Where to Travel in July

Mid-summer holiday on the cards? We’re here to help. Stroll the narrow passageways of Italy’s beautiful Bellagio, taste-test Croatia’s sublime seafood or fall in love with France’s most underrated escape, after perusing our round-up of the destinations to visit this month.

July screams one thing in Europe: summer is in full swing. As London laps up some much-deserved sunshine, we've attended more barbecues, beer gardens and picnics in the park than our social battery can handle. So, we've taken it upon ourselves to track down the ultimate destinations for a July holiday. Join us as we sail through gin-clear waters, cruise along cliff-clinging roads and wander sun-scorched streets in these 15 brilliant destinations to visit this month.

Passports at the ready: destinations to visit in July

Corsica France



Rugged and rocky, lush and wild, with sky-tickling granite crags, elegant hill towns and fragrant, blousy summer landscapes dotted with eucalyptus, juniper, rosemary, sage and lavender, Corsica is a French island basking in the Italian sun, as the saying goes. This wild and rugged isle offers windswept mountain peaks, verdant plains and dizzying views, but also cool-blue Mediterranean coves, soft-sand beaches and chichi resorts (complete with disdainful waiters, we might add). Most stick to the south's sandy bays (try Santa Giulia) when visiting, but venture into the north and you'll find pine tree-fringed hills and steep olive groves rolling into charming fishermen's enclaves.

St Agnes Cornwall

St Agnes


Looking for a quieter alternative to St Ives? Pop St Agnes' name at the top of your list. Amid the rugged cliffs and old engine houses of Cornwall's north coast is this unassuming town of two personalities, divided by terraced miners' cottages into "village" and "beach". Boutique bakeries and delicatessens rub shoulders with zero-waste shops on a quaint high street, while the sand below looks as though it has been scooped from the cliff using an enormous digger. Dramatic rather than conventionally pretty, its a playground for surfers, swimmers and rowers.

Sibiu Romania



From afar, Sibiu, with its rust-coloured roofs and towering church spires, looks like many other Eastern European cities - it could be Prague, Budapest or Krakow. But, on closer inspection, this medieval city in the foothills of southern Transylvania's Cindrel Mountains exudes a creative energy that pushes it to the forefront of Romania's cultural scene. Stroll through the art nouveau Upper Town, which once housed aristocrats and the religious elite, and then the more ramshackle Lower Town, once the home of merchants and craftsmen. Nip between the Stairs Passage - a winding slope built for oxcarts in the 13th century - for the best views of the city, then cross the Bridge of Lies, the city's emblem. Pass by the houses decorated with watchful eyes, which locals once believed were used by communists to spy on them, then tick off Romania's first hospital, school, library and pharmacy - all built within Sibiu's walls.

Fornalutx Mallorca



Nestled in the dramatic Serra de Tramuntana mountains, the jigsaw puzzle-like old stone houses of Fornalutx make for one of Mallorca's prettiest destinations. Just a 40-minute drive from the fast pace of Palma, the village's go-slow vibe is made even more inviting by a handful of sun-drenched squares decorated with olive-green shutters and oyster-white parasols. While days are well spent strolling storied streets and making pit stops for tapas-style bites (not forgetting jugs of sangria), it's also worth stomping along some of the town's many pine-clad walking trails to best appreciate its charm. We recommend starting with the Blick auf Port de Sóller Loop, a 10km hike suited to all skill levels.

Île de Ré


Cross an arched bridge over the Atlantic for the hollyhocks, salt marshes, sand dunes and beaches of idyllic Île de Ré. Begin in the Unesco-listed St-Martin-de-Ré, perhaps the quaintest town on the island, where shutters can only be painted one of 16 hues of blue and green and overhead cables must be concealed. Book into one of the elegantly rustic rooms at Le Corps de Garde, then hire a bicycle complete with wicker basket and spend the day dipping in and out of wildflower-strewn meadows, perfumed vineyards and long stretches of golden sand.

Kotor Montenegro



If you're looking for a mix of culture and beach days where there's little risk of bumping into your neighbours from back home, Kotor is a good pick. A Unesco World Heritage site, this historic coastal town is full of Romanesque churches, restored frescoes and Venetian fortifications, its pedestrian-only streets having originally been built like a maze to protect citizens. Today, this leads to visitors getting lost while exploring the many boutiques, bars and restaurants. Our advice? Don't fight it. Turn off Google Maps and enjoy getting utterly disorientated.



The furthest of Croatia's islands from mainland Split, Vis is halfway to Italy and a popular stop for those sailing the Adriatic. Despite being considered one of the most beautiful stretches of shoreline in Europe, Stiniva Beach doesn't attract big crowds, partly because the horseshoe-shaped, white-pebbled cove is obscured from view for passing boats, but largely due to the difficulty in accessing it. Choose between descending a narrow, cliff-hugging path or hop aboard a small vessel from neighbouring Rukavac. Looking for the next adventure? Climb Mount Hum to enjoy views of Italy across the bay of Komiža. Come dinner, Konoba Jastožera won't disappoint - it's not for nothing that Vis is widely regarded as being the culinary hub of Croatia. Housed in an old lobster pothouse, the restaurant is the place to feast on catch of the day grilled, steamed, creamed or paired with a hearty portion of linguine.



Often overlooked due to the popularity of neighbouring Nice and Toulouse, Montpellier's sandy beaches and fawn-hued streets are all the better for not being rammed with tourists. This is an inherently walkable city. Amble through bougainvillea-draped boulevards and elegant squares, making stops at family-run bakeries and cute cafés, before heading to the city's sun-drenched beaches to work on your tan. Browse the antiques markets for trinkets to take home, pausing to admire the Haussmann architecture as you go.

Forte dei Marmi


Known for its pristine beaches, elegant villas and glamorous residents, this romantic Tuscan town has earned the moniker "fabulous Forte". Wander the boutique-lined streets for a spot of window shopping, before heading to the Pontile, a 19th-century pier stretching out into the Tyrrhenian Sea. People-watch from beachfront bars as chic locals go for a dip and admire the larger-than-life yachts gently bobbing in the bay. In the evening, treat yourself with a trip to one of Forte's famed baths for some serious self-care in the form of spa pools, saunas and steam rooms. Come in July for the annual International Fireworks Festival of Forte dei Marmi, where the world's top pyrotechnic companies compete for first place in a series of incredible displays.



Perched on the side of a mountain, this resort town offers Sicilian glamour at its finest. Loved by everyone from DH Lawrence to George Clooney, Taormina oozes sophisticated elegance flecked with rustic Italian charm. Soak up dazzling Ionian views and potter along cobbled passageways to find charming trattorias. Explore the Teatro Greco, climb up Mount Etna and wander the tropical gardens of Villa Comunale. Visit at the beginning of July for the Taormina Film Fest, an awards ceremony dating back to 1955, with past winners including Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman.



North of Seville, bordering Portugal's Alentejo, this Spanish region has been kept under wraps by locals for centuries. Despite its many alluring qualities, Extremadura is one of the country's least-visited spots, making it the perfect alternative to tourist-filled cities and jam-packed beaches. Spend days traversing wildlife reserves, before heading to the region's capital, Mérida, to replenish energy levels with plates piled high with Iberian ham and bottles of Spanish wine. Book your trip for July to catch the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival, which has been held in Cáceres annually since 1992.

Orta San Giulio

Orta San Giulio


Lake Orta, known locally as La Cenerentola - Cinderella - is considered the discreetly superior sister to the more showy lakes of Como and Maggiore. Jutting out from its eastern bank, Orta San Giulio was loved by such luminaries as Nietzsche and Byron, and, more recently, Carol Ann Duffy. Follow a tangle of narrow streets to the lakeside Piazza Motta, where Piedmontese village life plays out among faded ochre buildings, or explore Sacro Monte, a Unesco World Heritage site of religious pilgrimage.

Aegina Greece



Situated just 26km from Athens' busy port of Piraeus, the dinky island of Aegina has a full-time population of just 10,000. Head to the harbour to watch fishermen haul in their catch, then join laid-back locals in making a beeline for one of the many bakeries to snag a feta- or tahini-stuffed pastry. Don't be fooled, though. This sleepy place springs to life every Friday, when boho Athenians arrive for a long weekend of swimming, feasting and socialising. Follow their lead and meander between the cobblestoned streets of the old town, paddle in gin-clear waters, then dance until sunrise at one of the island's vibrant beach bars.

Giudecca Venice



Located in the Venetian Lagoon, this serene island is separated from mainland Venice by the Giudecca Canal. Its name meaning "Long Thorn", this was once a luxurious retreat for Italy's in-the-know travellers, thanks to its bevvy of palaces and pristine gardens. In the early-20th century, however, its factories and shipyards grew in might, making for an unexpected industrial turn. Today, the blend of grit and glamour makes for a remarkably beautiful place. Just a short gondola ride from the hustle and bustle of Venice's palazzos, the slower pace of Giudecca offers a taste of true Venetian living.



Backed by sprawling hills and, beyond them, the dramatic Rhaetian Alps, teeny-tiny Bellagio is home to red-roofed villas with forest-green shutters and steep staircases. With a full-time population of just 4,000, this sleepy village in Lombardy is the sort of place where everyone knows everyone. Begin your day gently with an early-morning stroll through its narrow passageways, where you'll find locals carrying baskets of freshly baked goods and owners of independent boutiques opening up for the day, then visit the 12th-century Basilica of San Giacomo, whose mosaic work dates back to 1900.

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