Looking at a short break this February half-term? Here’s what you can expect in 2023
Many of us, hard-hit by pandemic travel plans being scuppered the past 2 years, can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to planning out your precious school term dates in 2023.
The scrapping of all COVID testing for travellers has significantly opened up borders but also seen the return of crowds and the need to book (very!) early to secure accommodation over popular school holiday dates.
However, there is no escaping the fact that everywhere in Europe is pretty chilly still in February! If a family-friendly ski vacation in Europe isn’t your idea of fun, then perhaps you want to check out some of our city break or winter sun destinations.
Let’s jump into some of the great reasons to plan your European family escape in February.
This post is part of our Discover Europe series – destination inspiration and reviews for family travellers
Things To Know Before Heading To Europe In Late Winter
- Whilst COVID may no longer be enemy number one, the travel industry is far from recovered; staffing shortages, strikes, and last-minute cancellations may still need to factor into your planning. Stay alert to the current situations before you travel.
- February half-term dates in the UK are dependent on your local council or Borough, but for most, it will fall the week of 13 to 17 February 2022.
- We use resources such as 12Go to plot whether it’s best to travel by train, plane, or bus across Europe. Often we can spot deals and destinations we may not have thought of before, and February is definitely MUCH cheaper than mid-summer to travel Europe!
- February can still be bitterly cold in most destinations in Europe, so make sure you pack appropriate layers for European winter travel.
- Always take out travel insurance! It should go without saying from cancellations and delays to lost luggage, all international travellers should take out travel insurance.
Where to Visit During February Term Break
So the question is, will you embrace the cold or escape it?! Here are our top suggestions to find both.
Best February Ski Holidays in Europe
Conditions can be at their powdery best come February, so it’s no wonder ski vacations in Europe are a top choice for many families during the February half-term break. The top 3 European ski destinations we’d recommend families try:
- Zermatt, Switzerland – incredible any time of year but at its powdery best in February. A great place to learn to ski, kids will love Wolli’s Park for beginners at Sunnegga, with five magic carpets and a huge range of kid-friendly activities. The fun doesn’t end with skiing; you can also enjoy sledging, ice skating and winter family excursions. (Closest airport SIR or GVA)
- Les Deux Alpes, France – a wonderful beginner-friendly resort in the Alps; there are plenty of ski schools and easy slopes with long green runs. Family-friendly accommodation is plentiful around the easy-to-navigate town, with free shuttles running to the slopes and family lift passes. The snowpark at La Toura is a great addition with dedicated sledging slopes, and families will enjoy the relatively short transfer time from Grenoble or Geneva. (Closest airport LYS or train London – Paris – Grenoble)
- St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria – your pound often stretches a little further in Austria without compromising on skiing quality. In this picturesque winter wonderland, you’ll find over 300 kms of slopes in addition to ski schools and plenty of action off the slopes too, with a Ferris Wheel, multifunction sports centre and trampoline Hall among the region’s attractions. (Closest airport INN).
Best February Family City Breaks in Europe
If you don’t fancy embracing the cold and snow quite that much, why not enjoy some of Europe’s best cities without the crowds?
- London, UK – You don’t necessarily even need to leave the UK in winter; February can be a wonderful time to enjoy a family trip to the capital. As well as all the classic museums in Kensington, enjoy the Imagine Children’s Festival at Southbank Centre, catch a Westend show such as Frozen the Musical or with older kids and teens in London, try Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Athens, Greece – This can be an excellent educational experience to explore during the February half term. Still a little chilly, with average temperatures around 14°C, but this can be perfect for getting out and exploring the historic city on foot. Visit the Acropolis Museum and venture to the top of the Acropolis. Apokeras – Carnival Season starts in mid-February this year (19 to 26 February 2023), and a wonderful colourful festive feeling falls over the city.
- Lisbon, Portugal – A glorious city that can still be easily explored on foot even in the winter months – though who can resist catching the 28 tram (without the queues!) or exploring the funiculars and lifts that dot the city? Castelo Sao Jorge and Oceanario Lisboa are great indoor escapes if it does rain, but you should almost certainly catch some sun heading to Belem or Sintra.
- Venice, Italy – Another city that can often shine at its best in the winter when crowds are lower. Carnevale di Venezia is the star of the show, and masks are a must to play a part in the February celebrations all the way through until Shrove Tuesday. Weekends can be crowded, so half-term week makes the perfect time to enjoy this unique experience.
A Little Beyond Europe in February
If it’s beach weather you are craving, you’re still going to have to fly just that little bit further in February! We suggest:
- Dubai or Abu Dhabi – you are almost guaranteed sunshine during February on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Enjoy temperatures in the mid to high 20s during the day. Waterparks tend to re-open from their mid-winter maintenance – try staying at the new Legoland Hotel in Dubai or the new Warner Bros Hotel, The WB Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, for a great, fun novelty experience for the kids combined with theme park tickets.
- The Canary Islands – OK, still technically part of Europe but certainly a little further afield! Year-round sunshine is also the massive draw card of the Canaries. Maspalomas on the southern coast of Gran Canaria is always popular with families, as is Los Cristianos, Tenerife.
More before you go!
Still plotting a European Vacation and not sure where to head? You may also be interested in:
- Spring Break in Europe – If you’re still holding out until March, here are the best destinations for late seasons skiing, early beach action and where to catch the most vivid flower and nature displays in Europe from March to May.
- October half-term in Europe – If you’re only looking at a short school break, then these are the perfect destinations you can reach within just a few hours of the UK for a magical autumn escape.
- December in Europe With Family – Looking for somewhere festive or escaping to somewhere warm? You’ll love these early winter travel ideas around Europe.
- Rail Travel With Kids Around Europe – We explain exactly how to plot a European adventure by rail using Interrail/Eurail
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