Plunging the northern hemisphere into long, languid days of warmth and the Southern Hemisphere into a frosty spell, July offers incredible travel experiences at both ends of the mercury. Pack your sunscreen (or slippers) and put these destinations on your calendar for July.
See the city of churches come to life with Illuminate Adelaide
You’ll be eagerly awaiting the sunset this month in Adelaide, when the multi-faceted Illuminate festival turns on its glorious glow. Radiant, rainbow lightscapes of all configurations dance across the city – some in the form of inflatable bubble mazes, some in the form of augmented reality performances – alongside a jam-packed program of energising music and immersive art.
Some events are ticketed, some are free; highlights in the former include Yothu Yindi at Hindley Street Music Hall – with both original and new members – and the hypnotic Resonate, which harnesses light, sound and technology to transform the natural beauty Adelaide Botanic Gardens into a expansive, futuristic world.
Dive deep with whale sharks off Isla Holbox, Mexico
Whale shark season is in full swing come July, when the world’s largest fish (yes, the name “whale shark” is deceptive!) cruise through the warm waters of Mexico’s idyllic Isla Holbox, off the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The island has a number of eco-friendly tour companies offering up-close-and-personal swims with these gentle, bespotted giants who, despite the enormity of their mouths, eat only plankton. Snorkelling is the easiest entry point to the experience; keep your eyes peeled through your mask for other marine life such as tranquil turtles and speedy manta rays.
Doors open at The Rebello in Porto, Portugal
The understated warehouse precinct straddling Porto’s Douro River has seen a number of transformations over the past few centuries; but its latest reinvention is the most impressive. July marks the first full month of operation for The Rebello, a sharply on-trend hotel that successfully caters to business travellers, couples and families alike. Nodding to the heritage 18th-century space in both name (small rabelo boats were used to transport wine from the Douro Valley to the port city) and in its architecture, with original materials spectacularly retained, the building is a seamless step into the future, with a clever tip of the cap to the past.
In Porto for bleisure (business and leisure, that is)? The hotel’s common spaces are at the ready with bottomless complimentary coffee, hot desks and super fast wi-fi. Bringing the kids? They’ve got a few tricks under their belt for families, too; every room has a full-equipped kitchen… perfect for the snack grabbers.
Frolick along the Newberg Lavender Trail in Oregon, USA
The leafy (and especially quirky) town of Portland, Oregon is a trail stop of its own for those traversing America’s varied West Coast. In July, the outskirts of the city celebrates its annual lavender festival, with the mist-coloured bushes springing to life with purple blushes of fragrant blooms. The area has a cluster of hilly lavender farms that transform with the flower tufts striping the fields and, because of its abundance, a swathe of lavender-themed specialty stores follow suit. Order a lavender sweetened iced tea at the adorably named Coffee Cat Coffeehouse or a lavender-syrup laced mocktail at Old Town Bar & Grill.
Glimpse the Great Migration across the Serengeti, Tanzania
Few spectacles in nature impress like the sight of the Serengeti’s Great Migration, the largest mammal migration on the planet. At some point during late April and early June, a two million-strong wildebeest herd begins their journey across the continent in search of greener pastures in the face of the drying plains. The result is one of nature’s most fascinating mass bids for survival, as the trail used by wildebeest and their calves is marred by hungry hyenas, lions and crocodiles, as well as gushing rivers and other perils. The majority of the trail loops Serengeti National Park so visitors should concentrate their efforts there, with safari tours hovering around the Western Corridor perfectly placed for watching the herd tackle the mighty Grumeti River and witnessing nature at its most raw state.
See Stockholm in all its summer glory
In the colder months, Stockholm sees an icy, snow-dusted winter. To recalibrate, the city embraces a celebratory spirit when summer arrives. At this time of year, it’s not unusual to see locals leaping into the harbour – the water is so clean that even the edges of Södermalm, an inner-city neighbourhood defined by its bars, second-hand stores and clubs, is one of the most popular places for a midsummer dip.
While you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to hop around the little-known (to tourists, that is) archipelago that dots the city’s eastern reaches. There are around 30,000 islands in the group and many are reachable by ferry, which expands its network during the summer months. Most are home to nature reserves, biking trails and calm coves just made for kayaking; one is home to Brutalist boutique hotel.
Image credit: John Owens (Arborialis architects of air, Illuminate festival), Rami Saarikorpi (Artwork man, Illuminate festival), Dawn W, Unsplash (the Serengeti, Tanzania), Adam Gavlak, Unsplash (Stockholm), Raphael Andres, Unsplash (Stockholm)