Best Places to Travel in July
If you’re one of the lucky few with a nice, long summer break, take advantage of the time off with a more far-flung trip, perhaps to Tokyo or Melbourne. Locals from both cities usually flee for places with more pleasant weather. But if you can handle humidity and rain, July is the best month to take advantage of sparse crowds and great deals.
This piece oroginally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
Newport, Rhode Island
There are plenty of things to do in Newport in the winter, but the tony city really shines brightest during the summer. After all, the million-dollar mansions that Newport is known for were built to be warm-weather retreats, for those perfect days spent on yachts and lawns. But even if you don’t have a mansion home to stay in, there are many ways to soak in the culture—at a fraction of the price. The Cliff Walk, where you can peek into well-manicured backyards, remains free, while some of the mansions charge a small admissions fee. And the who’s who of Newport will be out in spades at two big festivals this month: the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. To truly arrive in style, book a room at Castle Hill Inn, which is offering transportation to the events via Hinckley Yacht.
July is peak season in Tuscany—the weather is hot, but ideal for days spent poolside at a villa or hotel. And luckily, it’s an easy getaway for American travelers, even during the popular months. Emirates, which flies from JFK to Milan, offers deals regularly. Alternatively, you can fly to Florence, which has become a shopping destination on its own. Once you get there, stay at the stunning Castello di Casole, a castle on an olive estate that’s a perennial T+L reader favorite. Finally, no trip is complete without a visit to the area’s famed vineyards, which is best arranged through a local guide.
Baden Baden, Germany
This German town is known as a wellness retreat, but there are many other reasons to visit. This month, Baden Baden hosts its annual Summer Festival at the Festival Hall, which includes everything from opera to piano concertos. Stay at the new Roomers hotel (which happens to be across the street). The Frankfurt-based, design-forward hotel brand is expanding throughout the country, and Baden Baden’s will have a rooftop lounge and pool to soak in the great weather.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
The Jersey shore town has almost fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and will be packed with activities this summer. The Asbury hotel opens over Memorial Day, complete with beer garden, rooftop garden, and a pool with food trucks nearby. One feature we love: instead of ordering a pot of coffee from room service in the mornings, you can text the coffee shop downstairs with your caffeine preference and they’ll have it ready to go within five minutes. And for those who go to the shore every summer, don’t worry: there might be tons of news happening in Asbury Park, but the tried-and-true places—the boardwalk, the Stone Pony—are still going strong.
The English country is this year’s hot new adventure destination, with thrilling activities that range from an underground trampoline park to an extensive zipline course. Wales also draws climbers, hikers, and surfers with its challenging (and beautiful) terrain. The entire country is filled with action in July, as it plays host to the annual Gower Festival, where artists and performers take over ancient churches. And the capital of Cardiff hosts an international food and drink festival in the middle of the month, where local vendors and farmers come out in droves to share their produce and recipes.
The Finnish city is the latest place to brand itself as a stopover destination, with Finnair launching layover packages for trips of up to five nights. Though the weather is great in July, prices are low because much of the city is on vacation. Don’t let that stop you from a long summer layover—just be sure to check to make sure the businesses you want to visit are open before you go. Helsinki has a great design scene—it’s got bigger names like Marimekko and Alvar Aalto (there’s a museum dedicated to the starchitect), as well as shops from younger, up-and-coming designers. The Nordic food revolution has expanded to Helsinki as well, with exciting new restaurants that combine the traditional and the innovative.
There’s really not a bad time to visit Tokyo, but July is considered low season for tourists as the weather heats up and many locals escape to cooler weather. If the humidity doesn’t deter you, you’ll be able to take advantage of lighter crowds—a major bonus in this perpetually packed city—and have your pick of reservation times among the top restaurants. The coolest new thing to do in the city is to bar hop your way through a second generation of speakeasies and cocktail bars. And with fewer crowds, you’ll actually be able to chat up the bartenders—many are pioneers in the modernist cocktail scene and have worked at some of the best bars around the world.
Seattle may no longer have a gum wall, but it still has plenty of summer attractions—Pike’s Place, the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It also has an incredible coffee shop scene (this is, after all, the birthplace of Starbucks) and great new restaurants. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the hot spots of the moment include Lionhead (serving Sichuan food) and Soi (featuring recipes from Thailand’s Isaan region). And the Thompson Seattle has opened a sleek new 158-room hotel in the city, just one block from Pike’s Place. It has ambitious culinary plans as well, including an 18-seat chef’s table called Scout (run by chef Josh Henderson). Stop by the rooftop bar, Nest, for batched cocktails and stunning views over Puget Sound.
There seems to be a new hot Croatian island every few months, and right now, the buzz is in Hvar, which is highly influenced by Roman and Greek cultures. There are gorgeous fortresses and ancient theaters to see, beautiful beaches to relax on, and family-run wineries to visit. In the summer, you’ll see European heirs and heiresses arriving on their well-appointed yachts and partying in the trendy bars around town—and you’d be hard pressed not to feel glamorous by association.
July is in the middle of Australia’s winter, so the temperatures do get chillier, but it’s also a great time to visit a city that’s already incredibly budget-friendly (for how to spend a weekend in Melbourne for $25 a day, click here). Chefs from around the world have been heading to the city to try the inventive (and award-winning) restaurants, and Melbourne is also full of one-of-a-kind galleries and shops. Stay at the Langham, a stylish property where the pool has an incredible view of the skyline.