15 Best Places to Visit in July
The best places to visit in July give tourists an opportunity to go sightseeing in some of the world's most colorful sites. Head to Provence to experience the intoxicating magic of the vibrant lavender fields in full bloom, along with the aromatherapeutic benefits of the softly scented botanicals. Or, see Japan's Mount Fuji and take advantage of trekking season.
Historic cities around the globe also brim with fun and beautiful sights. Explore North American history on the streets of Montreal or Boston. Travel back in time during the Medieval Days celebrations in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. Or head to Baden-Baden, one of Europe's best summer destinations.
For more ideas on where to go this summer, see our list of the best places to visit in July.
1. Mt. Fuji, Japan
No matter what time of year you visit Japan, you'll be enchanted by the elegant beauty of Mt. Fuji. The active volcano's graceful slope and snowcapped peak reflecting in Lake Kawaguchi has served as the inspiration for countless works of art. But if you time your visit in July - the start of the Mt. Fuji trekking season - you can see what this world-famous attraction looks like from the top.
The hike itself is known for being a grueling ascent without much scenery or serenity. Aim to reach the top of Mt. Fuji around sunrise, when your chances of a clear, gorgeous view are best. The ascent can take anywhere from four to 10 hours, depending on where you start and which trail you take. Along the way, you'll pass mountain huts that offer overnight stays; restrooms; and small shops with water, food, canned oxygen, hiking sticks, and other climbing gear.
Expect the challenging trails to be crowded with many other tourists making their way up the mountain. However, there's a culture of camaraderie among the hikers - a unique part of this experience. You'll feel a deep sense of accomplishment once you make it to the summit of this 3,776-meter-tall UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Read More: Exploring Mount Fuji: A Visitor's Guide
2. Baden-Baden, Germany
Baden-Baden, the "Summer Capital of Europe," shines in July. The weather is warm, the pubic gardens are in bloom, and live music and dancing happens almost every night outside the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden.
Let the stresses of life melt away in this famous spa town. Some of the top tourist attractions in Baden-Baden are the historic baths. Visit the Friedrichsbad, a Roman-style bath that dates back to 1877, to experience a spa treatment like none other. It features a circuit of 17 luxurious bathing and spa services, including cold plunges, hot thermal pools, an exfoliating rubdown, a mud bath, and a nap in a serene circular room. The staff will even tuck you into the sheets.
For a more modern bathing experience, head to the nearby Caracalla Spa. You can spend all day at this 4,000-square-meter spa facility, soaking in the pools, warming your body in the hot rock grottos, and chilling out on lounge beds under therapeutic red lights. The waters in the spa come from mineral-rich springs, which are said to have healing properties.
After you're thoroughly relaxed, take a stroll through the lovely Lichtentaler Allee. This charming park and arboretum features a 2.5-kilometer footpath down the Oos River that dates back to the 17th century. Along the way, you'll pass the Cistercian Abbey of Lichtental and the Museum of 19th Century Art and Technology.
Don't leave Baden-Baden without taking a ride up the Merkur Mountain Railway. It's the longest and steepest funicular in Germany and offers 360-degree views of the Black Forest; Karlsruhe; and even Strasbourg, just over the border in France.
3. Tallinn, Estonia
Tourists are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in Tallinn during the month of July. In fact, the Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union hosts one of its most important annual events, Medieval Days, from Thursday through Sunday on the first full week of July.
This celebration takes Tallinn's Old Town back to the Hanseatic era with a massive medieval market in the Town Hall Square, lively music and dance performances at an outdoor stage, and a medieval parade filled with revelers wearing traditional clothing and waving flags. Young tourists can also participate in knight tournaments on the Niguliste hill.
Looking at a trip to the Baltic region toward the end of July? Check out the Tallinn International Organ Festival. The oldest annual music festival in Estonia, this event features pipe-music recitals on antique organs at historic churches around Tallinn. It's an opportunity to experience the country's proud musical heritage.
Festivals and events aside, Tallinn's beautiful weather in July also entices tourists to pay the city a visit at this time of year. The warm temperatures and long, sunny days create the perfect environment for sightseeing around the medieval city, or even venturing out to the Baltic coastline for a day at the beach.
4. Provence, France
Lavender fields in Provence blossom all summer long, but the best time to see this violet-colored attraction is in early to mid July, right before harvest season. You'll feel like you're in a fairy tale when you see the fields of tall purple blossoms dancing in the breeze and releasing their deeply relaxing scent.
When it comes to the best places to see lavender fields in Provence in July, you've got lots of options. Some of the most popular fields are in the Valensole Plateau, particularly around the picturesque village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon.
Senanque Abbey, near the village of Gordes, is another top choice. The Cistercian abbey stands behind countless rows of the purple herbs. Tourists should also check out the lavender fields at the St. Paul de Mausole in St. Remy de Provence, where Vincent Van Gogh painted more than 140 works of art.
Make your trip even more memorable by taking a scenic drive through Provence. After all, summer is the best time for a road trip.
5. Quebec, Canada
Make your summer one for the books with a trip to French Canada in July. The weather is lovely, and cities in Quebec come alive with festivals all month long.
The world's biggest jazz festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, runs from late June through early July. It draws some two million tourists and features performances by some 3,000 artists from around the world, hundreds of which occur outdoors and come with no admission charge.
Not into jazz? Don't worry – this diverse festival also features an eclectic array of other genres, including reggae, blues, rock, pop, and electronica.
Montreal also treats visitors to a visually driven artistic experience in July with the Montreal Completement Cirque, a circus festival that runs starting late in the first week through the middle of the month. During the 10-day extravaganza, daring acrobats perform mesmerizing feats in public squares. Many of the Cirque du Soleil-style shows are free - offsetting the high prices you'll likely pay for a trip to Montreal during this popular time of year.
Around 255 kilometers away, tourists will find another one of the best places to visit in July: Quebec City. The historic city hosts the annual Festival d'été de Québec through the middle of the month. Bringing in around 1.5 million spectators, the 11-day music festival hosts performances from some of the top performing artists in the world. Check the festival's website for this year's schedule of performances.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Quebec City: Best Areas & Hotels
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Québec
6. Boston, Massachusetts
American Independence Day is a big deal in Boston, Massachusetts. The historic city's Fourth of July celebration is actually the biggest in the nation, drawing around three million visitors from America and abroad every year. Boston Harborfest kicks off a few days before the big holiday, with cruises in the harbor, historical reenactments, tours of replica 18th-century sailing vessels, and guided strolls of the North End that focus on Paul Revere (a hero of the American Revolution).
The event peaks on the night of July 4th, when the famous Boston Pops Orchestra performs patriotic music (complete with cannon blasts!) while an impressive fireworks display lights up the night sky. Catch the action from the Hatch Memorial Shell or along the Longfellow Bridges.
Come for the fireworks, then stick around Beantown for other fun attractions to visit in July. Tourists can see what Boston's Asian community is all about at the Chinatown Main Street Festival. Expect martial arts demonstrations, dance recitals, and traditional crafts. Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and watch impassioned local fans cheer on their home team. Drive 20 minutes north to Revere to see master sand sculptors at work at the annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival.
Lay out a blanket on the Boston Common and catch free theatrical performances from the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Or visit one of the Boston Harbor Islands for a relaxing day at the beach. The 30-minute ferry ride to reach the islands is half the adventure!
7. Pantanal Wetland, Brazil
Jaguars are one of the most elusive creatures on the planet, but you stand a decent chance of seeing the third-largest cat species during the month of July in Brazil's Pantanal Wetland. The dry season makes it easier to access parts of the world's largest wetland, especially along the banks of the Cuiaba River, where members of the spotted species tend to hang out.
Give yourself at least three days in the area if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the jaguars. Guides will take you on the river starting early in the day. While you might only spot the cats for a moment in other destinations, operators in the Pantanal regularly report hours-long sightings. Lucky tourists might even see the jaguars playing with their cubs or mating.
Even if you don't see jaguars, you're still likely to have a rich wildlife experience in this ecologically diverse place, which spans across Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Look out for a variety of birds (including storks, herons, and kingfishers), anteaters, giant armadillos, foxes, and capuchin monkeys, among dozens of other animals.
8. Kruger National Park, South Africa
During South Africa's winter (June through August), dry weather helps clear out some of the vegetation in the bush, making it the easiest time of year to spot amazing animals on a safari. Head to one of the country's largest and most famous game reserves, Kruger National Park, for a wildlife experience you'll never forget.
You'll want to head out very early in the morning for the best chance at catching the "Big Five" game animals: elephants, rhinos, Cape buffalo, lions, and the elusive leopard. As you seek out these beloved creatures, you'll no doubt come across tons of other amazing animals. Bring a pair of binoculars, and keep your eyes peeled for horned antelope, raptors, cheetahs, hyenas, and more during your July vacation to South Africa.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa
9. Pamplona, Spain
One of Spain's most famous events, Fiesta de San Fermín (better known as the Running of the Bulls), happens every July 7th to the 14th. The tradition dates back to the year 1591 and now draws thousands of excited and understandably nervous visitors to Pamplona, Spain.
While the festival features lively folk music, morning Mass at the Chapel of San Fermín, and a procession that pays tribute to Saint Firmianus, its controversial main show is when bulls stampede through the 800 meters of the city streets, chasing men and women while spectators cheer them on. The one-of-a-kind experience (one of the top attractions in Pamplona) is best viewed from the safety of the sidelines – not on the streets.
10. Boryeong, South Korea
Plan to get dirty if you're visiting Boryeong, a South Korean town about 200 kilometers south of the capital of Seoul, in mid-to-late July. That's when the area hosts the famous Boryeong Mud Festival.
Just as the name implies, this two-week celebration is one massive mud fight that leaves travelers covered with gray sludge from head to toe. You'll wrestle, swim, and slide in the area's mineral-rich mud, which is said to benefit the skin. The event's close proximity to Daecheon Beach makes it easy for visitors to rinse off in the ocean after the celebration.
Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in South Korea
11. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is full of things to do in July, when the city has almost 20 hours of daylight from the midnight sun. Music lovers can catch more than 20 free jazz performances toward the end of the month during the annual Jazz-Espa concert series.
Travelers who love metal music (one of the genres that Finnish musicians excel in) should check out the Puska Metal Festival in July. You can also take part in outdoor dancing and a funky midsummer picnic at the annual Elephantasy festival in Alppipuisto park.
12. Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India
The Valley of Flowers is something you have to see to believe. Picture a carpet of some 300 varieties of alpine wildflowers in bloom, their colors made even more vibrant by the contrasting 6,000-meter-tall Himalayan mountains capped with crisp, white snow. If you thought the field of poppies that lulled Dorothy to sleep in The Wizard of Oz was a sight to behold, just wait until you step foot in this dreamlike destination.
Tourists have a limited window of opportunity to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site in all its glory. While the park is open from early June until early October, the flowers can only be seen from mid-July through mid-August, after the first monsoon rains have soaked the area. Plan your trip carefully to ensure you visit during the peak – or risk seeing no flowers whatsoever.
Getting here isn't easy, but it is worth it. You'll need to make your way to the remote high-altitude town of Govindghat, then tackle a steep 13-kilometer mountain trail to the Ghangaria base camp, which can take up to eight hours. You'll spend the night at a homestay in the area.
The next morning, you'll need to hike another three kilometers to the beginning of the valley, then continue hiking for five to 10 more kilometers to reach the most spectacular fields of flowers. It's a hike that you'll never forget.
Hot tip: Keep your eyes peeled for incredible animals that live near the Valley of Flowers, including snow leopards, Asiatic black bears, and blue sheep.
13. Key West, Florida
Literature lovers flock to Key West, Florida, in July, when it hosts its annual "Hemingway Days" celebration. For five straight days in the middle of the month, the island city is filled with stocky, bearded fans in thick sweaters and red berets taking part in a competition to determine who makes the best doppelganger of legendary writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Key West in the 1930s.
In addition to a lookalike contest, there's also a three-day marlin fishing tournament (a favorite pastime of the writer), museum exhibits of rare memorabilia, literary readings, and a paddleboard race.
Continue your salute to the novelist by visiting the Hemingway Home & Museum, located next to the Key West Lighthouse, and petting the famous six-toed cats that descended from Hemingway's pet kitty, Snow White.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Key West
14. Lucca, Italy
Italy shines a spotlight on Lucca, a charming walled city west of Florence, in July when it hosts its annual Lucca Summer Festival throughout most of the month. The event has drawn some of the most famous musicians in the world since launching in 1998, including Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Alanis Morissette, who perform live at the Piazza Napoleone.
If you're visiting Lucca in mid to late July, you can also catch parts of the city's annual Puccini Festival. The classical music festival presents symphonic concerts in a grand open-air theater, along with Puccini's most famous operas.
July is the perfect time to go bird-watching on the island of Bonaire, located about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela. That's when thousands of the blushing pink birds wrap up their breeding season at Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary. While the sanctuary itself is off-limits to tourists, you can catch a glimpse of the flamingos from Pink Beach or the road above the nature preserve–just be sure to bring a pair of binoculars.
Continue your wildlife exploration in this remote island getaway by diving in Bonaire National Marine Park. It contains a whopping 85 dive sites, plus countless seahorses, green turtles, and other underwater creatures.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts on Bonaire