The northern hemisphere might still be shivering, but we’ve got a pile of things to do in February that’ll keep you happy no matter where you are — check out our pick of the best February festivals in the world.

1. The Venice Carnival

Where: Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
When: 2019: February 16 — March 5

Venice’s famous masks are based in the sensuality of the Carnevale Venezia. This is the time to visit the water-bound city if you want to make the most of a party atmosphere. There are processions through the streets, mock-battles, and the highlight: the Grand Masked Ball. It’s time to pull on your dancing shoes, pull on your mask, and go find a party.

(If you’re heading to Venice this month, I’d make the most of it and add in this amazing food and wine tour. We ate so much better here than on our previous two visits to Venice.)

Carnival is a great reason to visit Venice in February!
Carnival is a great reason to visit Venice in February!

2. Carnaval de Québec

Where: Old Town, Québec City, Canada
When: 2019: February 1-17

You won’t be warming up, but you’ll certainly have fun watching what might be the world’s most amazing canoe race: 3.2km through icy water… and occasional portage over icy patches! While you’re not watching others freezing their kahoonies off, you can do it yourself by taking a snow bath — at least three dips in the snow wearing nothing but your swimsuit. You can find cheap flights during this season and take part of this carnival.
Less stupid adventurous? You’ll enjoy the ice sculptures, outdoor dance parties, and some mighty fine food.

An ice sculpture at the Quebec Carnival
An ice sculpture at the Quebec Carnival

3. The Baguio Flower Festival – Panagbenga

Where: Baguio City, Philippines
When: 2019: February 2 – March 3

This might start at the start of the month, like Quebec’s festival, but it goes for twice as long. The Flower Festival celebrates the end of summer, the cooler days, and life in general. Things culminate in a huge parade, where costumes are colourful — mimicking the local wildflowers — and, in traditional fashion, with parties spilling into the streets.

A young girl dressed for the Baguio festival
A young girl dressed for the Baguio festival

4. Auckland lantern festival

Where: Auckland, New Zealand
When: 2019:
This celebration of Chinese New Year sometimes falls in February, sometimes in March, but is always a lot of fun. The Auckland Domain fills with huge scenes created out of lanterns, and street food is available in abundance — the Auckland lantern festival is one of my favourite events of the Auckland summer.

Auckland lantern festival 2012
Lantern festivals are a big part of Chinese New Year celebrations

Saidai-ji Eyo (The Naked Festival)

Where: Okayama, Japan
When: 2019: February 16

Let’s finish with a touch of the weird in Okayama, Japan, where the Saidai-ji “Naked Festival” tops the list. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, around 9,000 men take part each year, wrestling each other in traditional loincloths for sacred objects, or “good luck charms” as the JNTO would put it.

This list of the top February festivals is in no particular order, and is also completely subjective — they’re the festivals we’ve most enjoyed, or would most like to take part in, of all the festivals that take place in February. Let us know if there are festivals you think we should add to this list!

February festivals pin
Pin me on Pinterest!