According to our destination experts, travelling in June is all about celebrating natural wonders, elusive wildlife and creative genius.
The options are tempting: spot silverback gorillas in the sun-dappled mountain forests of Rwanda, cruise past pink-tinged icebergs at midnight in Greenland, or be part of an art installation on the Italian lakes – throw in a festival or two and June is shaping up to be an exciting month for potential adventurers.
Track gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Gorillas in the mist may be beautifully enigmatic, but nothing beats a ray of sunshine cutting through the depths of the dark African rainforest to light up a silverback and the enchanting members of his family. And given the gorillas’ habitat in Rwanda is on the steep-sided slopes of tropical volcanoes, the long climbs to reach them can be an incredibly muddy (read exhausting and frustrating) experience during the wet season.
That’s what makes June so special – Volcanoes National Park receives a mere tenth of the wet stuff that falls in March and April, and this not only provides you with sure footing but also the best chance of great light for photography. Tropical downpours can still happen, but they are brief and the light before and after tends to be rewardingly moody.
Let’s face it though, even the heavens would struggle to spoil your hour with the great apes – meeting them is simply one of the world’s most incredible wildlife encounters. That’s why nobody remembers the conditions of the descent… Everyone tends to float down on an emotional high.
Matt Phillips – Destination Editor for Sub-Saharan Africa. Follow his tweets @Go2MattPhillips.
Bask in the midnight sun, Greenland
In central Greenland, the sun rises at the end of May and stays in the sky until late July. The low-lying midnight sun lends the landscape an ethereal feel; icebergs are bathed in pink and fjords are warmed by the soft summer rays.
Head to Ilulissat, where you can weave between mammoth icebergs on a midnight boat trip while the light plays along the ridged and angled ice. The captain may switch off the engine so you can enjoy the stillness and silence, only disturbed by gulls and the sound of ice cracking.
Locals avidly embrace the phenomenon; it’s their well-deserved reward after dark winter months. Fishing boats stay out late and children roam the streets outside. The activity culminates with the National Day festival on 21 June, the longest day of the year.
Towns and settlements across the country celebrate with music, folk dancing, flag hoisting and speeches. Museums also mark the day with special events and exhibitions, making June the perfect time to visit.
Find something special on Salt Spring Island, Canada
The Southern Gulf Islands are in full summertime swing come June, when the sunshine is plentiful and the markets are chock-a-block with the region’s freshest produce.
Once considered the ‘breadbasket’ of local First Nations (indigenous peoples) thanks to its wealth of resources, Salt Spring Island has become the archipelago’s most popular destination. The island, wrapped in a thick green blanket of Douglas fir, is perfect for hikers and cyclists looking to explore the scenery, and the surrounding waters are perfect for whale spotting in June.
But the island is best known for its art scene, which has its centre in the village of Ganges. Maintaining a thriving community of artists and craftspeople, Ganges is host to the summer Salt Spring Saturday Market, the island’s largest showcase of locally made goods and art. Grab a fistful of local produce and browse through stalls of handmade jewellery or stop to inspect the craftsmanship of a local woodworker – you’re certain to find something special here.
Alexander Howard – Destination Editor for Canada and the Western US. Follow his tweets @alexmhoward.
Walk on water at Lake Iseo, Italy
Landscape-altering artist Christo – most famous for wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in fabric and filling New York’s Central Park with thousands of saffron-coloured gateways – is set to create another of his massive artworks in 2016, this time in Italy.
For 16 days starting on 18 June, a bright yellow floating walkway will link two islands in the centre of Lake Iseo with the mainland. The Floating Piers will be 3km long, 16m wide and 50cm high, held in place by anchors at the bottom of the lake. The shimmering yellow pathway will extend through the streets of Sulzano on the mainland, across the water to Monte Isola island and then branch towards the tiny island of San Paolo, which will be completely encircled.
The walkway will be a spectacular sight from the mountains that surround the lake, but for the full artistic experience you’re encouraged to step out on the water. According to the 80-year-old artist, strolling along his paths will feel ‘very sexy, a bit like walking on a water bed’.
Anna Tyler – Destination Editor for Southern Europe. Follow her tweets @go_AnnaT.
See India’s tantric side in Assam
June sees the arrival of the monsoon across India, marking the off-season for tourism but the on-season for some of India’s most fascinating festivals. Far from the mainstream tourist trail in the northeast of the country, Assam is a land of tea plantations and jungles, home to some of the last tigers and one-horned Indian rhinos on earth – but in June, all eyes are on the Assamese capital Guwahati for the Ambubachi Mela festival.
Guwahati’s Kamakhya Temple marks the spot where the genitals of the Tantric goddess Sati fell after her body was consumed by flames, and the goddess is honoured by sacrifices throughout the year. However, celebrations go into overdrive during the Ambubachi Mela, when the temple is thronged by thousands of devout sadhus (ascetic holy men) who perform Tantric rituals to celebrate the menstrual cycle of the goddess of fertility. On a good year, the mela attracts over a million pilgrims, offering a fascinating insight into the Tantric cult that dominated eastern India before the rise of mainstream Hinduism.
Joe Bindloss – Destination Editor for the Indian Subcontinent. Follow his tweets @Joe_Planet.
Feel the rhythm in St Kitts
With hurricane and rainy seasons just around the corner, June is a great time to visit the Caribbean – high season is tapering off, which means lower prices on flights and hotels, but the weather still remains relatively dry, as the storms haven’t moved in quite yet.
The region is known for hosting fabulous festivals, and St Kitts is the place to be come June, as the St Kitts Music Festival kicks off in Basseterre. The event attracts some of the top musical talent in the region and features a diverse roster of genres including calypso, soca, salsa, reggae and pop. Be ready for the party – this festival packs out the whole island.
If you need a break from all the dancing, head off to explore the Brimstone Hill Fortress, the well-preserved stronghold that is also the island’s only Unesco World Heritage site. If you’d rather take a moment to relax, hop on over to Nevis to lie on the idyllic Nisbet Beach.
Bailey Johnson – Destination Editor for Central America and the Caribbean. Follow her tweets @The_Traveling_B.