Europe can be cold and gray in February; however, it is also the best time to experience Europe's many winter sports activities. It is less crowded, and you can find great rates on hotels and airplane tickets during this time of year. February is also the month of festivals in Europe. Carnival is one of the largest and best-known festivals in the world, and many European cities take part in the annual festival held around Ash Wednesday. Many of Europe's southern locales offer warmer temperatures and a festive atmosphere. Whatever you like to do, you will have no shortage of fun in Europe in February.
The Carnival in Venice is one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in the world. With the first celebrations dating back to 1296, it is also one of the oldest festivals. Thousands of tourists head to Venice in February for this two-week festival. Don a mask and walk through this historic city and marvel at its celebrated architecture. When you get tired of walking, partake in Venice's best-known sports: rowing and boating. Take a tour of the city's canals by boat, or rent a boat or yacht and travel on your own around the city or to the neighboring islands. One of Venice's biggest racing competitions, the Regatta on the River of San Giobbe, takes place during Carnival.
The Swiss Alps have some of the best snow-skiing in the world. Zermatt is Switzerland's best-known ski resort. It sits at the foot of the highest peak in the Alps, the Matterhorn. Zermatt can only be reached by a cog railway. No cars are allowed in this charming, picturesque village. There are three separate ski areas that cater mainly to intermediate and experienced skiers. Matterhorn offers the largest ski run in Europe as well as a snowboard half-pipe and is reachable by the highest aerial cable car in Europe. You can also hike or toboggan down the trails. Zermatt has two ice rinks and several indoor swimming pools and saunas, as well as indoor tennis and golf.
La Plagne, France
Bobsled on the original Olympic track used in the Albertville Olympic games in 1992. The track is open November through February for bobsleighing, luging and sledding. A professional driver can pilot the bobsled, which holds two passengers. Because many teams use the track for training during the winter, it is only open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Seville, Spain, is in the southern part of the country and one of the warmer places in Europe during February. The city is situated along the coast and offers many outdoor activities. Golf is a major sport in Seville, and there are several golf courses located throughout the region. Rent a bike and ride through this gorgeous coastal city. If the weather is warm enough, partake in water sports such as sailing, kayaking and canoeing, which are available at many of the city's resorts. Nearby, the mountains of the Sierra Nevada are a popular snow-skiing destination.