We believe there’s never a bad time to indulge in some culinary delights. But if you’re looking for an excuse, we’ve got just the thing in these four foodie adventures.
And with a mouthwatering menu boasting coffee, wine, cheese, cider, seafood and more there’s something here to tickle every taste bud.
Head to the Pacific Northwest USA for caffeinated outdoor adventures and grape encounters
Think Oregon and Washington are all about dramatic coastlines, forests, volcanoes? Wake up and smell the coffee! And the hops. And the grapes… Sure, the region’s natural wonders demand to be explored – climbing Mt Hood or Mt Rainier, hiking Crater Lake National Park, fishing the McKenzie River – but an adventure in the great outdoors starts indoors with a cup of joe. The proliferation of coffee micro-roasters means you’re guaranteed a fine brew – and its provenance – anywhere.
Then there’s the beer: the draft brewing craze kicked off here, and today over 85% of US hops are grown in the northwest. Tour the brewpubs and bars of Seattle or Portland and you’ll discover citrus tangs from close on 500 microbreweries. The bright, fresh, dry days of June are perfect for visiting the region’s wineries: around Walla Walla for Cab Sauv and Merlot, Yakima for Chardonnay and Riesling, or down the Willamette Valley for Pinot Noirs.
- Trip plan: A backroads trip tracing a triangle between Seattle, Portland and Walla Walla could traverse Mt Rainier and Mt Hood National Parks as well as the key winery regions.
- Need to know: Climbing Mt Rainier is not an easy jaunt – book with an experienced guiding outfit for the multi-day ascent.
- Other months: May-Sep – warmer, drier; Oct-Apr – cooler, rain peaking midwinter.
Indulge in fine wine, food and fado in Lisbon, Portugal
There are few European cities where you can plant yourself on a sunny terrace outside a hip cafe surrounded by historic architecture and be confident you won’t get stung for an overpriced coffee or beer. Lisbon is the exception: probably the best-value major city outside the former Eastern Bloc, the Portuguese capital feels anything but cheap. Food and drink – sumptuous presunto (dried ham), port, ginjinha (cherry liqueur), seafood – all are delectable and keenly priced.
The city’s at its most enjoyable in June, when flowers bloom and festivals create a friendly buzz. The Feast of St Anthony sees Lisbon go sardine crazy, but at any time you’re liable to smell someone grilling fish on an Alfama street corner. Take Tram 28 – touristy but fabulous – on a tour of the city, and be sure to catch Tram 15 to see the Torre de Belém and Jerónimos Monastery, and to try the finest pasteis de nata (custard tarts).
- Trip plan: The Lisbon metro runs from the airport into the city centre. For convenience and character, pick accommodation in the Alfama, Baixa or Bairro Alto districts.
- Need to know: Tram 28 is a favourite ride for pickpockets. No need for paranoia, just awareness and sensible precautions.
- Other months: Apr-Sep – warm, dry; Oct-Mar – cooler, more rain.
Celebrate sun, sea, sand and seafood in Cape Cod, USA
If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, try New England’s favourite seaside destination. The flexed arm of Cape Cod is lined with beaches, cutesy towns, oysters, clams and lobster rolls – no wonder millions flock here each year. Most, though, come in July and August; after Memorial Day the crowds thin, making June a delicious month to visit, with more chance of bagging accommodation and finding space on a beach.
Not that it’s too quiet: the month is peppered with events celebrating the arts (including Provincetown International Film Festival). Trace an arc around the Cape by car, pausing at the pretty harbours and heading out on a whale watching cruise, or cycle the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail between South Dennis and Wellfleet.
- Trip plan: Cape Cod is easiest to access from Boston: flights serve Provincetown and Hyannis, fast ferries connect Boston and Provincetown several times daily in summer, and buses and a weekend train link Boston with Hyannis.
- Need to know: Even in June, it pays to book accommodation well in advance.
- Other months: Jun-Sep – summer; Oct-Nov & Apr-May – shoulder season; Dec-Mar – winter, cheaper, some facilities closed.
Encounter castles, cathedrals, cider, cheese, gardens and moving war cemeteries in Normandy, France
It’s over a millennium since the Vikings (‘Northmen’, aka Normans) settled this part of northwest France. Over the intervening centuries, their descendants invaded England, perfected Camembert, cider and Calvados brandy, constructed magnificent castles, abbeys, châteaux and cathedrals, and finessed Impressionism.
Explore this gorgeous region in June and you’ll enjoy their legacy at its best, the garden of Claude Monet in Giverny blooming with poppies and roses, and the courageous soldiers of World War II commemorated at annual D-Day celebrations. Before the European holiday season really kicks in, popular destinations such as the rock-top abbey of Mont St Michel (actually just over the border in Brittany) and cutesy villages such as Beuvron-en-Auge are marginally less busy, while footpaths on the cliffs of Étretat and the Cotentin Peninsula beg to be hiked.
- Trip plan: Normandy is most easily reached by ferry from England or train via Paris. Having your own transport is helpful – trains and buses are sparse in many areas.
- Need to know: Normandy is well set-up for cyclists, with over 300 miles (483 km) of cycle paths and seven long-distance waymarked routes.
- Other months: May-Oct – late spring to autumn, most pleasant (Jul-Aug: high summer, roads, cities and hotels jammed); Nov-Apr – cooler, chance of poor weather.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our book Where To Go When for 360 ultimate escapes from family-friendly adventures to animal encounters and relaxing retreats.