January is a long, hard month. You’ve tried improving yourself as a person (maybe Dry January even lasted longer than a fortnight) but the cold weather and dark days are still getting you down.
What better way to cheer yourself up than with a spot of travel planning? February is just around the corner and we have the top 5 suggestions for your budget trip or city break, based on accommodation, flights and events.
So where should you be going in February?
The cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg is a city on many people’s bucket list – and it’s not hard to see why: the city is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world, Imperial palaces are dotted around every corner, while beautiful churches peak above the city skyline. The city also has a growing hipster scene.
The bulk of St. Petersburg’s tourists arrive in June when the sun only briefly sets. However, February in Saint Petersburg brings its own perks: canals and rivers freeze over and beautiful white snow covers the rooftops. Accommodation is also cheaper and the rouble’s recent crash make now a great time to visit. You can always warm up with a hot chocolate – or better yet, a shot of vodka. Za zdrovya!
Amsterdam is always a good idea – but not for the reason you’re thinking of. Aside from a certain infamous neighbourhood, the Dutch capital has plenty more to offer. Keep warm during your stay with visits to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, sample some of the great Indonesian cuisine along Utrechtsestraat or trawl the boutique shops of De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets).
If you’re wondering when the best time to visit Amsterdam is, February means great value accommodation – it is one of the cheapest months for hotels in Amsterdam (as shown by the travel advice calendars from trivago), meaning you won’t be forking out over the odds for a place to sleep.
Read more: Ecomama Hostel review
Dublin makes a great budget break from the UK. The Irish capital is full of welcoming charm, with a compact city centre, a great atmosphere and an almost-unrivalled pub scene. What’s more, 2016 is an important year for Ireland’s history, celebrating 100 years since the Easter rising, a key step in the Irish independence movement. Join a 1916 walking tour to learn more.
Visiting in February couldn’t be easier, with cheap flights to Dublin available from Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester and Gatwick airports and more (as found on Skypicker).
Read more: Your go-to budget guide to Dublin
One of Europe’s most romantic cities, Vienna is a classic gem. Historic architecture, world-famous art galleries and traditional coffee houses are dotted around this beautiful gem. Once harder to get to, the Austrian capital is now opening up to budget flights with easyJet routes to Bristol, Manchester, Luton, Gatwick and Edinburgh.
What’s more, visitors to Vienna in February will find much lower hotel prices than in other months, making it a great choice for a Valentine’s Day break on a budget.
Read more: Visiting Vienna on a budget
When it comes to planning a trip, chances are this German city isn’t top of your list. But Dusseldorf does have a lot going for it: great restaurants, high-quality art galleries and several microbreweries making Alt, the city’s signature beer.
February brings another reason to visit Dusseldorf: Karneval. Though it might be better associated with Rio de Janeiro and Notting Hill, Karneval is a huge celebration in Dusseldorf (as well as Cologne and Mainz), with the city’s residents donning fancy dress and partying hard for five straight days. Don’t miss the city parade on Rosenmontag (Monday 8 February).