Brought to you by National Geographic Traveller (UK).
July ushers in the European school summer break, making it the peak travel period on the continent. Cities come alive with outdoor cinemas and rooftop beer gardens while seaside towns are peppered with ice cream vendors. For beach-loving families, Albania and Montenegro provide quieter alternatives to the typical European destinations.
In other parts of the world, July offers an exclusive opportunity to explore the remote Arctic region, accessible due to melting ice. The lack of snow also allows hikers to explore the Indian mountains in Ladakh and Japan’s Mount Fuji, which are otherwise inaccessible.
Monsoons dominate most of Southeast Asia, yet Indonesia, positioned just under the Equator, boasts clear skies. Enjoy the beaches of Bali or visit the Komodo National Park during the dragon mating season.
The dry season in East and Southern Africa makes for excellent wildlife sightings. Witness the Great Migration from Tanzania into Kenya, watch mountain gorillas in Rwandan rainforests, or visit the water-filled Okavango Delta for a boat safari to spot the Big Five.
- Provence, France
July paints Provence purple with lavender season in full bloom. Visit the Luberon and Verdon plateau regions for picturesque Provençal villages surrounded by lavender fields. Explore lavender festivals in Ferrassières and Valensole for lavender-based products. Close by, the Gorges du Verdon welcomes you with its striking blue river, due to glacial minerals. Activities include motorboat rides, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Celebrate Bastille Day on 14th July with parades, fireworks, and parties across the country.
Travel responsibly: Support small villages facing depopulation by patronizing locally owned businesses. Opt for environmentally friendly hotels with certifications like Green Globe, La Clef Verte, or the European Eco-Label.
July sees Kyoto’s streets filled with the Gion Matsuri festival, dating back to 869 AD. Visit during the processions on the 17th and 24th to witness elaborately decorated floats. Post-rainy season, July is also an ideal time to climb Mount Fuji, with the summit open from early July to early September.
Travel responsibly: Choose a reusable water bottle over plastic-packed vending machines and use the MyMizu app to locate water refill stations.
- Okavango Delta, Botswana
In July, the Okavango Delta is transformed as floodwaters stretch over the grasslands. Despite chilly temperatures, clear skies keep mosquitoes at bay. Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy canoe trips for up-close encounters with hippos, lions, buffalos, and elephants, plus over 400 bird species.
Travel responsibly: Make sure your visit to the San of the Kalahari is ethical by confirming the community’s benefit from tourism. Survival International’s campaign for tribal rights provides more information.
- The Arctic
A summer voyage to the Arctic provides relief from July’s heat. Destinations like Svalbard, Greenland, and the Canadian High Arctic become accessible with receding ice, offering opportunities to observe polar bears, Arctic foxes, seals, reindeer, walruses, whales, and migratory seabirds.
Travel responsibly: To help protect the rapidly warming Arctic, choose cruise operators that are members of AECO, managing responsible, environmentally friendly tourism in the region. Consider donating to Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign and consult WWF Arctic for further ways to help.
- Peak District, England
The UK’s oldest national park, the Peak District, offers diverse landscapes and an alternative to crowded beach destinations. It features 1,600 miles of walking paths and 58 miles of cycle routes. Festivals including The Foodies Festival and Buxton International Festival add to the area’s appeal.
Travel responsibly: Peak Walking Adventures offers sustainable small group hikes. Guides can provide recommendations for locally owned accommodations, eateries, and products. Some walks are also accessible via public transport.
Subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine here. (Only available in select countries).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about July travel destinations
Where are some less crowded beach destinations in Europe during July?
During the busy summer season, Albania and Montenegro provide quieter, serene alternatives to the typical crowded European beaches.
What is a unique event to attend in Japan in July?
The Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s biggest festivals, takes place in Kyoto throughout July. Elaborately outfitted floats and street parties make this event particularly memorable.
What wildlife can be seen in the Okavango Delta, Botswana in July?
In July, travelers can witness a wealth of wildlife including hippos, lions, buffalos, elephants, and over 400 species of bird such as the kori bustard, endangered wattled cranes, and the rust-coloured Pel’s fishing owl.
What does responsible travel in the Arctic entail?
Responsible travel in the Arctic involves choosing cruise operators who are members of AECO, an organization that manages responsible, environmentally friendly tourism in the region. It’s also recommended to donate to campaigns such as Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic and engage in actions suggested by WWF Arctic to help protect the rapidly warming region.
What outdoor activities are available in the Peak District, England in July?
The Peak District offers 1,600 miles of walking paths and 58 miles of cycle routes for outdoor enthusiasts. Wild swimming, festivals such as The Foodies Festival and Buxton International Festival, and cycling paths like Monsal, High Peak, and Tissington Trails are also available.
More about July travel destinations
- National Geographic Traveller (UK)
- Responsible Travel Tips
- Green Globe Certification
- La Clef Verte Certification
- European Eco-Label
- MyMizu App
- Survival International’s campaign for tribal rights
- AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators
- Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign
- WWF Arctic
- Peak Walking Adventures