The Best July Travel Experiences-
For all other months, go here: The Best Travel Experiences
Summer brings a return of “the good life” to Europe and North America with long lazy days, water activities and the most pristine hiking opportunities abounding. Iconic European summer festivals kick into high gear with The running of the bulls and Il Palio. The world’s greatest migrations see the most furious collisions of the food chain with the wildebeests crossing the Grumeti River and peek feeding time for brown bears in Alaska and great white sharks in Gansbaai. Now is your opportunity to get out and experience the best in travel.
Best July European Festivals
- Pamplona, Spain: San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls: (July 6-15th, 2014) Pyrotechnics start this festival off with a bang, literally. Courageous souls run one half mile through the streets of the town while being chased by six bulls and six steers. Throughout the festival, parades with giant figurines over 150 years old march in celebration of history and local culture. The bull run starts at 8am and runners must be there a half hour early. How to Run With the Bulls in Pamplona
- Pamplona, Spain – Running of the Nudes: (July 5th, 2014) If bull fighting is not your thing (or public nudity is your thing), join PETA and other animal rights activists as they protest the Running of the Bulls by running nude along the festival route. Over 1000 people take part in this unique event.
- Siena, Italy – Il Palio di Siena Horse Race: This grand event is held twice each year on July 2nd and August 16th. Merriment begins with Corteo Storico, a historic costume pageant, and continues with the horse race, during which ten jockeys representing the ten city districts ride bareback. The race usually lasts about 90 seconds but provides ample entertainment.
- Sonkajarvi, Finland – Wife Carrying World Championship: (July 4-5th, 2014) The ultimate couples bonding experience. Men, carry your wife through an obstacle course to win her weight in beer. Wives, hold on tight! If a competitor drops his wife, the couple is fined 15 seconds.
Best July Animal Experiences (Land)
- Alaska, United States – Brown Bears and King Salmon: July is the perfect time to visit Katmai National Park and see brown bears as they feed on the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. About 2,200 brown bears live in the park, making it the premiere bear viewing location. Head to Brook Falls viewing platform, where an impressive 40-70 individual bears have been spotted in Julys alone.
- Rift Valley, Kenya – A Billion Flamingoes at Lake Bogoria: Following droughts in surrounding lakes, Lake Bogoria became home to one of the world’s largest populations of flamingos. The park is also home to leopards, klipspringers, caracals, greater kudu, and over 200 species of birds. Visitors can enjoy hot springs and geysers believed to release healing vapors.
- Serengeti, Tanzania – Witness the Wildebeest Migration: In July, the great wildebeest migration meets its biggest challenge—crossing the Grumeti River. It is a collision of migrations that hungry cats, crocodiles and other predators have waited all year for. Don’t miss this incredible feat of nature! The Great Maasi Mara
- Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania – Track Chimpanzees: Travel along the Gombe Stream and see the chimp families Jane Goodall famously researched fifty years ago. The chimps are best seen July-October, along with 200 species of birds, olive baboons, red-tailed and red colombus monkeys. This area is a nature-lover’s dream! Tracking Wild Chimpanzees Along the Gombe Stream
- Komodo, Indonesia – See the Komodo Dragon: July brings great weather to see the largest lizard on the planet, and perfect diving conditions around the island. The Komodo Dragon is a dangerous predator so don’t wander off alone and take caution if you have an open wound, they smell blood!
Best July Outdoor Activities (Hiking and Biking)
- Germany to Austria – The Danube Bike Path: Start in Passau, Germany, and bike about 200 miles to Vienna, Austria, along the beautiful Danube River. The path is mostly flat, making it perfect for leisurely riders, families, and nature lovers. Enjoy green scenery, old castles, quaint villages and great weather through the summer. Also, the EuroVelo6 (EV6) long-distance cycling route, named The Rivers Route. This passes through 10 countries and includes the Danube Bike Path.
- Skógar, Iceland – Hike the Laugavegurinn Trail: Noted as a ‘Dream Trip’ by National Geographic, this wondrous 24-mile trail guides explorers through unadulterated wilderness, desolate valleys, cascading waterfalls, magnificent glaciers, and volcanic landscapes. Runners can race in the Laugavegurinn Ultra Marathon on July 12th, 2014.
- Switzerland, Italy and France – Tour du Mont Blanc Walk: Join one of the most popular and scenic long-distance walks in Europe. Enjoy 105 miles of impressive wilderness through alpine climbs, circling Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. July-September is the best time to enjoy lovely weather.
- California, United States – Hike the John Muir Trail: Winding through the Sierra Nevada, this sunny route is one of the best segments of the Pacific Crest Trail. It runs from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, passing through some of the country’s most magnificent national parks: Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, as well as the John Muir Wilderness and Inyo and Sierra National Forests.
Best July Outdoor Activities (Watersports)
- Dubrovnik Port, Croatia – Kayak the Adriatic Sea: With great weather from June-September, July is the perfect time to explore over 1000 islands in the Adriatic Sea. Traveling by kayak allows you to discover hidden caves and investigate coves too shallow for sailboats.
- Jeffreys Bay, South Africa – Surf the Best Waves in the World: (July 10-20th, 2014) The Association of Surfing Professionals returns for the J-Bay Open, part of the World Championship Tour. This beach is a top-five surfing destination and boasts the best right hand point breaks on the planet. The Eastern Cape: South Africa’s Adventure Province
Best Worldwide July Festivals
- United States – Celebrate Independence Day: (July 4th, 2014) Stay in a larger city for huge celebrations complete with parades and fireworks, or head out for a small-town adventure including pie-eating contests, town races and pet shows. Wherever you are, you’re sure to enjoy the exciting and unique ways Americans commemorate this day.
- Mongolia – Mongolian Sports: The Naadam Festival: (July 11-13th, 2014) This traditional festival is celebrated around the country with the largest gatherings in Ulaanbaatar. Festivities are rich with cultural significance and include three games: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. The Mongolian Naadam Festival
- Calgary, Canada – Calgary Stampede: (July 4-13th, 2014) Titled ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,’ this epic series of events attracts over one million spectators and boasts one of the largest rodeos ever. With parades, music shows, agricultural competitions and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
- Barbados – Crop Over Festival: (June – the first Monday in August) The crop over tradition started in 1688 on the sugar cane plantations to celebrate a successful harvest. Today the epic party rages for two months while islanders and visitors enjoy calypso music, singing and dancing.
Best July Natural Wonders
- Alberta, Canada – Banff and Jasper National Parks: Canada’s oldest national park, Banff, connects with Jasper around the Canadian Rockies. Take a road trip through these majestic mountains, hike to great heights, walk on glaciers, swim in hot springs, or simply enjoy the spectacular views. Hiking the Canadian Rockies
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia – See the World’s Largest Salt Flat: Over 10,000 square kilometers in size and 10 meters thick in the center, this salt flat is traversable by 4×4 and can be explored over a few days, using a guide and basic refuge. Don’t forget your sunglasses, the salt can be blinding in its grandeur!
Best July Animal Encounters (Sea)
- Gansbaai, South Africa – Cage Dive in Shark Alley: View great white sharks from the boat or meet them at eye level from the cage. The nearby Geyser Rock is home to a colony of roughly 40,000 Cape fur seals, otherwise known as food for the sharks. July is peak feeding season for these gigantic fish and Southern right whales can be spotted almost daily too.
- Vancouver Island, Canada – Whale Watcher’s Dream: From March to October, thousands of humpback, gray, minke whales, and orcas migrate through the waters around Vancouver. Tour companies offer transportation by boat, kayak, zodiac and seaplane. Tips for Traveling to Vancouver Island
- Quebec, Canada – Kayak with Beluga Whales: Take an awesome five-day camping adventure by kayak and see the fjord and surrounding wildlife up close, including Beluga whales. Fjord en Kayak offers excursions for families, including kids as young as three years-old. Get more info here Tadoussac, the Saguenay fjord and surrounding areas in Quebec make a stunning road trip. Road Trip Tadoussac and the Saguenay Fjord
Best July Extreme Activities
- England to France – Swim the English Channel: Arrive in late July just as these famous waters are getting warm. Train well and register with a guide to cross this 20-mile stretch of ocean. This great undertaking is not for the faint of heart. Sign up to swim the English Channel here
- Huayin, China – The World’s Most Dangerous Trek: (April to October) Mount Huashan is one of China’s five sacred mountains. Hike up along the treacherous plank path, holding on to nothing but old chains to keep from falling to certain death. The truly courageous locals travel at night to reach the peak at dawn.
Best July Athletic Challenges
- Michigan, United States – AuSable River Canoe Marathon: (July 22-27th, 2014) This event is the longest non-stop canoe race in North America and possibly the oldest marathon canoe race in the United States. Contestants paddle 120 miles from Grayling to Oscoda.
- Asia to Europe: Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race: (July 20th, 2014) Swim 6.5 kilometers from one continent to another in one of the world’s greatest open-water swims. Nearly 5,000 swimmers from dozens of countries join together in this iconic competition hosted by the Turkish Olympic Committee.
- Honshu Island, Japan – Climb Mount Fuji: This highest mountain in Japan is an active volcano and one of three Holy Mountains. The summit is only open in July and August so take advantage of this incredible natural wonder while you can. Artists and photographers flock to the mountain from all over the globe for its picturesque and symmetrical snow-capped cone. Climbing Mount Fuji
Best July Cultural Encounters
- Lake Eyasi, Tanzania – Live with Bushmen: The Hadzabe tribe are Tanzania’s last nomadic population. Connect with a local guide to take a unique cultural tour, hear their famous click language, and learn how the Hadzabe hunt, eat, and live. Visit in July when the mosquitoes are down.
- Magelang, Java, Indonesia – Visit Borobudur Temple: This impressive temple complex is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, containing no less than 504 Buddhist statues. It was restored in the 1970s and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to preserve its ancient cultural and historical significance. Arrive at sunrise for a truly beautiful experience.
Which is your favorite? Have a Best July Travel Experience or a blog post to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below:
The myWanderlist Best Travel Experiences for Other Months
- Best January Travel Experiences
- Best February Travel Experiences
- Best March Travel Experiences
- Best April Travel Experiences
- Best May Travel Experiences
- Best June Travel Experiences
- Best July Travel Experiences
- Best August Travel Experiences
- Best September Travel Experiences
- Best October Travel Experiences
- Best November Travel Experiences
- Best December Travel Experiences
Want to read my best travel stories? Here are some good ones:
- Madain Saleh Saudi Arabia: Hitchhiking to Petra’s twin city
- Dancing with Corpses: Famadihana- Turning of the Bones in Madagascar: The hidden meaning behind one of the most bizarre ceremonies will surprise you
- The Secret Lives of Sea Gypsies: My personal experience living with the world’s best divers on the fringes of civilization
- Volcano Boarding Nicaragua: The extreme sport for the slightly insane?
- Bagan Temples: Little-known Temples, hidden passageways and secret keys to Photographing the Sunrise at Bagan blissfully devoid of tourists
Picture Sources: Grizzly Bear Feature Photo; Cage Diving; Running of the Bulls; Il Paleo; A Billion Flamingoes; Wildebeest Migration; The Danube, Bratislava; Surf Jeffry’s Bay; Fireworks; Dangerous Trail; Kayak with Belugas; Bushman; Mount Fuji; Salar de Uyuni; Lake Morraine; Wife Carrying World Championship; Chimpanzee
The Kokoda Challenge: This is an event in July in Australia. Teams race the distance of the Kokoda Trail in honor of the Australian soldiers who fought there. Their four pillars are courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice. http://kokodachallenge.com/kokoda-challenge-event-details