The Seychelles is one of Wanderlust's best places to visit in July (Shutterstock)
Article Words : Elizabeth Atkin | 04 June 2019

The 19 best places to visit in July

Where should you visit in July? We reveal some of the world's top destinations for enjoying warm climates, wildlife wonders, cultural mainstays and longer-term travel...

July is probably one of the busiest months for travel. School's out, and the weather in many parts of the world is at its warmest and sunniest. Summer celebrations are in full swing, national parks are prime for exploring, and the world's best beaches burst into action.

So, whatever you're looking for from your July getaway – be it short, sunny and sweet, or packing in as many culture and natural highlights as several weeks allows – you'll surely find something to suit you from our selections.

Skip ahead to your chosen travel type by clicking on one of the below, or keep scrolling for the full list:

Here are the 19 best places to visit in July...

The best July destinations for nature and ideal weather

1. Albania and Montenegro

Albania's Blue Eye spring is a natural wonder, and national landmark (Shutterstock)

Albania's Blue Eye spring is a natural wonder, and national landmark (Shutterstock)

Most of Europe benefits from sparkling weather in July, but along with August, it's when you'll find the beaches most crowded, and the cities packed with visitors.

Fortunately, it is possible to find a European hot spot that, even in peak season, is slightly less crowded than the others: the Balkan countries of Albania and Montenegro. Temperatures in both countries reach the hot, hot heights of 30°C to 35°C.

Spend a day or two in Albania's capital Tirana for an unusual city break, and discover that the resort town of Sarandë is a dreamy combination of beaches, history and hiking, and don't miss The Blue Eye natural spring in Muzinë.

Travel via a roughly four-hour bus to Montenegro, settle in and enjoy a stroll around Dubrovnik-esque Kotor, soak up the rays on Budva's beaches, and get your nature fix in Durmitor National Park. 

2. Provence, France

An incredible orange sky pops against Provence's famous lavender fields (Shutterstock)

An incredible orange sky pops against Provence's famous lavender fields (Shutterstock)

Provence's fragrant lavender fields come into their own in July, best seen from the Sénanque Abbey in Gordes. There are few floral sights in any part of the world as pretty and purple as this.

A July visit to Provence should also be well timed with France's national day, La Fête Nationale, commonly known as Bastille Day. An annual celebration in France taking place on 14 July, often marked with festivities, fireworks and the odd parade.

Tour de France, a must-watch in any cycling fan's calendar, also takes place throughout the whole month of July. So, if you're into excitement of sporting events, and want to extend your visit beyond Provence, the time is right...

More perfect times to see the world's best floral spectacles

3. Lebanon

Kadisha Valley between Becharre and Zgharta in northern Lebanon is truly breathtaking (Shutterstock)

Kadisha Valley between Becharre and Zgharta in northern Lebanon is truly breathtaking (Shutterstock)

With highs of 29°C and minimal rainfall, July's an excellent month to pay a visit to Lebanon. Recently highlighted as one of our 'back on the map' destinations, there's plenty to be said about a break to the capital, Beirut.

Visit Martyrs' Square, a central spot highlighting Beirut's past, or stroll the marina, Zaitunay Bay. There are countless museums: a national museum, an art museum and more.

When you're ready, head further afield to hike through scenic Kadisha Valley, discovering the monasteries  hidden in the hills. Do also see the Cedars of God, a forest of rare cedar trees and a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. The Seychelles

The stunning island of St Pierre in The Seychelles (Shutterstock)

The stunning island of St Pierre in The Seychelles (Shutterstock)

Expect glorious weather across the Indian Ocean archipelago to continue throughout July, reaching the pleasant highs of around 28°C, usually averaging out around 25°C to 26°C.

And where better to enjoy such warm sunshine than on one of 115 islands that make up the Seychelles. Beach relaxation is a given, but you can certainly make an adventure trip out of the Seychelles...

Seek the elusive giant Aldabra tortoise, snorkel and admire the natural beauty of St Pierre Island, or get your feet dirty climbing through the rich green forests of Morne Seychellois National Park .

5. Mexico

Colourful homes brighten the streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Shutterstock)

Colourful homes brighten the streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Shutterstock)

Sun-seekers can rejoice in Mexico's July temps, reaching highs of a hot 28°C. It does cool off in the evenings, so you won't be sweltering all day. You may fancy a lightweight jacket, and even a brolly just in case there's a touch of summer rainfall.

Mexico's best-known beaches and hidden coves are often found on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Tulum and Cancun. But there's other benefits to the warmth beyond catching a few rays for yourself: July is peak sea turtle season in Mexico.

Even in the colourful cities, away from the beach, you can find natural wonders to enjoy in the sun. Nature reserves and national parks are aplenty.

The best July destinations for wildlife watching

6. Brown bear watching in Sweden, Finland and Arctic Norway

A brown bear strolls through the bog (Shutterstock)

A brown bear strolls through the bog (Shutterstock)

Early to mid July is often the best time to spot a brown bear in Finland, Sweden or Arctic Norway. Typically, brown bears arise from hibernation around April time, and tend to disappear for mating in June, before becoming visible again – often to feed.

Your best bet of a sighting is at night, often from a 'bear hide' hotel, and with the help of a specialist guide – a.k.a. a 'bear safari'. You'll have plenty of tours and locations to choose from. 

The Lakeland region of Finland is covered in thick forests, and has approximately 2,000 bears in its midst. In central and northern Sweden, it's even harder to catch a glimpse of the region's reported 3,000 brown bears – though Hälsingland, Bollnäs and Sandviken are all popular choices.

Honestly, it's much rarer to see a bear in Norway – if you do, it'll be near the Swedish and Finnish border. 

7. Birdwatching in Vanuatu

Two rainbow lorikeets, who often appear in Oceanic countries like Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea (Shutterstock)

Two rainbow lorikeets, who often appear in Oceanic countries like Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea (Shutterstock)

The 80 islands making up the Pacific Ocean county of Vanuatu may not have the largest number of birds in history, but the ones it does call its own are rather special.

There are thought to be 30 rare species flying around, 11 of which are said to only appear in Vanuatu. The rainbow lorikeet, for example, might be native to Australia, but it frequents Vanuatu - and is quite the colourful sighting for a keen birder.

There's also the coconut lorikeet, the weird and wonderful Vanuatu megapode, and the uber-cute red-tailed tropicbird, to name a few... a must for fans of sensational birdlife.

8. Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroos spot the camera on Kangaroo Island, Australia (Shutterstock)

Kangaroos spot the camera on Kangaroo Island, Australia (Shutterstock)

July is midwinter for Australians, though don't expect minus temperatures and piles of snow. There may be a little rain, but temperatures rest around a palatable 14°C.

Off South Australia is Kangaroo Island, which is a must-visit for fans of marsupials. Kangaroos roam the island freely, in protected nature reserves, which take up about a third of the island.

Expect to see koalas, and a variety of beautiful birdlife, too. Head to Flinders Chase National Park if you love to see penguins in their natural habitats, as the park is home to a colony. Also worth a visit is Seal Bay Conservation Park, to see protected sea lions doing their thing.

9. The Great Migration, Tanzania and Kenya

The Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra begins in Tanzania, Africa (Shutterstock)

The Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra begins in Tanzania, Africa (Shutterstock)

One of the world's biggest and boldest wildlife migrations is the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra. It starts in northern Tanzania's Serengeti, and over 1.5 million animals move towards the Masai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya, as they thirst for water and fresh grass.

You can actually experience a part of the migration at almost any time of year, as our Great Migration calendar goes to show. In July, you can expect to see the herds "spread out from Grumeti Game Reserve and Ikorongo Game Controlled Area to the northern reaches of the Serengeti," according to our expert William Gray.

The crossing over into Kenya really depends on rainfall in Tanzania, so you have to play it by ear. The migration could occur in mid-June, if the waters have run dry - or as late as September, if the zebra and wildebeest aren't so thirsty. There's often opportunity to spot the crossing in July, so choose your timings wisely.

More of the world's most spectacular migrations

10. Polar bear spotting in Spitsbergen, Norway

A polar bear plays in the snow in the Svalbard/Spitsbergen region of Arctic Norway (Shutterstock)

A polar bear plays in the snow in the Svalbard/Spitsbergen region of Arctic Norway (Shutterstock)

A polar bear sighting in the wild is one of life's great joys, whether you're hardcore into wildlife watching, or find it makes up only part of your travel experience.

In Svalbard, Norway, April to September is prime polar bear-spotting season. This is when official tours take place, and is your best shot of getting an up-close glimpse of these deceptively gorgeous (and quite dangerous!) creatures in their homes. Sadly, you can't really go off polar bear-seeking on your own.

In July, you'll have missed the deep snows of earlier in the season, and the ice won't have quite melted, as it does by the end of the season. So, July's often thought of as one of the best times, weather-wise, to embark on this journey. 

The best July destinations for longer-term travel

11. Belize (and its neighbours)

Belize, and its neighbours, are prime for visitors in July (Shutterstock)

Belize, and its neighbours, are prime for visitors in July (Shutterstock)

We've talked plenty about the beauty of Belize on Wanderlust, and we reckon July's a great time to take in all this Central American gem has to offer.

The weather, firstly, is at its best. Hot days are followed (often) by rainy nights, with a cooling breeze rolling in shortly after. Now's your chance to dive the Belize Barrier Reef and Glover's Reef, explore ancient Maya cities such as Lamanai, and marvel at the Blue Hole – a natural large sinkhole off the coast that is both mysterious, and the largest of its kind.

You could spend weeks soaking up Belize, but make it a multi-country trip (since you've got the time to spare) and tick off the neighbouring Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, while you're at it.

12. Alaska

Denali National Park looking mighty impressive, with clear blue July skies (Shutterstock)

Denali National Park looking mighty impressive, with clear blue July skies (Shutterstock)

There's a small window for Alaska's peak season: late May to July. There'll be 17 to 18 hours of daylight each day during a July excursion, and it's also the warmest time of year to visit – with highs of approximately 18°C.

It may not be the cheapest time in-season to visit (that's probably late May), but it is the best for exploring. The prime weather makes explore the vast Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park a total joy. It's a highlight for any nature lover.

Whalewatchers will also benefit from a July trip, as that's when you're most likely to spot humpback whales swimming in the sea. Anglers will also find it's also the best month for fishing Alaska king salmon.

13. Namibia

Namibia is famous for its sand dunes, Sossusvlei (Shutterstock)

Namibia is famous for its sand dunes, Sossusvlei (Shutterstock)

It's true that Namibia, in Southern Africa, is a country that has it all. Famous for its towering red sand dunes, it's also a wildlife hot spot, with a sprawling sandy coast. No wonder you voted it Top Country in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards.

We'd say you'll need the best part of two weeks, if not longer, to really take it all in. July's just the time to do it. The weather is pretty sensational, for one thing. There's low chance of rain, and the temp typically hovers around 20°C – making exploring the Sossusvlei dunes and the desert expanse so much cooler than you'd expect.

The lack of rain is perfect for wildlife lovers, too: Etosha National Park's many animals will be gathering around the water holes to quench their thirst, so you've a good chance of spotting zebra, giraffes and elephants side by side.

See what else you can do in Namibia

14. Indonesia

The exterior of the Indonesia Museum in the capital, Jakarta (Shutterstock)

The exterior of the Indonesia Museum in the capital, Jakarta (Shutterstock)

Where do we begin with Indonesia? The island-hopping? The many moving and unusual religious festivals that take place? The melting pot of cultures, evident particularly in its cuisine? There's so much to see and do – you could spend months here and never get bored.

It won't be the quietest month in Indonesia, as temperatures reach up to a scorching 30°C and visitors do come to many of the 17,000+ islands that make up Indonesia for a dose of glorious sun. But as its dry season, you've got a good chance of ideal weather on all the islands you hope.

Bali is a classic, as is Java – the most populous island in the country, where you'll find the capital city, Jakarta.

We'd also suggest Sumatra, and Komodo Island for a unique glimpse at the Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat (if the island has re-opened to visitors, that is). Finally, Nusa Tenggara (the Lesser Sunda Islands) are all good places to start.

15. Ireland

A castle in the countryside of Ireland (Shutterstock)

A castle in the countryside of Ireland (Shutterstock)

There's never a better-time weather wise to get in your car and road trip through Ireland (unless, maybe, you count March, for St Patrick's Day). In July, you can expect 18 hours of daylight, and a cool temperature. There may be the odd surprise summer shower, but you can't have it all...

Where you drive is up to you, but a stop in colourful Kilkenny can lead you straight to the capital, Dublin, via County Carlow's wild countryside.

If you can, ensure you stop over in Galway, and pay a visit to Connemara National Park, soaking up the nature and hikes, and also the coves and bays along the coast. County Cork is also a must-visit... but we could go on.

Check out all the things you must do in Ireland

The best July destinations for arts and culture

16. San Francisco

Fourth of July fireworks above the San Francisco Bay Bridge (Shutterstock)

Fourth of July fireworks above the San Francisco Bay Bridge (Shutterstock)

A sprawling, metropolitan city in the United States of America seems an obvious choice for July, right? There'll be fireworks galore and parades aplenty in celebration of Independence Day, which takes place annually on the fourth.

You'd probably do just as well in New York, Seattle, Portland, Houston, or anywhere, really, if you're looking for the full red-white-and-blue experience.

We've chosen San Francisco because its known for being tolerant and visitor-friendly. Maybe it's a little luxe price-wise, but its riverside firework display is immensely beautiful against the backdrop of the iconic red Golden Gate Bridge. You can expect countless parades and parties across the city, in a variety of locations, too. 

17. Copenhagen, Denmark

Multi-coloured Nyhavn is Copenhagen's most iconic image (Shutterstock)

Multi-coloured Nyhavn is Copenhagen's most iconic image (Shutterstock)

Roskilde, one of the largest music festivals in Europe, has been taking place in Denmark every July since 1971. Most musical tastes are catered to: Bruno Mars, Robyn, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Cardi B and The Cure among the varied line-ups of festivals past. 

The 130,000-strong festival takes place just south of the city its named after, which is west of the Danish capital. If anything, a stop by the festival is the perfect excuse to spend a few days perusing Copenhagen's many high-end shops, minimalist cafes and its colourful harbour, Nyhavn. It's just half an hour away by direct train, or 40 minutes by car.

One word of advice? Book your accommodation in advance, as naturally it'll be a busy time!

18. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto's Gion Festival is one of Japan's biggest (Shutterstock)

Kyoto's Gion Festival is one of Japan's biggest (Shutterstock)

Kyoto's Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival) is one of Japan's most famous annual celebrations, taking place throughout July. It's been going since the year 869, when the reigning emperor ordered worship at the Yakasa Shrine, in hopes that it would prevent the plague.

Now, the plague is not the driving force behind the festival. It's part of the fabric of the city, with rituals, ceremonies and parades taking place throughout the month. On the 17 and 24 July, traditional parade floats glide through the packed streets, and the festivities culminate on the last day of the month, resulting in another street celebration, known as the 'purification' closing ceremony.

It's worth witnessing the magic, especially if you have a keen interest in Japanese tradition and culture. But if you want to experience Gion Matsuri amongst the welcoming locals, you should plan your trip and book what needs booking well in advance. 

19. Montreal, Canada

A float in Montreal's July comedy festival, Just For Laughs (Shutterstock)

A float in Montreal's July comedy festival, Just For Laughs (Shutterstock)

Montreal's Just For Laughs festival does involve people in the streets and arty parade floats, but it's all decidedly a bit less serious.

The comedy festival started in 1983, and has laughed its way to the top: it's now said to be the largest comedy festival in the world. Typically, it takes place over two to three weeks in July, and offers locals and visitors a variety of stand-up shows, comedy nights and evening events - taking place in many different locations across the city.

Expect showcases for the biggest names in US and Canadian comedy, a few of British comedy's biggest stars, as well as showcases for international and new talent, and a bit of off-beat entertainment...

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