February 1: Dresden’s gloriously restored opera house is at its most glamorous during the annual Semper Opernball, when the famed performance venue transforms into a glittering ballroom. Leading opera stars provide entertainment.
February 3, 10 and 17: St. Moritz’s exclusive White Turf is surely one of the world’s most exciting races, with horses kicking up snow on the frozen surface of the lake, backdropped by Alpine peaks. Jockeys race horses in the traditional manner, but the real highlight is the skijoring, in which horses tow jockeys on skis.
February 5-20: Although it’s not necessarily famous for its culinary contributions, the United Arab Emirates will host some of the world’s finest chefs during Gourmet Abu Dhabi. Notable guests include Michel Rostang, Rachel Allen and Khulood Atiq, the UAE’s first female national chef. In addition to the usual workshops and culinary demonstrations, the “Chateau Dinners,” hosted by companies such as Vega-Sicilia and Château Mouton Rothschild, are not to be missed.
February 12: The days (and even weeks) leading up to Mardi Gras are always rich with festivities, most famously in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro and Venice. But countless cities around the world celebrate the day with colorful parades, concerts and parties. A selection of some alternative events:
Feb. 1-10: Carnavales in Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Feb. 7-12: Karneval in Cologne, Germany
Feb. 8-12: Carnival in Nadur, Gozo, Malta
Feb. 9-12: Carnival in Paraty, Brazil
Feb. 15-March 6: Carnaval in Nice, France
Feb. 18-20: Basler Fasnacht in Basel, Switzerland
February 14: Many hotels and resorts offer special Valentine’s Day packages sure to impress a loved one.
February 16-17: Boston boasts the United States’ largest consumer wine expo, held each year at the Seaport World Trade Center. More than 185 wineries from around the world offer samples of their products, as do an array of top restaurants. VIP tickets, allowing “immediate access to the show floor,” are available, as are tickets to the Grand Cru Wine Lounge, which serves “rare and expensive vintages.”