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rebeccan Nov 28th, 2010 09:11 AM

destinations in february?
i am approaching a milestone birthday in february and my husband and i are debating a trip to celebrate. we absolutely love paris, but we've been before, so we're debating somewhere else... though i am all for returning to a city i love and am familiar with to make it more of a vacation.

i know february is not an ideal time to travel in europe, but are there some places that anyone could recommend in particular or others places that you highly discourage? i am not a skier, so ski vacations are not an option, though i love to see snow. we like food, wine and beer, art and architecture, theater and ballet.... and we enjoy spending 5-7 days in one city, with option for easy day trips. so we need somewhere we will have plenty to do for that amount of time. places we have discussed: seville, barcelona, rome, and paris.. perhaps somewhere in portugal as well. i would love to hear anything about these places (and more!) from your experiences in february.

any ideas would be most appreciated!

zeppole Nov 28th, 2010 09:25 AM

If you love to see snow, and love food wine and beer, theater and ballet --- have you considered the European capitals that have these things, plus lots of hotels really built for warmth, that can handle cold weather, and good train connections for easy day trips?

If you think you will simply be miserable shivering from cold in some place like Vienna or Berlin, then maybe Barcelona hits more of your bells than any place else. (Not much beer or ballet in Rome). I think a lot depends on exactly what kind of art you find most interesting, because you can't rule out the possibility in February that you'll need to spend a lot of time in indoors.

You'll either love or hate this idea but: Carnivale in Venice is February 26-March 8. And you can see snow from there in the Dolomiti, or take a day trip to get even closer, plus some other day trips to places like Verona and Padova, or Ravenna. And you would get some spectacular shows at the opera or other venues.

Mimar Nov 28th, 2010 10:30 AM

I know it's not warm but if you like theater, there's always London. With a little research, the food is quite good. And there are several daytrip options; Oxford, York and Bath come to mind.

The UK wasn't on your original list, but London in general doesn't get all that cold and places like Rome are not that warm. Plus the English do cozy so well. Here's a list of pubs with open fires:

julia1 Nov 28th, 2010 01:16 PM

I spent 5 days in Oslo in early February one year and loved every minute of it! I went because I wanted to see the Vigeland sculptures in Frogner Park in the snow. I thought it would be magical at that time of year and it was. As was Oslo itself.

Cold, yes. Snow, yes. Super-short days, yes - it wasn't light until after 9 each morning and dusk settled in by 4 in the afternoon. But the whole city sparkled with twinkly lights in all the trees, there were candles everywhere, and oil lamps burned at the entrances to many of the shops. My hotel was warm and welcoming, with a marvellous sauna downstairs which I looked forward to using each day as I returned in late afternoon, after being out all day.

I spent many enjoyable hours in the wonderful small museums in Oslo, including the Vigeland Museum, the Edvard Munch Museum, and the WWII Resistance Museum. They all bustled with visitors, and offered warming hot drinks, including the richest, most luscious hot chocolate, in the museum cafes. And it was fun riding the metro with locals who brought their cross-country skis with them for commuting from home to the trains and back again, or for going for a 'ski' around the city after work.

julia1 Nov 28th, 2010 07:38 PM

Just came across this London Telegraph article, "Barcelona in Winter."

They also have a feature, "Paris in Winter."

ribeirasacra Nov 28th, 2010 11:55 PM

Venice in winter?

A_Brit_In_Ischia Nov 29th, 2010 01:54 AM

Looking back, at various times we've February trips to Athens, Istanbul, Venice (bitterly cold!) - and Rome.

While fascinating, Istanbul wasn't the easiest of places, even in '95, but Athens might be nicely distant from the Atlantic weather fronts?

Rome - perhaps unsurprisingly - was my own favourite, and on the day we arrived last year the city had just had its first snow for almost quarter of a century. Although we tramped through the slush at Termini, it had all melted away by the time my camera was out and ready....

One good source of what's-on and background information is a handy bilingual magazine, given away in hotels and elsewhere, called "Un Ospite a Roma - A guest in Rome". They've a website from where you can download a PDF copy; start here, and click on the picture of its cover:

The February 2010 edition (a 10MB PDF that's a bit slow to download) may give you some idea of what there would be to do - it's available from...


RosarioR Nov 29th, 2010 03:09 AM

Hi, what about Sicily?
The weather won't be so cold in February ( and there's everything you are looking for: food, wine, several Archeological sites, the famous Sicilian Baroque and other four World Heritage Sites (including Valle dei Templi) and you can even see the snow at Mount Etna.

iamq Nov 29th, 2010 05:35 AM

There have been some great trip reports from folks here who traveled to Rome in February. It sounds like a great time to go to me.

kimhe Nov 29th, 2010 06:21 AM

Sevilla and Barcelona would have excellent things to offer regarding both food, wine and beer, art and architecture, theater and ballet (and flamenco in Sevilla).

Sevilla would normally be warmer with day temperatures often around 20°C/68°F and much sun in February. Two of the best tapas scenes in Spain (and very different), and apart from great museums and sights, the two cities are in itself, each in its own way, very much about art and architecture.

Have a look at Sevilla and Barcelona at, they should help you decide.

And a couple of suggestions for Sevilla which is one of my absolute favourite cities:

Eslava (tapas bar and excellent restaurant next door):
Rinconcillo (the oldest in Spain, 1670):
Lots of other very well informed suggestions on

Abantal is arguably the best restaurant in town these days:

You probably know of all the "normal" sights in Sevilla, but I will suggest you go and see the "Hospital de la Caridad". If you are into chilling paintings and Sevilla golden-age history, go and see this. The 17th century repenting founder Miguel Mañara was - according to himself - "the most evil man that ever lived". All the paintings he commisioned from some of the most famous golden-age arists for the hospital and it's adjoining church dealt with the theme of death and redemption. The hospital, the church, the paintings and Mañara's grave are all in Calle Temprado, 3.

Museo del Bellas Artes is one of Spain's finest art museums. Sevilla and the golden age in Spanish art history is very much two sides of the same coin:

The two most important theaters in town are the beautiful Lope de Vega and grand and modern Teatro de la Maestranza. You should indeed check out their programs.

I leave you with a touch of Sevillanas/flamenco atmosphere in Casa Anselma in C/ Pagés del Corro, 49 in the Triana district. Anselma herself singing:

kimhe Nov 29th, 2010 07:22 AM

...and when in Sevilla, perhaps do a tour of the famous wineries in Jerez de la Frontera (Jerez/Sherry and Brandy). About one hour away by bus/car/train.

Or visit the nearby village Carmona, some 20 miles north-east of Sevilla. Once an important Roman city.

ribeirasacra Nov 30th, 2010 01:20 AM

Snow has already arrived in many parts of Spain, including Madrid. Maybe the winter is going to be colder than normal in Spain? how can tell weather is so hard to predict. I would never go on what has happened weather wise in the past. Just choose somewhere that you like.

Nikki Nov 30th, 2010 03:13 AM

I loved our February trip to Barcelona. You might be interested in my trip report:

I have taken several February trips to Paris. These trip reports are a few years old, so I would recheck for restaurants and shops, but you can get a feel for the experience:

Christina Nov 30th, 2010 12:37 PM

I really liked Seville in Spring, but even though it's a great city, I'm not sure I can imagine getting excited about a trip tehre in February. It just seems you would be missing a lot of the experience, won't want to be outside much. I really do not think it will be 68 in February, I was there in late March and it was colder than that in the afternoon on some days. The above link says it is only 13 C (which is only 55) as a high, although says the afternoon high is more like the low 60s. But I would not count on 68.

julia1 Nov 30th, 2010 04:16 PM

When I travel in February, I usually go one of two ways:

Either I try to pick a place where winter is truly winter, such as Scandinavia (as I wrote above, I very much enjoyed Oslo in February), Poland (Krakow in the snow is gorgeous), Russia (I did the Siberian Express in January one year!), etc, where I can dress warmly and enjoy being out in the weather for a few hours, and then retire indoors and enjoy the warming comfort of good hotels and restaurants. London is also good when it's cold outside, and I adore Paris in the snow - I will never forget walking through Pere Lachaise cemetery in falling snow one February afternoon.

Or I go the other direction and search out sun and warmth, such as the Canaries, Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Morocco, Tunisia, etc.

It feels rather sad to me to go to beautiful places in winter which are really at their best in warmer weather, where a large measure of the delight involves sitting in outdoor cafes and restaurants.

bilboburgler Dec 1st, 2010 12:58 AM

Malaga, it is warm, you can take the train to Seville and you have some fine museums

rebeccan Dec 3rd, 2010 11:06 AM

WOW - thank you SO much for these amazing responses! my apologies for not replying sooner...

i am going to sit and read through all the links in your replies and i will keep you posted.

an opportunity has come up in paris that would provide a free place to stay, so as of now i might be leaning heavily towards paris, especially since i've been and enjoyed the city in warmer weather. i can then save some of these other spots for my favorite warmer travel month - september. :)

thanks again and i will let you know where we end up. i love all the travel tips, and will bookmark them all for later dates so many thanks!

hausfrau Dec 3rd, 2010 12:34 PM

I can't really argue with a free place to stay in Paris ;-)...but if I was going to go to Europe in February, I'd go to Rome! Happy planning!

yanumpty Dec 3rd, 2010 01:02 PM

Another vote for Seville, indeed we are considering booking for next February. With being tied to the school holidays we have tried all over Europe (and indeed the Northern Hemisphere) at this time of year. We have found Seville and Sicily to be the few places in Europe that average over 20oC.

Sicily, some love it, some hate it. We hated it and found it to be the most uncivilised place in Europe. Some find this romantic, we didn't.

Seville has the food and architecture to match Sicily but doesn't have the general disregard to anything that resembles a structured society. We have been 5 times and always struggle to get through more than 3 years without a visit.

Mallorca has a cooler climate either Sicily or Seville but is beautiful in Spring with the farmer's fields being covered in wild flowers and the almond trees in blossom. It has very developed cultural scene.

I have Seville and Catania set as daily weather reports on my iphone. Last Spring (February to May) the temperatures were frequently above 24oC and almost always above 20oC. This is my way of trying to find some light at the end of a damp Scottish spring.

Christina Dec 3rd, 2010 01:56 PM

February isn't May, so the weather in May is irrelevant. And February isn't Spring.

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