Zabriski Point in Death Valley

February may be the shortest month in the year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be chock full of travelling. We’ve selected the prime destinations for you, from the Caribbean coast to the Arctic north.

For beach bums…

Short haul: Oualidia, Morocco

Looking for glamorous beaches, ritzy nightlife and a large selection of hotels and restaurants? Don’t go to Oualidia. However, if a quiet lagoon with butterscotch sands, laissez-faire locals, delightfully fresh seafood and gentle waves perfect for learning to surf, is your thing, Oualidia is the spot.

Oualidia BoatOualidia is a relaxing escape from bustling Morocco
Creative Commons / laura0509
Located on the west coast of Morocco, it’s where the royal children take surf lessons and where flamingos flock in spring and autumn. While you won’t see any of the pink birds in February, the weather will still be warm and the sea pleasantly tepid, rendering this curved inlet a peaceful paradise. Dig your toes into the sand and watch the sunset turn the gem-like waters from an inviting blue to a silvery black.

Long haul: Barbados

Barbados RumMount Gay Rum is the oldest rum producer on the island
Creative Commons / ben187
A temperate climate with beaches ranging from pink-hued sand to rocky outcroppings, Barbados has something to offer all beach bums in February. Crane Beach is fringed by craggy cliffs and populated by bodysurfers and the coastline here offers up some of the most beautiful sunsets on the island. 

If scuba-diving is more your thing, Carlisle Bay has over 200 reported shipwrecks waiting to be explored under the waves. Swim through wrecks accompanied by hawksbill turtles and tiny seahorses. On the western side, the Platinum Coast is the best spot for luxurious restaurants, hotels and emerald golf courses. Make sure to stop by one of the over 1,500 rum shops dotting the island, including the oldest rum producer, Mount Gay Rum. 

For culture vultures…

Short haul: Milan, Italy

Leave your sensible tourist shoes at home; February 18-23 is Milan Fashion Week. If you’re lucky you might catch (read: sneak into) a catwalk show, but if not, keep an eye out for models and celebs on the streets. If designer boutiques are out of your price range, try the outlets around the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II for bargainous discounts.

Get a bit of high culture in with your couture and reserve a time slot to view Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the quintessential renaissance painting, or stop by the Duomo, the third-largest Christian building in the world. To top it off, try some Milanese cuisine, which is some of the most varied in Italy: cotoletta alla milanese (breaded veal cutlets) is one of the city’s oldest dishes.

Long haul: Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong Lantern FestivalBrightly lit lanterns mark the unofficial Chinese Valentine's day
Creative Commons / James Nash
With Chinese New Year on the 31st January, February is another chance at new beginnings and Hong Kong, a brightly thriving metropolis of ancient mystique and familiar commercial giants, couldn’t be a better place to gather inspiration. Along with the end of New Year’s celebrations, Hong Kong celebrates Valentine’s Day with the Spring Lantern Festival. Couples and singles looking for love wander under brightly lit lanterns hanging in parks, flower markets and restaurants. Sail along Victoria harbour in a red-sailed junk boat, eat oodles of noodles and seafood delicacies from street market vendors and lose yourself amongst brightly lit skyscrapers, only to stumble across a traditional temple peering around the corner.

For adventure seekers…

Short haul: Norway

Norway DogsleddingDogs love running in powdery snow
Thinkstock / iStockphoto
Relishing the wintry weather? Take it to the extreme by locating your sense of adventure, swathing yourself in furs, and going dog sledding in Norway. Basecamp Explorer, operating out of Svalbard, offers a tour to a hotel located in a 1909 schooner, frozen in the Arctic waters; it doesn’t get more authentic than this. Depending on where and when you ride, you may even get to see the Northern Lights. 

Safaris of varying lengths are available, ranging from one hour to multiple days, along with opportunities to mush (hold the reins) or just ride along bundled up in the sleigh. The dogs love to run, and you’ll get a chance to pet and play with them along the way. Pick a tour operator with a good reputation and well-treated dogs, and prepare for a thrilling ride. 

Long haul: Death Valley, California

Death Valley’s status as the hottest place on the North American continent means that during summer, hiking during daylight hours is not recommended. Luckily, February means more bearable temperatures, and camping and hiking are encouraged. Made up of ranging salt planes, rippling sand dunes and varying rock formations, Death Valley is surprisingly alive with fauna. Small desert mammals are abundant, along with 307 species of birds and 36 species of reptiles. The water in Devil’s Hole can be sloshed about by earthquakes happening as far away as Japan and it is home to the endangered pupfish population, which dips as lows as 100-200 in the winter months. Visit neighbouring ghost towns abandoned in the days of the gold rush, and stargaze at night to see millions of stars, free from light pollution.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.