Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

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As winter lumbers on, it gets harder to find super-hot, short-haul sunshine – but don’t give up. A mild-weather city break and a surprisingly sophisticated island stay are both about four hours away, and are equally capable of providing a much-needed recharge. If, however, the drab skies are driving you to desperate measures – insofar as a massive blowout break can be called desperate – there are plenty of far-flung options seen in their best light this month. Whether it’s a truly tropical beach break, a remote road trip on the other side of the world or an epic once-in-a-lifetime excursion… well, that’s your choice.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    1. CASABLANCA, MOROCCO

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 18°C

    We once called Casablanca the Miami of Morocco – for this is the country’s modern heart. Overlooked for lacking the romantic chaos of Marrakech, or Tangier’s rich history of bohemian debauchery, the country’s largest city instead spotlights contemporary Morocco: a buzzing mix of big finance and creative chops. Better still, it’s a temperate winter city break close to home. Stroll the Art Deco quarter, with landmarks such as movie palace Cinema Rialto; slurp freshly shucked oysters at the Central Market; glimpse the past in the un-touristy, donkey-clogged medina; then hit a swish restaurant or rooftop café. Le Relais de Paris serves up sea views and a killer seared duck breast with honey.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    2. TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 21°C

    No, not that Tenerife. Well, yes, sure, the Canary Island, but not those well-worn southern retreats, stuffed with gaudy clubs and English breakfasts. We’re talking the new-and-improved, upscale Tenerife – the five-star stays, chic boutiques and Michelin-starred food. The west coast’s Ritz-Carlton Abama, say, where you’ll find two-Michelin-starred MB’s Basque cooking, and single-starred Japanese fine-dining spot Kabuki. Or, in the north-west, stylish San Roque, a restored manor house on the cusp of one of Tenerife’s prettiest villages – romantic as hell, and, praise be, adults-only. At said village, Garachico, there’s no beach, but you will find ladders reaching into warm rock pools, well-preserved colonial architecture and super-fresh cuttlefish at seafront restaurants.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    3. KENYA, AFRICA

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 21°C


    Tourists have been staying away from Kenya after a wave of terrorist attacks earlier this decade. But government travel advisories have largely been lifted, while the country’s safari destinations and most beach retreats are broadly deemed safe. Plus, in February, you can bag two top trips in one: it’s high season for swimming with whale sharks on the southern coast, while low rainfall in the Masai Mara sees big game gathering in large groups at rivers and waterholes. Laikipia is also a fabulous Big Five option this month, plus it’s where you’ll find one of our favourite safari lodges, the exclusive-use Arijiju.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    4. NEW ZEALAND’S EASTERN SEABOARD

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 22°C

    Craving sweet seclusion? There are few vistas more wild and undisturbed than those on a road trip along New Zealand’s eastern seaboard, and February, the tail-end of summer, is an optimal time to see them. Here, shimmering ocean meets volcanic headland, where several lavish lodges luxuriate in isolation. Helena Bay Lodge, on the North Island, sprawls across a neat lawn at the fringe of the South Pacific, and its private beaches, coves and woodland walks see few footprints but your own. Then to the South Island, and Banks Peninsula, a scenic skeleton of a volcano dotted with sparkly bays and remote little villages. Here, Annandale Farm, set in 4,000 acres of quiet coastal pasture, is a magical retreat of infinite ocean views and foraged food.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    5. JAMAICA, CARIBBEAN

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 25°C

    Jamaica is probably the Caribbean’s strongest personality, with its instantly recognisable food, music and patois. And February is the best time to absorb its unique island rhythm, with long, sunny days that tend to mellow at a perfect 25°C. The biggest news lately is the reinvented Half Moon resort – as if 400 acres and two miles of Montego Bay-facing beach weren’t enough, it’s just been freshened up with a £65 million renovation. Though we’re also partial to Rockhouse, in Negril, where thatched, hut-style rooms sit on cliffs jutting over crystal-clear water. It might be almost 50 years old, but, like past guests the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, it doesn’t go out of fashion.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    6. OAHU, HAWAII

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 25°C

    Between its capital, Honolulu, and its quieter northern and eastern shores, Oahu offers a dynamic mix of big-city amenities and archetypal tropical good looks. And February brings the fun with the Buffalo Big Board Surfing Classic, when locals gather for bragging rights and banter. This isn’t an event for your Kelly Slaters; rather, the community competes in historic and novelty heats, such as SUPsquatch, where teams of up to seven people ride a giant, inflatable stand-up board. The real joy lies in being a spectator during the festivities on Mahaka beach, where music, food and families fuel a proper Hawaiian party.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    7. EASTER ISLAND, CHILE

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 26°C

    The end of the southern hemisphere summer is a fine time to make a trip to Easter Island: the flight schedule remains regular and temperatures are balmy but no longer sweltering. And, while of course the hundreds of moai statues – or ‘Easter Island heads’ – are the main attraction, it should come as little surprise that the surfing and diving here is world class. Guided dives can even take you to a submerged moai, near Hanga Roa, the island’s main town. Plus, it’s not too hot to take a hike, preferably along the north-west coastal path, where there are fallen moais, bright-green pastures and spectacular South Pacific views.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    8. KOH YAO NOI, THAILAND

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 30°C

    A 30-minute speedboat ride from Phuket, but a world away from its noisy resorts, the island of Koh Yao Noi is the Thailand you dream of. Less drunk backpackers, more water buffaloes, traditional rubber farms and sleepy beaches. The views of surrounding Phang Nga Bay are studded with dramatic limestone karsts. At boho-chic Cape Kudu – a Small Luxury Hotel of the World – the spa is styled with hanging rattan chairs, rooms are white and bright and the pool gazes dreamily out to sea. If you really must do something, there’s kayaking through the mangroves and islet-hopping, but we wouldn’t judge if you did absolutely nothing at all.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    9. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 31°C


    It’s Carnival, which means it’s insane. But isn’t that why you’re here? For the beaches swarming with a hot, ripped young crowd, streets marinating in raucous revelry, the sound of samba pulsing everywhere you go? These days, the biggest party on earth isn’t just about parades at the Sambadrome – there’s the accompanying electro-music festival, Rio Music Carnival, too. Past acts have included Afrojack, Tiesto and Diplo, and the crowds go just as all-out bonkers as you’d expect. Desperate to decompress? The Emiliano, the preserve of architects, designers and other tastemakers, offers Ocean Spa Suites with a private sauna, massage tub and views of Copacabana beach below.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    10. GOKARNA, INDIA

    AVERAGE FEBRUARY TEMP: 33°C


    Down the coast from Goa in south-west India, Gokarna is a chaotic temple town that also happens to have a surplus of perfect beaches. Hippies looking for something more lo-fi than its raving neighbour have taken note, and now more luxurious operations have too. Namely, Kahani Paradise – lavish and discreet in equal parts, this enormous villa sits in the hills above the appropriately named Paradise Beach. There’s a spa and swimming pool, antique doors and Burmese teak floors, a vast terrace for alfresco eating and a croquet court. It’s also the only sign of artifice in its lush, jungly surroundings: paradise, indeed.

    For where’s hot in other months, see our guides below:


    WHERE IS HOT IN JANUARY | WHERE IS HOT IN FEBRUARY | WHERE IS HOT IN MARCH | WHERE IS HOT IN APRIL | WHERE IS NOT TOO HOT IN AUGUST | WHERE IS HOT IN SEPTEMBER | WHERE IS HOT IN OCTOBER | WHERE IS HOT IN NOVEMBER | WHERE IS HOT IN DECEMBER

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Scroll down for more images of where’s hot in February…

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Casablanca, Morocco.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Hawaii

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Garachico, a village in Tenerife, Spain.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Arijiju, Kenya.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Arijiju, Kenya.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Arijiju, Kenya.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Rockhouse, Jamaica.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Ritz Carlton Abama, Tenerife.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Ritz Carlton Abama, Tenerife.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    Helena Bay Lodge, New Zealand.

  • Where is hot in February? Our top 10 destinations

    South island, New Zealand.