Last Updated on September 16, 2020 by hungryoungwoman
There is just something about winter that makes me want to curl up in a blanket with hot coffee AND also plan for traveling at the same time! Are you the same? Not only does the season have lots of events but also it’s the perfect time to head abroad to make use of the holidays! Here are the best European destinations in February to visit for couples, families, and some are good for solo travelers too.
I got in touch with fellow travel bloggers who are experts in their fields to tell me about the best places in Europe to visit in February and they came up with quite a few destinations. Scroll down to plan your winter holiday in Europe right away!
Best European Destinations in February:
Lucerne, Switzerland in winter – My Faulty Compass
Would you believe me if I say Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous and better in winter than in the summer?!
Picture this, you’re in a small Swiss village – pristine and clean, beautiful wood carved chalets, a light dusting of snow everywhere, the aromas of a bakery or a chocolate shop, valentine’s day decorations everywhere, high mountains visible in the distance, a lovely
stream flowing next to you into the lake close by – can it be any more romantic?! Switzerland is ridiculously charming and will win you over at one glance. That’s why it’s in the list of best places to go in February Europe.
Head to Lucerne! It’s a fairy-tale-like place with pretty much everything I’ve described above. It’s also very easy to reach – just an hour from Zurich either by train or car.
February is a wonderful time to visit Luzern – the snow-covered town is absolutely enchanting at that time, there are very few tourists around and there are several mountains right next door that you can visit (such as Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus). It’s an absolute delight to head up to one of these snowy mountains (there are cable cars/ trains that take you up there) and take in the stunning panoramic views that Switzerland is known for.
If you need another reason to visit, February is also the time of the carnival in Luzern! It’s the most festive time to visit – you can witness elaborate costumes, foot thumping band performances, confetti strewn parades, decorations along the streets and a vibrant, good atmosphere everywhere! It’s absolutely magical (and still amazingly orderly, it’s the Swiss after all!)
Ready for your Swiss vacation? Check out more amazing destinations in Switzerland here.
Iceland in February – Swedish Nomad
Visiting Iceland in February means that you will get a real nice winter experience with great possibilities of seeing the Northern lights. In addition to chasing the magical phenomenon also known as Aurora Borealis, you can go ice-crevassing, glacier walking, and much more that only the winter season can offer.
February is one of the best months to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, and it’s generally considered as a shoulder season in Iceland since most people don’t have a vacation in February.
Prices are also generally lower on tours and accommodation, which means it’s easier to travel Iceland on a budget in February. Tours won’t be sold out either, so you can opt for last-minute tours if you’re not sure what you want to do before arriving.
The same goes for the famous Blue Lagoon, which is often fully booked in peak season. The other hot springs in Iceland will also have fewer tourists, and many attractions will be more enjoyable since the crowds won’t be there
Crete, Greece in winter – The Solo Life
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is full of Greece’s characteristic history while also being not as crowded as Santorini. It has a wide range of activities and landscapes with beaches, charming harbor towns, and even mountains. Crete has everything you need for a winter getaway, including 60-degree weather. This will probably make for one of the best winter city breaks Europe has.
Although there are many places to visit, must-see highlights are the Venetian harbor and lighthouse in mild Chania and for a true winter experience, snow sports at the White Mountain. The town of Chania is a charming location, with Egyptian, Ottoman, and Venetian influences. The harbor and lighthouse, in particular, are a picturesque place to stroll and enjoy a meal, without all the tourists. The most popular winter sports in Crete are ski mountaineering, which combines mountain climbing and skiing, and snow-kiting, a newer sport similar to kiteboarding, only on snow instead of water.
There are many other wonderful activities to do on Crete, but the best part of visiting in the winter is that the island is full of locals instead of tons of tourists, and the prices are very reasonable. Although other Greek islands get more hype, Crete is an island not to overlook, regardless of the time of year. Check out more on Jordan’s Instagram feed here.
Krakow, Poland in winter – Lazy Travel Blog
To get the most out of Krakow holidays without having to elbow your way through the throngs of tourists that visit this popular city each year, the best time to visit is in winter if you are not daunted by gray days and frosty temperature. Usually warmer in February with fewer rains, throw on your heavy winter coat, hat, gloves, and scarf to explore the city.
A must for best European destinations in winter, Krakow’s many attractions, like museums, churches, and market squares, will help you see more of the Polish culture as you will be there for the Sea Shanties Festival and Fat Thursday (precedes Ash Wednesday a day to let you have as many donuts as possible). Learn more about the tradition of sailor songs as you join the parade during Sea Shanties Festival or try some traditional Polish sweets, like pączki, donuts with rose marmalade filling, and the faworki, the crispy pastry that melts in your mouth. Don’t worry about the cold as you can easily warm up by taking some of Krakow’s delicious hot chocolate
Sarajevo, Bosnia in winter – Backpack Adventures
February is the coldest month in Sarajevo. You might think this is not the best time to visit Bosnia, but that is not necessarily true. If you dress warmly Sarajevo has lots of things to offer this time of the year.
First of all, February sees the annual International Sarajevo winter festival. This cultural event sees artists from all over the world coming together in Sarajevo. During the festival, you can expect some interesting concerts, theater plays, and exhibitions in the capital.
Second of all, winter is a cozy time in Sarajevo. The snow turns the old town in a winter wonderland. The cobblestoned streets and the mosques are even more scenic under a white blanket of snow. If it gets too cold, there are plenty of indoor activities like visiting one of its interesting museums or trying Bosnian food in one of Sarajevo’s traditional restaurants.
The filling Bey’s soup is a popular dish in winter. You can also always warm up with a cup of coffee or herbal tea. Sarajevo has a strong cafe culture and they are never far away.
At last Sarajevo is surrounded by mountains. For winter sports you can head to the ski resorts of Bjelasnica and Jahorina. They used to be the center of the Winter Olympics in 1984 and it is not for nothing they were held near Sarajevo. Here you will also find some mountain resorts with log cabins where you can stay the night in some of the most beautiful settings for your winter vacation in Europe
Florence, Italy in winter – Untold Italy
In mid-winter, Florence is quiet and goes about a slower pace than in the summer months. You can visit the city’s iconic galleries and museums in relative solitude. Take your time gazing at the Renaissance treasures at the Uffizi Gallery or Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia and soak up their beauty.
In February, the city stages several historical enactments including the Cambia della Garda (changing of the guard ceremony) outside the Palazzo Vecchio with actors dressed in 15th-century costumes. And if you’re there mid-month you can experience the city’s homage to Anna Maria de Medici. The last surviving member of the Medici family, she bequeathed their amassed fortune to the city of Florence, ensuring their incredible collection remained intact. On the 18th of February every year, there is a parade in historical costume in her honor. This makes it to the top of must see places in Europe in winter.
February is also a popular time for antique markets. They pop up in piazzas throughout Florence and are the perfect place to find unique souvenirs.
After your culture fix, it’s time to eat and there is no better time to enjoy the hearty Tuscan meat dishes such as beef peposo (peppered beef in a rich tomato sauce) served with polenta. You might also like to try the famed bistecca all fiorentina. This prized cut of meat and dish made with only five ingredients is a must-try experience and you’ll find the best at Trattoria Sostanza in the heart of Florence
London in winter – Spud on the Run
At the start of February is Chinese New Year, where London’s China Town, close to Leicester Square, becomes awash with color and festivities. The celebrations last for a whole weekend; there is a parade and food trucks are set up for visitors to enjoy. For delicious hand-pulled Chinese noodles, try out nearby Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar.
London is the perfect location to celebrate Valentine ’s Day. Stroll hand in hand through one of the beautiful royal parks, or check out the city’s dizzying array of cozy restaurants.
If you’d like to avoid the cold for as long as possible, London has many museums and art galleries that are free to explore such as The British Museum, the Science Museum, the V&A, and the Tate Modern which has a great viewing terrace overlooking the Thames.
Whatever you choose to do, you are sure to have a packed itinerary exploring this vibrant city! Follow Vicky on Twitter for more
Menton, France in winter – Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for more best European cities to visit in winter, look no further than Menton. This beautiful town on the south coast of France comes alive in February and is filled with the delicious scent of lemons. Over one million lemons to be exact!
For one week, the town is home to the Menton Lemon Festival. Huge sculptures are created out of lemons (and other citrus fruit) and you would not believe the number of tourists who come to visit. The sculptures are different every year and are kept very secret until the grand reveal.
It’s also surprisingly warm in February- we wandered around in just light t-shirts whilst we enjoyed the show. If you stay long enough, there’s even a lemon parade!
TOP TIP– arrive early. I’m serious when I say THOUSANDS of visitors arrive. Parking becomes a problem very quickly and is almost impossible after lunch
Granada, Spain in winter – The Road is Life
After visiting Granada last February, I can highly recommend this destination as the perfect place to add to your winter travels bucket list! The weather is between 17- 20°C and sunny. Besides the nice weather, it is Spain’s most popular attraction that makes it worthwhile.
The beautiful Alhambra Palace complex attracts over 2 million tourists per year, most of them choosing to visit during the spring/summer months. The Alhambra is a beautiful Moorish style palace dating back to the 14th century. It sits on a hilltop, towering over the city of Granada with a stunning backdrop of snow-covered mountains. It’s easy to see why the Alhambra attracts the masses, it is truly an impressive sight!
It is one of the best winter destinations in Europe as I was able to take nice photos without crowds and explore the different palaces slowly without standing in long queues. Why battle the crowds and the heat if you don’t have to? Choose to visit the beautiful Alhambra in Granada in February for a memorable experience!
Northern Ireland in winter – Live in 10 Countries
With one eye on Valentine’s Day, why not make your winter break a couple’s getaway? You can cozy up against the cold together and turn the whole trip into a series of date nights.
Northern Ireland is a great choice. It has the metropolis feel of Belfast with its cute cafes and stylish buildings – plus limitless Titanic history for fans of Rose and Jack. Flights from the South Coast can be considerably cheaper and the immersive Titanic Experience has to be seen to be believed.
From there, road trip the Northern Irish coastline heading northeast – crashing waves and stunning views come free of charge. Free from crowds at that time of year, it’s the perfect time to see National Trust gems like Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge or Dunluce Castle and get some photos without people.
If you’d rather be indoors, winter is exactly when you want to bounce to high heaven at the Vertigo trampoline park, Belfast, do some skiing in Armagh, or venture out to see the frosty trees in Tollymore Forest Park
Barcelona, Spain in February – History Fangirl
A city that has become one of the major centers in Europe’s fight against over-tourism. Settling for a trip there in February, I was curious to see if it was as crowded in winter as the rest of the year. I was pleasantly surprised!
While there are definitely still tourists there, February is the perfect time to visit. Barcelona’s mild climate means you can get by with a jacket and some light layers, so it won’t feel like a true winter getaway. Instead, you can enjoy the cool weather but still do all of the city’s amazing outdoor activities.
Stroll down La Rambla, Barcelona’s famous pedestrian street. If the weather does turn and you want to escape a cold spell, you can step into the Picasso Museum to enjoy a few hours indoors with one of the world’s greatest artists.
You’ll still want to make reservations for visiting the Sagrada Familia, but many of Gaudi’s other works will be far less touristed than in the summer. We even enjoyed a walking food tour during our visit that started with some amazing local cheese at La Boqueria, the city’s famed covered market. The weather is perfect to enjoy a brisk walk between delicious rounds of tapas
Paris, France in winter – World in Paris
Paris is always a good idea, also in the colder months of January and February. When the crowds are gone, February is a great month to spend in Paris. The low season in Paris means more accommodation opportunities and better prices. Also, lines to visit the main Paris tourist attractions are almost nonexistent!
Winter in Paris is not as cold as the other cities in Northern Europe so you can still wander the streets of Paris for hours if you don’t have a problem with warm jackets and cozy scarves.
What to do in Paris in February? Apart from the off-season attractions, there are always interesting temporary exhibitions of all genres. Also, the three Chinese communities in the city, in Paris 3, Paris 10, and Paris 13 get festive for the Chinese year, with parties, parades and yummy food. February is also the month of Carnivals (more parties follow) and the month of lovers, with an extra touch of romance in the city during the days around Saint Valentine’s
Bucharest, Romania in winter – Earth’s Attractions
If you’re thinking of where to go in Europe in winter, Romania might most probably be on your list of top winter destinations in Europe. December is a month filled with events – with the National Day on December 1st, and Christmas is celebrated with numerous, beautiful markets, and then it’s the New Year’s Eve party.
February is also special in Romania. On one side, there is snow, so skiing is still a favorite activity.
But, for many years now, they also celebrate Valentine’s Day and there are many romantic places in Romania. This means numerous fairs – in parks and malls – with various products. There are also concerts, and you’ll also be able to get special offers for numerous spa experiences, restaurant dinners, hotel packages for short trips, and more. Love is in the air 🙂
Bucharest, Romania’s capital, is one of the cities where you’ll find many fairs and Valentine’s Day-related events. Everything is decorated in style, so prepare for a lot of red and many hearts! Plus, there is also a Romanian love celebration called Dragobete and it takes place on February 24th which means a new set of events and more opportunities to celebrate love!
An insider’s tip: If you want to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, make a reservation in advance, as it’ll be hard to find a table that evening
Venice, Italy in February – Dive.in
Absolutely nothing in Venice can be expressed without being marveled! Its canals are grand, its architecture is extraordinary, its history is old, and its location is puzzling. This is why you need at least a couple of days to fully “feel” the city if you are wondering how many days in Venice would be enough.
Two of the incredible points to experience in Venice throughout the wintertime are Venice Carnevale and a taste of delicious chocolate.
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival in Venice, Italy. The Carnival finishes with the Christian event of Lent. The celebration is world-famous for its intricate masks. As a matter of fact, the word Carnevale may come from the Latin words carne as well as vale, meaning “goodbye to meat”! The use of masks indicates to conceal the person’s identification as well as social reputation.
Now, let’s take a cup of Hot Chocolate in Caffé Florian. Warm cocoa plays a crucial role for us most specifically during winter months when you really feel the cold bite of the snow. Spending some time cozied in the oldest coffee house in Venice with warm hot chocolate to soothe you is really the best feeling! The hot chocolate here is thick and velvety, a must-try.
This what makes Venice a stunning place to go to besides it has no roadways, simply canals. Come and experience the impressive Venice Carnevale as well as take a sip of the delicious hot chocolate when visiting Europe in winter.
Mallorca, Spain during winter – The Elusive Family
Visiting the island of Mallorca in February is a great way to get away from the much colder areas in Europe in winter. Though the weather varies a bit, Mallorca can be pleasant in February. The mild weather during this month makes Mallorca one of the best places in Europe in winter.
Sa Rua takes place in Palma every year at the end of February/early March if you are lucky enough to catch it. It is celebrated at the beginning of Lent, typically end of February/early March with two separate carnival-style marches; one for parents and one for children. The festival includes costumes, music, dancing and special performances.
There is also a local festival in the city of Son Servera, which celebrates almonds! The celebration of almonds is a homage to Mallorca’s almonds, knowns to many as some of the best in the world. Over 5 million almond trees grow in Mallorca and the almond festival celebrates almonds in style with vendors selling a variety of almond products including almond wood.
Until then, happy traveling! xx
P.S. To save and read later, here are some pinnable versions 🙂
Disclaimer: All photos used are by contributing travel bloggers with their permission. This post may contain affiliate links which will give me a small commission if you purchase a product/service. This will not result in any extra cost to you.