Dive right into the heart of summer madness, with our pick of the best places to travel in June
Blooming June is a crowd-pleaser at the best of times. But count quiet tropical beaches and hazy hilltop hiking into the mix, and it becomes even better.
This is a month where many travel destinations hit their zenith, from midnight sun picnics in the forests of Finland to the achingly hip Montreal jazz festival, and prime wildebeest theatrics on the plains of Tanzania.
Here’s 12 great places to get your teeth into this June (but shhh! Don’t tell the masses):
1 - Rwanda
Average temperature: 26ºC / 79ºF
Cultural attraction: As well as gorilla trekking, the clear-sky days are perfect for mountain biking in the Virunga mountains.
June signals the start of the dry season in this East African nation, meaning clear, warm days and easier access to the tropical highlands. Conditions are prime for one of Rwanda’s biggest draws: walking with gorillas in their natural mountain habitat. Get in before the crowds peak in July and August.
2 - Quebec, Canada
Average temperature: 21ºC / 70ºF
Cultural attraction: If you time your Montreal visit for the first Friday of June, don’t miss Les Premiers Vendredis; the largest gathering of food trucks in Canada.
June is when Montreal, the cosmopolitan hub of Quebec, comes into its own. The city lights up with hip-swinging beats as the world’s largest jazz festival, the Festival international de Jazz de Montréal, kicks off. There’s also the Montreal Grand Prix. Meanwhile, outside the city, warmer temperatures call visitors to the Laurentian Mountains – Quebec’s summertime playground.
3 - Borneo
Average temperature: 31ºC / 88ºF
Cultural attraction: Get yourself over to the conservation area of Selingan Island to see green sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach at night.
A hot, dry climate takes hold across Borneo in June, making it an excellent time to visit. Over in the rainforests of Sabah, it’s fruiting season – so the odds of spotting orangutans are higher, as they forage in the jungle canopy. Lower rainfall means a better experience of hiking and adventure caving in Sarawak destinations such as Mulu National Park, too.
4 - Finland
Average temperature: 16ºC / 61ºF
Cultural attraction: Make a beeline for the newly-launched Solstice festival, with two days of live acts, DJs, hiking and rafting at Rukatunturi ski resort.
June is a euphoric time for this Nordic nation, spelling the start of “terrace season” after their famously long winters. In Helsinki and other cities, Finns spill out onto sidewalks and park terraces for a glass of cider, taking advantage of endless midsummer days where the light barely fades. The warm, bright glare of midnight sun makes for fabulous all-night parties, from picnics on the beach to forest grills. Camping, sailing and wild swimming are all popular activities, too.
5 - Morocco
Average temperature: 24ºC / 75ºF
Cultural attraction: After heading for the hills, pop the imperial city of Fes on your radar. It’s not too hot to explore in June, and you can hit up the annual Fes Festival at the same time.
As far as June travel destinations are concerned, Morocco is a top bet. The start of summer heralds in clear, warm days with up to 10 hours of sunshine, but it’s still mild in the Atlas highlands. Cooler temperatures in the mornings and evenings make ideal hiking across the Ait Mizane valley, especially on the Mount Toubkal route. There’s less rain but the hills are still alive with an early-season bloom of wild orchids, poppies, blue gentians and more.
6 - Lake Como, Italy
Average temperature: 23ºC / 73ºF
Cultural attraction: Get set for the most spectacular fireworks show of all time with the Festival of San Giovanni on Isola Comacina on 27 June: boats and steamers line up around the island for a front-row seat.
Make like George Clooney and cut a dash to the beautiful Lake Como in northern Italy. June is a good time to visit because you can hop on a ferry and zip between the picturesque lakeside towns minus the high-summer hordes.
Make it your mission to track down a pizzeria or two sandwiched between the colourful architecture, or join local residents for swimming off a lake jetty with the mountains in the distance. Word to the wise: as well as very popular (read: touristy) towns like Bellagio, it’s worth getting to know places that are more laid-back, like Lecco, for a taste of everyday life here.
7 - Tanzania
Average temperature: 23ºC / 74ºF
Cultural attraction: Don’t forget to look up from the wildlife now and again: the clear skies of June bring spectacular stargazing in the bush.
As Tanzania’s rainy season gives way to dry heat in June, vegetation on the open plains of the Serengeti quickly recedes. The arid, yellowing terrain promise great visibility for big game spotting, especially in northern regions. Wildebeest herds flock into the Western corridor at the start of their annual migration, while zebras, giraffes and elephants gather around river mouths and watering holes.
8 - Portugal
Average temperature: 25ºC / 77ºF
Cultural attraction: A massive street party unfolds with the Festa de São João do Porto (Festival of St John of Porto) on 22-24 June. Expect traditional music, bonfire jumping, a few inflatable hammer fights – and, of course, fireworks.
The Instagram-worthy streets of Lisbon and Porto has seen visitors to Portugal skyrocket in recent years, and June is a good time to get in on the action. This is when the summer season really kicks off in earnest, with plenty of festivals and events, yet you’ll still find a table to perch at with a glass of Portuguese rosé at one of the great indoor/outdoor markets. Culture, amazing food, ancient and beautiful cityscapes: every part of Portugal is designed to seduce.
9 - Peru
Average temperature: 18ºC / 64ºF
Cultural attraction: Don’t miss the Inca Festival of the Sun marking Winter Solstice on June 24, with an infusion of colour, music and pageantry.
In June, the Inca hills of Peru (including Machu Picchu) are flush with green from recent rainfall. At the same time, it’s dry and cool enough for cycling and hiking around the Sacred Valley highlands. A typical June day in the Cusco hills brings blue skies and crisp sunshine, with chillier nights. Meanwhile, the beauty that is Rainbow Mountain becomes accessible again after months of heavy snowfall.
10 - Sicily
Average temperature: 25ºC / 77ºF
Cultural attraction: Ramble through the food markets of Palermo and Catania for a full appreciation of its summer harvest, from peaches to figs, watermelons and all kinds of seafood.
Temperatures soar to a balmy 25°
11 - Bali
Average temperature: 28ºC / 82ºF
Cultural attraction: Zip over to the traffic-free island of Gili Air to bask in the barefoot lifestyle before the crowds descend.
June is shoulder season in Bali: you can sneak in before the hordes get serious, around the July and August mark. Life on the Island of the Gods is chilled at the best of times, but it’s yet more relaxed at this point, when the restaurants and beaches are less busy. It’s also dry season, with less humidity for hiking in the jungle hills of Ubud. Meanwhile, in beach destinations such as Seminyak, the mercury hovers around the mid-20s mark, with bright, cloudless days.
12 - The UK
Average temperature: 18ºC / 64ºF
Cultural attraction: The UK knows how to do a festival with the best of ’em. Have your wellies packed for Download, Lovebox or Taste of London in Regent’s Park. And if it rains, hey – it’s all part of the experience.
With the hedgerows in bloom, June is a lovely month to visit the UK – especially if you’re planning to have a ramble around the countryside. Some spectacular views await up in the Lake District, or you could head west for a spot of cream tea in the Cotswolds. It’s not all Jane Austen gentility, though. Britain has a reputation to keep for being eccentric: in Manchester, London or Liverpool, you’ll find cutting-edge cafés, clubs and art installations. And make room in your itinerary for the start of festival season, with a fabulous mix of food, music and live performance, usually played out on the grounds of a historic estate.
Head further north to Scotland for dramatic highlands scenery and adventure aplenty: from canoeing to canyoning and beyond.
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock and Unsplash