Where to Travel on Vacation in July 2023
Where to go on vacation in July
With summer on full blast in the Northern Hemisphere, July is all about beautiful beaches, rugged coastlines and water-based adventures. With warm, balmy temperatures and clear skies now is the time to go sailing in the Mediterranean from Croatia or Turkey to enjoy the stunning scenery and spend time snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing. It's a completely different story in the southern hemisphere where it's now the heart of winter and this is where you should head if skiing and snow-based activities are more your bag.
To help you decide where to go in July 2023, we've put together a guide to the top destinations and experiences for the month. Plus, we've recommended beach destinations and the best places to go on safari in July along with our choice of top tours.
Top Destinations and Experiences in July
Ecuador and the Galapagos
High altitude Quito is low on rainfall in July, making it a wonderful time to delve into the city's beautiful UNESCO-listed Spanish colonial architecture. And temperatures west of the Andes are generally pleasant and dry, meaning a beach break is also a possibility. Over on the Galapagos Islands, it's mating season for the iconic blue-footed booby. Perfect for an island-hopping cruise.
Recommended tour: Galapagos Island Hopping →
The Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania
The great migration of wildebeest is perhaps the most impressive natural spectacles on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make their annual journey around the plains of the Serengeti between Kenya and Tanzania. July is the prime time for a safari in the countries, with the beasts attempting to cross the Mara River, a journey made perilous by the steep banks of the river and the hungry crocodiles that lurk in the water. Wherever the herds go, expect the predators to follow.
Recommended tour: Best of Kenya & Tanzania →
Unwind on a Croatian cruise
Summer is in full swing in Croatia by July. Temperatures are warm and beachside resorts are packed with summer holidaymakers. One of the best ways to escape the crowds is to take to the water on an island cruise. This way, you get to sample all the delights of Croatia in summer, whilst keeping away from the crowds. From the lush national parks of Mljet to the vineyards and sun-kissed beaches of Hvar, it's all yours.
Recommended tour: Adriatic Explorer →
Views of Victoria Falls
Now that the rains have passed and the dry season is in full swing, there's less water cascading over the edge of Victoria Falls which means there's less spray rising from the depths of the gorge. This is the ideal time to visit Victoria Falls for photography and for getting closer to the gorge on the various trails. This is also a great time to be on safari in Zimbabwe's national parks with excellent game viewing opportunities in Hwange National Park as the animal residents search for water.
Recommended tour: Namibia to Falls →
Best City Breaks in July
Croatia's most famous city is at its most pleasant in July, with high temperatures not overbearing thanks to a sea breeze. Climbing the famous city walls offers stunning views out to sea, and why combine your visit with an island-hopping Croatian cruise, to really make the most of the weather and the warm Adriatic waters.
Dubbed the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, Medellin is known for its year-round warm climate, making July as good a month as any to visit this vibrant metropolis. Once home to one of Colombia’s most notorious drug lords, this city has shaken its past image to become one of the top foodie destinations in South America. Sample some tasty local dishes at the riverside markets or check out the array of restaurants on offer.
Whilst you might not be able to spot the northern lights in July, Iceland is still a fantastic summer travel destination. Head to the capital city Reykjavik during this month and you’ll have plenty of time for sightseeing as the sun never fully sinks below the horizon. Venture out on a day trip to the famous Golden Circle to discover the waterfalls, geysers and rugged landscapes that Iceland is so famous for.
If you’re a lover of winter sports, then Queenstown may be the perfect place for you to go in July. Whilst Europe’s snow will have long melted, travelers from around the world flock to Queenstown during this month for its stunning alpine scenery, beautiful lake, and easy access to some of New Zealand’s finest ski terrain. There’s also a buzzing apres ski scene for those who’d rather not hit the slopes.
Best Festivals and Events in July
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival
Where? Marrakech, Morocco
During the first ten days of July, Marrakech overflows with entertainers, artists, dancers and musicians for the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival. It's one of the city's biggest events, with a mix of traditional Moroccan arts including folk dancing and Berber music, and more modern entertainment. Performers come from all over the country, representing each region's particular cultural traditions, from belly dancing to snake charming, poetry to song.
Commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the 4th of July is one of the most important days in the American calendar. The largest celebrations are held in Washington DC, the capital city of the USA. Every year a huge parade of elaborate floats and performers makes its way past DC's iconic monuments while at night the sky is filled with spectacular fireworks.
The Nadaam Festival is the largest festival in Mongolia, which kicks off in the capital of Ulaan Bataar at the national stadium with a parade of athletes, musicians, dancers and soldiers on horses. The main events are the three manly games of horse riding, archery and wrestling.
Where? Osaka, Japan
With a history of over 1,000 years, Tenjin Matsuri is one of the greatest festivals in Japan. Highlights include a procession of some 3,000 people in costume marching with shrines, before being loaded onto 100 boats to be paraded up and down the river. The event culminates with a firework display, where the illuminated boats and reflection of the fireworks on the water make for a truly unique spectacle.
Best Beach Destinations in July
It's the height of summer in the northern hemisphere, so anywhere along the Mediterranean is a good bet for a sunny beach break. The Red Sea resorts in Egypt and Jordan are stifling hot, so unless you can handle extreme heat these destinations are best left until the temperatures cool down a little. It's the wet season across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, so not ideal for a beach holiday. To help plan your July beach break, here are some of our top recommendations.
Despite its relatively compact size, Sri Lanka experiences a range of climatic conditions, with the monsoon rains generally affecting one side of the country at a time. Between May and September, the very north and east side of the country experiences dry and bright weather perfect for a beach holiday. The northern plains are extremely hot at this time so it's not the best time to be exploring the Cultural Triangle but if beach is all you want, Sri Lanka will not disappoint.
The dry season across southern Africa makes Zanzibar the ideal beach destination in July, with sunny days, clear skies and hot temperatures. Between June and September you're also likely to spot migrating whales off the coast, adding a spot of wildlife to your beach holiday. This is peak season in Zanzibar so resorts will be busy and prices high but the proximity to Tanzania's world class national parks means you can combine a proper safari with your beach holiday.
It's the middle of summer and temperatures are at their highest and rainfall at a minimum in Croatia. It's the perfect time of year to be sailing between Croatia's tranquil islands on an Adriatic cruise and relaxing on the pristine beaches. A handful of international music festivals also take place in Croatia in July so you can combine a weekend of live performances with a relaxing cruise and island-hopping adventure.
With miles of gorgeous coastline facing the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, Turkey is a fantastic beach destination throughout the summer. It's hot, sunny, dry and there's a wealth of resorts to choose from. Whether you're after a large resort with plenty of facilities or smaller, boutique accommodation, you'll find something catering to your needs. A number of ancient ruins are within a day's reach of many of the resorts and Turkey is also a great sailing destination.
Best Wildlife Destinations in July
Southern Africa is still the best bet for a safari adventure, with the dry season providing optimal conditions to see plenty of wildlife. The Galapagos are a year-round destination and July is the best time to spot whales and dolphins off the coast of Isabela island.
July is the start of the dry season in the Amazon, an ideal time to visit if you're interested in hiking or fishing - the jungle trails are clear after the rains and the water levels are receding. It's hot and humid at this time of year but there's little precipitation, which means fewer mosquitoes. Despite its name, the dry season still gets some heavy rains so pack accordingly.
Every year between July and October, hundreds of elephants migrate to Minneriya National Park in northern Sri Lanka. Here the centerpiece reservoir offers a reliable source of water when the water sources in other parks begin to dry up. This annual event is known as 'The Gathering' and it's the best time to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures in the wild on a jeep safari.
The Great Migration of the Wildebeest is a year-long journey and in mid-July the smaller herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle begin to arrive at the Masai Mara. The savanna will become crowded with wildlife over the next few months and now's the time to visit for excellent safari opportunities. The dry season also means Kenya's other national parks are great to visit too, with plenty of wildlife.
In the winter months (June to September) large groups of humpback whales arrive at the waters on the eastern shores of Madagascar where they engage in courting rituals in preparation for the mating season. By July hundreds of male whales will be demonstrating their physical prowess, leaping out of the waters and crashing back down again.
Recommended tours and holidays for July
If you're still struggling to decide where to travel in July, then why not browse some of our most popular tours for travel this month, from epic wildlife safaris to relaxing beach breaks.