Best places to visit in July
10 Min Read
12 May 2023
Best places to visit in July

Deciding where to book a hiking trip in the summer months can be a slog, but we’re here to make it a breeze. We’ve rounded up all the top spots for you to jet to this July.  

Alpine Adventures 

July is the perfect month for an Alpine escape. The landscapes are alive with lush green pastures, vibrant wildflowers and huddles of evergreen trees. The temps are warm but not too hot, making it a comfy clime for your climb.  

A light jacket or sweater should do the trick, although you may find yourself whipping it off once you get going. 

 

The E5 Alpine Crossing 

E5

This hike is a toughy, scoring ‘extreme’ in our difficulty grading. It takes you across rushing waterfalls and along rocky tracks with lots trails that snake of up and down the mountains. But my goodness it’s worth the effort. 

Soak up a panorama of meadows, snowy peaks and vast turquoise lakes as the trail weaves through Germany, Austria and Italy. Each night after a long day of challenging obstacles and epic views, fall into a comfy bed in snug hotels and traditional guesthouses nestled in the mountains.  

Tuck into Alpine flavors like weisswurst, Bavaria’s specialty sausage, and flammkuchen – a flatbread with toppings. Fill up on hearty home cooked food like schnitzel, apfelstrudel and käsespätzle, a creamy pasta topped with melted cheese and crispy fried onion–the ultimate comfort food! 

Check out our E5 Alpine Crossing tours

 

Best of Bernese Oberland In Style 

The Swiss Alps are brimming with impressive views, tasty food and of course, exciting hikes that even hiking newbies can conquer. Discover cascading waterfalls and turquoise lakes along Alpine paths. Or if you fancy a lazier day, hop on and off trains and cable cars that zip about the entire area. It’s your vacation, you set the pace.  

Navigate Alpine meadows and evergreen woods on the Panorama Trail to reach the ‘Top of Europe’ on cloud-tickling Jungfraujoch, where an ice palace and panoramic views of Aletsch Glacier await. You’ll want to get your camera ready for this one. While you’re up there, take a seat at their Crystal restaurant where you can dine on a-la-carte dishes or have a coffee with some of their homemade Eigerspitzli (artisan chocolate), decorated in the shape of the Eiger mountain.  

Stay in chalet-style hotels in mountain-side villages of MÜrren, Wengen and Grindelwald, and soak away any soreness in your hotel’s pool, jacuzzi or glacial baths.  

When in MÜrren, take a cable car to Schilthorn summit and watch mountains float by at the Piz Gloria Restaurant, a 360° rotating restaurant with James Bond themed dishes paying homage to the thriller ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Fill up on traditional rostis, moreish fondu and tasty apfelstrÜdel with views that are just as delicious. This tour’s a feast for the senses - you’ll return home craving seconds.  

Check out our Best of Bernese Oberland tour

 

The GR5: Lake Geneva to Chamonix  

Chamonix

Journey from Lake Geneva across breezy meadows, mountain paths and rock faces to reach the summit of Mont Blanc. Begin in Montreux, the capital of the Swiss Riviera, perfectly positioned lakeside, with views of the French Alps and surrounded by vineyards. Finish with a tipple in bustling storybook Chamonix to celebrate your achievement. 

Strenuous trails through open fields, flower-framed lakes and dairy farms, with cow bells tinkling in the distance take you upwards to sky-piercing mountains like Dents Blanches (white teeth mountains), Dents du Midi and Mont Blanc Massif. 

Wind through nature reserves like Mont de Grange, carpeted with bushy evergreens and home to the Marmot, and Aigulles Rouge, where the GR5 meets the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail. This stage is hiking at its most exciting as you scramble, climb metal ladders and use metal footholds and handrails that are bolted into the rock face. 

Retreat to chocolate box chalets in small hamlets like vibrant Samoëns. Get a real taste of traditional Alpine life in cosy mountain refuges where the views do the talking. You’ll find that many of these converted huts have a story or two to tell – even history can reach these heights. 

Check out our GR5: Lake Geneva to Chamonix tour

 

Walking the Salzburg Lakes 

Salzburg Lakes

Don’t underestimate Austria! This entire route is overflowing with expanses of mirror-like waters, as far as the eye can see. Soak up the views along lakeside trails and mountain paths which lead to wild rivers, flower meadows and fairy-tale villages like Fuschl, Wolfgang and Bad Ischl, where you can break for delicious apfelstrudel. 

Put your feet up for a well-earned rest in hotels with traditional architecture, colourful shutters, and flower box –framed windows. Utterly charming. 

Check out our Walking the Salzburg Lakes tour

 

Mountains & lakes of the Julian Alps 

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Travel from hut to hut through sensational Slovenian landscapes, high into the Triglav National Park. Framed by lofty peaks, it’s home to the emerald Lake Bohinj. Relax shoreside at Lake Bled which surrounds the iconic island-perched church and walk to the sound of natural springs and waterfalls. Forested highlands, medieval castles and traditional mountain villages make a serene and incredibly picturesque journey.   

Graze on traditional Slovenian dishes like wind cured karst prosciutto ham and Kremna Reszina pastries. Ease any aches in a sauna, enjoy a tipple on the terrace and recline in cozy accommodation. 

Check out our Mountains & Lakes of the Julian Alps tour

 

Lucerne's lakes & mountains 

If you haven’t heard of Lucerne, you’re going to want to pay attention. With a mountain backdrop and a lake that snakes through its center, it’s a hotbed of beauty, history and impressive architecture. Stop by Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Wander to the Lion of Lucerne, a poignant rock relief commemorating Swiss Guards who died during the French revolution. Sip Swiss wine in a lakeside bar or wander the streets and admire the mix of Italian Renaissance, exterior fresco decoration, Neo Gothic and Romanesque architecture. That’s quite a list – phew! This will be both your start and end point, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore its many sites.  

In between, you’ll be treated to views of blue-tinted mountains and rippling lakes, as you hike along green glades and breezy pastures. Hop in a cable car and trundle to the top of Rigi and Stanserhorn in the steepest cog railway in the world, for unbeatable views of central Switzerland. 

Feast on fondue, raclette and rosti - a bed of grated fried potato, with toppings like cheese, bacon or fried eggs, then unwind in lakeside lodgings and mountain hotels. 

Check out our Lucerne's lakes & mountains tour

 

The Glacier Express Rail & Hike

Glacier Express

Arguably the most beautiful train ride in the world. Need we say more?  

Before you board the heavenly ride, begin in Pontresina, a luxurious village where you can dine on gourmet cuisines in Swiss pine restaurants.  

This tour offers an abundance of loop and mountain hikes to choose from, with a selection of challenging and easy-going options. Steep ascents lead to mountain restaurants where glacier views are on the menu and easy-going trails lead to lakes upon lakes and romantic hamlets. 

Time for the main event. All aboard for eight hours of relaxation and gazing out at the never-ending stream of panoramic views - sounds dreamy to us. Cross the Swiss Alps, 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and the Oberalp Pass at 2,033m. That’s impressive! We know your eyes will be glued to the window, so lunch is included and served to your seat. No need to worry about missing a beat. 

Stay in cozy and comfy accommodation that all have one thing in common – the epic views. Swiss mountain food like raclette and fondue is moreish too. Seconds anyone? 

Check out our Glacier Express: Rail & Hike tour

 

Scandinavian summer 

Waters shimmer in the sun, only the mountain tips are dusted in snow and the landscapes have come alive with lush, leafy flora. These destinations are cooler spots in Europe during July, with the sun and breeze combo creating the perfect temps for an active adventure.  

Ditch the jacket one day, wear it the next.  

 

Stavanger to Bergen: Drive & Hike 

Stavanger to Bergen

This trip takes you on a relaxed road trip through a good chunk of Norway, where the views are bottomless, and the sense of achievement keeps on coming. Take on three of the most iconic hikes in Norway, Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjerag. 

Trolltunga, a hefty challenge, takes 10-12 hours to complete, we recommend going with a guide. Your efforts won’t be wasted. At the top, you’ll be greeted by the ‘Trolls Tongue’, a sea cliff that juts out over the waters creating an epic lookout point over the fjords and beyond. 

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is certainly a sight to behold and Norway’s number one hike for a reason. Steep and narrow trails twist and turn up to this natural viewing platform giving you a bird’s eye views of the dazzling turquoise Lysefjord. 

Known for its boulder wedged in a mountain crevice, Kjerag Mountain hike is an obstacle course of climbing and sliding with the help of wires to reach a plateau at the summit. 

If you fancy something a bit gentler, there are plenty of other options. Learn about glacier formations on a guided glacier hike to the Folgefonna National Park. Chase waterfalls and cascades on the Husedalen Waterfall Hike and climb 616 stone steps on the Monks Step Trail which zig zags through fruit orchards and shady woodland up to Nosi viewpoint for ariel views of the shoreside village of Lofthus. 

Check out our Stavanger to Bergen: Drive & Hike tour

 

Walking the Sognefjord 

Bryggen, Sognefjord

Bergen, the gateway to the fjords greets you with unlimited history and nature you’ll be desperate to dive into. Take the funicular to the top of Mt Floyen for epic city views, pay a visit to the colorful timber buildings at Bryggen - a World Heritage Site - and sample divine seafood.  

This tour has so much to offer. Take the Navvies Road down winding mountain passes into the valley basin where waterfalls trickle into deep blue lagoons. Climb steep paths to Prest summit where the indigo Aurlandsfjord, ripples 1363m below. Hike from Østerbø to Vassbygdi through vibrant Aurlandsdalen Valley- the Grand Canyon of Norway.  

Charming villages of Flåm and Balestrand are surrounded by a whole host of hiking routes that take you to waterfalls, 17th century farms, along rivers and lakes and up to dramatic views points where mountains meet the horizon. 

That’s a lot of hiking. If you fancy a day off, take train rides along mountain edges and peaceful boat trips. Enjoy your evenings in harbourside hotels, chalet-style guesthouses and converted 19th century houses with even more mountain views.  

Check out our Walking the Sognefjord tour

 

Fresh France 

While Southern France is known for sizzling temps in summer, up north it’s considerably cooler making it an ideal environment for a spot of active travel. Florals are in full bloom, the countryside is clad in golden crops and rivers shimmer in the sun’s glow. 

 

Cycle the Loire In Style 

Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley

The Loire Valley brings a gentle ride through Renaissance towns like Amboise and Chenonceau that perch on the banks of the lazy river. Its landscape is laced with vineyards, apple orchards, sun-dappled forests and blooming farmland. Serene scenes around every bend. 

Bursting with history, you won’t be short on places to visit. Make sure to pop by Montbazon fortress, with a history stretching from the late 10th to the 15th century - it has one of France's oldest castle keeps. And the 16th century architectural gem, Château d'Azay le Rideau, built on a small island in the river Indre. 

Visit local markets to create the perfect French picnic – you'll be spoilt for choice with the many pretty lunch spots. Stop for a bite at a classic French café or brasserie and spend your evenings indulging in fine, French gourmet meals. Bon appétit! 

Stay in majestic chateaux, former homes of nobility and converted manor houses and get a regal night’s rest at Fontevraud Royal Abbey, founded in 1101 - you're in for a treat. 

Spend your afternoons and evenings admiring the ornately manicured gardens and poolside with a glass of bubbles, before retreating to cloud-like comfort. Yes please. 

Check out our Cycle the Loire In Style tour

 

Walking the Alsace Wine Route 

Alsace

Medieval castles and neatly lined vineyards pepper the rolling landscapes of this incredibly serene journey. Travel from one fairy-tale village to another through the Alsatian countryside, along peaceful forest trails and through Alpine-like pastures. 

Each morning fill up on buttery croissants and indulgent pain au chocolat. For lunch and dinner try Alsatian delicacies like Tarte Flambée, Kugelhopf, pretzels and Riesling wine in characterful wine cellars and gourmet restaurants. You won’t be disappointed.  

But it’s not just the food and wine that are appetizing. The Alsatian region is a fusion of French and German influence, rich in cultural heritage which you’ll spot throughout the area.  

Enjoy loop trails that introduce enchanting hilltop castles and reveal oceans of vineyards and the region’s passion of wine production. Explore narrow cobbled streets of storybook villages, decorated with half-timbered houses and colourful floral window boxes. If you’re feeling adventurous, take on hikes in the Vosges Regional Park that lead to panoramic views of Lac Blanc, a picturesque lake at 1,100m above sea level. 

Unwind in timbered taverns, traditional Alsatian hotels and 15th and 16th century guesthouses in Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, Turckheim and Eguisheim. When in Ribeauvillé, stop by Cave de Ribeauville to learn about the local wine production. And give yourself time to explore Eguisheim, one of the ’Plus Beaux Villages de France’. 

A full-bodied experience, just like their wine. 

Check out our Walking the Alsace Wine Route tours

 

UK & Ireland escapes 

While temps usually ramp up for UK and Ireland in July, it’s still typically cooler than the rest of Europe making them ideal destinations for a height-of-summer-hike. You may even encounter a spot of rain. How refreshing! 

 

Scotland’s Rob Roy Way 

Rob Roy Way

If you’re looking for a journey through some of the most picturesque parts of Scotland, this tour is for you. 

Follow the footsteps of one of Scotland’s most notorious figures along this 79-mile route through highland glens, gorge walks and open moorland. Rob Roy fought tooth and nail to defend his land and we understand why… 

Mythic ancient stone circles, Crannogs, ancient dwellings, and Roman forts dot the trail creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Featuring six lochs, this tour has its fair share, each one as impressive as the last. 

Pass viaducts and charming towns like Drymen and Callander, where you can learn more about the Rob Roy legend. Follow unused railway tracks, encounter bubbling waterfalls, and delve into the heritage and folklore of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. 

The accommodation along this route is so cozy and twee. Victorian country inns, Edwardian guesthouses and traditional B&Bs serve up homely breakfasts and comfy rooms for a well-earned rest. And you can’t visit Scotland without sipping a dram of golden whiskey and trying the famous hearty highland cuisine at a friendly local pub. 

Check out our Rob Roy Way tours

 

Dublin & the Wicklow Way In Style 

Wicklow Way

This is Ireland’s oldest waymarked trail, so naturally you know it’s going to be bursting with history. 

Irish weather has a rep for changing pretty quickly, so you might want to don your rain jacket for this one. 

Begin in vibrant Dublin, on a guided tour of the city’s highlights. Explore its bustling streets, pop for a pint, and enjoy the craic with the friendly locals. The food scene and 18th-century Georgian architecture is worth checking out too. 

On day three, you’ll swap the hustle and bustle for peaceful nature. Journey deep into the Wicklow mountains where bushy woodlands and trickling waterfalls create a sense of solitude.  

Follow trails, tracks and pathways through forests, valleys and hill sides and explore mountains older than the Alps. Step back in time at Glendalough, meaning 'Valley of Two Lakes' where astonishing relics of a monastic settlement remain and visit Lough Tay, a lake created in the Ice Age. Impressive, huh? 

Climb Djouce Mountain where layers of tree clusters, golden grasses and glassy lakes form the view from its summit, and perhaps break for a packed lunch at the Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland's highest at 121m. 

Stay in outstanding accommodation in the Wicklow countryside like the opulent Powerscourt Hotel and Spa and multi-award winning Brooklodge and Macreddin Village. Treat yourself to some selfcare after days out and about at the hotel’s spa and wellness centers. 

Check out our Wicklow Way tours

 

Hadrian's Wall Path  

Sycamore Gap, Hadrian's Wall

Steeped in history, hike along this UNESCO World Heritage Site and northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, constructed in AD122. 

Marvel at Roman forts, turrets, milecastles and Sycamore Gap, a sycamore tree that stands proud next to the wall in a dip in the landscape – a very photogenic scene. 

Learn more about the Roman masterpiece at Chester’s Fort Museum. The most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain with well-preserved baths and steam room, and the officers' quarters. 

Wander the wild Northumberland National Park, pass excavations of an old Roman Town and witness Port Carlisle and Bowness-on-Solway – areas of outstanding beauty and home to an abundance of birdlife. 

This journey is brimming with castles, cathedrals, golden fields and epic sites. Climb Winshield Crags, the highest point and most strenuous part of the trail with views of the surrounding countryside, making it worth the hike.  

Refuel on hearty pub grub and a refreshing pint and spend peaceful nights at farmhouse B&Bs, country guesthouses, coach inns and lodges in quintessentially British villages like Corbridge and Heddon-on-the-Wall. 

Check out our Hadrian's Wall tours

 

Cotswold Way 

Cotswold Way

This route is British countryside at its best. Limestone-clad villages, hedge-line paths and steepled churches call from the quintessential Cotswolds.  

Wander tranquil lanes with petite, thatched cottages, and through pastures with grazing sheep while gazing at the waves of green fields that fill the Cotswold hills. Pad the floor of ancient woodlands, visit pretty Dyrham Park, a noble mansion surrounded by an ancient deer park and relish the romantic landscapes. 

Call in for an afternoon cream tea and dig into comforting pub food in the evening. Rest in idyllic inns and homely hotels in some of the most picturesque villages in the area.  

Visit Sudeley Castle, a Heritage site, Grade I listed castle and the location where Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII is buried. Embark on a series of short, sharp ascents and descents via historic sites like Neolithic burial chambers, Iron Age hill forts and Tyndale Monument. 

Finish in Bath, its historical charm and amazing Georgian architecture used for scenes in many period dramas, like Bridgerton, Les Misérables and Poldark. 

Check out our Cotswold Way tours

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Kirsty Schneider

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