With summer inching ever closer, our want (read: need) to plan epic warm weather itineraries is at an all time high. From hiking prime mountain terrain in Cape Town to catching the height of lavender season in Provence, these are the best places to travel this June.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cosmopolitan KL maintains a hot and humid climate year-round, but drop by in June and you’ll evade South East Asia’s two major monsoon seasons. With sunny skies, head about 15 minutes out of the city center to climb the 272 colorful steps that lead to the Batu Caves Hindu temple complex. The series of ancient limestone caves house a number of shrines dedicated to Lord Murugan (see: the 140-foot gilded statue), and a feisty group of kleptomaniacal macaques. Back in town, even if you’re not in the mood to throw down on designer duds, it’s worth seeing at least one mega-mall as KL is a bonafide shopping mecca. Stop by the 1.37-million-square-foot Pavilion in trendy Bukit Bintang. But don’t settle for food court grub (even though it’s gourmet) —head 10 minutes down the road to Jalan Alor, a bustling street food haven that serves up authentic Malaysian fare. When it’s time to retire, bed down at the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur in the heart of KL with up close and personal views of the iconic Petronas Towers (plus a rooftop pool and 33rd floor Sky Bar).
Cape Town, South Africa
Late May to early June is prime time for hiking in Cape Town—one of the world’s premier trekking destinations. Squeeze in trails on Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and Cape Point, but leave yourself time to take an hour-ride out of the city to see Boulders Beach. The rock-sheltered shore harbors an African penguin colony that you can get pretty close to as you walk along the wooden boardwalk. As for dining, the city has recently become a hotbed of haute cuisine, especially thanks to the addition of The Granary Cafe at The Silo which was unveiled—to much anticipation— on the V&A waterfront this March. Stop by for bites of salmon ceviche and confit pork belly with apple chutney, but opt for the Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel if you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly in terms of stays. The 15-room 19th-century Georgian and Victorian farmhouse is nothing if not chic.
Yellowstone National Park
No surprise here, but summer is prime time for National Park tourism. Come July and August, Yellowstone bursts with more than 30,000 daily visitors. Tackle the park pre-peak in June, and you’ll find favorable hiking temps—inthe mid to high 70s—and not quite as many people waiting for the Old Faithful Geyser to erupt. If you’re planning on staying in the area, book ahead at Under Canvas Yellowstone which rests in a secluded area just 10 minutes from the park's west entrance. The vast majority of US National Park campgrounds aren’t anything to write home about, but the Under Canvas brand presents a glamorous alternative to your typical utility-less RV park. Safari-style Stargazer tents come with an ensuite bathroom (hallelujah for flush toilets and running water!), a private front deck, and a viewing window over a king size bed for optimal constellation observation.
RELATED: Summer 2017's Top Glamping Retreats
Sightseeing in Stockholm doesn’t get any better than during the temperate early-summer season. Just after the city’s rainy period, cobblestone streets come back to life with outdoor festivals, concerts, and flowers in full bloom. While you’re in the capital, settle down at Hotel Rival—an oh, so Swedish quirky boutique (for real—it was opened by an ABBA member) just steps from Old Town. Once you’ve dropped your bags, head to design-centric Penny & Bill for expertly-curated foodtails (food and cocktail combinations) like the salmon with kohlrabi and a Disco Dancer (pisco, Pimm’s, dry vermouth, cucumber, lemon, and mint). Obviously, no trip to the European art and culture hub would be complete without a museum visit or two. This go round, opt for Moderna Museet. If you get there this May, you’ll catch the tail end of Marina Abramovic’s expectedly-avant-garde exhibit before the museum transitions to a major solo exhibition of Swedish artist Marie-Louise Ekman’s large scale paintings.
Seasons in Peru fall into two distinct categories: wet and dry. Touchdown in the South American country between May and October, and you’ll be treated to agreeable temps in the 60s and 70s as opposed to formidable showers. First thing’s first, make yourself at home at Hotel B, a Belle Époque mansion with posh guestrooms that overlook Saenz Peña Boulevard. From there, it’s all about lazy days spent strolling the colonial-era streets of Lima’s historic city center, stopping for better looks at landmarks like the Baroque Convento de San Francisco (with its underground catacombs) and scenic Plaza Mayor, the birthplace of the city. For a deeper sense of Peruvian culture, Museo de Arte de Lima displays a permanent collection of pre-Incan, Incan, and colonial pieces as well as temporary exhibitions with contemporary installations from well-known local artists. Follow up your day of culture with an authentic meal at Isolina Taberna Peruana, just down the block from Hotel B. Family-style dishes of asado de tiras (short ribs) and chicharron de pulpo (fried octopus) are worth the wait you’ll be sure to find—but don’t worry, it’s a local-heavy crowd which is always a good sign.
With tree-lined boulevards, 16th to 18th-century mansions and cathedrals, and monumental public fountains, the birthplace of Cézanne and post impressionism just oozes French elegance. Check in at Hotel Le Pigonnet—an ivy-covered former private residence that unfolds on four acres of manicured private gardens. Since it's lavender season in Provence, a day trip 1.5-hours north to Notre-Dame de Senanque, not far from Gordes, is in order. Though the abbey is still home to a community of Cistercian monks, visitors are welcome to go on guided tours of the medieval church, cloister, and dormitory, as well as admire their well-tended lavender fields. Back in Aix-en-Provence, you’ll also want to stroll through the enchanting Le Grande Marche which sets up specific shops around Place des Prêcheurs, Place de la Madeleine, and Cours Mirabeau on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The market is a microcosm of everything that makes France great: fresh produce, fragrant bouquets, Provencal-style bric-a-brac, and chic clothing.
There’s no bad time to visit Bali—right? Right. But in June, the utopian isle sees its best weather and—surfers, listen up—waves. While luxe tropical retreats are around every bend, this season we’re all about the Sandat Glamping Tents in Ubud. Along with eco-friendly safari-style digs (think: neutral hues, canopied beds, bamboo furnishings), the getaway hosts daily yoga and meditation sessions in an open-air studio overlooking the property’s rice paddies. If you want an even more immersive nature experience—or you’re in it for the out-of-this-world photos (that's fair)—you can also organize your own day trips to the Jatiluwih or Tegallalang rice terraces followed by an unrivaled sunset at Tanah Lot—an iconic rock formation on the Balinese coast. At some point during your stay, just make sure to close out a night with cocktails at La Laguna Bali, a bohemian beachfront bar that attracts a hyper-social crowd between Seminyak and Canggu.
Croatia slides into shoulder season—a sweet spot between peak seasons—come May and June, delivering sunny days and far-less crowds than usual. Use this time to hit up all the outdoor spaces that would usually be teeming with tourists; Dolac Market buzzes with fresh produce and local handicrafts while urban Maksimir Park offers a wooded respite just a 10-minute drive from the metropolitan city center. Not the fondest of traditional museums? Go for something with extra funk, like the Museum of Broken Relationships in the Baroque Kulmer Palace in Upper Town. Rather than stuffy galleries, you’ll find a growing collection of personally contributed items—stuffed animals, books, even lopped-off dreads—and an anonymous account of how the memento factored into a lost love. As for where to sleep, we’re fond of Hotel Jagerhorn, Zagreb’s oldest hotel just off of Ban Jelačić Square. Don’t let its age deter you—the historic boutique is still fresh off of a total refurbishment that brought in contemporary Croatian design.