The Best Holiday Ideas for July 2021
Where to go on holiday 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. Croatia and Turkey are both excellent choices, with plenty of stunning scenery, snorkelling opportunities and long sunny days. It's a completely different story in the southern hemisphere, where it's now the heart of winter, perfect if you're after a skiing holiday or some stunning wintery scenery.
To help you plan your July 2021 holiday, we've put together our guide to the top destinations and experiences for the month. This page also features a range of recommended beach destinations and the best places to go on safari in July, along with our choice of top tours.
Best Festivals and Events in July
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival
Where? Marrakech, Morocco
When? 1st-10th July 2021
During the first ten days 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.
When? 4th July 2021
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 2021
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 2021
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. It's also a great time to visit Russia, with warmer summers making both the cities and the countryside much more attractive to travellers. 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 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 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 wildlife safaris to relaxing beach breaks.