Beat the summer throngs this July by heading to quieter beaches and resorts in Europe. Keen for a far-flung escape? We’ve also included getaways in the US, Canada and South Africa.
Our top picks for July include Spain’s culinary capital, a French island with a fascinating history and one of the best Greek islands according to Which? members. Further afield, experience the quaint coastal villages of a US celebrity haunt, tour the Canadian Rockies, or enjoy Cape Town crowd-free.
But first, a caveat. While travel restrictions continue to ease across the world, it’s still important to check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) updates before booking your trip, as holidaying against advice will invalidate your . And with continued chaos at airports lately, we recommend booking your holiday as a package with a as this offers more protection. But if you only need flights, see .
Average maximum temperature: 24℃
While many of Spain’s towns and resorts reach a scorching 30℃ in July, San Sebastián’s position in northern Spain means it’s kept at a more comfortable 24℃ by the North Atlantic breeze.
Located in the Basque region, San Sebastián is known as Spain’s culinary capital and has 11 Michelin-starred restaurants. A visit won't be complete without sampling pintxos (bitesize sweet and savoury bar snacks ) and washing them down with a glass of chilled txakoli (the region’s signature sparkling white wine) or Basque cider. A good place to find those, as well as gothic architecture and high-end shops, is Parte Vieja, the city’s lively Old Town. Alternatively, soak up the sunshine and enjoy a hearty seafood dish at one of the world-renowned restaurants lining Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta.
If you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll just need to show proof of vaccination to travel to Spain. If you’re not fully vaccinated, you will need to present a negative pre-departure test and complete a passenger locator form. Children under 12 are exempt from the restrictions. Read more in our guide to .
Average maximum temperature: 30℃
Wherever you decide to go in Kefalonia, you won’t be short of spectacular scenery – think white beaches hemmed by lush, green forests and hidden caves. It’s no surprise this Ionian isle took second place in our survey of the best Greek islands, scoring the full five stars for scenery. Which? members also named it one of the best-value Greek islands to visit, so you’ll get more for your money than you would in one of the more popular destinations.
For complete serenity, aim for Kefalonia’s more intimate south-coast resorts, such as Afrato or Karavado. Here, citrus groves and vineyards producing the island’s smooth robola wine will often frame your view of the sea. And as one visitor noted, Kefalonia’s rugged landscapes are made for touring, so be sure to pencil in a couple of days to go off and explore.
Greece has now lifted all travel restrictions, meaning you won’t need to test, quarantine or complete a passenger locator form, regardless of vaccination status. You can find out more about Greece dropping its restrictions in our .
Average maximum temperature: 27℃
While most sunseekers will flock to France’s south coast in July, the island of Corsica is where to find more remote beaches and a unique blend of French and Italian culture (it became part of France in the 18th century).
Corsica is characterised by its rugged canyons, crystal-blue waters and sandy beaches. It’s also abundant in national parks; nearly half of the island makes up the Corsica Regional Nature Park, where you can venture along one of the many scenic walking trails. The terrain is also perfect for climbing and bouldering. If you're feeling less adventurous, there are 200 beaches to sprawl out on, and when you’re ready for a bite to eat, there’s often a restaurant just metres away from your sunbathing spot (where you can sample the island’s Sciacarello red wine).
Fully vaccinated travellers can enter France test-free; you’ll just need to show proof of vaccination and complete a passenger locator form. Those over the age of 12 who aren’t fully vaccinated will need to show evidence of a negative pre-departure test. Children under 12 are exempt from travel restrictions and there are different requirements for teenagers between 12-18. Read our full guide to .
Average maximum temperature: 25℃
Known for its pristine beaches, lobster rolls and laid-back lifestyle, Cape Cod is a favourite summer destination for Americans and tourists alike.
Colourful wooden seafood shacks and whitewashed lighthouses line the beachfronts, and there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in the peninsula’s ponds and marshes. History buffs might like to visit the town of Hyannis, where they can take the Kennedy trail and learn all about the 35th president of the United States.
Currently, only fully vaccinated travellers (or those under 18) can visit the US for tourism. You will need proof of vaccination and a negative pre-departure test result to travel. Under 18s don’t need to be fully vaccinated, but they will need a negative pre-departure test. There’s more information in our .
Average maximum temperature: 26℃
Whether it’s a city break or outdoor adventure you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Canada. Montreal, Ontario and Toronto are the hottest parts of Canada in July, with temperatures of around 27℃, while Banff, where Lake Louise is located, sits at a fresher 19℃.
Of course, one of Canada’s greatest draws are the Rocky Mountains, which span British Columbia and Alberta (both average 22-23℃ in July). Here, the milky-blue lakes are crowned by jagged, snow-capped peaks and deep, green pine forests. To experience the scenery in style, take the Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury train which has table service and a glass rooftop for undisturbed views as you wind through the valleys, spotting wild elk, deer and bears along the way.
Currently, only fully vaccinated travellers can visit Canada for tourism. You’ll need to complete a passenger locator form and wear a mask during the flight. Eligible travellers should also be prepared to take a Covid test upon arrival as part of random screenings in operation. Children under 12 are exempt. For more on Canada’s travel restrictions, visit.
Average maximum temperature: 17℃
June, July and August are South Africa’s winter months, meaning cooler temperatures and the odd chance of rain. But it also means quieter tourist attractions with pleasant averages of 17℃, which is ideal for sightseeing. For those reasons, July is a great time to visit Cape Town.
A must-do is the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain for far-reaching views over the city. Other top activities include a boat trip to Robben Island, where the prison that once held Nelson Mandela has been converted into a museum. At Boulders Beach you can visit the resident African penguins.
Fully vaccinated travellers will just need to show evidence of their vaccination status to enter South Africa. If you’re not fully vaccinated, you will need to show a negative pre-departure test or evidence of recent recovery. Children under 12 are exempt. See for more information on South Africa’s Covid restrictions.
Weather data from Weather2travel.com.