If the summer you’ve been waiting for hasn’t arrived, then it’s time to make a trip to one of our recommended July destinations
Best for families – Kyoto, Japan
You’ll never feel more welcome in Japan’s old imperial capital than in July. Playing host to the Gion Matsuri festival, residents across the city open their doors to visitors during Byobu Matsuri, giving them a chance to see traditional folding screen artwork in the homes of old textile merchants. Whether you drink in the famous Kencha Matsuri tea ceremony at Yasaka Shrine or watch the procession of ornate floral headwear at the Hanagasa Junko, this month-long celebration encapsulates the essence of Japan.
The highlight of the festival, though, is the Yamaboko Junko parade on 17 July, a carnival of vast wooden floats that make up part of a purification ceremony that dates back to the Heian period. Apart from the festival, Kyoto has some truly amazing sites listed in this Things to see in Kyoto guide so be sure to check them out.
Best for a city break – Venice, Italy
Nothing calls for a celebration like the end of a plague. The Doge promised to build a majestic church if the plague ended, and the Venetians did just that by building the formidable II Redentore on the island of Giudecca and centuries later, they still mark the end of the epidemic with the annual Festa del Redentore (Festival of the Redeemer) on the third Sunday of July. This year, the spectacular event has a dazzling display of fireworks on July 14 and a regatta on the Giudecca canal the following day. While you’re in Venice, don’t forget to check out the star attractions including the golden Byzantine St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. Use the Venice Travel Guide to find out what to see and do, plus where to eat, shop and sleep in this romantic city.
Best for a beach break – Sri Lanka
With roughly 1,600km (1,000 miles) of beautiful palm-shaded beaches, choosing where to go is a difficult task. Unawatuna near Galle claims to be among the top 15 beaches in the world. Bentota, on the southwest coast, is one of the top places in the country to enjoy diving and snorkelling. Alternatively, you can grab a board at the pristine Arugam Bay, a perfect mecca for surfers with boards to rent by the day and rustic beach parties after sundown. Plan your trip with the Things to do in Sri Lanka guide.
Best for an adventure break – Slovenia
Slovenia may have yet to reach the international prowess of neighbouring Italy and Austria, but fortunately that has kept holidays to the region affordable. The sensational Triglav National Park is a great outlet for the adventurous spirit. The park is laced with hiking trails leading to glacial lakes, waterfalls and deep gorges. The pretty little town Bovec right by the park is also famed for white water rafting, kayaking and canyoning on the turquoise Soča River. Before you go, see the Slovenia Travel Guide.