12 Best February destinations in Europe in 2018

February is honestly not one of the better months to visit Europe, but it's far, far better than staying home. As long as you focus on the destinations that are more indoor-oriented and have mild weather, you can still have an amazing visit with almost no other tourists around.

If you are looking for a warm-weather February destination you should probably look somewhere other than Europe. There is only one place where you might get any use out of that bathing suit, which is the Canary Islands and listed just below. The other cities on the list are those that combine decent February weather and plenty of worthwhile things to do in winter.

Europe's only February beach destination

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • February avg high: 70F/21C
  • February avg low: 59F/15C
  • February avg precip: 1.4″/3.5cm

If you are looking for a warm destination for February that is technically in Europe, look no further than the Canary Islands. These Spanish islands are off the coast of Morocco and they have “Europe's” only beach weather in winter. Tenerife is the largest of the islands and the most popular among English speakers, so it's the natural choice for many.

There isn't much culture in Tenerife, but there is a volcano to visit near the south of the island. Most of all, people flock to Tenerife to sit on the beach or at least in the sun during the day, and relax over dinner and drinks at night. Prices are quite low compared to mainland Europe as well, and flights from large European cities are reasonably priced.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €67 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €77 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €20 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Tenerife
>>>Tenerife prices and travel tips


The destinations below at least have decent February weather, and plenty to see this month

Rome, Italy

  • February avg high: 57F/14C
  • February avg low: 40F/4C
  • February avg precip: 2.9″/7.3cm

As one of the world's greatest tourist cities, it's a good thing that February temperatures aren't any lower than they really are. You can expect cool weather and it might rain on you a bit if you get unlucky, but it should still be fairly pleasant. Perhaps the best reason to visit Rome in February is that crowds are nowhere to be found, so you can roam the city as you please and not waste a lot of time in queues.

When crowds are low it also means that hotel prices are as well, which really helps in a city like Rome where hotels feel overpriced most of the year. You'll be able to afford a nice hotel in a neighborhood that might feel out of your grasp if you came in summer and had to pay double. Flights should also be quite cheap as well, so this is a good city to start and/or end a tour of Europe.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €54 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €16 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
>>>Rome prices and travel tips


Florence, Italy

  • February avg high: 54F/12C
  • February avg low: 37F/3C
  • February avg precip: 3.7″/9.3cm

Pretty much everything we wrote about Rome above also applies to Florence this time of year. You'll want to bring warm clothes and dress in layers, but you won't need snow shoes. Florence is quite a compact city so most of your sightseeing will be within a small area in the center of town. With this in mind, you won't have to deal with cooler temperatures for more than a few minutes at a time.

And again, hotel prices in Florence will be far cheaper than in summer. Unlike Rome, which can still feel a bit manic with the crush of locals even in winter, Florence is more relaxed and easier to deal with. This is a city where you can linger a bit and mix in a day trip to nearby Pisa or one of the hill towns. With lower hotel prices, Florence is a city to take a breather on a longer trip.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €44 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €58 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €19 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips


Paris, France

  • February avg high: 47F/8C
  • February avg low: 40F/4C
  • February avg precip: 1.8″/4.5cm

The best news about Paris in February is that it actually doesn't get much rain in most years. As you can see above, it'll be chilly, but it rarely spends much time below freezing. This also means that you'll be able to show off some of your better stylish outfits complete with scarves and gloves in the evenings.

Paris is also a business city so business-oriented hotels won't be fantastic bargains in February, but hotels in the more touristy districts will have excellent off-season rates. Try to book a hotel in the wonderful Rue Cler neighborhood next to the Eiffel Tower. It's friendly, convenient, and far more tourist oriented than businessy.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €70 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €94 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Paris
>>>Paris prices and travel tips


Nice, France

  • February avg high: 56F/16C
  • February avg low: 43F/6C
  • February avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

Even though it's on the Mediterranean coast, Nice isn't a slam-dunk recommendation for a February visit. It's mainly a beach and sunshine destination so most things are oriented towards summer and some things are closed for the winter. Still, the weather is mild enough that it's enjoyable, and since it's a fairly large city it is still very full of life even when most other tourists are gone.

Nice is an ideal city to visit after Paris and on your way to Italy. Not only is the city itself really lovely, but it's also a 20-minute train ride to Cannes in one direction and to Monaco in the other. Both are very worthwhile, but both also have extremely high hotel rates so doing them by day trip from Nice is ideal.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €69 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Nice
>>>Nice prices and travel tips


London, England

  • February avg high: 46F/8C
  • February avg low: 37F/3C
  • February avg precip: 1.4″/3.5cm

London is one of a few European cities that often feels like a victim of its own popularity. During the warmer months it can feel so crowded with tourists that you expect to see Mickey Mouse walking around greeting guests. In February, it's chilly and so there are very few tourists to compete with at the top attractions.

As you can see, London gets surprisingly little rain in February, and usually no snow. So as long as you dress properly you can move around quickly and visit all the free museums and other famous attractions with almost no wait. The cozy pubs are even cozier in winter, and it'll be mostly you and some colorful locals lining up at the taps.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €67 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €123 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €28 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
>>>London prices and travel tips


Barcelona, Spain

  • February avg high: 58F/14C
  • February avg low: 42F/6C
  • February avg precip: 1.1″/2.8cm

Being on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona has fairly mild winters, with almost no rain most years. And of course, few other tourists will be there, so you can actually see the inside of the Sagrada Familiar and Park Guell without fighting or waiting for hours like you have to most of the year.

Barcelona has fantastic nightlife and a noted food scene, so this is a good destination for culture vultures even in winter. Flights into Barcelona are cheap this time of year, of course, and so far short flights from Barcelona to other European destinations.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €55 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €19 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Barcelona
>>>Barcelona prices and travel tips


Madrid, Spain

  • February avg high: 54F/12C
  • February avg low: 39F/4C
  • February avg precip: 1.4″/3.5cm

Even though it's more south, Madrid is in the center of Spain so it's a bit cooler in winter than coastal Barcelona. Still, February is usually fairly mild (compared to other European capitals), and the city doesn't get much rain. Madrid is mostly an indoor city in terms of its top attractions, and there are many great town squares in the center area, which will shield you from chilly winds.

If you are considering a trip to Barcelona you should also include at least 3 nights in Madrid as well. The cities are very different from each other, and both excellent for tourists. They are connected by a 3-hour high-speed train ride that is cheap if booked in advance.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €39 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €62 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €24 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Madrid
>>>Madrid prices and travel tips


Malaga, Spain

  • February avg high: 64F/18C
  • February avg low: 46F/8C
  • February avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

Malaga, a bit like Nice mentioned above, is not an obvious winter destination even though the temperatures are quite reasonable. The city itself is really charming and generally underrated, as most tourists land at the airport and then head straight for one of the smaller towns along the Costa del Sol. Those towns can be ghost-town-like in winter, so staying in Malaga proper is probably the better idea.

The key attraction of Malaga is that it has probably the best winter weather on continental Europe, so those not willing or able to take the extra two hours flying down to the Canary Islands will enjoy it here. And again, the city of Malaga itself has a lot to offer, so spending a few days here in the off season will be worthwhile.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €54 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €85 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €18 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Malaga
>>>Malaga prices and travel tips


Lisbon, Portugal

  • February avg high: 61F/16C
  • February avg low: 49F/9C
  • February avg precip: 3.6″/9.0cm

Lisbon easily has the best winter weather of any European capital city, and the year-round weather tends to be excellent compared to the rest of Europe as well. This is a wonderful city that too often gets overlooked by those touring the continent because it's remote and not easy to reach. From Madrid you have to take a night train, or fly.

Fortunately the flights are usually reasonably priced, and especially so in months like February. While Lisbon is on the waterfront, it's mainly an indoor city in terms of attractions. You'll be seeing castles and museums during the day, and enjoying excellent food and listening to fado singers in the evenings. It's worth going out of your way to reach Lisbon, especially in February.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €37 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €55 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €16 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon prices and travel tips


Athens, Greece

  • February avg high: 56F/13C
  • February avg low: 42F/6C
  • February avg precip: 1.8″/4.5cm

Athens has a fairly mild winter climate and it doesn't get much rain in a typical February. If you can get a cheap flight from another nearby city you are visiting, Athens is worth 3 days. The famous archeological sights are outdoors, of course, but with little rain you should have no problem. And the museums and nightlife are all indoors, so you won't need too many clear days to enjoy it.

During the warm months, most people who visit Athens are on their way to or from one of the famous islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, or Rhodes. But if February those islands are mostly closed down except for their larger towns, so it's better to skip them this time of year. As a result, hotel rates in Athens in February are very affordable, and getting to and from the airport is easy.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €43 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €53 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Athens
>>>Athens prices and travel tips


Interlaken, Switzerland

  • February avg high: 41F/5C
  • February avg low: 27F/-3C
  • February avg precip: 2.8″/7.0cm

The rest of the destinations above are all top cities with decent February weather, but Interlaken is different. Many people who decide they want to “visit Switzerland” really don't know where they should go. If you want to see the most dramatic views of the Alps with the most charming towns and best winter infrastructure, you should head to the Interlaken area.

The top sights here are the Schilthorn observation deck and the Jungfraujoch railway. Both of those are amazing when the weather at high elevations is clear, and almost pointless when it's foggy or raining. The weather can be unpredictable in February so you have to time your visits carefully and only after you arrive. Still, they are worth doing and the crowds are much smaller, of course. This is also a winter ski resort so some areas near slopes do have high hotel prices, though bargains can be found not far away.

  • Good 3-star hotels in February from €62 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in February from €128 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in February from €30 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Interlaken
>>>Interlaken prices and travel tips



8 Responses to “12 Best February destinations in Europe in 2018”

ROHAN LOTLIKAR says:

Looking to visit European country in the month of feb along with viewing northern lights
Please suggest suitable options/itenary

 

    Rohan,

    As you probably know, the Northern Lights are best viewed (or often only viewed) in extreme northern places. If that is your primary goal then Iceland is probably your best choice. There are many specific Northern Lights tours that have become very popular and include all your transportation, lodging, and meals during the period when you are attempting to experience the lights.

    Aside from Iceland, you can do similar things in northern Sweden, Norway, and even Finland. One challenge is that there isn’t much else to see or do during that period. There isn’t much daylight during winter in the extreme north, and it’s obviously quite cold as well. And getting to these extreme northern locations is also difficult because you have to book flights on tiny airlines that don’t fly very often.

    My top suggestion would be to stop off in Iceland on your way to Europe for a few days and look into a Northern Lights tour like this one. Then I’d get back on a plane and head to one of the cities mentioned in the list above for the rest of your trip. If you are coming from the US or Canada you can usually get very good airfare deals with a stop in Iceland on the way there or back. Believe it or not, it’s much easier to get to Iceland for a quick stop than it is to reach northern Sweden or Norway in winter. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

     
David DiGregorio says:

I have to disagree with Roger on this one. It is extremely easy to reach Northern Norway (Tromso) in the winter or at all times per year and many flights per day depart from Oslo. Tromso also has a great deal to offer beyond just the Northern Lights in February. Reindeer sledding, snowmobile safari, dog sledding, Sammi experiences – much more to do and see than in Iceland.

 

    David,

    Thank you for the respectful comment and I’m sure there are others out there who will agree for you. I don’t believe I mentioned Norway or Iceland in this article, but I do know that there is a booming subset of travelers who are looking for Northern Lights tourism and other cold-weather attractions. At the same time, the article above is for the vast majority of travelers who are trying to find non-extreme destinations in Europe if they are going in February. If I knew more about those winter activities I might start a new series about the best places to go to experience short days and sub-freezing temperatures while still having a good and adventurous time. Cheers. -Roger

     
Amanda S says:

Hello, so we had planned to have my February birthday (this one ends in a zero …) in Anguilla. The villa owner had advised against due to Irma damage and very kindly returned our deposit. I’m looking for inspiration as to where to go instead! We live in sthn France so thought we might drive down to sthn Spain. Really did want to get some sun so wonder if you can suggest anywhere in europe (not Tenerife thanks!) that is easy to get to and a little warmer. many thanks, Amanda

 

    Amanda,

    Sorry to hear about your Anguilla holiday, but it’s good that you got your deposit back. On the other hand, out of the 25 or so major Caribbean islands, only about 6 or 7 received heavy damage, and all of the larger ones are not only intact but also hoping to keep their businesses going. I have a list of Caribbean destinations from cheapest to most expensive, and at the top I list the islands to avoid this coming season.

    As for Europe, you won’t get warm weather anywhere on the continent in February. I understand why you might not want to go to the Canaries. As mentioned in the article, the Costa del Sol area around Malaga is the warmest area and at least you don’t have to bundle up so much. And Lisbon along with the Algarve is almost as warm that time of year.

    The only other thing I can suggest is to have a scan of this list I made recently of the cheapest Europe all-inclusive destinations. Most are in Europe and some are nearby, including a few that actually have decent weather in February. Even if you don’t want to do an all-inclusive, at least that list might give you some other ideas. Aside from those, your best bet for a sunshine holiday in February would be either Mexico or nearby, or in Thailand. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

     
Ian says:

Hi Amanda,
If you’re looking to spend your birthday in Europe, I would suggest Sicily (Italy) or Corsica (France). The article didn’t mention any of them but they are truly amazing in February. Also, Malaga, mentioned above, can be a great base to explore Andalucía (southern Portugal) on day trips, including Cordoba, Seville, Ronda and Alhambra. These places are amazing and the winters are very mild.

 

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