of rain in February.

St Moritz, Switzerland

February is one of the best times of year to visit the Swiss resort of St. Mortiz. The luxury alpine resort town has previously hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is the perfect place to visit if you can’t see yourself relaxing by the beat this winter. As Switzerland’s original winter wonderland and the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism, St Mortiz is a skier’s paradise and people flock far and wide to try their hand on the slopes.

As the crème de la crème of skiing the resort town has built a reputation as the go-to winter destination for the wealthy, however, budget travellers can also experience the wonderland without forking out thousands. St Moritz has 350 kilometres of pistes for skiers and lots of adventurous off-piste terrain to discover but there are plenty of other winter sports to do.

If you’d prefer to hike there are 150km of walking trails surrounding the area and for cross-country skiers, there is a track network of about 200km snaking around the surrounding forests and mountain landscapes. Visitors can also toboggan down the icy run which is one of the oldest natural ice bob runs in the world.

Summary

The beauty of Europe during February is the number of choices from winter sun getaways in the Canary Islands to adventurous winter explorations to Iceland. Although the weather is generally quite cold there’s no reason not to explore your favourite cities with the added bonus of fewer tourists and cheaper travel costs. Skiing is prevalent around Europe in winter offering some of the best winter sport options along with relaxing city breaks in Europe’s capitals.

To find out more about the best places to visit in February, visit The Travel Aisle’s guide of where to go in February.

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