Forget Cupid and his bow. For some, February is all about independent travel. Whether you’re after some winter sun, want to leave the nine-to-five behind or ditch the hibernating and get active, here are some inspirational February escapes for the most important person in your life: you.
1. Bright lights, new city: Seville, Spain
Filling your senses with the sights and sounds of a completely new place can be one of the best ways to reinvigorate the dreary winter months. But when you’re travelling solo, you don’t want to land somewhere that feels insurmountable. Cue Seville. Sumptuously historic and easy to walk around, this is the city for tapas bar hopping, people watching and trying something new. Flamenco dancing, anyone?
Step out… into the heart of the city from Hotel Palacio de Villapanés, an 18th-century palace turned boutique retreat with great rooftop views.
2. Get that pulse rating: Costa Rica
With its lush jungles, open sky and crescent-moon beaches, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica has got adventure written all over it. Wax down that surfboard and take to the waves with lessons on Playa Santa Teresa. Trek with a group to Montezuma Waterfall, or along world-class hiking trails in Cabo Blanco National Park. You can doze off to the sound of the ocean in a hammock when your muscles get sore. Or even pack in another activity (yoga, ziplining, horseback riding) if you want to switch things up.
Have a fruity Costa Rican cocktail brought to your sun lounger after a fun-filled day out at Hotel Nantipa, a beautiful beachside retreat with an inspiring programme of guided tours and surf lessons, perfect for solo travellers.
3. Swap the hubbub for complete escape: Ireland & Scotland
The undulating countryside and moody skies of southwest Ireland are made for getting away from it all. Hike through flower-carpeted woodland and over fields in County Limerick before curling up by an open wood fire at The Dunraven, a charming 18th-century coach house with aromatherapy massage rooms.
Or, if you prefer your countryside with a side of cobbles, dip into Edinburgh, a Scottish city with serious character. Within easy distance of the Pentland Hills for windswept days out, its historic streets are also the perfect place to get lost amongst the crowds. Hike to craggy Arthur’s Seat for magnificent views of the city and the distant sea. Or get your bearings (and catch your breath) in the winding alleyways and boutiques of the Royal Mile. There are plenty of quirky cafés for a quick jolt of caffeine, welcoming pubs for live music, and enough nooks and crannies to keep you exploring for days.
Sip a dram of single malt whisky in the bar at Nira Caledonia, a beautiful Georgian townhouse with ‘treat-yourself’ rooms.