Where to go in July

Yippee! Summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and school’s out, so holiday-makers are hot to trot off to the beaches. Unless you have booked well in advance, though, July holidays will be expensive and the most desirable destinations crowded.

America’s miles of coastline crawl with sun-worshippers, but there are a few “best beaches “ which deserve  special mention. Down in California rub shoulders on golden sands with the movie stars on Glitter Beach at Malibu. Make some waves at Surfers’ Beach in Santa Cruz, California, or catch the monstrous swell at Tahiti, Hawaii. New Yorkers head for Rich Beach in The Hamptons, where a line of coastal towns are packed with shops, galleries and top notch restaurants to complement the pristine beaches.

Europeans regard the Mediterranean as their summer playground, and it will be difficult to find a spot for your umbrella and sunbed on the beaches of Spain during July. The Greek islands are buzzing with bronzed bodies, and Italy teeming with sun-seekers and sightseers. July is a popular month for visiting Venice and Rome, where the fountains play in the sizzling squares, or take off to a Tuscany villa for vineyard visits and gourmet fare. Portugal's south coast is famous for its beaches, while the Portuguese islands Azores and Madiera, as well as Spain's Minorca, are more low-key summer getaways. 

The secret of a good summer holiday get-away is to find the roads less travelled. Why not consider going east on the Med this year into the Adriatic Sea, where Croatia offers more than 100 Blue Flag beaches, quaint towns and stunning scenery, with temperatures of  between 25°C and 35°C (77°F - 95°F), sea temperatures up to 28° C (83°F), sunny skies and little or no rain. The medieval town of Dubrovnik ticks all the boxes for serious sight-seers.

The Atlantic coast of south-west France is also a good alternative to the Mediterranean in July. Seek out the oft-overlooked gem of the Île de , with its gently sloping sandy beaches, quaint villages and delicious oysters! Many Brits hop over the channel and park on a beach resort in Brittany or Biarritz, while others prefer to venture inland to Paris, or sample the legendary wines in Champagne and Burgundy, or the specialist vintage of Lower Normandy.

If you would rather keep your cool during July, this is a good time to visit Iceland for midnight sun, geysers, and waterfalls. Take along a waterproof jacket – the weather is changeable but there should be plenty of mild, sunny days in July.

For outdoor and wilderness adventuring, there is nowhere as good as Canada in July. The great lakes region is particularly pleasant for a Canadian holiday – combine it with a visit to the vibrant city of Toronto.

The tropics are swamped with monsoon rains during July, but if you are inclined to take a long-haul flight for your July holiday how about going heading for Africa for a safari in Kenya, where the weather is mild and sunny. Much of Asia is wet in July, but in south-east Asia Borneo is best at this time of year: hot, humid and relatively dry it is a great time to explore the lush rainforests, go snorkeling in the turquoise South China Sea, and meet the famed orangutans and pygmy hippos.

Although it is mid-winter in Australia in July, there is a touch of the tropics to be had in the north of the continent – Cairns (Queensland) has July temperatures ranging from 17° to 26°C (63°-79°F) and Darwin (Northern Territory) is even hotter, between 20° to 30°C (68°-86°F). If you prefer a snow break, there is ski-ing to be had in New South Wales in the Snowy Mountains, and the Alpine region of Victoria. For ski-ing and snow sports “down under” in July, though, the best bet is New Zealand which has the altitude and topography for great snow conditions, from the Southern Alps in the South Island to the chance to ski on a volcano in the North Island. In the Americas there is some great southern ski-ing to be had in the southern Andes of Argentina and Chile.