July is one of the best months of the year for a holiday. Europe offers warm and sunny weather, while a number of long-haul destinations in America, Africa and Asia offer fewer crowds, spectacular events and epic experiences.
By travelling earlier in the month you can take advantage of great weather in Europe, while avoiding the price hike when the schools break up and the crowds that descend on the coastline towards the end of the month. A European holiday in late July boasts even warmer weather and a livelier atmosphere. Whatever time of the month you are planning to get away, there are many reasons why July is the top month for a holiday.
If you are dreaming of an African safari, you can witness the greatest animal migration on the planet in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve, when over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra slowly mass into a charging herd to migrate to new green pastures. Over in South America, July is Peru's driest month which means the perfect time for hiking those breathtaking peaks. Machu Picchu sells out pretty fast for but we've found somewhere just as stunning, where you can escape the crowds and marvel at snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes and wildflower meadows on an active holiday.
Fancy a holiday closer to home? Find out why North Cyprus, Chamonix and Sicily are on our radar for July 2015... Whether you are searching for a staycation spot in the UK, or would like to visit a far corner of the Earth that you have never heard of, we've rounded up some of the best places to go on holiday in July.
Browse our gallery for July holiday ideas - and click on the maximise box in the top right hand corner of the first picture to view the slideshow in full size.
Where to go in July
Where to go on holiday in July
Head for North Cyprus if you fancy spotting turtles this July. Alagadi Beach, just a few kilometres east of Kyrenia, is a prime nesting spot for endangered Green and Loggerhead turtles. Time a visit just right and you could be lucky enough to see the turtles both nesting and hatching: nesting peaks are late June to early July, while the hatching season starts in mid-July. The Marine Turtle Research Group carries out daily nest excavations which anybody can observe. It is also possible to get up close and personal with the fascinating creatures by volunteering or arranging to participate in a hatchling release. Stay at the family-run Lapida Hotel with its delightful garden and tasty local food.
Unlike other Caribbean islands, Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt and the weather in July is as glorious as any other month of the year. With a balmy average temperate of 32C, cooling trade winds and only 20 inches of rainfall throughout the entire year (there is no rainy season), it is the perfect year-round destination. From the UK, Thomson Airways provides direct charter flights from London Gatwick on a weekly basis so access is easy and as it is considered low season on the island due to peak season being the winter months, hotel rates are slightly cheaper and the island is quieter. Stay at the boutique Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba, just steps from the white sands of Palm Beach.
Visit Thailand in July and you can take advantage of low costs and fewer crowds than during the peak winter season. There is plenty of sunshine, but if it does rain, it only lasts an hour. Photographers love this time of year since Thailand is at its greenest. In Khao Lak, boutique beachfront resort Manathai promises an authentic local experience, pristine beaches and adventures including cave kayaking in Phang Nga Bay and trekking in Khao Sok National Park.
July is the perfect time to visit Sicily, with temperatures reaching highs of around 30C and a host of festivities which bring the rich history and culture of the island to life. The island has an abundance of food festivals throughout the summer including Stragusto, which takes place in Trapani and celebrates the delicious Sicilian, Tunisian and Italian street food famous in the area. Legume lovers will enjoy the Festa del Raccolto in Cianciana which celebrates the town’s local harvest of chickpeas and fava beans. Those in Palermo can enjoy the city’s festival dedicated to its Patron Saint at La Festa di Santa Rosalia, which includes lots of drinking, feasting and celebrating. Relax in luxury at Scent of Sicily's Villa Seabreeze, a modern Sicilian villa with direct access to a private beach that sleeps up to eight people.
Mediterranean harbour town Kalkan, on Turkey's Lycian Coast, is a wonderful place to visit in July when you can relax by day at one of the chichi beach clubs (Hotel Villa Mahal being the best of the bunch), which are ideal for water sports and chilling out. At night, wander in to the old town to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere, maze of cobbled alleys and traditional Ottoman-style buildings, and roof terrace restaurants that invite you to dine under twinkling fairy lights with panoramic views over the harbour. Stay at the boutique Kalkan Regency with Simpson Travel. It has Turkish Baths, a spa and gym, a large freshwater pool and roof terrace restaurant.
Visit South Africa's enticing, multi-cultural showpiece KwaZulu-Natal to experience its warm Indian Ocean waters and soaring peaks at their best. July is a lovely month to visit the glorious beaches for the guaranteed sunshine and no crowds, coupled with the current excellent value of the rand. A region ideal for thrill-seekers looking for adventures, there is hiking, kayaking and cycling in the Drakensburg Mountains, and animal lovers keen to see the sardine run spectacular will not be disappointed. Stay at the stylish Amanzi Beach House, a five-bedroom beachfront property with magnificent Indian Ocean views and direct access to the beach.
July is the perfect month for trekking in Peru as it is the height of the dry season, which means glorious sunny days and not a drop of rain, so you can enjoy the Andes in all their splendour. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu sells out pretty fast for July but if you fancy taking in views that are just as spectacular and escaping the crowds, you can head further north to the snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes and wildflower meadows of the Cordillera Huayhuash. This is one of the last comparatively under-explored parts of Peru and offers possibly the best high-altitude trekking in the world. Only the top Himalayan treks like the Annapurna circuit are any kind of competition, but the Huayhuash comes with added llamas. RealWorld Holidays offers eight-day trekking holidays in the Huayhuash.
Be transported back to the time of the ancient Greeks at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival (until 20 August), a celebration of theatre, music and culture. During the festival, Epidaurus' ancient amphitheatre holds performances of Greek tragedies, in a perfectly preserved crescent structure that has welcomed theatre-goers since the 4th century BC. In July, expect sizzling temperatures, warm sea waters and great value for money if you book a package, too. Stay nearby in Tolon at the Hotel Romvi with Sunvil Holidays. The small and friendly hotel boasts a prime beachfront location, well-placed for exploring the Peloponnese’s many ancient sites, including Ancient Mycenae and Nemea.
July is a really good time to visit Weymouth when the beaches offer safe swimming and soft golden sand, making them perfect for a traditional bucket and spade family holiday in the UK. What’s more, the award-winning Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival takes place on 9 and 10 July and it is also the month that visitors can enjoy the Dorset Sports and Wellbeing Festival, with the opportunity to try water sports and a range of beach sports. Chesil Vista Holiday Park offers holiday homes and caravans just three miles from Weymouth town centre.
Visit Kenya in July to witness the great migration of wildebeest, zebras and the big cats that prey on them in the magnificent Maasai Mara National Reserve. The spectacular natural wonder is regarded as the greatest animal migration on the planet and takes place until October. After calving in the Serengeti, over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra slowly mass into a charging herd to migrate to the green pastures of the Maasai Mara. During the migration, the deep, rumbling of thundering hooves and low grunts can be heard and felt from miles away providing a dramatic, sensory safari experience. On their journey, the wildebeest and zebra are targeted by packs of hyena, huge crocodiles and big cats. Angama Mara is a high design lodge from where you can watch the great migration. Set right up on the edge of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, it overlooks the expansive plains of the Maasai Mara some 300 meters below.
Croatia is old hat and Montenegro is fast becoming Europe’s hottest summer destination. Visit in early July before the summer crowds arrive on the coast when you can also explore the green pastures, dense forests and tranquil lakes of the mountain region surrounding Kolasin, before travelling to Budva on the coast and paying a visit to the iconic Sveti Stefan beach. Visitors can sample local wines in the remote village of Limljani and wander the streets of old Cetinje, the historic capital of Montenegro. Wexas Travel offers an eight-day itinerary combining Montenegro’s pure mountain air with the warm Mediterranean beach climate.
The French Alps provide fresh air, warm temperatures, breathtaking scenery and lots of adventures in the summer months. In July, there are a selection of events and festivals that take place in the Chamonix valley, from music to sports, with the stunning backdrop of Mont Blanc’s picturesque peaks. Sports enthusiasts can make the most of the thrilling cycling trails, rock climbing expeditions, golf courses, white water rafting, tennis lessons and outdoor yoga sessions looking across the spectacular scenery. Amazon Creek offers tailor-made summer holidays across its luxury mountain properties in Chamonix.
Hiking enthusiasts looking for a new challenge should head to Bhutan this July as many treks are best experienced during at this time. Summer is the best time of year to take on the Snowman Trek, despite its name. Ideal for seasoned hikers, it is a testing trail which lasts around 25 days passing through remote areas. For those simply looking to escape the crowds and unwind, Bhutan offers visitors a combination of adventure and rejuvenation set against dramatic mountain scenery.
St Pete/Clearwater's 35-mile stretch of white sand beaches provide a perfect transatlantic escape for Brits who like to enjoy hot days on the beach and warm summer nights out savouring the vibrant nightlife and extensive array of things to do in the evening. Unlike the UK that gets chilly after sundown, St Pete/Clearwater enjoys warm, humid evenings that are ideal for sipping a cocktail at one of the many rooftop bars. Independence Day takes place in July and sees various areas around St Pete/Clearwater light up with evening festivities and fireworks displays. Stay at the new Opal Sands Resort, positioned on the lively promenade of Clearwater Beach and offering dramatic views of the Gulf and spectacular sunsets.
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Cheap July holidays
Where to go on holiday in July
Budapest is one of Europe's cheapest city break destinations and looks its best in July. When it gets too hot you can take a dip in the Széchenyi baths, and at night watch the city's parks come alive with summer cheeriness. Momondo.co.uk searches for flights and hotels to Budapest, with return fares from £95 and four-star hotel accommodation from just £19 a night.
With sky high prices on neighbouring island Ibiza during the summer months, those looking for the turquoise blue waters and spectacular scenery of the Balearic Islands in July should check out Menorca. Quieter and relatively undiscovered compared to Ibiza, Menorca offers tranquil beaches unspoiled by tourism, plenty of nature and a slow pace. easyJet offers one-way flights to Menorca from £67 in July.
Turkey is one of the most affordable destinations for summer sun and if you're after a lively atmosphere, fabulous beaches and stunning scenery, look no further than Marmaris. As the resort is cheaper than many other Mediterranean destinations, it's the ideal place to experience luxury. D–Resort Grand Azur is the only non-all-inclusive resort in Marmaris, offering a secluded beach, stylish decor and exotic gardens. Thomas Cook offers seven nights from £665 per person based on two adults sharing on a half-board basis, flying from Gatwick Airport on 8 July 2015.
For the younger crowd looking to get more for their money, Croatia is an excellent option for a July holiday, when travellers spending the Kuna can enjoy dinners averaging two-thirds the cost of the UK at €10 for a main dish and a beer for €2-3. Topdeck Travel has recorded an increase of 101 per cent on trips to Croatia since last year and whether you're after a sailing adventure or city hopping trip, you can experience the beautiful country from £450 with the travel company.
Its unique volcanic landscape and year-round sunshine make Fuerteventura a great choice for travellers. There are sheltered beaches, watersports and land adventures to experience in July. Temperatures reach 30C in the summer and the current strength of the pound to the euro means you get more for your money. TravelSupermarket offers cheap seven-night holidays to Fuerteventura in July from £214 per person.
Travelling in a group? Zante offers everything you need to relax and enjoy yourself. The north of the island is home to beautiful landscapes, while the lively south coast boasts a vibrant atmosphere and amazing Greek hospitality. The strong pound against the euro and Greece's economic crisis mean Brits can enjoy great value for money on the holiday isle. Holiday Hypermarket offers a seven-night holiday in Zante for just £218 per person, departing Gatwick on 2 July.
A huge number of low cost flights from the UK, cheap meals in fantastic local fish restaurants and a choice of full-on resorts to quiet hotels make Portugal's Algarve a wonderful option for an affordable holiday in July, says TravelSupermarket's Bob Atkinson. There are huge wide Blue Flag accredited sandy beaches for long days by the sea and great biking and walking in the Monchique Mountains above the coast for those who like to get active. TravelSupermarket offers week-long holidays to the Algarve in July from just £201 per person.
For guaranteed hot weather, five-star hotels at an affordable price and a mix of culture and relaxation, look no further than Marrakesh in July. If you're looking to escape the sunshine for a few hours, head for the Majorelle Garden before moving on to the galleries, bars and restaurants in the new town. Lastminute.com offers holidays to Marrakech in July from just £136 per person for four days.
In Greece, which is suffering because of the country's continuing economic crisis, prices in tourist bars have dropped slightly than a year ago which means even greater savings. According to Debenhams Travel Money, a three-euro bottle of beer will cost Brits £2.16, compared with £2.43 in 2014. Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, boasting beautiful scenery, golden sands and bright blue sea. On the Beach offers a seven-night holiday in Corfu for £261 per person on a room-only basis, with flights from Stansted on 2 July.
A strong exchange rate makes a self-catering holiday in Italy a very affordable option and in Sicily villa rental prices tend to be lower during the first three weeks of July. You can also soak up the atmosphere at Palermo’s colourful Santa Rosalia festival (14 July). Choose from a large selection of Wish Sicily villas near the pretty fishing village of Scopello, close to Palermo, the beach and the main cultural sights of northwest Sicily. 10 per cent discounts are available at several villas including Villa delle Stelle where prices start at £320 per person per week (based on four sharing). Ryanair flights start at £140 per person.