Every month, Kiwi.com is going to bring you a few ideas for things to do, places to go and things to see in the coming month. So if you fancy a bit of inspiration for what to do in July, here are our suggestions…
Make the most of the weather – Newfoundland, Canada
When it comes to weather it’s not exactly what you’d call hot, but July is certainly the most pleasant time of year to visit one of Canada’s lesser-frequented regions – Newfoundland. You have to be an outdoorsy type, for that’s what makes this part of the country so special: woodland and meadows giving way to cliffs that plunge away into the roiling sea beneath.
Puffins flock onto the rocks as fishermen go about their work, while the sea air plays havoc with your hair despite the sun on your bare arms. Then, after a spot of yomping about the landscape, find yourself a small town with a charming little hotel. Have a filling dinner of locally-caught seafood and fall exhaustedly asleep wondering why you’d never thought of this before.
Have a knight on the town – Tallinn, Estonia
During the first full week of July, Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, gets medieval fever. Since the year 2000, people from all over Europe have flocked to the city to take part in a festival of song, dance, performances and tournaments based on this exciting period of history. Feel centuries of history come alive either in the Town Hall Square or up on nearby Niguliste Hill, where the children’s area includes workshops, games and other activities.
The festival opens with a carnival on the Town Hall Square in which everyone is encouraged to get involved (don’t forget your jester’s hat). For the rest of the week, the square becomes the scene of a medieval market, complete with all the sights, sounds – and yes, the smells too – of the world in the 14th century.
Do seawater and beer mix? – Darwin, Australia.
If this didn’t exist, you get a feeling the Aussies would have invented it anyway. And we’re all for it. The Darwin Beer Can Regatta is a sailing contest with a difference. Participants create boats using empty beer cans, soft drink cans, milk cartons and the like, and then take part in the sort of regatta not seen anywhere else.
Boats can be constructed to look like pretty much anything. Some do look like boats (albeit smaller versions of Viking longboats, pirate ships, powerboats – you get the idea), and some are even more outlandish. Naturally, none of them are allowed to be tested for seaworthiness or buoyancy before being launched, so their crew often end up wetter than they’d have liked, all in front of almost 15,000 people from all over the country who’ve come for the festival.
A healthier alternative – Oyster Festival, Knysna, South Africa
If the above sounds a bit too lairy for you, why not try this? South Africa’s premier sports and lifestyle festival runs until 8 July, and for lovers of excellent food, health and wellbeing, it’s a real mecca. Trail running, hiking, swimming, cycling and kayaking are all available for the more active among you, while of an evening there are the inevitable oyster specialities.
If sports and bivalves aren’t quite your cup of tea, there’s also alternative entertainment in the form of concerts and comedy, talent contests, fashion shows, and special programmes for kids, including pavement art contests and cycle rides. Or, while all that’s going on, what about the wine and liquor festival? You deserve it…
Well-heeled, Puglia – Italy
So you want to visit Italy and experience all the things it’s famous for – you know, sun, ancient architecture, wonderful food and wine, a laidback outlook on life – but you can’t stand tourists. A difficult task, or so you’d think. Introducing Puglia, the region down in the heel of Italy. Historically overlooked, even by the rest of the country, it has its own slower, mellower pace of life.
Bari, the capital of the region, is a vibrant port city with a university, but the real stars are Lecce and Gallipoli. Lecce rivals any of Italy’s great cities in terms of history, architecture and grandeur. From the Roman period to the Baroque, every building added century by century seems to have only improved it. There’s not a street you won’t want to walk; not a tiny bar you won’t want to call your own with a glass of chilled local wine after a long day in the sun. Gallipoli is easy to get to from there, with its fortified old town jutting out dramatically into the sea, surrounded by beaches, and home to some of the best seafood Italy has to offer.
Delicate beauty — Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival, Gungnamji, South Korea
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Running from the 6th to the 15th of July, this festival is a celebration of the stunning and precious lotus flower in all its glorious forms. As well as showcasing the flowers, the festival aims to highlight the importance of the cultivation and preservation of flowers and plants, both for display and in the wild. Visitors come from all over the world to learn to make paper lotus flowers and lotus soap in the heady scents that surround them.
Other elements include traditional Korean arts and crafts, all of which are hands-on (making necklaces, ocarinas, purses and so forth), as well as performances of ancient ceremonies and amusements. For even more history, there are a number of cultural sites from the Baekje Kingdom, dating from between 18 BC and 660 AD in the surrounding area. More of a calm, cultured fortnight you couldn’t ask for.