Venice Carnival

If winter appears to be dragging its feet, there’s nothing like a foreign fling in February to get you through to spring. From exciting city breaks to sun-bleached beaches, here’s our latest round up.

Best February holidays for… cities

 

Short haul: Venice, Italy

Nothing beats going to a city whilst its entire population are in the throes of celebrating a huge festival. Venice hosts its annual Carnival from 19 February, a world-class event infused with history, charm and tradition. Expect to see performers donned in charming redingotes (coats), top hats, corsets, crinolines and colourful costumes. You’ll need plenty of stamina to enjoy the parties, parades and masquerade balls for what has to be one of the world’s best parties.

 

This is Venice at its flamboyant best and if the carnival does not entice you, then the churches, palaces, lively squares, quirky shops, theatre, music, dance, food and people surely will.

Long haul: Cape Town, South Africa

From the landmark beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay and the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops that could rival any cosmopolitan city, Cape Town has much to offer.

Better still, the city often enjoys temperatures as high as 35°C (95°F) in February. Despite the 11 hour flight, the two hour time difference with the UK means there is no jet lag to contend with either.

Brimming with attractions, you’ll need at least a week to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Must sees include taking a boat trip to Robben Island to learn more about Nelson Mandela’s incarceration and the country’s ugly apartheid history. If you have an adventurous spirit, learn to surf off one of the city’s beaches, dive with sharks and seals or abseil from iconic Table Mountain.

Round off your visit by hiring a car and driving to Cape Peninsula National Park, a wind-swept landscape of towering cliffs, crashing waves and wildlife such as zebra, baboons and ostrich.

Best February holidays for… beaches

Short haul: Agadir, Morocco

Imagine a European-style beach resort mixed with Arabic charm and culture. Agadir may not typify authentic Morocco, but thanks to its white, long sandy beach draped around a wide bay on the Atlantic coast and a range of accommodation options, it offers everything you need for a short haul beach holiday.

Away from the beach, you can a smattering of history by visiting the ruins of a hill top kasbah which provides sweeping views of the town.

Come nightfall, you can whet your appetite by dining out in one of the restaurants along the beach which offer a wide range of cuisines. And whilst the night is still young, you can unwind, let your hair down and bob to the beats of Berber drums or belly dancing shows.

Long haul: Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Malaysia diveFishlife, Malaysia
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For an affordable, long haul beach holiday, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia are an enticing option. It may lack serious nightlife but if you are up for some serious scuba diving, swimming with sharks, watching turtles come ashore to lay eggs and lapping up the sun, then this is the perfect island getaway without breaking your bank account.

The destination is made up of two islands; Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil which are separated by a narrow strait. You can hop between the two and enjoy soft white sands and cyan-turquoise clear waters shimmering with beautiful corals, all overlooked by tropical jungle.

Best February holidays for… outdoors

Short haul: Chamonix, France

Boarder in ChamonixBoarder in Chamonix
CreativeCommons / cristiano esclapon

No winter would be complete without a skiing or boarding holiday. For soaring mountains, majestic ice falls and glaciers and a beautiful alpine town, let Chamonix blow your breath away.

Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain at 4,810m (15,771ft), it is one of the most popular ski resorts for Brits. This is due to the fact Chamonix offers a tremendous variety of terrain for skiers and boarders of all abilities.

Chamonix specialises in the spectacular, such as the wonderful 24km (15 miles) Vallée Blanche off-piste run from the top of the 3,842m (12,605ft) Aiguille du Midi – famously the longest lift-served run in the world – to the magnificent off-piste options of Grands Montets.

For those who fancy a break from the pistes, there’s snowshoeing, tobogganing, dog sledding and ice climbing.

Long haul: Utah

Utah adventuresUtah adventures
Comstock / Thinkstock

Filmed in Utah, Hollywood movie 127 Hours tells the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston and his love for canyoneering amid the state’s isolated but breathtaking canyons.

A natural playground for adventurers, the film showcases how Utah offers a spectacular mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Home to five national parks and surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains, it features an extraordinary landscape of slick rocks, desolate dirtscapes and raging rivers.

Whether you fancy canyoneering, mountain biking, hiking, horse riding, white water rafting or rock climbing, Utah guarantees to offer an adrenalin-fuelled holiday. One thing’s for sure, it is not for the faint-hearted.

Author: Kristina Khoo

Published date: 7 February 2011

Edited by Coralie Modschiedler

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