Congratulations, you’ve made it to the halfway mark of the year! Time to take a load off, kick back and relax – what do you reckon?
Thankfully June has just the ticket for some time off – from tropical escapes where you can live out your paradise-isle fantasies to Mediterranean retreats where balmy days spent sightseeing blend into quiet, crowd-free evenings by the coast.
Soak up the Caribbean sun away from the hurricane belt
It’s the Caribbean, but not as you know it. The ABC islands, as Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are playfully known, sit just off the north coast of Venezuela. Although they’re geographically part of South America, they’ve been governed by, and been part of, the Netherlands since the early 17th century. June is the sweet spot between the high season (which also happens to be the rainy season) in the northern winter, and the slightly hotter summer months. Since the islands are outside the hurricane belt (unlike most of the other Caribbean islands), they’re a safe bet at this time of year, yet hotel rates are low and beaches less crowded.
And what beaches: from gorgeous Eagle Beach on Aruba, beloved of honeymooners, to the resorts of Curaçao’s southwest. Come to Aruba for nightlife, Bonaire for wonderful diving and snorkelling, and Curaçao for Dutch-influenced culture and cuisine, and to explore its colourful capital, Willemstad.
- Trip plan: Direct flights from New York and Amsterdam serve Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba, with flights from Miami to the first two.
- Need to know: Corals spawn off Bonaire around September or October – a nocturnal spectacle for scuba divers.
- Other months: Feb-Sep – consistently warm and dry; Oct-Jan – rainy season.
Dive and snorkel clear, warm, turquoise waters in Mozambique
Are these the most beautiful tropical islands on Earth? The Bazaruto Archipelago faces stiff competition from other Indian Ocean destinations (and Mozambique’s own Quirimbas Archipelago) – but wriggle your toes into the silky sand on a glorious June morning (the start of the dry season), or gaze through your mask at impossibly colourful reef fish, and maybe a humpback whale migrating past, and they could stake a fair claim.
Much of this chain of five islands off Mozambique’s southeastern coast is protected as a national park, conserving dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles and around 2000 fish species. Oh, and Nile crocodiles – but perhaps you’re not so keen to see those… This is a paradise for divers, but also for anyone seeking a truly barefoot beach holiday.
- Trip plan: Several islands have airstrips, and access is usually by plane or helicopter, speedboat or dhow from the mainland port of Vilankulo. Day trips from Vilankulo are possible but most visitors arrive on a package to one of the luxury lodges with an upmarket tour operator, often incorporating South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
- Need to know: Humpback whales migrate past the archipelago from June or July to September or October.
- Other months: Jun-Oct – dry; Apr-Jun & Sep-Nov – best diving; Nov-Mar – rains build.
Soak in the sun and Mediterranean before the crowds hit Sardinia, Italy
Italy’s second-largest island is, fair to say, famed mostly for one key asset: beaches. Nowhere else is the Mediterranean such an incredible shade of jade-turquoise-azure, lined with such perfect white-sand beaches. Best known is Costa Smeralda, the archetypal millionaire’s playground, but there are plenty more for mere mortals to enjoy. And June’s the time to enjoy them, with fine, clear weather but before the hordes of high summer descend.
Which beach? South of capital Cagliari is Chia, with not one but five fine beaches; The Sinis Peninsula has good snorkelling and Greek ruins; Alghero has popular resorts; from Cala Gonone on the east coast boats depart for secluded beaches; and the Costa Rei further south is exquisitely beautiful. If you can stir from the sand, you’ll find great hiking in the Gennargentu Mountains, historic old town centres – Cagliari included – and 3000-year-old nuraghi dwellings to discover.
- Trip plan: International airports at Cagliari, Alghero and Olbia all receive low-cost flights.
- Need to know: Many facilities close for a siesta in the early afternoon, particularly outside the main tourist resorts.
- Other months: May-Jun – clear days; Jul-Aug – high season; Apr & Sep-Oct – shoulder, lower prices; Nov-Feb – colder.
Relax in the tropical paradise of Bora Bora in its balmiest season
Blue, turquoise, azure, teal, indigo… there aren’t enough words to describe the hues of the Pacific Ocean around French Polynesia on a clear, calm, sunny day. And there are plenty of those in June, the start of the driest season, when the main island of Bora Bora and its motu (ringing islands) bask around the high 20°Cs.
This is the stuff of movies, with luxurious resorts perched over the crystal waters, shaded by swaying palms – and you need to be a film star to afford the prices at the very top hotels and resorts, though more modest accommodation can be found. As if the scenery wasn’t paradisiacal enough, the snorkelling and diving, over coral gardens and with sharks and rays, is spectacular.
- Trip plan: Bora Bora receives several flights daily from Tahiti, and a few from Huahine, Mo’orea, Maupiti and Ra’iatea. Try to get a seat on the left of the plane for the best views.
- Need to know: Book well ahead if visiting in July (when the traditional Heiva i Bora Bora festival is held) and August, the most popular months.
- Other months: Jun-Aug – driest, busiest; May & Sep-Oct – higher humidity, better availability, lower prices; Nov-Apr – wet season, high humidity.
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.