12 Best February destinations in Europe in 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.




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