The Best July Destinations
For most of our American friends, this is the main month of Independence, and for us, it means that summer is finally here and in full swing. The next question is, what do you do now? While most of Europe is happy to sit in their gardens enjoying the sunshine with a cold drink or ice cream, there are still those of us that want to escape on a plane and experience something new.
That is why, for these 4 weeks of July I have listed my top 8 cities to explore and experience with a host of festivities, adrenalin rushes, beer tasting, exotic beaches, and real life Mario Go-Karting.
1. Galle, Sri Lanka
As you would probably expect, one of Sri Lanka’s major cities has plenty of things to see and do with deliciously warm weather to accompany it, making it a lot more pleasurable while checking out the sights. First and foremost is the Galle Fort which sits atop this charming coastal city providing some fantastic views and gives you an insight into its diverse history.
Galle also has some of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka and are well worth exploring, especially if you like to rip swells and make the most of the excellent surf here. Hotel Amari is a luxury 5-star beachfront resort surrounded enriched natural beauty and the best place to base yourself while in this fantastic city. Just imagine strolling along the coast, warm light ocean breeze with pristine white sandy beach in-between your toes and you will have a good idea.
2. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Only a stone throw away across the pond from the UK, Mexico may be a tad hot this time of year but if you can bear the slightly warmer temperatures then you will be able to avoid a lot of the usual crowds making it a lot more appealing. Especially when you take into account that it is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world where you can work on your tan, enjoy splashing around in the luke-warm ocean water and partake in all of the water sport activities.
There is also more to Playa Del Carmen than just the beach. A ‘must do’ in July is the Festival of the Virgin Carmen lands and parades which happens at the end of the month and consists of lots of partying, general mayhem and lots of festivities.
3. Tokyo, Japan
No trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to its capital city. Nowhere else in the world can you see the world’s most iconic fish market, pray at a thousand-year-old temple, and eat as much sushi as possible all in one day. One thing you must do while in the city is head to MariKart to race around the streets dressed up as your favourite Mario character in go-karts while waving to pretty much everyone who stops take to photos of you and you also get to Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and many other sites.
After a hard day of exploring head to Hotel Chinzanso for an elegant and regal stay in one of their beautiful rooms overlooking the famous Japanese gardens and temple. The hotel is complete with a large pool, Jacuzzi, and natural hot spring spa which is a great way to de-stress from city life and be pampered.
4. Niagara Falls, Ontario
One of the world’s most iconic natural wonders of the world in North America and an ultimate bucket list goal to achieve if the Niagara Falls. This awe-inspiring, thunderous waterfall really hits home when you see up close and personal, not to mention wet too if you step too far.
Feeling a little bit more adventurous? Then you should give the Mistrider zip line a try where you will fly at high speeds past the falls and right to base of Horseshoe, giving you some more epic views of the falls. Fancy a beer after a long day of adrenalin rushes? Then sample some beers along the Niagara ale trail at Niagara Brewing and Oast House.
5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Most people will recognize Siem Reap from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider where she creates chaos running through Angkor Wat’s temples being chased by the bad guys. These iconic temples are perfect to explore in July as long as you head there early morning to avoid the huge crowds of people that descend on this ancient site.
The best place to base yourself is at the Aviary Hotel where you can escape the Cambodian heat in their deliciously cool pool with a cold drink and your pick of any of the comfortable sun loungers. Since it is centrally based you can explore the surrounding markets and the famous Bar Street where it really kicks off at night for partying and dancing.
I must admit Shanghai always reminds me of Shanghai Knights with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson as they create chaos and comedy antics all over China, but it has always held a certain charm about it still. Until recently it has been a fairly difficult place to obtain visas, but now they are allowing tourists to visit for 6 days’ visa-free providing you no excuse to visit this beautiful city.
Are you a Disney fan? Then you are in luck as there is a magical Disneyland which you can spend a day or two at enjoying amusements and theme park rides. Or, head to Yuyuan Garden for a more traditional relaxed day with picnics, strolls amongst the flowers and watching the wildlife roam around you.
7. Calgary, Alberta
During the month of July, Calgary becomes the ultimate country-western destination as it is home to the Calgary Stampede where more than a million people descend onto the Canadian prairie city. It is a 10-day festival with nightly concerts, rodeos, line dancing and plenty of cowboy hats to boot.
Most people breeze through Calgary on their way to the Rockies, but there is so much more to see and do here. One of my favourites is getting a bird’s eye view from on top of the Calgary Tower, which provides the perfect panoramic scene of the city. Be sure to also check out the Riverwalk and Prince’s Island Park for some much-needed fresh air and park activities.
8. Lake Geneva, Switzerland
This is one of Switzerland’s most iconic plume of water which will instantly draw your eye to the promenades and lush waterside parks, while Mont Salève is a slice of the Alps in the background. The largest lake in Central Europe brings the drama and awe-inspiring natural splendour of the Alps to the centre of the city to which no one would blame you for wanting to experience. Once you are actually there, the easiest way to do that is to catch a boat from the quay at Genève-Mt-Blanc.
The lake’s beauty has affected the design of the city itself, as a promenade was built around the shore in the mid-19th century. Next to the water are tree-lined promenades with palatial townhouses or serene parks like Eaux-Vives, Jardin Anglais, Perle du Lac or Mon Repos. This is a great long weekend destination for sure.
Be sure to check out my website for more information and travel advice as well as my Twitter @TakeLeapTravel and Instagram @taketheleaptravel.
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