• Floating down the Nile is perfect for your February honeymoon
  • Catch the heart fluttering sight of millions of Monarch butterflies
  • India's big cats can be elusive - to boost your chances visit a national park
  • Wyoming comes alive in winter

Honeymoon destinations: February

As romance sizzles this month, things are also hotting up in some of the globe's most exotic corners.

Parts of India simmer at up to 30°C, and southern Africa is  sunny and dry - yet both will be relatively crowd-free. North America's mountains have powder a-plenty, while far-south South America is still warm and prime for outdoor fun.


Brimming with culinary delights, whimsical art and myriad festivals, Miami and its delicious 24°C heat is a hive of activity in February

The 'Magic City' comes to life during Mardi Gras, its pristine beaches and Art Deco buildings playing host to tourists and locals alike. For a carnival atmosphere, try out the annual Rock Boat festival - one of the biggest parties of the year.

The Nile, Egypt

The Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt, and a cruise down its ancient flow is the most iconic - and romantic - of Egyptian experiences

Float past banks dotted with temples and palm trees, and witness life little changed for centuries. February sees the Nile at its fullest (so most navigable), plus temperatures are pleasant: days are warm (around 25°C), while evenings cool, requiring an extra layer if you sleep out on the deck of a traditional felucca sailboat - fun and authentic, but basic and lacking in privacy.

No need to go without creature comforts. Many ships ply the river, from large vessels with pools and spas to smaller, cheaper cruisers. Most dreamy is a berth on a 12-passenger dahabiyya: these replica 19th-century wooden sailing boats look the part, and allow for a more intimate experience.

All vessels you choose, you'll likely sail between Luxor and Aswan (or vice versa), taking in the ancient Thebes, the Valley of the Kings, the temple in Edfu and more. With time, tack on Cairo's Pyramids and diving in the Red Sea.

Terni, Italy

Nowhere does romance on St Valentine's Day quite like the ancient Umbrian town of Terni

Festivities fill the streets around the Basilica di San Valentino (where the soppy saint is interred) throughout the month; a large feast takes place on 14 February. Grab your loved one, pack a picnic and prepare for public displays of affection, Italian style. 


Catch the heart-fluttering sight of millions of monarch butterflies

Catch the heart-fluttering sight of millions of monarch butterflies, just before they migrate north for the summer. From November to March, the monarchs rest amid the mountainside fir forests of Mexico's Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve, 100km north-west of Mexico City; February also sees the nearby community of Anguangueo put on its butterfly festival.

The Gambia

The Gambia is a tiny slice of West Africa, but it packs in fine beaches, a world-class chimpanzee  reserve, colourful markets and some of the continent's best birding

In just six hours you can be in exotic West Africa, where, from mid-October to June the sun shines up to ten hours a day and rain is virtually unknown. Laze on the coast's fine beaches, then head inland along the River Gambia to stay in waterside lodges and spot hippos and chimpanzees; manatees can be seen Feb-June.

Tiger-tracking, India

Mighty castles and exquisite palaces set India's past in stone, a backdrop to an exotic society of devout religion, timeless custom and vivid colour

India's big cats can be elusive. To maximise your chances of a sighting, visit the country's key national parks (try Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh, Corbett or Pench)  between February and April, when the grasses have died back and the tigers are easier to spot. For something different try scenic Satpura, the only reserve in India to allow walking safaris; stay at www.forsythlodge.com.

Wyoming, USA

Wyoming comes alive in winter

Metres of snow dump on both the groomed ski slopes and off-piste terrain at Jackson Hole (for a little luxury, stay at the Amangani; www.amanresorts.com). In Yellowstone National Park, just north, the snow keeps crowds away and makes it easier to follow the footprints of wild wolves.


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