Where to go on holiday in June
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer
June is one of the best months for a holiday. The weather in the Mediterranean is at its best, with long sunny days, warm seas and gentle breezes. What’s more, you can get some great deals. It’s not just the Med that is cheap. June is also a great time of year to bag a bargain in the Caribbean.
However, with Covid-19 still not yet under control, UK holidays are currently flavour of the month. Many foreign holidays are operating, but you should book with a tour operator: click on the links below to find out more about deposits and rebooking policies.
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UK holidays in June
June can be a marvellous time to discover the UK – with long hours of daylight and without the crowds of the school summer holidays. It’s no surprise that Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday spots: its beaches, coastal paths, great food and family-friendly attractions rarely disappoint. I recommend self-catering with Classic Cottages.
Try renting a boat to explore some of the beautiful rivers and canals that criss-cross the UK. An easy option is the Norfolk Broads – you can explore 250 miles of connected waterways, cruising through reed marshes, meadows and woodland without a single lock to navigate. Moor beside riverside pubs and restaurants, villages and market towns. For something a bit different, try a boating holiday in Northern Ireland.
If you prefer hills and hiking trails, head to the Lake District where you could pick from this excellent collection of luxury cottages.
Further away from it all, Pen-y-Dyffryn is a cosy country house hotel set in unspoilt hills on the Shropshire-Wales border. Nearby, in the unspoilt town of Bishops Castle, have a look at the lovely Castle Hotel which has gastro food, modern rooms and easy access to picturesque walking routes.
I love this collection of boutique hotels in the UK chosen by i-escape. It ranges from a riverside pub near Bath converted into a stylish bolthole to Olga Polizzi’s Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall. Check out their latest offers.
If you’re travelling with a group of 12 or more, rent a large house and host your own house party. We recommend The Big Domain which has a collection of houses, villas and chalets in the UK and overseas.
In the Cotswolds, this collection of luxury rental properties includes cosy cottages for two and large houses.
Love the idea of camping but don’t want the discomfort? Perran Springs Holiday Park is set in glorious countryside close to a white-sand beach on the coast of Cornwall. It has its own nature trails, fishing lakes and children’s play area. For a bit of extra luxury, check out the log-built glamping pods.
And if you want the thrill of a sea crossing without venturing abroad, why not take the ferry to the Isle of Wight which is fashionable again with middle-class families.
Or take the short hop to the Channel Islands. Jersey is rich in historical sites and also has a thriving restaurant scene.
How about a short break in Scotland? Options include whisky tours on Islay, and the chance to see Minke Whales, otters, seals and porpoises on a Mull Wildlife Experience. You could rent a cosy cottage on the shores of a loch in the Highlands.
Mediterranean holidays in June
One of the best ways to enjoy the Med is in your own rented villa, many of which have private pools. I personally like Catalonia in Spain for its pretty fishing villages, secluded coves and mountains, and Paxos, an authentic and unspoilt Greek island. Malta’s little sister Gozo is another island that oozes charm.
In France, families on a budget can rent a self-catering apartment in a Siblu village complete with aqua parks and slides, golf courses and free kids clubs – it’s a great option for active children. If your budget is higher, check out this collection of villas in France with private pool.
If you want gorgeous sandy beaches, head to Spain’s Costa de la Luz or the French island of Corsica. The Balaerics may be best known for cheap package holidays but they are also wonderful for villa holidays, particularly Mallorca.
To relax in the Italian countryside and have a truly authentic experience, head fabulous Tuscany for hilltop villages, art treasures and great food. Alternatively, head south to Puglia where you can stay at an agriturismo or one of these luxury self-catering trulli.
In Greece, I recommend the MarBella Collection with its three superb resorts in mainland Greece and on the island of Corfu. If you want to go all-inclusive without compromising on quality, check out the IKOS Oceania hotel, and the IKOS Dassia in Corfu.
If you enjoy water sports, head to Mark Warner’s new Paleros Beach Resort in Greece where water skiing, wake boarding, sailing and windsurfing are all included in the price. Look for special offers in June.
Southern Turkey is another region I love. The food is fabulous, prices are reasonable, people are welcoming and when you gaze into the sea you can understand why it is known as the Turquoise Coast. Head to one of the charming unspoilt resorts of Kalkan and Dalyan or the dreamy and quiet Bozburun Peninsula.
One of the best ways to see the Mediterranean coast is on a small cruise on a traditional Turkish gulet that can moor up at small villages and visit peaceful bays and secret coves – I have been on three of these holidays, and love them to bits. For details, visit Peter Sommer.
The Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia have great beaches: I like Forte Village Resort in Sardinia – which is great for families and sporty couples – and Sir Rocco Forte’s Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily.
For something a bit different, head to small friendly Montenegro which has an unspoilt coastline, historic old towns, great food – and isn’t over-run by British tourists. I love this selection of boutique hotels.
Another overlooked gem is Slovenia which is great value and deserves to be explored, from its majestic lakes and medieval towns to the scenic coastline and the charming capital, Ljubljana. Choose between a fly-drive holiday and a private tour with a driver and guide.
Long haul holiday ideas June
In Africa, Botswana is great for game viewing, yet prices are manageable as it’s not yet peak season. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, how about tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda or watching whales and tracking lemurs in Madagascar.
In the Caribbean you’ll find excellent weather and low prices before the school summer holidays begin. Head to Barbados for a great selection of hotels (see the latest special offers), or slow the pace in the Cayman Islands. Also consider renting a luxury Caribbean villa with CV Villas.
Cuba combines great-value beaches with culture and history, making it ideal for a multi-centre holiday. Don’t miss the capital Havana which combines nicely with the colonial city of Trinidad and the chilled beaches of Cayo Santa Maria.
Bermuda is not – as many people assume – in the Caribbean or even in the Tropics. It’s in the mid-Atlantic and the best time to visit is summer when you can enjoy long lazy days on pink sand beaches, warmed by endless sunshine with opportunities to play golf or take boat trips. We recommend staying at Cambridge Beaches or the family-friendly Fairmont Southampton.
If you crave real wilderness, head to Alaska where you can kayak amongst glaciers, go whale watching, explore the world’s second biggest rainforest and join an expedition cruise through the famed Inside Passage. For inspiration see these escorted group tours and self-drive adventures.
Russia will be sparkling in the summer sun. This eight-day Classic Russia escorted tour takes you behind the scenes at the Kremlin and Armoury in Moscow and the Hermitage and Catherine Palace in St Petersburg.
June is also a smart month to grab a bargain in Costa Rica with its wonderful beaches, hiking trails, volcanoes, cloud forests and rafting rivers. British Airways has direct flights from Gatwick, and this 12-day Costa Rica Highlights private tour is hard to beat.
Take a trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands – I recommend a luxury small ship cruise to view the wildlife, and combine it with a trip to mainland Ecuador to tour volcanoes, Andean villages and Amazonian rainforest.
There aren’t many destinations in South East Asia at their best in our summer but Borneo is an exception. As well as white-sand beaches, is has Orang-Utans and pygmy elephants, tribal home stays and jungle treks. Popular itineraries include Borneo Highlights and this Off The Beaten Track adventure.
Activity holidays in June
June is an ideal month for an activity holiday as the weather is fine across Europe, but rarely humid. You can experience the countryside of Europe on a hotel-to-hotel walking holiday. As you hike stunning coastal trails such as the Costa Vicentina in Portugal or the Lycian Way in Turkey, your luggage is transported to your next overnight stop, where you stay in a charming owner-run hotel or inn.
Northern Spain is a million miles from the overcrowded costas of the south. It offers sandy beaches, rolling hills, mountains and medieval towns – a slice of authentic Spain with excellent food and great-value hotels.
Many people neglect the Alps in summer. In fact, they are beautiful and great value. Check out these special offers including 35% off, and two weeks for the price of one. This is also a great time of year to get a deal at The Lodge, Verbier, a luxury chalet owned by Sir Richard Branson.
Try something different
Iceland is especially beautiful, a remarkable country of mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and geysers. Choose from these fly-drive tours (see the latest offers). Or take a short break in the capital Reykjavik where the sun hardly sets and the bars rarely close.
Beautiful Norway is one of the best holiday destinations in June. Take an independent tour of fjords, lakes and mountains or a coastal voyage on a ship that is used by both locals and tourists. Details from Nordic Experience.
Sweden is stunning in summer – a land of sparkling lakes, midnight sun, forested islands and stylish cities. Try this Highlights of Sweden holiday, which visits Stockholm, Lake Silja, Lake Vattern and includes hiking in Tivedens National Park.
You could ride on Europe’s highest railway between Olso and Bergen on a four-night Roof Across Norway or take a fly-drive around the remote and unspoiled Faroe Islands. In Finland you can spot Brown Bears in the wild.
Take a direct flight to the Azores where the whale and dolphin watching season is at its peak. There’s amazing walking and cycling in the lush volcanic landscapes plus gorgeous beaches and hotels with real character.
Budapest is great value, and rich in culture. Or head to romantic Prague where you could stay at The Augustine, a 13th-century monastery turned luxury hotel. It’s warming up nicely – but not too hot – in Istanbul.
June marks the beginning of the Verona Opera Festival where you can experience classic performances in a magnificent candlelit Roman amphitheatre. It’s the world’s largest opera stage, and a fabulous experience.
In France, Inntravel has perfected the art of sourcing characterful and charming places to stay, including these gourmet Channel hops, perfect for a special occasion.
Discover the unspoilt beauty of Portugal’s Alentejo region which is reminiscent of the Algarve 40 years ago. You can take a walking holiday or rent a car to discover deserted white-sand beaches, medieval towns, lakes and rolling hills. For inspiration, see this selection of itineraries.
How about a luxury barge cruise in France with European Waterways – watch the countryside slide by as you indulge in gourmet cuisine served with fine wines all included in the price. The barges are small – sleeping between 4 and 20 people – and there is a wide range of destinations including Bordeaux, Gascony, Burgundy and the Canal du Midi.
Take a guided tour of the Great Houses of England, one of a large selection of cultural tours of Britain led by an expert in art, music or architecture. Or get together with friends or family to rent a chateau in France with Oliver’s Travels.
Feeling flush? For a real treat – a big birthday or anniversary, maybe – why not fly to France by private jet. If you get together with friends or family, a day trip or short break can cost less than £1,000 per person.
See my colleague Annabelle Thorpe’s suggestions for the best short breaks in June.
Family holidays in June
If you’re looking for something more family-friendly please see our tips for the best family holidays in June. It is packed full of great ideas for every budget, in the UK, Europe and further afield, selected by our expert editor Amanda Statham.
Last updated: 21 December 2020
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