February can be a bleak prospect when it comes to European weather. But with the school holidays falling in the middle of the month, parents have the opportunity to take their children to a destination where the sun shines brightly.
This can lead to crowded beaches in popular places, but because the Caribbean is at its hottest and driest, there’s plenty of room for travelers without children to find their own escape zone. Here you can get some last-minute winter sun.
For temperatures 19-24ºC
In reality, there isn’t a month when the Canary Islands don’t serve as a warm weather escape zone, and February is part of that. Even if the second month of the year delivers “only” the low 20s Celsius, this is good enough at a time when Britain is shivering at significantly lower temperatures. The Costa Adeje, on the island’s west coast, enjoys more star-rated accommodation than the cheap bedrooms in southwestern Playa de las Americas – and if you want at least a week of sunbathing comfortably through the winter, maybe this is the place.
Do it: A seven-night half-board stay at the five-star GF Gran Costa Adeje, flying from Manchester on February 17, starts from £1,085 per person, via Last Minute (0871 277 1070; lastminute.com).
Find the best hotels in Tenerife here and plan the perfect trip with our dedicated guide.
Florida’s most party-oriented city never needs an excuse to stay out late, and South Beach’s bars and restaurants are in full swing if you choose to visit in February. The advantage of the second month of the year, however, is that although the spring break crowds – which turn the metropolis into one gigantic mass of screaming students – have yet to occur, the temperature gauge is still neatly in the twenties Celsius.
Do it: A seven-night getaway to the five-star Eden Roc Miami hotel, flying from Heathrow on February 17, costs from £2,188 per person, via Virgin Holidays (0344 472 9646; virginholidays.co.uk).
Find the best hotels in Miami here and plan the perfect trip with our dedicated guide.
Continental Europe doesn’t offer too many hotspots in February – at least not on the mainland – but Spain’s southernmost province is a good bet. Go there in late February and 20 degree days are possible.
Annie Bennett, our expert in the region, suggests exploring the Costa Tropical, in the province of Granada – a coastline of coves and Moorish watchtowers.
“An erratic climate means dense groves of mangoes, avocados, custard apples, bananas and other exotic crops flank the Mediterranean,” she writes. “The protection of the Sierra Nevada and the warm winds blowing from North Africa create a subtropical microclimate, with 320 days of sunshine per year and mild temperatures, even in winter.”
Do it: Motril is the largest seaside resort on the Costa Tropical. A seven-night stay at the four-star Elba Motril Beach Resort, which flies from Luton to Malaga on February 17, starts from £356 per head, with Love Holidays (01234 975 975; loveholidays.com).
Find the best hotels in Granada here and plan the ultimate holiday in Andalusia with our experts’ special itinerary.
For temperatures 25-29ºC
4. St. Lucia
St Lucia is one of the most coveted destinations in the Caribbean – and for good reason. The west coast is home to some of the planet’s most beautiful beaches, including the golden strip of Anse Chastanet – while the two volcanic cliffs of Gros and Petit Piton offer hiking and climbing challenges, as well as stunning photo opportunities. All this is served at temperatures around twenty degrees Celsius, not least in the dry season of December-May.
Do it: An all-inclusive seven-night getaway to the five-star Cap Maison resort costs from £2,359 per person, including flights, via Tropical Sky (01342 395 263; tropicalsky.co.uk).
Find the best hotels in St Lucia here and plan the perfect trip with our dedicated guide.
5. St. Kitts and Nevis
With its smaller companion Nevis, St Kitts is a Caribbean ‘Little and Large’ act. The larger island has an intriguing capital on the south coast at Basseterre, and a crescent of sand on the southern tip in the form of Turtle Beach. His friend across the small canal from The Narrows is just as enticing; its charm is visible on the beaches of Nisbet and Oualie.
Neither island inspires a wild nightlife. You could say they’re all the better for it.
Do it: A seven-night escape to the three-star Oualie Beach Resort on Nevis, flying from Gatwick (via Antigua) on February 24, costs from £1,943 per person through British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; ba.com/holidays).
Find the best hotels in St. Kitts here and plan the perfect trip with our dedicated guide.
There’s no disguising that the American archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean requires quite a journey from Britain – and 11 hours of jet lag once you arrive. But there are few better remedies for such a time difference than the soft sands of Waikiki Beach – the sunny strip that graces the southern edge of the capital Honolulu, on Oahu. And the sight of the volcanic titans Kilauea and Mauna Loa, on the “Big Island,” is sure to delight the senses.
Do it: Bon Voyage (0800 316 3012; bon-voyage.co.uk) sells a 14-night ‘Hawaii Island-Hopping Holiday’ that visits Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. From £4,995 per person, with flights.
Find the best hotels in Hawaii here.
Neither as grand as Dubai nor as grand as Abu Dhabi, Oman is the quieter cousin of the Arabian Peninsula. But it shouldn’t be underestimated as an opportunity for winter sun. Both Zighy Bay and Sur are attractive places for beach holidays; Muscat is a city of underrated culture and sophistication.
Do it: Steppes Travel (01285 880 980; steppestravel.com) sells a 10-day “Luxury Holiday to Oman” that starts in Muscat’s museums and ends on a sun lounger at the Six Senses resort on Zighy Bay. From £10,295 per person (flights extra).
Find the best hotels in Oman here.
Four hours of south-west flying time will take you all the way from Great Britain to the beaches of Tenerife or Gran Canaria. But add another two flight hours to your journey and you can land on the sunnier sands of Cape Verde. The West African archipelago has witnessed a significant improvement in the quality of accommodation over the past decade and is now an extremely reliable destination for winter warmth.
Do it: A seven-night break to the five-star Hilton Cabo Verde Resort on Sal Island, flying from Birmingham on February 16, costs from £1,655 per person, via Cape Verde Experience (01489 866 969; capeverde.co.uk).
Find the best hotels in Cape Verde here.
For temperatures of 30ºC+
Let’s talk statistics. About 1,192 islets and coral outcrops – spread across 26 atolls and 35,000 square kilometers of water – make up this archipelagic nation in the Indian Ocean. Very few of these soft shards deviate from the template: golden sand, swaying palm trees, azure shallows. If you want variety in terrain, don’t visit the Maldives. If you want temperatures in the 30s Celsius and uninhibited beach luxury, you’ve chosen well.
Do it: A seven-night holiday to the five-star Anantara Kihavah Maldives Resort costs from £4,000 per person, with flights, via Scott Dunn (020 3733 4841; scottdunn.com).
Find the best hotels in the Maldives here and plan the perfect trip with our dedicated guide.
This celebrated patch of sand and sunshine is a continental junction box – officially African in that it is part of Tanzania, seductively Middle Eastern in the trading heritage of Stone Town (which was once the capital of Oman), seductively tropical in the way its Indian The ocean laps its sides. Of course, this clash of cultures only makes Zanzibar all the more exotic – and the weather is largely reliable, flirting with 30 degrees Celsius when February rolls around.
Do it: The “Masala Beach Holiday”, published by Expert Africa (020 3405 6666; expertafrica.com) cools its boots in two locations: amid the history and life of Stone Town; in the north of the island in the luxury beach resort of Kilindi. The break costs from £6,260 per person in February, including flights.
Find the best hotels on Zanzibar here.