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 snorkeling, 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 plan your July 2019 holiday we've put together our guide to the top destinations and experiences as well as recommended beach destinations and the best places to go on safari in July along with our choice of top tours.
When? 4th July
Commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the 4th 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.
When? 11th-15th July 2019
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. It's a great event to combine with a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway, travelling from Russia to China through Mongolia.
Where? Osaka, Japan
When? 24th-25th July 2019
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.
Where? Marrakech, Morocco
During the month of July the city of 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.
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's some of our top recommendations.
Despite its relatively compact size, Sri Lank 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 Mozambique the ideal beach destination 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 Mozambique so resorts will be busy and prices high but the proximity to Kruger National Park 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. This is the best weather for enjoying Croatia's many islands that dot the Adriatic and offer plenty of beaches to choose from as well as beautiful national parks and attractive towns. 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 and miles of gorgeous coastline facing the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, Turkey is a fantastic beach destination throughout the summer months. It's hot, sunny and dry and there's a wealth of resorts to choose from whether it's popular resorts offering plenty of facilities or smaller resorts with boutique accommodation. A number of ancient ruins are within a day's reach of many of the resorts and Turkey is also a great sailing destination.
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 with the jungle trails clear after the rains and the water levels 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 the Minneriya National Park in northern Sri Lanka. Here the centrepiece 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.
Here's a selection of some of our most popular tours for travel in July from epic train journeys to safari adventures.
On our Independent range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
Our Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.
Our Budget range is the perfect choice for independent spirits travelling on a shoestring. As well as guided sightseeing of the key highlights, there’s also ample free time to explore independently or partake in optional excursions that maximise your time in each destination. Few meals are included, allowing you the freedom to choose exactly where you eat and spend your evenings out, with the added bonus of enabling you to stay in control of your spending.
Many tours in this range include a local payment and this pricing system helps keep costs down so you can be sure we’re delivering the best possible value. You’ll be travelling by both private and public transport – think buses, trains, feluccas and even camels. Accommodation ranges from dome tents to a surprise 4-star hotel at a 3-star price. And with a maximum group size of 32, these tours are designed to create a social and fun travel experience.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 28 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Budget range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.