After the post-Christmas wind-down weeks and the January blues, many families look forward to a trip away for February half term to re-energise and reset. February half term 2021 may look a little different, but while we may not be able to enjoy an actual escape from the British winter this year, our partnership with Oppidan Education means that you and the children can enjoy a virtual getaway with one of their online learning modules. Combining learning with the joy of travel, their ten Digital Backpacking adventures are aimed at children aged eight to 16, and are a fantastic resource for parents tackling home schooling (again).
After long periods of being stuck in one place over the past year, there's something seriously exciting about the prospect of escaping to the vast, open spaces of Norway and making the most of the country's allemannsretten (freedom to roam) law. The country is a playground for adventurous families all year round; summer sees lush greenery, while in winter, the cities and countryside alike are blanketed in snow and Norwegians are commuting to work on snowmobiles or skis. One of our favourite itineraries for every season is our Northern Fjords road trip, which takes you along some of the country's most scenic driving routes, with stop-offs including the city of Alesund - also known as the adventure capital of the fjords; the Sunmore Alps; and more.
Once you've virtually ventured north to witness the magic of the Northern Lights with our friends at Oppidan Education for February half term 2021, we're pretty sure that seeing them for yourself will be high on the travel bucket list. The best time to see them is September to March, so once we're allowed to travel again, February half term is prime time to visit Swedish or Finnish Lapland and head out with one of our expert guides to go Northern Lights hunting. While you're here, get your heart pumping with snowshoeing, snowmobiling and husky-sledding before getting cosy in your very own family cabin.
Yet another Nordic country in our list of best places to go for February half term is Iceland. This is one of Original Travel's favourite destinations for getting off the beaten track as it's so wild and full of natural wonders, from its technicolour landscape of dazzling white glaciers, black sand beaches and the famous blue lagoon, to its geysers, waterfalls and hot springs. The capital of Reyjavik is a surprising foodie hotspot that's full of culture and a great hub for getting to the country's famous sites of the Golden Triangle, but those who want to get seriously adventurous can explore the eastern side of the island, where nature reigns supreme and you can drive for miles through the epic scenery without seeing another soul.
Despite its beautiful Adriatic coastline, interesting historic sites and backdrop of towering mountains, Montenegro is often overlooked for its better-known neighbour, Croatia. While both countries have their charms, Montenegro is particularly great for those families who want to escape the crowds. Combine kayaking, hiking and biking with tours of the UNESCO-listed capital city, Kotor, and trips to the coast, and you have a Mediterranean getaway with something for everybody.
There's no doubt that Swedish Lapland is the place to go for Northern Lights hunting and snowy adventures, but there are plenty of treasures to be found across the rest of the country, too. Sweden's capital, Stockholm, is perfect for families with mini culture vultures, as it's chock full of museums and galleries that cater for children. Although it can get chilly in winter, there is a certain magic in the city during February half term as the locals head indoors to catch up and enjoy fikka, the traditional of meeting by candlelight for coffee and a bite to eat. It's wonderfully cosy and seriously cool, and a great destination for virtual travel in February half term 2021.
When it comes to beautiful cities, Amsterdam is pretty picture perfect. Get your digital backpack on for a city break 2021-style and get inspired to see it for real as soon as possible. The colourful houses and meandering canals make a lovely backdrop for family strolls along cobbled streets, and there's no better way to warm up then with a vat of hot chocolate and a freshly made stroopwaffle, with its gooey, chewy caramel. Amsterdam also has a huge amount of galleries and museums for the whole family to enjoy - in fact, it has the highest density of museums of any city on the planet! - so you can get a dose of culture and history in the Dutch capital.
Switzerland is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for skiing, and we've organised numerous trips to Zermatt, St Mortiz, Verbier and the like, but we also recommend straying away from the slopes (even if just for a moment!) to see what else the country has to offer. Take the family snowshoeing and bob sledding before cosying up in your mountain chalet with the finest Swiss chocolate and plenty of delicious food on your February half term winter getaway, then return in summer for serene scenic hikes and adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking.
We'd love to escape the chilly British winter for February half term 2021, but instead we're making do with simply dreaming of the rolling countryside, pretty coastlines and culture-filled of Portugal. We at Original Travel are pretty in love with this intriguing country, so once travel is back on the cards, can help you hit all of the hotspots - think Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve - as well some lesser-known destinations, such as the verdant Douro Valley or the delightful Alentejo region.
Yet another destination that's practically made for active families is the towering Dolomites mountain range in the north of Italy. These mountains come alive in winter, as skiers flock to enjoy 800 miles of slopes, and the atmosphere at the numerous mountain villages and towns is electric. Wrap up warm and take the family to the cobbled, boutique-lined streets of Cortina to get stuck into the hustle and bustle of ski season; to San Cassiano village to get a feel for South Tyrolean culture and an insight into the region's history; and to Alta Badia for gourmet treats and excellent apres ski.
A firm favourite of ours all year round, and one destination that we really can't wait to visit again, is Japan. With an incredible balance of history and modernity unlike anywhere else in the world, this is a place where you can throw yourself into the chaos of city life then visit an ancient temple to soak up the serenity of nature all in one day. Whether it's your first time visiting and you want to experience the hubs of Tokyo, Kyoto and Mount Fuji, or your 50th and you're looking for a hidden nook of Japan without another tourist in sight, we know this country inside and out and can create a family holiday to rival all others.