This article has been created in partnership with National Geographic Traveller (UK).
June is a month of abundance. While some regions of the world brace for hurricanes, monsoons, and heat waves, the Northern Hemisphere is flourishing. The southern Mediterranean is perfect for embarking on a Croatian sailing tour or exploring the Cyclades. Beyond the Arctic Circle, the solstice brings longer nights and numerous midsummer parties across Scandinavia.
In safari destinations worldwide, such as Uganda, Tanzania, Borneo, and the Peruvian Amazon, June marks the beginning of the dry season, making it an ideal time to witness the Serengeti’s Great Migration or observe orangutans swinging through the Sabah rainforests. Additionally, as Arctic ice melts, cruises commence in these remote waters, offering glimpses of cold-weather creatures.
The pleasant temperatures also provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Consider hiking the mountainous Inca Trail or trekking through North America’s national parks for breathtaking adventures under the vast sky. In Yosemite, waterfalls cascade and trails wind through carpets of wildflowers.
- Nashville, Tennessee
Music City hits a high note in June with a bustling calendar of music festivals. One notable event is the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, featuring over 150 performances, comedy shows, cinema screenings, interactive art installations, food trucks, yoga sessions, and sustainability workshops. Spread across a 700-acre farm on the outskirts of the city, the festival is easily accessible via a short shuttle ride from downtown.
While in the Deep South, immerse yourself in country music at the four-day CMA Fest in downtown Nashville. Renowned musicians like Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood perform for free, helping to raise funds for the Country Music Association Foundation’s music education programs.
June in Nashville also offers plenty of free music events. Make Music Nashville takes over the streets, sidewalks, breweries, parks, and even the airport on the solstice (June 21 this year). Another concert series, Musicians Corner, takes place every weekend in May and June at Centennial Park. Inspired by London’s Speakers’ Corner, this Nashville version serves as both a musical landmark and a community gathering space, attracting artists such as Emmylou Harris, Chris Stapleton, and Vince Gill.
Responsible travel tip: Explore Tennessee Music Pathways, a state-wide program aimed at showcasing Tennessee’s rich musical heritage by connecting visitors with the people, places, and genres found in small communities and major cities.
- Pembrokeshire, Wales
Off the coast of Pembrokeshire, lies an island that serves as a haven for wildlife. This island hosts around half of the world’s population of manx shearwaters, along with guillemots, razorbills, and great cormorants. From April to September, boats shuttle between Martin’s Haven on the mainland and Skomer Island. However, June is the peak season for Atlantic puffins. These charming birds migrate en masse, waddling along cliff tops adorned with pink thrift and red sea campion, or soaring towards their burrows with sand eels clutched in their colorful bills. Skomer Island’s offshore rocks and sheltered bays also attract dolphins, harbour porpoises, and curious grey seals.
For a further taste of the wild west, don your hiking boots and explore the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. This trail covers 186 miles of coastline, offering breathtaking views of heather-dotted cliffs, sandy coves, and salt-kissed towns. In June, you can expect to encounter a variety of flora and fauna, including stretches of the path frequented by wild ponies. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try coasteering, a sport invented by surfers in the county. It involves riding swells, hopping across rocks, exploring caves, and cliff-jumping in the foreshore playground.
Responsible travel tip: Recharge at sustainable restaurants in St Davids. The Bug Farm offers insect-based alternatives to meat, and its Grub Kitchen utilizes the buzzing wildflower meadow to create dishes like mixed insect pakoras and spiced cumin and mealworm hummus.
In June, daylight extends well into the night north of the Arctic Circle due to the Earth’s axial tilt. Swedish Lapland experiences the sun lingering low on the horizon from June until mid-July, painting the evening sky with an ethereal golden hue. Night owls can embark on the Aurora Sky Station’s midnight sun hike in Abisko National Park. This adventure involves a chairlift ride up Nuolja mountain, followed by a climb to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of forests, mountains, and an alpine lake.
While marveling at the lingering daylight, immerse yourself in the merriment of Sweden’s midsummer parties. As fields burst with wildflowers, locals flock to their sommarstuga (summer cottages) to celebrate the national holiday at the end of June. Festivities include maypole dancing, flower garland weaving, garden games, and feasts featuring new potatoes, pickled herring, and plump strawberries.
Dalarna, with its green forests and red cottages, is an excellent location for traditional celebrations. If you can’t secure an invitation, participate in a three-day festival at Stockholm’s open-air Skansen museum while wearing a floral crown.
Responsible travel tip: The Swedish Nature & Ecotourism Association is responsible for Nature’s Best, the country’s only sustainability label for nature-based experiences. Conscious travelers can refer to their list of approved responsible companies.
- Cusco, Peru
In the lofty Peruvian Andes, the ancient city of Cusco becomes a stage for Inti Raymi, a 500-year-old tradition dating back to the days of the Inca Empire. The Festival of the Sun culminates in a celebration of the benevolent Inca sun god during the winter solstice, marking the beginning of longer days. The festival includes a procession from Qoricancha that passes through the main square and concludes at the ruins of the Inca citadel of Sacsayhuamán. Join in the festivities, which feature faux llama sacrifices, folk dancing, and traditional Peruvian music.
To delve deeper into Inca heritage, embark on a four-day trek to the 15th-century citadel of Machu Picchu, with its legendary ruins scattered across a rugged mountainside. June is part of the dry season in the Peruvian Highlands, offering ideal conditions for embarking on the sun-drenched Inca Trail.
Responsible travel tip: Many Inca Trail porters endure poor working conditions and receive low wages. Rainforest Alliance’s Green Vacations is a valuable resource for finding ethical operators. Evolution Treks has also introduced women-only treks that employ Machu Picchu’s first female porters, breaking a long-standing tradition of only allowing men to take on this role.
- Malaysian Borneo
Journey into the rainforests of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo for a chance to spot the increasingly rare orangutans. These rust-red primates are found only in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, which are shared by Indonesia and Malaysia.
Borneo is one of the few dry regions in Southeast Asia during June, basking in warm and humid days. It’s also the fruiting season, attracting orangutans down from the canopy to feast on the forest floor. Keep your eyes peeled as you explore Sabah’s Kinabatangan River and venture through the lush Danum Valley.
For a slower pace, visit remote Selingan Island, where turtle-hatching season begins. This tiny island off the northeast Bornean coast is one of three islands comprising the Turtle Islands National Park, a conservation sanctuary for green and hawksbill turtles since 1977. Only 50 visitor permits are issued per day for Selingan Island, and all visitors are required to stay overnight. As darkness falls, you can witness turtles coming ashore to lay eggs in the velvety sand. Guests can even participate in releasing turtle hatchlings into the sea.
Responsible travel tip: Deforestation has had devastating effects on this fragile island, which is home to many endemic species. Over the past four decades, more than half of its forests have been lost to palm oil plantations and logging. Visitors can make a positive impact by supporting forests and research stations, engaging with local communities, and purchasing Fairtrade products.
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