Bright, beautiful June days are the perfect time for wildlife watching in Scotland and Rwanda, taking it easy at laidback beach resorts in Turkey and Tel Aviv, and simply wandering the romantic backlit streets of London and Florence. Alternatively, head to Bordeaux for wine-tasting and to Amsterdam and Liverpool for some outstanding festivals.
Long sunny and warm June days in London are a delight. There’s a buzz in the air but the school holidays haven’t yet begun so attractions like the London Eye, the Tower of London and the Natural History Museum aren’t heaving. Visitors to the vibrant capital city have a huge choice of neighbourhoods and hotels – in early summer, choose accommodation close to some of the city’s beautiful green spaces, where roses bloom and ancient trees offer shade. Don’t miss a sunset stroll beside the Thames or Trooping the Colour for the Queen’s official birthday.
The stylish port city of Bordeaux, in southwest France, is at its best in the month of June. The urban regeneration of the Bassins à Flot docks, with its repurposed art and music venues has attracted huge investment and visitors throng the streets in the summer months. Comfortable, design-led hotels like the Renaissance Bordeaux and Moxy Bordeaux have opened their doors at the heart of this industrial-chic district and from here you can visit Bordeaux highlights including the modernist Cité du Vin, the dreamy Place de la Bourse and some outstanding art museums. It goes without saying that you must also tour the sun-drenched vineyards on the outskirts of the city.
It’s going to be four seasons in a day whatever time of year you visit Scotland, but June means more sunshine and lovely long twilights. Puffins, marine mammals and seabirds can be spotted all along Scotland’s stunning coast and on its many islands, but spend a few days in the city first. Stay in Glasgow to soak up its International Jazz Festival – the main outdoor stage is in George Square and indoor venues include the Old Fruit Market – or choose Edinburgh for the International Film Festival and Royal Highland Show.
Liverpool's Albert Dock
A proud northern city that has reinvented itself as a must-visit cultural destination, Liverpool has its own Tate Gallery; the Walker Art Gallery (the national gallery of the north); a burgeoning creative district in the Baltic Triangle; and Antony Gormley statues on Crosby Beach. It’s also famous for being the city that gave us the Beatles (not to mention The Zutons, The Las and Echo and the Bunnymen). In June every other year Liverpool hosts the Biennial, the largest festival of contemporary visual art in the UK.
The long, warm days of June see Belgium at its radiant best, with the country’s landscapes and urban parks coming into joyous bloom. In Brussels, the Parc du Cinquantenaire is renowned for its engrossing museums, but the gardens here are just as much of a draw at this time of year. The smart Aloft Brussels Shuman hotel, one of nine Marriott properties in the Belgian capital, gives easy access to the park and its cultural venues. Over in Ghent, the River Leie will be twinkling in June’s late spring sunlight, making this a lovely time to stay at the elegant, riverside Ghent Marriott Hotel. In Antwerp, meanwhile, the sophisticated Sapphire House Antwerp, Autograph Collection is the perfect base for explorations of the city’s Old Town, which is full of charming corners, such as Vlaeykensgang, an atmospheric medieval alley near the Grote Markt.
A cultural powerhouse with outstanding nightlife and more than 300 festivals each year, Amsterdam hosts the Holland Festival in June, the Netherland’s biggest performance arts festival. Though the highlights of the city can be sampled in just half a day, Amsterdam deserves a slower exploration, best done by bicycle. After a bit of practice using the back pedal brakes, start out in Vondelpark, before taking in the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Take plenty of stops for deliciously sweet stroopwafel or fries slathered in sauce.
A mountain gorilla in Rwanda
If you’ve always dreamed of trekking to see mountain gorillas in the wild, then head to Rwanda and the thickly forested foothills of Volcanoes National Park. The start of the dry season in East Africa, June is a little quieter than peak season in July and August, but the weather is stable and warm. From your hotel in Kigali it’s just a couple of hours drive to Volcanoes National Park, where many of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas are protected.
Come June, Turkey is one of the best places in the world to relax on a beautiful beach. With more than 5,000 miles of coastline lapped by the Aegean and Mediterranean seas to the west and south, the Black Sea to the north and the Marmara Sea inland, there are rocky or white sand beaches to keep everyone happy. The Bodrum peninsula is a favourite for travellers seeking out the best of Turkey’s turquoise coast and The Bodrum EDITION offers superb beachfront accommodation.
Visit Florence to see Renaissance masterpieces in the famous Uffizi Gallery and sculptures by Michelangelo in the Accademia Gallery. Annually on June 24, there is a city-wide celebration of San Giovanni, or Saint John, Florence’s patron saint. Museums and galleries throw open their doors for free, there are colourful parades and an even more colourful football match, and the day is rounded off with fireworks. Once you’ve had your fix of romantic red roofs and medieval stone bridges, get out and explore the surrounding countryside with its charming Tuscan towns.
For beautiful Israeli food, café culture and great nightlife you won’t do better than a trip to Tel Aviv. In the summer months, locals and visitors flock to the blue flag beaches lining the coast between old town Jaffa and Tel Aviv Port, with tables at restaurants packed out at sunset and beach bars and dance clubs busy into the early hours. Many of the best Tel Aviv hotels have beach views and are an easy walk into the city centre.
Disclaimer: As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.