From unforgettable safaris and cruises to sun-drenched beach holidays, here's where to head in July
Wondering where to go in July? To escape the crowds that inevitably appear once the schools break-up and seemingly everybody packs up and heads somewhere hot, consider these – our top tips for the best June holiday destinations…
Best July holiday for: Superb safaris
This month brings the Great Migration, one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles: the movement of 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
The animals are travelling northwards in search of fresh grazing pasture and water, as they do every year – and it makes for incredible viewing. In seemingly endless numbers they splash through rivers, gallop over plains, and tantalise the lions that lie hungrily in wait…
Where to stay: Located in the heart of the Serengti National Park and close to the Grumeti River – home to hippos, crocodiles and more – the Serengenti Serena Safari Lodge offers a deluxe safari stay. Accommodation is nestled in groves of acacia groves and each suite comes complete with a private bathroom and seating area. Facilities at the lodge include a ‘vanishing horizon’ pool with views out to the plains of the Serengti and an on-site restaurant.
Best July holiday for: Cruising the fjords
Start your trip in Norway’s cosmopolitan capital Oslo, known for its cafe culture, museums – including the acclaimed Nobel Prize museum – and foodie scene, before departing on one of the various cruises taking you through gorgeous glassy waters of the Fjordlands. On your way you’ll see amazing wildlife including a variety of bird species and even the killer whale or orca if you’re lucky.
You’ll also experience 24 hours of daylight – a natural summer phenomenon known as the ‘Midnight Sun’.
A trip to Tromsø Wilderness Centre in northern Norway’s largest city is also must. Here you’ll take in beautiful views, enjoy a guided nature walk and meet dogsledding huskies and their puppies.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Oslo, Thon Hotel Opera is a vibrant, modern four-star hotel that provides an ideal base. Facilities include a gin bar and an outdoor terrace – the perfect combination.
Best July holiday for: Incredible islands and smoking volcanoes
Whether you choose the spa resorts of lush Bali, the wild and wonderful jungles of Sumatra, or the volcano views on the Gili Islands, you can’t go wrong with Indonesia in July. With over 17,000 islands comprising the whole archipelago, you’ll never be far from a gorgeous palm-fringed beach and great seafood.
It’s easy, of course, to relax into the slow pace of these laid-back isles – but the islands’ forests offer unforgettable wildlife encounters with orangutangs, tarsiers, monkeys and more.
Where to stay: Located in the Balinese village of Bresela and just 25 minutes from the cultural delights of Ubud town, The Kayon Jungle Resort by Pramana is luxury retreat like no other. Nestled amid lush tropical greenery, each ensuite accommodation unit is decorated in contemporary Balinese furnishings, with a focus on natural woods. Some units even come complete with a balcony or private pool. Facilities include a spa centre, outdoor pool and on-site restaurant.
Best July holiday for: Beautiful British beaches
Wales’ many Blue Flag beaches are one of the country’s best kept secrets. From the sandy stretches of Colywn Bay in the North to the many beaches dotted along the Pembrokeshire coastline in the South, there really is something for everyone.
The Welsh seaside village of Aberporth also enjoys its own microclimate due to its sheltered valley location, and was previously voted the sunniest place in Wales – so its a great choice if you want to both swim and top up your tan at the same time.
Where to stay: Situated in the heart of Aberporth, The Penrallt Hotel features cosy ensuite rooms that have a country chic feel. Book the Queen Room for a terrace with stunning views over the bay.
Best July holiday for: Island hopping
The Republic of Malta is an archipelago of three main islands, each with their own jewels to discover.
The main island – also called Malta – is small and easy to navigate by car or by bus, so you can fill your days discovering secluded beaches, little villages, and the numerous ancient palaces and temples which are scattered all over the island.
A visit to the ancient city of Mdina – which dates back over 4,000 years, and was the country’s original capital – is also a must. Although don’t be surprised if you have a sense of deja vu waling through its cobbled strets; the walled city has been the setting for several big screen films and TV series, including Game of Thrones.
Once you’ve soaked up all Malta has to offer, take a boat trip to one of the other islands, such as Gozo. Here you’ll find sweeping countryside and the famous Blue Lagoon, one of the best swimming spots in Malta.
Where to stay: A short drive from Malta’s capital Valletta you’ll find the all-inclusive db San Antonio Hotel & Spa. Surrounded by palm trees, this hotel is contemporary in design, with facilities including four outdoor pools including a luxurious adults-only rooftop infinity pool. There’s also a candlelit spa and five excellent restaurants.
The River Seine, France
Best July holiday for: Exploring by waterway
Ever fancied giving river cruising a go? Now is the time to try. Head to northern France, where the banks of the River Seine have never looked lovelier. Here you’ll find medieval chateaux and glorious gardens (including Monet’s famous Giverny garden) basking in the early summer sun.
River cruise between Rouen and Paris (and there are plenty to choose from) typically entail fantastic food and gentle sightseeing. As well as Giverny, highlights include Honfleur, where the Impressionists loved to paint, and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh lived, painted and died. For extra culture points, you can even see some of his drawings at the Louvre in Paris.
Where to stay: Fans of 19th century should set up base in Rouen’s BEST WESTERN Hôtel Littéraire Gustave Flaubert, where rooms celebrate the renowned author of Madame Bovary and other works.
Best July holiday for: A satisfying city break
Only got a few days to play with? Copenhagen, Denmark’s characterful capital, is ideal for short July holidays – boasting great shopping, a fun café culture, and an ever-growing crop of super-stylish hotels.
Be sure to pack you swimsuit to make the most of Copenhagen’s main summer draw: its outdoor swimming pools. From seawater dips in Kastrup Sea Bath and Islands Brygge (both popular harbour-side pools) to freshwater wallowing in Bellahøj, the Danes love an alfresco dip. Forgot your costume? Don’t worry. Amager Helgoland sea pools have a women’s only area where clothing is optional.
Where to stay: A three-minute walk from Tivoli Gardens – an iconic amusement park and pleasure garden in central Copenhagen – the First Hotel Twentyseven is a stylish boutique hotel featuring contemporary, ensuite rooms. Helpfully, guests hire bikes from reception to explore the surrounding area.
Best July holiday for: Skiing and whale watching
While Europe is gearing up for the summer, it’s winter in New Zealand – so why on earth would you want to go there? The skiing’s great for starters, with the South Island’s resorts boasting thick, luscious powder. Meanwhile, South Island’s Tekapo Springs are steaming, and there’s never been a better time to go humpback whale watching in Kaikoura.
Queenstown Winter Festival is in full swing too, with live music, stand-up comedy and fireworks to keep the winter chills at bay. With this being off-season, you’ll find great availability at the best hotels and great rates on the 24-hour flight time.
Where to stay: The adults-only Manakau Lodge is located at the foot of the breathtaking Seaward Kaikoura mountain range – and is also just five minutes from the beach. The lodge offers luxury ensuite rooms complete with a private patio, bathrooms with monsoon showers and 43-inch 4K TVs. On-site facilities include a garden and terrace and guests also have access to free in-house movies from a digital library.
Pantanal wetlands, Brazil
Best July holiday for: Wild rainforest adventures
Where to go in July for amazing wildlife encounters? It’s dry season in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands, and the best time to see jaguars playing on the riverbank, colourful toucans and macaws fluttering in the trees, and pink dolphins frolicking in the water.
Take your pick from traditional 4×4 safaris, river boat cruises, hiking, horse riding trips and more. These rich, vibrant wetlands are brimming with incredible wildlife – and now is the best time to see it.
Where to stay: Located in central Cuiabá – the gateway city to the Pantanal – the rooftop pool is the main draw at the five-star Delmond Hotel. Inside you’ll find modern rooms and slick interiors.