The Best Places to Travel in July
Summer is prime vacation time for some much-deserved R&R. Whether you’re looking to escape to Switzerland’s lake shores or Montana’s rugged mountain range, there are plenty of places to get outside and soak up the rays. Here’s where we’ll be jetting off to this July.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
The pastel fortress of Sintra. The coastal cliffs of the Algarve. The rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley. Portugal is home to endless postcard-perfect scenes. Oenophiles should head to Porto, where they can cruise on the brand new Viking Helgrim. The 10-day trip down the Douro River includes stops to visit the baroque Mateaus Palace & Gardens in Régua, taste wine at local quintas, and hike to a hilltop medieval fortress town. Back on board, life isn’t too hard either. The state-of-the-art ship has an organic herb garden, a solar panel sundeck, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounge areas and all 53 staterooms.
Adults deserve summer camp, too—and The Resort at Paws Up is the closest you can get. The all-inclusive retreat and working cattle ranch is spread across 37,000 acres in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley, just a half hour east of Missoula. Trade tiny tents for spacious glamping suites with deep soaking tubs, heated floors, and a 24/7 butler, or the even more opulent private wilderness estates. Days are spent traversing the outdoors by land (ATV tours, horseback riding), water (river rafting, canoeing, or fly-fishing), or sky (rock repelling, helicopter tours). Now that’s our idea of roughing it.
Everyone knows about Osheaga, but one of Canada’s most underrated summer events is Festival d'été de Québec. During July 4-14, 2019, more than one million fans will flood Québec City to see live music from headliners including Imagine Dragons, Diplo and Kygo, alt-J, Logic, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The most anticipated superstar is Mariah Carey, who will host an entire prom-night–themed event on July 11, where the crowd is encouraged to dress up in full diva attire.
Although Switzerland is landlocked, it still has its own riviera—Lake Geneva. The crescent-shaped lake is the largest in the country and is bordered by chic shore towns. Vevey, a tiny port where Charlie Chaplin once owned a country estate, is now a premier culinary destination. This year, it will host the Fete des Vignerons winegrower’s festival (July 18 to August 11), an event that occurs only once every 20 years and honors Swiss wine in the Lavaux region where Romans planted the first grape vines. Music more your tune? Head to the neighboring town of Montreux from June 28 to July 13 for the 53rd-annual Jazz Festival. Hint: you might even catch Elton John performing in concert.
This far-flung archipelago comes alive in July, when Bastille Day celebrations take over Tahiti from June 29 (French Polynesia’s Autonomy holiday) to July 14 (Bastille Day). The rest of the more than 100 islands continue the party with the Heiva Heritage Festival throughout the month of July. There’s drumming, dancing, singing, and rowing competitions as well as live music from orchestras using indigenous instruments including the vivo (bamboo flute), pu (conch shells), and ukulele. Each inlet has different traditions: for example, in Bora Bora, there’s a turtle parade where locals carry a paper turtle sculpture as a tribute to the sea.
If you can brave the crowds, there’s no place like Beantown for Independence Day. From July 1-7, 2019, the Boston Harborfest has a roster of activities like chowder cook-offs, lighted boat parades, Freedom Trail walking tours, and of course, the Boston Pops iconic performance and Fourth of July fireworks show. When you’re ready to rest your weary feet, there are a handful of brand new hotels to choose from. We can’t stop eyeing the artsy (and affordable) Revolution Hotel in the South End and the ritzy Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street—now the third tallest building on the Boston skyline—in Back Bay.
Kenya is a bucket-list safari destination, and come summer, you can easily check off more than just the Big Five. July marks the beginning of the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle, and the recently renovated Sanctuary Olonana is a prime spot to see it first-hand. On the banks of the Mara River, 14 slate- and sand-colored suites feature retractable glass walls that frame the Maasai Mara National Reserve's wild woodland scenery. In between wildlife viewings, the place to be is the main lodge and restaurant, which circle a giant Greenheart tree and evoke African elements with bleached wood floors, hand-crafted Maasai spears, and bright patterned prints native to the region.
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