June is a glorious time of year in Europe. The beer gardens are bustling, the piazzas are packed, and the days are long, bright, and beautifully warm. Plus, there are many places further afield that come into their own during the first month of summer.
And while June is the start of summer, it still isn’t quite peak season. Schools don’t break up until July, which is when prices tend to surge, making June the ideal time to visit popular destinations before the crowds arrive.
So which countries and destinations are ideal for this early summer month? To get you inspired and looking forward to the year ahead, here are 12 of the best travel destinations to visit in June.
1. Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting Sweden in June gives you a chance to see this country at its most relaxed, as well as its most beautiful. The Midsommar celebrations are bigger than Christmas here, and the festivities are well worth travelling over for. Dancing around maypoles wearing flower crowns, drinking schnapps, and feasting on pickled herring and strawberries is an experience to remember.
In June, you also get to take advantage of the lingering evening light and sunny days, which makes exploring the capital far more enjoyable. Skansen, Stockholm’s open-air museum, holds a three-day Midsommar celebration, and the rest of June is a great time to tour the Stockholm Archipelago. Home to nearly 30,000 islands, the white sand beaches and dense forests are at their most idyllic.
2. Provence, France
The South of France has long been a popular spot for families, so June is the last opportunity to enjoy this beautiful region before schools are out for summer. In June, the rural landscape is astonishingly photogenic and, by the end of the month, the fragrant lavender fields are in their full purple glory. The picturesque beaches on the coast are sun-drenched, yet not quite full-to-bursting either.
Whether you choose to base yourself in one of the region’s medieval villages or the sophisticated city of Aix-en-Provence, if you’re looking for a luxurious and laidback food-focused holiday, Provence in June is unrivalled. The warm days are perfect for visiting vineyards and olive groves, and sampling the local produce, while the balmy evenings are ideal for sipping crisp rosé on the pavement terraces.
Croatia’s rocketing popularity doesn’t make it the best option if you want to escape tourists. But June is still quieter than July, so if you want to visit when temperatures are high and you can take advantage of Croatia’s spectacular beaches and warm, turquoise waters, it’s a good time to visit. Croatia’s rugged islands are especially captivating at this time of year too.
If you want to enjoy a city break as well as a beach holiday, Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar are all good choices. Dubrovnik has plenty of history and culture behind its old city walls, while Split, which is built around a Roman emperor’s palace, has lots of its own summer traditions. Zadar is lively and exciting – but, for something quieter, you can hire a boat and find a serene space along the Dalmatian coast.
4. Cappadocia, Turkey
Central Turkey is home to the fantasy-like landscape of Cappadocia – a region so otherworldly beautiful that you’ll have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re awake. It’s a land of rose-tinted valleys, underground cities, ancient cave dwellings, and iconic ‘fairy chimneys’. But, in June, when the bright wildflowers bloom, and the evenings are drenched in golden light, it’s even more astonishing.
While there will be crowds among the most famous sights, like the rock-cut churches of Göreme Open-Air Museum and the magical Derinkuyu underground city, there are ways to escape them. Many hiking trails take you to secret spots, like hidden lookout points, and ornate frescoed, stone-carved churches where you can soak up the scenery in relative peace.
5. Québec, Canada
Québec takes a long time to shake off the last of the winter frost – but, by June, the locals have finally shrugged off their thick coats, and are enjoying pleasant highs of around 22°C, as well as long, bright days. Visiting in June gives you the best of both worlds: the chance to enjoy an exhilarating city break, or an opportunity to follow the call of the wild and explore the rugged Gaspé Peninsula.
Or, for the perfect holiday, why not do both? In Montreal, the streets are alive with activities and events, like the Mural Festival, which celebrates the city’s vibrant street art; while Québec City’s citadels and cobblestone streets will make you think you’re in Europe. Along the Gaspé Peninsula, you can also hike through scented pine forests, visit grand lighthouses, and explore tiny fishing villages.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
The Danish capital might be small, but it’s definitely a contender for one of Europe’s most stylish cities. In June, temperatures hover around 20°C – the perfect conditions to take a leaf out of the locals’ books, and whizz around the city on brightly-coloured bikes! It’s also warm enough to soak up the sun by sipping coffee by the sea and drinking local craft beer in trendy outdoor cafes.
Eating is a national pastime, with a focus on organic, seasonal food – and, in June, the street food market at Papirøen is bursting with fresh, delicious dishes. There’s a wealth of festivals and live music in June too, so there’ll always be something to do. Plus, you can pop across the Øresund Strait to Mälmo in Sweden (it takes 20 minutes!) where you can join the Swedes as they celebrate summer.
7. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its astonishing cinematic beauty, and it will probably take you mere minutes to fall in love. This breathtakingly rugged stretch of coastline boasts turquoise seas and precipitous cliffs, upon which pastel-coloured houses, terraced vineyards, and ornate domes and soaring spires jostle for space. The winding coastal roads are some of the most scenic in the world.
In June, things are busy, but the tour buses and crowds that clog the streets haven’t yet arrived. Plus, while it’s warm, with highs of around 27°C, it’s still just about cool enough to hike the picturesque trails – like the famous Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) – and pick sweet, juicy Amalfi lemons from the trees. For culture enthusiasts, the festival of Sant’Andrea in Amalfi, on June 27th, is also a must.
8. Virunga Mountains, Rwanda
Rwanda may be one of Africa’s smallest countries, but it’s got a lot going for it. Kigali is one of Africa’s prettiest capitals, while the beaches of Lake Kivu are perfect for relaxing. But Rwanda is perhaps best known for its wildlife. Around 600 mountain gorillas live in the steamy bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains and, if you want to see these intelligent and elusive primates, June is when to go.
This is the beginning of the dry season, and considering you need to put in several hours of hiking before you encounter a gorilla family, dry conditions make the trek far more enjoyable. The lingering mist has gone by June too, so you’ll get incredible views of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. While temperatures soar in July and August, they’re still pleasant in June, with highs of around 25°C.
9. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland’s colourful capital, sees the best weather of the year in June, with temperatures consistently over 10°C (that’s warm for Iceland!). This not only makes exploring the world’s most northerly capital more pleasurable, but you can also experience the wonderfully bizarre reality of near-constant light. In June, Reykjavik gets 21 hours of sun, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore!
Plus, when darkness almost never falls, the festive spirit is in full spring – and you can experience the city’s ‘nightlife’ without the night. Music fans will love the Secret Solstice Festival, while the Reykjavik Arts Festival is also held in June. Plus, with so much sunlight, there’s no better time to hike up Mount Esja, or swim in geothermal pools like the famous Blue Lagoon or local favourite Laugardalslaug.
10. Mykonos, Greece
The Greek island of Mykonos might be busy in June, but it’s nothing like the chaos of July and August when families, hedonistic holidaymakers, and cruise-ship crowds make their way to shore. In June, the nights seem to last forever and the blazing sunshine bounces off the bright white cubic houses. The deep blue Aegean sea is warm and inviting and, on the sand, there are still empty sun loungers.
While Mykonos is known for its party scene, there’s another side – particularly if you want to escape the crowds. The hilly interior is packed with traditional villages, and spending time here is a lovely change of pace from the busy resorts. Here, you can feast on delicious cuisine and get to know the locals. Delos, one of Greece’s important archaeological sites, is also just a short ferry ride away.
11. Yosemite National Park, USA
If you’re looking to marvel at the power and beauty of nature, and enjoy plenty of hiking, California’s Yosemite National Park is a great choice. By June, the snow has melted enough to clear the most scenic driving routes but the summer heat hasn’t yet dried up the iconic waterfalls, which are at peak runoff. The June bloom also means that the wildflowers are at their most colourful.
The warm weather makes hiking a joy, and trekking beneath towering redwoods, along granite cliffs, and by thundering falls is unforgettable. The crowds haven’t arrived in earnest yet, either, so just a 10-minute stroll away from the park’s most popular sites and you’ll feel like you’re completely alone. Plus, nearby San Francisco has all the big city amenities you could ever want or need.
12. Porto, Portugal
If you’re dreaming of a European city break, few places are more lovely in June than Porto. Portugal’s second city has one of the most striking locations among European cities, with colourful houses and soaring bridges rising from the glittering Douro River. In June, the weather is gorgeous, with long sunny days and balmy evenings – the ideal temperature to explore this UNESCO World Heritage city.
But June is also carnival time, and the lively São João Festival means locals and visitors alike flood out the historic streets to dance, eat, let off fireworks…and hit each other over the head with soft rubber hammers! Fans of port will be spoilt for choice here, but the Douro Valley is also home to excellent vineyards, so wine enthusiasts may want to book themselves onto a local tasting tour.
June is a wonderful time to go on holiday…particularly in Europe. The schools aren’t yet out for summer, so it’s a good time to plan adult-only breaks – and because peak season hasn’t hit in earnest yet, you can still find bargains.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach break, Croatia, Mykonos, and Provence are excellent choices – although why not travel off the beaten track a little and explore the Stockholm archipelago, with its soft sand beaches and swaying pines?
Or, if you’re searching for a stylish city break, Porto, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, and Québec City all tick the box – and offer equally lovely, but very different, holiday experiences.
And, for those who are happy to travel further, Turkey’s Cappadocia region guarantees otherworldly views and exceptional hiking – but, then again, so does California’s Yosemite National Park. And if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Are you planning a June break? Have you been to any of the destinations on this list? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the comments below.