February is a brilliant time to visit Europe; the weather is neither extremely hot or cold, there are far less tourists, and you experience a greater sense of what the locals get up to during the quieter months of the year. This article will help you to uncover some of the numerous festivities that you can experience in some of Europe’s most incredible and famous cities, as well as exploring some of the best things to do, see and experience in these European metropolises.
Best places to go in February in Europe
Venice, Italy, for the Carnival
February 23rd, 2019 – March 5th, 2019
The Carnival of Venice is a long-standing tradition, with its first recorded event occurring over 700 years ago. The Carnival centres on the two-week build up to the Mardi Gras, and the city becomes more enchanting, magical and captivating than it already is. The city’s famous, historic masks and costumes come to life again, and the city exudes a wonderous charm of excitement. There are an abundance of performances, exciting eating experiences and an overall vibrant atmosphere; when coupled with the city’s existing splendour, it makes for an incredible time.
Whilst the Carnival is brilliant, it is also important to explore Venice’s historic sites, for instance, Piazza San Marco and the basilica; both the Piazza and the basilica are crucial to the Italian Renaissance, and have been at the epicentre of political, social and religious events for centuries. Ensure you spend lots of time really taking in their exquisite beauty and cultural importance. Moreover, a quintessentially Venetian thing to do is to take a romantic ride on one of the city’s famous Gondolas, for a truly authentic experience; they offer some of the best views of the canal, and the magnificent surrounding architecture.
Check out my 2-day Venice itinerary.
Menton, France, for the Fete du Citron
February 16th, 2019 – March 3rd, 2019
The warm, sunny town of Menton on the French riviera hosts an annual lemon festival, otherwise known as the Fete du Citron. Essentially, the festival is a three-week long tribute to the wonderful lemon fruit, with its abundance of carnivals, parades and performances, all celebrating the lemon. One of the best thing about the Fete du Citron is that the entire town exudes an enticing lemon aroma for the entire festival. Annually, the festival attracts around 160,000 foreign visitors, and it is rumoured that Queen Victoria attended the festival in the year 1882. This brightly-coloured, vibrant and exciting festival is something that everyone should see.
Menton is located right at the end of the Cote-d’Azur, right next to Italy, so it exudes a truly unique coastal charm; some of interesting things to do here, aside from the Fete du Citron include the Jardin Botanique Exotique du Val Rahmeh. This immense botanical garden is full to the brim with bright, colourful plants, trees and flowers, and it projects a really exotic atmosphere. The garden is beautiful all year round, and if you are visiting in February for the festival, it follows the theme of nature and beauty.
Nice, France, for the Carnival
February 16th, 2019 – February 28th, 2019
Perhaps one of the biggest and most popular European festivals that attracts foreign visitors is the Nice Carnival, held annually for two weeks every February. The city explodes into excitement, with its theatrical parades and carnival shows, as well as an array of live bands and performances; the atmosphere is incredible and unforgettable. In the evenings, there are also firework shows, which look majestic above the Nice’s gorgeous skyline. Another aspect of the Carnival you should definitely see is the flower battle, where literally over 100,000 flowers are unleased and fall from the sky; it is spectacular and incredibly unique.
You might want to check my post about the Carnival of Nice.
Aside form the Carnival, one thing you should certainly not miss out on seeing during your trip to Nice is the Parc du Chateau; this astonishing park has an ancient history, and now is filled with beautiful fountains and trees. It also offers unbeatable views of the city below, making it the perfect location to view Nice’s famous sunsets from. Back in the city, make sure you spend lots of time taking early evening walks across the promenade, and getting lost in the winding, narrow alleyways of the old town.
Check out my post about things to do in Nice in winter.
Denmark for the Vinterjazz
February 1st, 2019 – February 24th, 2019
Every year, across the whole of Denmark, the country celebrates its love of jazz for the annual Vinterjazz festival; during this time, hundreds of Danish musicians and international artists perform an array of jazz styles around the whole country, in various different venues. The festival covers smaller cities such as Aalborg and Aarhus, all the way the country’s historic jazz epicentre, Copenhagen; if you are travelling to Denmark to specifically see the Vinterjazz, like many foreign tourists do, the best place to visit is Copenhagen, firstly because it has the largest amount of jazz events, and also has a lot of things to see and explore that are not jazz-related. Explore the historic Nyhavn to discover the famous, brightly covered buildings perched on the harbour, and the many cosy bars and restaurants that reside inside them. Also make sure you check out Tivoli Gardens, which offers visitors an exciting experience full of rides, games and live music. Another great sight to see if the Little Mermaid, which has its origins rooted in a famous fairy-tale, giving it a mystical and enticing atmosphere.
Berlin, Germany, for the International Film Festival
February 7th, 2019 – February 17th, 2019
The Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as Berlinale, is one of the biggest events in film and culture in the entirety of Europe. With over 150,000 tickets sold annually, the event is truly massive, and is popular with film-makers, actors and actresses, as well as film-lovers and general visitors. There is so much going on, such as film parties, discussions, as well as just a general vibrant and buzzing atmosphere.
Aside form the Berlinale, Berlin is a fantastic city, with its fascinating modern history, and unique blend of old and new, it is an exciting metropolis bursting with quirky things to do, see and experience. For example, make sure that you visit some of the city’s famous sites, such as the obvious, the Berlin Wall; discover the controversial history of the wall, and take your time seeing different parts of it. Also visit the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building; learning something of their history as well as admiring their architectural grandeur is unforgettable. Make sure that you also spend some time exploring traditional German beer-houses, and see if you can manage to drink an entire litre beer!
Check out my 4-day Berlin itinerary.
Warsaw, Poland, for the Royal Garden of Light Festival
October 1st, 2018 – March 31st, 2019
The Royal Garden of Light Festival is a unique autumn and winter event that is located in the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, magical lights light up the already existing features and architecture, giving the Palace an even more enchanting, and almost fairy-tale like appearance. The festival is ideal for both families, as it is appealing to young children, as well as couples, as the bright-lights create a romantic atmosphere. The festival attracts many foreign visitors a year, and it is not surprising why; the lights provide another layer of wonder and excitement to an already incredible city.
Some over things to do in Warsaw, aside from the festival, include the Palace of Culture and Science, which though controversial, is an incredibly enormous building that will capture your interest instantly. Also make sure that you visit the Royal Castle of Warsaw, and discover its extensive history of Polish monarchs, whilst also admiring its glorious red Baroque architecture. Another great thing to do is to take a winter walk around Lazienki Park, where you can discover an array of beautiful lakes and fountains, and take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of Warsaw and relax in the company of nature.
You might be interested in Warsaw or Krakow? Which one to choose?
Paris, France for St. Valentines Day
February 14th, 2019
Paris is famous for being one of the world’s most romantic cities, and what better place to spend the day of love? The perfect European travel destination for a romantic getaway, Paris in February is more romantic than ever. On the list of things to do is to take a romantic river tour along the river Seine; there are so many companies that offer dinner cruises that range from a smaller budget all the way to a high-end budget, depending on how much you wish to splurge! A romantic trip to Paris would not be complete without a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower; for decades, the tower has been a symbol of love and epitomises romance. Not to mention, the views are breath-taking, and in February there are likely to be less tourists than the peak months, making it one of the best European cities to visit. For a romantic dinner on Valentines Day, head towards Montmartre, where the winding cobbled streets scream romance, and the cosy-lit restaurants serve some of the city’s best food.
Check out my 7-day Paris itinerary.
Click here if you are looking for the warmest places to visit in Europe in February.
Wherever you decide to visit in Europe in February, these festivals and events may be helpful in guiding your decision. February is a great month to visit European cities, as there are far less tourists, the weather is cooler, and the ques and crowds are significantly smaller, meaning you can enjoy the smaller things without feeling frustrated. This list has noted the best places to visit in Europe in February, and they are just waiting to be discovered.