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    Where to go on holiday in July

    holidays in July 2018Where to go on holiday in Julyholiday ideas July

    By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

    July is the month when early summer turns to peak season – if you travel towards the beginning of July you can escape the school holidays and pick up some surprisingly low-priced deals. As you move further into the month, prices rise, as do temperatures across Europe and the Mediterranean.

    Although the Mediterranean is the obvious place to go on holiday in July – see below for our suggestions – there are many other exciting options: you could go north to Scandinavia or Iceland to enjoy long days and midnight sun, or enjoy the clear mountain air in the Alps. You could book an activity holiday, go long haul or save on flights and stay in the UK. Here’s where to go on holiday in July.

    If you have children, check out our recommendations for family holidays in July. If you’re travelling alone, see our pick of the best singles holidays in July.


    Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

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    Malta is one of the best holiday destinations in July

    Mediterranean beach holidays in July

    Renting a private villa with pool is one of the best ways to enjoy the Med. We recommend the pretty coastline of Catalonia for fishing villages, pretty coves and mountains, and Paxos, a step-back-in-time Greek island. Malta offers sun, sea and a fascinating dose of history while neighbouring Gozo is all about sleepy rural charm.

    If you want beach holidays in July, head to the Costa de la Luz in south-west Spain, or the delightful but often overlooked French island of Corsica. The Balaerics – once you get away from the busiest resorts – are superb, especially Mallorca.

    If you want to escape the crowds, consider the Alentejo region of Portugal, which has beautiful sandy beaches and pretty white-washed villages, with charming hotels, but has been entirely unspoiled by tourism. It’s like the Algarve 40 years ago.

    If money is no object, Scott Dunn has some luxury staffed villas complete with private chef, host and nanny.

    Mainland Italy is one of the best holiday destinations in July. We recommend Le Marche for its luscious countryside and good-value accommodation, or Tuscany where you can rent a villa and explore medieval hilltop towns and cultural highlights including Lucca, Florence and Pisa.

    Or head south to Puglia where you can stay in a five-star masseria or one of these luxury self-catering trulli with pools. For something different, you could head to the Verona Opera Festival where in July you can see open-air performances in a candlelit Roman amphitheatre, the world’s largest opera stage.

    The Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia have superb beaches: we recommend Forte Village in Sardinia and Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily – both world-class holiday ideas. July is also a great month to be on the Amalfi Coast. Find more holiday ideas in Italy.

    For families, we recommend the Sani Resort on a spectacular stretch of protected beach on mainland Greece. The island of Crete has many charming houses to rent and some first-class hotels including the contemporary-styled Daios Cove.

    See our selection of the best Mediterranean holidays, and more holiday ideas in Spain.

    Cheap holiday destinationsSurfing in Devon

    Family holiday ideas in July

    For a great value family holiday in July, rent a self-catering apartment in a car-free holiday village in France. These villages come complete with aqua parks and slides, golf, tennis, farms and free kids clubs – so they work well whatever age your children. Belle Dune in Normandy is just an hour’s drive from Calais, though there are resorts across France and Spain. See more cheap holidays in July.

    A sailing holiday is a great way for families to bond, or enjoy some watersports at Lakitira Beach resort.

    The Italian Lakes offer a picturesque setting for family holidays in July, with charming hotels, great beaches and lots of opportunities for boat trips and activities.

    The coastline of Northern Spain is perfect for families in July. It offers beautiful beaches, green countryside, excellent food and wine, mountains and historic villages – but unlike southern Spain, it doesn’t attract crowds of package tourists. Fly or take the overnight ferry, staying in a self-catering cottage or traditional small hotel.

    In Britain we particularly like Sands Resort in North Cornwall, which has a great programme for children.

    If you’re travelling with a large group of friends or families, you could rent a large house that sleeps 12 or more. The Big Domain has an inspiring collection of houses, villas and chalets in the UK and overseas, by the sea, in cities and in the countryside. Or rent a chateau in France with Oliver’s Travels (see their latest special offers).

    For smaller groups check out this selection of villas with private pool in some of the most desirable parts of France including Languedoc-Roussillon, the Dordogne and the Côte d’Azur.

    If you want to combine adventure, culture and relaxation, take the kids on a cruising holiday aboard a traditional Turkish gulet. Explore the coastline of Turkey, Italy or Greece, with lots of swimming in deserted bays, and guided visits to cultural sites.

    Find more ideas on our sister website, 101 Family Holidays.

    Activity holidays in July

    If you don’t want to lie on a beach, how about a cycling holiday in Europe with Headwater, or a walking holiday in the splendid mountain countryside of northern Spain. You can also take a (less expensive) cycling break in the UK, either road cycling or mountain biking, from just £225.

    The Alps in summer are gorgeous: great weather, clean air, low humidity and sparkling lakes where you can swim or enjoy a range of watersports. We recommend a stay at Evian, near the lake at Annecy or in the mountains at Les Deux Alpes. This is also a great time of year to get a deal at The Lodge in Verbier, a luxury chalet owned by Sir Richard Branson.

    Or head into the Atlantic – there are direct flights from Gatwick – to the Azores where its whale and dolphin watching season. The 24ºC temperature is perfect for lazing on the beaches or for enjoying walking or cycling in the lush volcanic countryside.

    Gorgeous beaches and pretty townsUK holiday destinations

    UK holidays in July

    In recent years July has been the month with the most reliable weather in the UK.

    You could rent a house on or near the beach in Norfolk or enjoy the surfing, seafood and coastal paths on offer in Devon and Cornwall. There are several ways to explore Cornwall – rent a cottage with Classic Cottages, stay in a log-cabin or find a luxury self-catering cottage or apartment from Boutique Retreats.

    It’s a great month to rent a boat with Waterways Holidays, perhaps on the Norfolk Broads. Or you could rent a luxury woodland lodge with your own outdoor hot tub in Sherwood Forest.

    You could rent a former lighthouse keeper’s cottage or in Devon stay at one of these pubs with rooms, or farmhouse B&Bs. And if you don’t want to leave your dog behind, see this selection of dog-friendly cottages in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

    Looking for a budget short break? Take the kids to Crealy Adventure Park & Resort in beautiful East Devon, where you can stay in a luxury lodge or camp.

    For a touch more pampering, stay at one of our recommended hotels including Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District and the elegant Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa near Bath. If you want stylish self-catering in Wales check out the beautiful cottages offered by Sheepskin.

    If you want a stylish place to stay in a remote location it’s hard to beat Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel which is set in five acres of grounds in the rolling hills of the Welsh-Shropshire border. It has an award-winning restaurant, lovely bedrooms and also welcomes pets. Nearby in the market town of Bishops Castle, The Castle Hotel is a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside. It has 12 rooms and a gourmet restaurant.

    Check out this collection of boutique hotels and cottages in the UK which includes budget options such as this groovy guesthouse in Brighton and upmarket picks such as Olga Polizzi’s Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall. From London it is easy to reach Maison Talbooth in Constable Country, with just 12 bedrooms and stunning food.

    This is a great time of year to visit Scotland. You can rent a cottage in the countryside or a luxury apartment in Edinburgh, or choose from a range of short breaks including whisky tours on Islay and the chance to see Minke Whales, otters, seals, porpoises on a wildlife cruise around Mull. How about a steam train journey along the West Highland Line to the Isle of Skye.

    Camping is all the rage but if you can’t face cramped tents and damp sleeping bags, check into Feather Down Farms which has luxurious and spacious fixed tents at more than 30 working farms across the UK.

    Or go glamping at Trevella Park which is set beside a stunning beach near Newquay, Cornwall. The park has nature trails, fishing lakes and a heated outdoor swimming pool and a range of accommodation including tepees, safari tents and bell tents that sleep 4-6 and have comfortable beds, duvets, decking, a fridge and camping stove.

    For something more grand, you could get together with family or friends to rent a Downton Abbey-style stately home.

    Explore the best of Britain on a small-group cultural tour. Under the guidance of an expert in art, music or architecture, you can join like-minded people to visit some of the Great Houses of England or attend a classical music festival.

    Find more UK holiday ideas and check out my colleague Annabelle Thorpe’s recommendations for city breaks in July and other shorter holidays.

    Orangutans in SumatraLaluna honeymoon 2012

    Long haul luxury holidays in July

    Many popular long haul destinations experience rainfall and high humidity in July, so you need to select carefully. In Asia, Borneo is at its best in our summer. As well as getting the chance to encounter orangutans in the wild, you can laze on sandy beaches, hike in tropical forests and visit indigenous villages. This nature tour covers all the best bits.

    There’s no shortage of adventures in Indonesia, of the most diverse and exciting countries in south-east Asia. Try one these tours – including Sulawesi, Java and Bali where you’ll try through remote villages in the company of a Balinese priest.

    It’s also the best time of year to visit Peru where you can tick several things off your bucket list: hiking the Inca Trail, visiting the Lost City of Machu Picchu and exploring the wondrous Amazon rainforest. More ideas here. To the north of Peru, Colombia is fast emerging as one of the most exciting destinations in Latin America. The main appeal is that you have mountains, beach, jungle and rainforest all within a relatively small area, plus colonial treasures, cycle trails and coffee estates to visit. This 15-night Spirit of Colombia tour has it all.

    If want a full-on adventure, how about joining an overland truck tour.

    Many destinations in Asia are wet in July, but the east coast of Malaysia and Thailand is an exception. Head to Koh Samui, where backpacker huts have been replaced by gorgeous hotels such as Anantara BoPhut Resort & Spa, or to Malaysia for the superb Tanjong Jara Resort.

    If Africa, July is a great month for a safari holiday in Botswana. It’s also a perfect time to explore the magnificent landscapes and game parks of Namibia, or to join a gorilla tracking safari in Rwanda. You can also track lemurs and go whale watching in Madagascar.

    It’s wrong to assume that Australia is only for our winter. You’ll find some great fly-drives in the north of the country, where the weather is ideal and sights aren’t too crowded. Consider this rail journey to Darwin, Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Uluru, or the Absolutely Luxury tour of Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Kangaroo Island, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef.

    Bermuda is warm, sunny and colourful in July, with its pink sand beaches, lush gardens and pastel houses. Best places to stay include Cambridge Beaches, the child-friendly Fairmont Southampton and the good-value Grotto Bay Resort.

    Canada enjoys a short and spectacular summer and this is a great time to explore the Eastern province of Québec. Spend a few nights in the hip cosmopolitan capital of Montréal followed by a stay at quaint pretty Québec City.

    July is also a good month to explore the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands – take a luxury small ship cruise on the MV Santa Cruz or Athala II.

    Finally, the Caribbean is nearing the end of its season but still popular, with low prices at hotels. See our pick of the top Caribbean holidays and details of the Caribbean weather in July.

    Iceland short breaksCharming churches

    Head north

    July is not just about going south – it’s also a great month to head north to enjoy long sunny days, beautiful unspoilt scenery and a glimpse of the midnight sun.

    How about a holiday in Iceland to explore an amazing country of mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and geysers. Choose from some great fly-drive tours and see the latest special offers.

    Head to Norway for dramatic summer scenery, spectacular skies and fascinating culture. You can take a Coastal Voyage on a ship used by local people, or see whales and traditional fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands. Visit Tromso – Land of the Midnight Sun – or set off to explore Fjords, Lakes and Mountains.

    Sweden is dramatically beautiful in summer – all crystalline lakes, midnight sun, stylish cities and an archipelago of unspoilt islands. Try this Highlights of Sweden self-drive tour which includes Stockholm, Lake Silja, Lake Vattern and walking in Tivedens National Park. See this selection of holidays in Sweden in July.

    For a short break, ride Europe’s highest railway between Olso and Bergen on a four-night Roof Across Norway trip. Alternatively, spend a few days in one of the great German cities – Cologne or Berlin.

    July is a great time to visit America

    Rent a car, hit the road and it won’t take you long to get under the skin of America. This is truly the world’s most diverse holiday destination, and home to extraordinary and friendly people. New England is a great place to start: the distances are short and there’s a huge amount to see and do, from historical Boston to the wild shores of Maine.

    California has some classic road routes. You could rent a convertible and drive from Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway. This 18-day California Explored fly-drive holiday from Los Angeles to Las Vegas takes you to Big Sur, Monterey, Napa Valley and three of America’s great National Parks: YosemiteSequoia  and Death Valley.

    If you want somebody else to do the driving, take an escorted tour. This 14-night Western Discovery tour is packed full of crowd-pleasers including the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Yosemite, LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

    It’s a perfect time of year to explore Alaska – where you’ll be overawed by vast forests and mountain ranges, dramatic glaciers and wildlife. How about tracking grizzly bears in the wild?

    Find more hot holidays in July and see our sister site for honeymoon destinations in July.

    Try our holiday quiz

    If you’re still stuck for ideas, why not try our fun holiday quiz. Answer 10 easy questions like the one below to find out what kind of holidaymaker you are, and get personalised travel recommendations. Try the quiz now.

    where to go on holiday

    Last updated: 19 September 2017

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