Team Wanderlust | 31 May 2023
23 of the best places to visit in June
Whether you're after wildlife encounters, cultural experiences or a long-haul getaway, we've picked some of world's best June escapes away from the crowds...
Whether you're after wildlife encounters, cultural experiences or a long-haul getaway, we've picked some of world's best June escapes away from the crowds...
June is a popular month for travel around the world, and for good reason too. Some of the world's best-loved wildlife can be seen in June, there are plenty of summer festivals underway, and the weather's at its peak around many parts of the globe.
But we're not interested in the world's honeypot sites or mass tourist destinations at Wanderlust. Instead, we want to help you find an adventure away from the crowds. So whether you’re looking for a travel experience to last the month, or are in the process of plotting your next city break in the sun, we've got the best, lesser-visited June destination recommendations for you.
Skip ahead to your chosen travel type by clicking on one of the below, or keep scrolling for the full list:
With June being a dry month with little rainfall in both Sabah and Sarawak, the weather is a good reason in itself to head to Borneo. Add in the fact that June is one of your best shots for one of the world's rarest and most inspiring wildlife experiences, and we wouldn't be surprised if you were already booked, packed and on the plane.
Trees start to fruit in June, and orangutans start to come out in the wild Sabah forest to pick up these tasty treats. If you're lucky, they'll come close enough for an incredible sighting. June is also when you'll see green and hawksbill turtles on the remote, sandy Lankayan Island.
Mulu National Park and the Batang Ai region in Sarawak are also great for trekking in June's weather conditions. Head to Mulu during dusk and watch the jawdropping spectacle of three millions bats leaving their cave in search of an evening meal.
April until October is Zambia's dry season, but after July the bush dries out and starts looking a little thirsty for rain. Also, from July onwards visitor numbers start to soar, and safaris and wildlife experiences start to get busier.
To miss high season (and the highest prices), plan your trip for June. You'll still have a very good chance of spotting the likes of leopards, elephants and giraffes gathering by the rivers, or in the thinning vegetation.
Don't forget to wrap up warm for morning safaris. The days may be toasty, but the mornings are typically a tad nippy.
In June, life in the USA’s San Juan Islands tends to revolve around the busy Salish Sea. Aside from the region’s year-round collection of resident southern orca, the summer also sees humpbacks kelping in the waters off San Juan’s Lime Kiln State Park, where they are sometimes spotted from land, though kayak and, more specifically, boat tours offer a greater chance of sightings.
If that’s not magical enough, take an evening kayak trip from San Juan’s pretty Roche Harbor to the still waters of Garrison and Westcott Bays, where you may be able to see bioluminescence twinkling in the darkness. Tours typically start in June, with the long, hot days providing the best conditions to see this natural phenomena up close once night falls.
Masai Mara is a must-visit destination for anyone with a love for big cats. Lions, leopards and cheetahs live happily in this Kenyan reserve. The prides who call the Mara home are even a little bit famous, thanks to TV shows such as Big Cat Tales and Big Cat Diary.
July to October is considered high season, just like it is in South Luangwa. Avoid the bulk of the crowds clamouring for the same sighting, without really reducing your chances of a stunning big cat spot, by going instead in June. Go towards the end of the month specifically to try for a glimpse of Kenya's wildebeest migration, too.
Trekking the Virunda mountains of Rwanda and Uganda, you can enjoy mountain gorilla sightings throughout the year. However, it's awfully misty in the mountains, so you'll be peering through cloudy air to witness the wonder of the gorillas in their natural home.
Dry season takes place from June to September. Expect it to be busy during this time, however the viewing conditions are spectacular. Make sure to book a tour well in advance, to ensure your place for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The temperature is also very palatable for a decent hike, too. It does climb as July and August roll on, so it's worth keeping that in mind.
Both the northern and southern Pantanal in the depths of Brazil offer the best of the best opportunities to spot a jaguar in the wild. June is the start of dry season, which ends in October, making it the ideal weather conditions for a sighting.
Fortunately, the jaguars in the Pantanal are used to the idea of seeing humans around, so a respectful jaguar-spotting session shouldn't spook them too much.
The northern Pantanal is thought to practically guarantee a sighting, but the Caiman Ecological Reserve in the south also offers great jaguar-watching experiences.
While Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is faring better these days, with scientists cautiously optimistic that it is gradually recovering from the bleaching events that have affected its corals in recent years, another conservation success story continues to lure travellers to the remote coast of Western Australia.
The 260km-long Ningaloo Reef makes up around 50% of all living coral in the Indian Ocean. It’s every bit as impressive as its eastern cousin and yet still not nearly as developed, making it a much quieter alternative in the winter months.
The big story here has always been whale sharks. By June, you’re slap bang in the middle of the migration season (Mar–Jul), when these graceful fish arrive en masse in search of krill and plankton. Snorkelling beside them knowing that strict rules ensure the creature’s safety (not always the case in other countries) makes the experience even more unforgettable.
June also sees a huge increase in manta ray numbers in Exmouth, as they zip past divers and snorkellers at lightening speeds – enough to give you whiplash from swivelling your neck. Then there’s dugongs, dolphins, turtles and miles upon miles of beautiful coast and corals to explore… if you have the time.
There's probably no better time to enjoy the high waters, rugged landscapes and glorious colours of Yosemite National Park. Early June's weather makes for a typically dry, warm visit, and the larger crowds don't roll around until later in the month and through summertime. If you walk just 15 minutes away from Yosemite's honeypot sites, you'll get the feeling of total seclusion.
The epic double waterfall, with its three cascades of varying heights, gets its flow of water from the winter's melting snow, and experiences peak runoff in June, before drying up in the summer. You can check how Yosemite Falls is flowing, via live webcam.
Sentinel, Bridalveil, Vernal, and Ribbon Fall – four more of Yosemite's iconic waterfalls – are also flowing in full swing by June. Ribbon is the single largest drop in North America, too.
In June, Greenland's low humidity makes it feel a little warmer. But the main reason Greenland makes our June list is because you can see for miles on end thanks to the crisp, clean air and low moisture. So far, in fact, that it may throw you off kilter: towns, mountains and fjords may seem closer than they actually are.
Still, if you plan properly, you can enjoy great hikes in near-perfect weather, and in edge-of-the-world surroundings. There are countless things you can do beyond simply admiring Greenland's natural beauty – it's certainly not a 'short break' destination. UNESCO heritage sites, Viking ruins and the perfectly quaint Saqqaq village, pictured, are just a few.
Welcome to the near-mystical region of Ladakh in India. It's a walker's paradise. The surrounding views of the Himalayas and Karakoram mountain range are totally unchallenged, and it's the highest point in the entire Kashmir Valley, 3,000 feet above sea level.
The desert cities of Leh and Kargil are also worth a visit, known for their fascinating Buddhist temples and ample trekking routes.
June is an idyllic time to venture here. The weather warms up as the snow dissipates, and Ladakh opens itself up to visitors. The roads leading into Ladakh are fully open, and you can expect a variety of choice in hotels, places to eat and other amenities.
June in Peru brings with it not just seasonal sunshine, but the Sun Festival (Inti Raymi), a celebration with roots deep in Inca culture. It was outlawed under Spanish rule, only to re-emerge in the mid-20th century; now locals freely parade the streets of Cusco in wild costumes, as events – and visitors – overtake the city and Sacred Valley. It all culminates in a grand procession to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman and ends with the beseeching of the sun god for a kind harvest.
While the crowds head to Cusco for the festivities, there are still ways to experience Peru’s history in June and not have to jostle shoulder to shoulder. It might be peak trekking season here, but barely a fraction of the number that visit Machu Picchu make the four-day trek up to Choquequirao, an Inca citadel three times the size of its more famous cousin yet still largely unclaimed from the surrounding jungle.
Alternatively, head north to the Andes, where the once-unassailable fortress of Kuélap tells the story of the Chachapoya (‘Cloud Warriors’), who pre-date even the Inca. The hike up is unnecessary these days (there’s a cable car), though the views – at around 3,000m – of the pillowy Utcubamba Valley below are breathtaking.
June is the perfect time to explore Scotland’s remotest corner. The busy summer ferry schedule makes island-hopping the Outer Hebrides a breeze, as you explore a scattered region where over half of all residents still speak Gaelic, with boat trips out to its furthest-flung isles also just starting up again in June.
Each island has its own character, from the serene beaches of Barra to the art galleries of Stornoway (capital of Lewis & Harris), to the Calanais Standing Stones of Lewis. There’s wilderness too, with the Hebridean Whale Trail taking you to spots where sightings of whales and dolphins are likeliest.
Adventure comes in the form of boats out to the remote isle of St Kilda (100km off mainland Scotland), ably defended by dive-bombing skuas. The island is listed by UNESCO for both its wildlife (home to over a million seabirds) and culture, with visits to a vast colony of breeding puffins making a charming addition to wandering the historic ruins of the old town.
The natural beauty of the Azores comes into full focus in June, with its big hydrangea blooms decorating the island in a mix of pinks, purples and blues. For the most impressive bursts of blue by the archipelago, set your sights on the island of Pico, and admire the bushes of hydrangea highlighting Mount Pico volcano.
June is also prime time for spotting dolphins and whales off the coast of the Azores. Tours can be arranges off various ports, but we heading to Horta on Faial, where you can also visit a museum that brings the history of humans and marine animals to life.
The good folks of Guernsey celebrate an annual Spring Walking Festival which continues into the beginning of June and is perfect for nature lovers.
When not exploring on foot, there's plenty to discover on this Channel Island: the historic, beach-side Fort Grey, Victor Hugo's old home, and the Sunday concerts held outdoors in Candie Gardens, which run throughout summer.
Head to the local bars to try the gin, Guernsey's speciality. Visit a local distillery or just head to the pub and give one or two (or three) local samples a whirl.
Generally, you can expect lovely weather from Long Island in June. The Hudson Valley turns a lush, deep green that's striking against a clear blue sky. For exploring on foot, we suggest strolling through the village of Cold Spring, the arty town of Beacon, or hiking Breakneck Ridge.
Once you're done, keep going on the train to the very edge of Long Island, and find yourself where the richest of locals 'summer': East Hampton and Montauk. Enjoy dreamy, chilled-out beaches and mellow cycling paths, as the best way to get around (if not by car) is by bike.
Famous for appearing in The Affair and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, you'll probably feel familiar grabbing lunch at the Lobster Roll, or exploring the Montauk lighthouse, pictured.
This is officially Pride Month for the world’s LGBTQ+ community, although events are far from limited to June. The roots of the month lie in New York’s Stonewall riots in late June 1969, consequently other countries often choose their own significant dates to mark their LGBTQ+ history. But a few things unite them all: street parties, music and parades.
Tel Aviv is no different, and its miles of beachfront, fine restaurants and diverse nightlife only adds to the occasion as Pride arrives in time for June. The annual parade starts from Me'ir Park (Gan Me’ir), where a large festival of music, drag shows and speeches precede a cavalcade of floats and marching groups who dance, shimmy and glide through town towards the beach.
Best of all: when you’re done with partying, you can do day trips to the mineral spas and buoyant waters of the Dead Sea to recover.
Art Basel is a yearly, international art show that draws the world's most influential and cutting edge artists to Miami, Hong Kong and to the Swiss city after which it is named. In June you can immerse yourself in the 'artworld' and admire installations, displays and modern artworks, and hear daily talks from the artists themselves, in a variety of locations across the city.
Basel also has a host of galleries and attractions you can explore year-round. Marvel at Basel Minster, the gothic, 18th century cathedral with its impressive twin spires. Sit near Markplatz main square, and enjoy a coffee and a pastry. If you're still feeling creative, head to Museum Tinguey, the Basel Paper Mill (Museum) and enjoy sitting by Carnival Fountain – a fine piece of sculpture work in itself.
Budapest, Hungary's capital, is full of surprises – not least the myriad festival celebrations to partake in during the month of June.
Sure, enjoy the classics: ruin bars, the thermal Szechenyi Baths and a cruise down the Danube, but be warned, they will be busy. Afterwards, get involved with the local summer celebrations, including the week-long Danube Carnival, complete with folk dance performances, dance workshops, fairs and craft markets.
Savvy travellers will also want to take advantage of concerts in Budapest Park – Europe's biggest open-air entertainment centre. Or see what's on at Budapest's newest cultural hub, the House of Music.
The Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria are undoubtedly the perfect setting for a fairy tale... but also, as it happens, a truly unique music festival experience.
In June each year, the mountains are filled with revellers looking to enjoy the music and art-driven Meadows In The Mountains festival, which invites dance acts to perform on a stage with this spectacular view (pictured) as their backdrop.
Beyond the music, the festival has strong principles on protecting its natural environment, and encourages those who come along to travel as sustainably as possible.
Anyone who has ever seen Ari Aster’s 2019 horror flick Midsommar would be forgiven for being wary of Sweden’s annual summer rites, but the reality is decidedly more playful thanks to a feast of dancing, pickled herrings, strawberries and schnapps. It’s also a chance to see Sweden at its most relaxed.
The longest day sees locals flock to the countryside and regions such as Darlana, where vast forests and identikit red-painted cottages (the copper paint is a handy wood preservative) spill to the horizon. Just about every village there has a maypole, every head bears a ring of flowers, and the shores of Lake Siljan fill annually with a procession of longboats.
Alternatively, head for Gothenburg and the Bohuslän Coast. The former’s Slottsskogen park sees plenty of maypole action, while ferries to the 8,000-island archipelago offshore deposit travellers in tiny fishing villages that offer a glimpse of traditional life amid the dusky glimmer of midnight sun.
In early June (and often late May), the town of St Anthony in Newfoundland and Labrador witnesses the arrival of a trail of huge icebergs that drift down from the Arctic, having calved from Greenland’s glaciers during the spring and been carried south before they have a chance to melt.
Over the years, this annual event has been turned into the Iceberg Festival, as travellers join boats exploring what is known as ‘Iceberg Alley’ in search of monster ’bergs, puffin colonies and up-close sightings of migrating humpbacks – the world’s largest population drifts right by the coast in the summer.
One sad note is that climate change is taking its toll on the festival, with fewer and smaller icebergs making it down from the Arctic each spring. Who knows how many more years Iceberg Alley has left in it, so join in the fun while you still can to see one of the great frozen wonders.
On 19 June 1865 in Galveston, Texas, Union soldiers delivered the news to the enslaved people of the South that the Civil War had ended and they were free. That this came two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation first promised freedom is a tragedy in itself, yet the date has since sparked one of the USA’s most uplifting holidays: Juneteenth.
It was only declared a US federal holiday in 2021, after years of campaigning. Now the day is marked across the country, with festivities that run the gamut of parades, rodeos, cook outs and music events, all with the common aim of celebrating the Black community. Nowhere is this better experienced than where it all started.
Head to Galveston, an island off the coast of Texas, for days of galas, freedom walks, festivities, parades, picnics and a sobering dose of history. All events are open to the public and offer a way to delve into a past that should never be forgotten.
Two Spanish cities: lots of cultural attractions in June.
Murcia, in Spain's south-east, has a brilliant festival taking over its June calendar: the Baby-Jumping Colacho Festival, where men literally hop over babies in the street. Let's say it's... unusual!
Meanwhile, over in Haro in the north of Spain, a peaceful-yet-messy ceremonial wine-chucking battle called The Battle Of Wine takes place, at the end of June each year.
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