July is one of the busiest months to travel. School's Out! In many parts of the world, and certainly in the northern hemisphere, it's when the weather is at its warmest and sunniest. So, what are the best places to holiday in July? Hopefully we've provided an assortment of inspirational choices.
Provence's fragrant lavender fields come into their own in July. They're best seen from the Sénanque Abbey in Gordes.
A July visit is exceptionally well-timed. You'll have the chance to immerse yourself in France's National Day (La Fête Nationale), more popularly known as Bastille Day. You may be lucky to catch a parade bu there's bound to be festivities and fireworks aplenty.
This month is also important to cyclists as it marks the start of the Tour de France.
Flight Time from London: 2 hours
Time Difference: +1 hour
Daytime Temperatures: 24° C
This was the first holiday that Mr P & I took and if my memory serves me correctly, we headed there in July! I'm not sure we could repeat the Ayia Napa experience, so here are some other ideas of how to while away your time on this truly beautiful island.
Nissi Beach is a stunning Blue Flag Beach as is Protaras and Fig Tree Beach. For culture, head to Paphos to wander around the ancient ruins of tombs and fortresses. Two miles from Paphos are the Tombs of the Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another popular tourist hotspot is Limassol - a city boasting great entertainment, dining, shopping and sightseeing. Oh, and don't forget a trip to Aphrodite's Rock and see if the ancient Greek Goddess of Love can work her magic.
Flight Time from London: 4 hours 30 minutes
Time Difference: +2 hours
Daytime Temperatures: 28° C
Rainfall: 0 mm
It's probably the best month to visit the Emerald Isle. Whilst you'll enjoy 18 hours of daylight - a summer rain shower may make a surprise appearance. But it's when the landscape is most vibrant and at it's absolute best. The Irish town of Galway hosts an International Arts Festival each July.
If you are the active type, there are plenty of trails heading around like the Iveragh Peninsula (on the Kerry Way)or the Dingle Peninsula (on the Dingle Way). The snaking peninsulas and beautiful coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way is made for a cycling exploration experience. There's so much to see here - perhaps one visit won't be enough.
Flight Time from London: 1 hours 15 minutes
Time Difference: no difference
Daytime Temperatures: 19° C
Rainfall: 50 mm
Sun-worshippers can rejoice in Mexico's July temperatures which reach the heady heights of 28° C - but it does go cool in the evenings which, quite frankly, gives a welcome respite to the heat.
Nature lovers have the perfect reason to visit Mexico in August. It's peak sea turtle season and Mexico is famously home to six out of the seven worldwide species. Along the popular tourist spots of Cancun and Riviera Maya, you're more likely to see Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles. Let's hope that you'll be in the right place at the right time and witness this amazing nesting and hatching process. Away from the beaches, wander around Mexico's colourful cities. Guanajuato has old colonial buildings, winding lanes and alleys (which are just some of the reasons it's a UNESCO World Heritage site). If you have time, Guadalajara is also worth a trip as it's a hotbed of traditional Mexican culture.
Flight Time from London (to Cancun): 11 hours 30 minutes
Time Difference: -6 hours
Daytime Temperatures: 24° C - 28° C
Rainfall: 17 mm
With cool but comfortable temperatures, July is a great month to visit this fascinating place. There's plenty of daylight and all of the Alaskan wildlife have emerged from Winter hibernation. Despite being recognised as the wildest corner of America, the National Parks have all opened and fully accessible so there's ample opportunity to explore the spectacular and breathtaking landscape.
July is the best month for wildlife sightings - bears, sea otters, seals and whales. Why not follow in the footsteps of the prospectors and their 'Gold Rush' fever?
Flight Time from London: from 15 hours 30 minutes (includes one stopover)
Time Difference: - 9 hours
Daytime Temperatures: 15° C - 19° C
Rainfall: 50 - 90 mm (depending on area visited)
Bear-Watching Holidays in Finland or Sweden
Found on every continent except Antarctica, bears have always had a somewhat magical allure. Perhaps it's down to Paddington, or even Yogi? Most of us have a fondness for these fury friends so this could be the perfect trip!
Early to mid July is often the best time to spot a brown bear in Finland or Sweden (it's much rarer to do so in Norway). The bears have been out of hibernation since April, they've mated in June and come July they are more likely to be spotted feeding. It's best to join an organised tour as the best sightings are normally at night. Specialist guides and trackers can spot the signs, sights and smells to maximise your chances of getting (relatively) up close and personal - they are wild animals so it'll be at a safe distance through binoculars!
Finland is reported to have 2000 bears in it's lakeland region - thanks to the thick forests and rich vegetation. Although Sweden is said to have around 3000 bears, they're more harder to spot but Hälsingland, Bollnäs and Sandviken are popular.
Not just reserved for honeymooners: it's a nature lovers paradise. Spellbinding, uncrowded beaches with powder-white sand and clear turquoise waters lap into imposing boulders often in the shade of large, lush green hills.
July is a great time to visit and island-hopping is a great way to totally immerse yourself in the Seychellois way of life. The capital, Mahe is the best place to start and from there the islands of Praslin, La Digue are within a few minutes' boat ride.
Under the sea lies a colourful underwater world. Snorkellers and divers are in for a delight of colourful corals and aquatic life.
Flight Time from London: from 13 hours 25 minutes (includes one stopover)
Time Difference: + 3 hours
Daytime Temperatures: 26° C
Rainfall: 97 mm