The best places to visit in July in the USA, Europe and beyond

The best places to visit in July provide stunning backdrops for absolute relaxation, adventure-packed outdoor pursuits, urban exploration and more...

A composite image of three of the best places to visit in July showing (L-R) Portland, Oregon, Provence, France and Denali National Park, Alaska.
(L-R) Portland in Oregon, Provence in France and Denali National Park, Alaska.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Our expert picks of the best places to visit in July include sun-drenched beaches, untamed backcountry, exciting metropolises and thriving art scenes - all of which will make a memorable trip. 

With schools out and temperatures soaring in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is in full swing in July. In many resort towns, beach destinations and national parks, July is often peak travel season, bringing in thicker crowds and higher accommodation rates, making it tricker to get the best holiday deals on your vacation. That being said, it is still possible to evade the masses by way of careful planning and knowing where to go, which was a key consideration when curating our list of the best places to visit in July.

Whether you want to revel in solitude by venturing into the Alaskan wild, tour some of the best places to visit in Europe when the weather is at its best or escape the crowds by losing yourself in the never-ending aisles of one of America's largest bookstores, here's where you should book a trip to this July... 

Best places to visit in July in the USA

Portland, Oregon

Skyline of Portland at night

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Discovering the arts

Average high temperature in July: 27°C

Quirky and eclectic, Oregon’s largest city boasts a thriving arts and culture scene. Plus, with more than 500 trend-setting food carts, a dizzying selection of microbreweries, coffeehouses and stylish restaurants, foodies will be hard-pressed to leave this place. 

Spend the afternoon perusing the more than one million new, used and rare titles at Powell’s City of Books, which spans an entire city block and is the world’s largest independent bookstore. And if you find yourself in Portland on a Saturday, visit the Portland Saturday Market for whimsical souvenirs like hand-dyed tapestries and yak wool hats from small businesses and local artisans.

Time your visit to a Thursday, when the weekly 'Last Thursday' event in the Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland takes place and visitors have the opportunity to interact with the over 150 local vendors and artists that line Alberta Street. Outside of Last Thursday, visitors can still enjoy live music and comedy nights.

Top tip: Do as the locals do and bike your way around Portland. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here.

San Francisco, California

A view of San Francisco's coastline featuring the Golden Gate Brige

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Historic landmarks

Average high temperature in July: 22°C

The lively cosmopolitan of San Francisco draws a mix of visitors, from nature lovers to foodies and urban explorers. 

Spend an afternoon exploring the exciting waterfront community at Fisherman’s Wharf and gorge on fresh seafood like Dungeness crab from mom-and-pop stores, sweetwater oysters from oyster bars and seafood linguine from trendy restaurants. Later, watch playful California sea lions at Pier 39.

Budget time for a trip to historic Alcatraz Island, some 2.5 km off the shore of San Francisco. First designed as a maximum-security military and federal prison in the early 1930s, Alcatraz Island now welcomes visitors to explore its desolate grounds. On a self-guided audio tour, learn about the notorious escape attempts and prison riots that happened here.

For iconic San Francisco experiences, bike across the 2.7 km long Golden Gate Bridge, and experience the hilly streets of the city by cable car. For some tranquillity in the city, dip your toes in the white sand on a stroll along Ocean Beach. 

Top tip: San Francisco is very much a walking city despite its hills. Bring your best walking boots to ensure ultimate comfort while sightseeing. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here.

Denali National Park, Alaska

The lush landscape of Denali National Park

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Wildlife spotting

Average high temperature in July: 19°C

Denali National Park boasts some 19,000 square km of wild and rugged terrain, making this a bucket list destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Though the pleasant weather and longer days make July one of the busiest months at the national park, it remains easy to escape the crowds on off-trail wilderness hikes and walks through the vast terrain (just pack your best hiking boots!) However, private vehicles aren’t permitted past mile 15, and visitors will have to either travel by hop-on-hop-off shuttle or tour bus to access the depths of the park.

Hike between blooming wildflowers along Savage River, or up Mount Healy for views of the top of Denali on a clear day. Or, take in the spectacular wilderness from above with a helicopter tour for the ultimate splurge. In July, the wildlife is most active, and visitors will have the opportunity to spot grizzly bears, wolves, caribou and arctic ground squirrels foraging for food.

Top tip: If you plan on camping at the park, you’ll need a backcountry permit. And before you start exploring, grab a copy of the park map and bus schedule from the Wilderness Access Center.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here.

Best places to visit in July in Europe

Algarve Coast, Portugal

The golden beaches and turquoise waters of the Algarve Coast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Golden beaches and immaculately groomed golf courses 

Average high temperature in July: 24°C

The roughly 155 km Algarve Coast connects over 130 golden beaches, secluded sea caves and lively resorts in southern Portugal. With warm temperatures and gentle breezes, road trippers flock to the region in the summer for a journey that seamlessly blends natural beauty with charming historic towns and Portugal is near the top of the list when is comes to the best European family vacation destinations too.

Between splashing in the turquoise waters and tanning on the beaches, see the rugged limestone cliffs of Marinha Beach, and visit Benagil Cave by stand-up paddleboard or boat tour.

Other than attracting sun-seekers, the resort town of Vilamoura on the Algarve Coast draws plenty of passionate golfers who are eager to practice their swing. 

Top tip: The roads in this region are well paved and clearly marked if you’re planning on renting a car. And renting a manual is more cost-effective than renting an automatic. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Portugal here.

The Ring Road, Iceland

The harsh landscapes of Iceland's Ring Road

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Unbelievably photogenic geographic wonders 

Average high temperature in July: 13°C

Though most think of going to Iceland in the winter for the chance to see the Northern Lights dance in the sky, Iceland makes for an equally cool summer travel destination. The 1300 km Ring Road, or Route 1, circles the entire country, connecting the capital of Reykjavik - which makes for an unusual and lesser-known European city break - in the country’s southwest to the fjords of the east, and the sparsely populated Icelandic Highlands.

With extended daylight and optimal visibility along the route, July makes for the ideal time for an epic road trip along Route 1 to explore its tumbling waterfalls, geothermal pools, lava fields and rocky beaches. For a hardy adventure, do it all in a luxury camper van, completing a journey around the island or focusing on a particular region. Budget no less than a week to soak in the sights, stopping at Gullfoss, Secret Lagoon Hot Spring and Seljavellirl Thermal Pool. At Skógafoss, walk right up to the base to experience a waterfall from a different perspective.

Top tip: Get a local SIM card to stay connected while you’re on the road, especially if you’re in a camper van. Otherwise, opt for free WiFi at hostels, visitor centers and even gas stations.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Iceland here.

Provence, France

Rows of lavender in Provence's Valensole Plateau

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Pretty flowers and charming small towns

Average high temperature in July: 24˚C

The diverse landscapes, pretty lavender fields and some of the best foodie cities in France make the country's southeastern region a classic European summer destination. The purple flowers generally reach peak bloom in mid-July, though exact dates vary from year to year depending on a number of factors including rainfall.

Surround yourself in the enchanting fields of Valensole Plateau, about an hour northeast of Aix-en-Provence by car. Framed by cheery sunflower fields this time of year and picture-perfect olive trees, the region is an explosion of colour in July, and is home to Provence’s most popular lavender fields. In the small town of Valensole itself, visit the 11th century Church of St. Blaise.

Alternatively, bike between the fragrant fields in Sault Plateau, and witness sunset against the purple flowers, when the dusky sky complements the violet hues of the fields.

Top tip: To beat the school crowds in France, plan to visit the first week of July.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for France here.

Best places to visit in July across the world 

Vancouver, Canada

Aerial view of Vancouver's skyscrapers and waterways

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Urban exploration and outdoor adventures

Average high temperature in July: 22°C 

With warm sunshine and relatively little precipitation, July poses endless possibilities for urban exploration and outdoor adventures in Vancouver. 

Begin with an energizing hike in the morning at Grouse Mountain or Lynn Valley, and return to the city for an afternoon paddleboarding session at Kits Beach, followed by some time for lazing in the sun. Urban explorers can bike or rollerblade the seawall at Stanley Park alongside views of the Pacific Ocean, and shop the markets and artisan goods at Granville Island. Spend time in the hipster neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, hopping from coffee shop to independent bakery, sampling well-crafted lattes and vegan donuts.

With ancient rainforests, dazzling skylines and snowcapped mountains that peek between the city’s skyscrapers, Vancouver is the epitome of coastal beauty.

Top tip: Vancouver has a strong tipping culture, and tipping 15-20% of the bill is customary when dining out at restaurants.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Canada here.

Unguja Island, Tanzania

The turquoise waters and fine white sands of Unguja Island

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: White sands and blue skies

Average high temperature in July: 29°C

With generally dry and warm weather across Zanzibar in July, the Tanzanian island of Unguja is a prime destination for paradisaical beaches and warm shimmering waters. 

Start in Stone Town, the historic heart of Zanzibar City which dates back to medieval times and was once the trade center of spices and slaves. See Portuguese Old Fort and the Anglican Cathedral, and tour the maze of alleyways and local markets on a spice tour while being surrounded by aromas of turmeric and vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg.

For a sun-soaked beach holiday, head to Nungwi, a village on the northwesternmost tip of Unguja Island. Its palm-lined beaches, home to some of the best luxury hotels in the world, beach cottages and sea-view restaurants make this a favorite place for visitors to sink their toes into the fine white sands. Go kitesurfing or snorkeling to see tuna and shoals of barracuda, or enjoy a sunset cruise on the crystalline turquoise waters.

Top tip: As a predominantly Muslim island, refrain from wearing beachwear outside of the resorts.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Tanzania here.

Bali, Indonesia

A view of Mount Batur

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best July holiday for: Spiritual exploration and natural beauty

Average high temperature in July: 27°C 

Bali is a well-known, affordable luxury vacation destination, making it a great place to visit in July if you want to avoid peak summer holiday prices. Although its relatively low costs, perfect beaches and idyllic waters have made Bali the ultimate work remote destination, there are pockets of the island that remain less impacted by tourism.

Indonesia enjoys balmy weather year-round but July remains dry with relatively low humidity, making this the most comfortable time to visit the island for snorkeling and beach relaxation.

Its terraced rice fields, cascading waterfalls and places of worship beg to be explored. Surfers come for the rideable swells, and hikers trek Mount Batur to witness golden sunrises above the central highlands. Lauded as one of the most spiritual places in the world, Bali’s spirituality is reflected in its ornate temples and a trip to visit the iconic Pura Tanah Lot is a must. Dating back to the beginning of the 16th century and perched on a rocky islet enveloped by lapping waves, its stunning seaside setting is enough to lure visitors.

Top tip: For a crowd-free experience, base yourself away from the centres of Ubud and Kuta.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Indonesia here.

Vivian Chung
Freelance travel writer

Vivian is a Vancouver-based freelance writer who has worked for Culture Trip and Fodor's Travel as well as Woman&Home. She covers a wide range of topics, ranging from travel and outdoor adventure, to food and mental health and wellness. She's a curious wanderer with a thirst for adventure, and when she’s not writing, can likely be found lazing by a lake, hiking the forested trails of beautiful British Columbia, or on a mission for the next best donut.