February is a good time to catch up on some skiing if you have missed out winter sports in the previous months. On the other hand if you like your holidays to be balmy and exotic, tropical beaches are a good bet. Above all, this is the month of love and so pack your bags, book your flight and whisk away your beloved to some of the most romantic spots on earth.
- Agra, India
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than marvel in the splendid beauty of Taj Mahal, one of the timeless wonders of the world? Built by Emperor Shah Jahan of the grand Mughal dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century, the Taj is an ethereal and enduring monument to love. This is because it was undertaken as a labor of love to house the remains of Shah Jahan’s favorite queen, Mumtaz Mahal. You can fly from your city to the New Delhi, the capital city of India and from there either take the superfast train Shatabdi Express or do a 200 km road trip to Agra. February is one of the best times to visit India because the heat and humidity is yet to set it.
- Paris, France
For those of you who don’t want to fly half-way across the world, Paris offers an excellent choice to celebrate Valentine’s Day. After all this is the city most associated with romance, passion and l’amour. You can walk hand-in-hand walk along Champs-Elysees or spend a romantic evening on a cruise on the Seine. How about getting that on-top-of-the-world feeling by taking your partner on the higher levels of the Eiffel Tower? If the rains and snow prove a spoilsport, you can get indoors and sip wine at the exclusive George V or at any of the French chateaus near Paris like the Chateau d’ Esclimont which is just 45 minutes from the city and has lower priced rooms for those who want to romance on a budget.
- Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
For a balmy holiday in February, the southern continents make great destinations. Head for Hanmer Springs in New Zealand whose chief claim to fame is a region of hot springs which have steadily grown in popularity with tourists, both local and foreign. The thermal springs owe their origin due to the fractured rock bed along the Hanmer fault. Besides its thermal springs, the town is also blessed with a beautiful landscape in the form of the surrounding high Alpine ranges. However for the more adventurous, Hanmer Springs has a range of outdoor activities like mountain biking, bungee jumping and bush walking. The Visitor Information Center located next to the hot springs offers detailed information on the sights, transport as well as accommodation available in the town.
- Go diving in Cuba
However if water is your element, check out Cuba for some amazing aquatic adventure sports. Cuban has some of the best coral reefs in the world and here divers and snorkelers can discover underwater treasures like gem-colored corals, amazing fishes and sea life, fabulous topography and even ancient sea-wrecks, if one is lucky! The main diving sites in Cuba in located in Havana, Los Canarreos Archipelago, Santa Lucia, Varadero, Playa Giron, Ancon Peninsula, Santiago de Cuba and Jardines del Rey. Most of the diving centers are located near the bigger hotels and resorts which offer their own diving gear on hire. Other than this, Cuba has 30 major dive centers which are well-equipped with technical and instructional support. There are diving packages for everyone – from the professional to the novice. Some of these diving centers in fact offer courses in subjects like marine photography, night diving and other specialty diving.
- Romantic beaches in Hawaii
If you are looking to spend a quiet and intimate Valentine’s Day with your partner, the romantic beaches of Hawaii can be the perfect holiday spot. It is not only more accessible from the North American continent but you can even avoid the hassles of passport and visas. Best of all, here endless vistas of sun-kissed beaches are bordered by swaying palms and lapped by turquoise blue waters. The most favored beaches by couples are those that leave the bustle of tourists behind and offer quiet romantic getaways. A few such beaches are on the Aliomanu Bay along the north shore of Kauai, the Lanikai Beach along Mokulua Drive, the Oahu Beach, Papohaku Beach and the Kona Beach Resort on the western coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
- Adelaide, Australia
Yet another destination Down Under which is perfect at this time of the year is Adelaide. The capital city of Southern Australia is well known for its thriving industries, arts, festivals and academic life. Located on the eastern shores of the Gulf of St. Vincent, Adelaide is surrounded by natural beauty. It has the low-lying Mount Lofty ranges on one side and lovely beaches on the other. In fact the city itself was planned with large public squares, shady boulevards and completely surrounded by parklands. Today Adelaide is home to a vigorous cultural life which stoutly cosmopolitan in nature the heart of Adelaide’s cultural scene is the North Terrace boulevard which houses several museums, art galleries and theaters.
- Oran, Algeria
Culture buffs can head to Oran in Algeria which is a treasure house of ancient Islamic monuments, colonial European influence and a rich heritage of music, art and culture. The coastal city of Oran was originally founded by Andalusia seamen who crossed the Mediterranean Sea to do business with the African continent and landed in this Algerian port. This why Oran has a rich Spanish influence which can still be seen in the architecture and monuments like the fort of Santa Cruz. Today Oran holds greater attraction for tourists as the center of Rai music which is actually a folk music borne out of European and Arab influence. Among other places to see here are the ‘casbah’ or market square in the old quarter, cathedrals and mosques going back to the 18th century as well as its museums and art galleries which showcase the best of north Algerian culture.
- Cape Town, South Africa
Much further south of the continent, you have Cape Town, South Africa’s best known tourist destination. One of the most important natural landmarks here is the Table Mountain which forms an expansive backdrop of the Table National Park. Another major tourist attraction is the Cape Point which offers a striking view as the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula. Cape Town is also well known for its beaches which vary in atmosphere, water temperature and local color. The Atlantic coast beaches like the one at Camps Bay are particularly popular with their restaurants, bars and cafes. On the other hand if you and your travel companion are inclined to shopping, you can explore the immensely popular Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town while those interested in architecture can take pleasure in many of the city’s buildings in the old Cape Dutch style.
- Solden, Austria
If you are keen to catch up on your skiing before winter draws to a close, book a trip to Solden, Just an hour from Innsbruck in Austria. Located on the on the Tiefenbach glacier, this is one of the most favored skiing destinations on this planet. The ski resort at Solden is Austria’s first winter sport facility to offer the avid skier three mountains, all above three thousand meters high. The resort boasts of at least 148 kilometers of perfectly groomed slopes which are every winter sports professional’s delight. At the same time Solden also covers infinite number of slopes and ski trails for various levels and abilities. Moreover the resort city is equipped with the latest technologies including state-of-the-art ski lifts and gondolas.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finally what can be more romantic this Valentine’s Day than getting lost in the sensuous rhythms and music of the tango with your beloved? For such an experience, fly to Buenos Aires, also known as the Paris of South America. The tango is a lively musical style that developed among the immigrant population of Argentina and Uruguay in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The origins of this music go back to a mix of African rhythms and European musical instruments. The Argentine tango is especially responsive to musicality so that the dancers have to express the speed and emotion of the music. Today the southern part of Buenos Aires like Barracas and Parque Patricios is frequented by tourists who wish to catch a tango show.