Outdoors, sun, and adventure… It’s the start of the holiday season!
For many people around the world, June marks the start of the summer holiday season. Temperatures are peaking and nights are the longest they can possibly be. Let’s see what else June has to offer.
Caribbean dream, Belize
Just at the start of the rainy season, when heavy rain is still underway and most tourists are leaving the place, Belize in June might be just what you’re looking for. It forms a small but peculiar country and a bridge between Central America and the Caribbean. For example, it’s one of the two only countries in the world to feature humans on their flags, the other being Malta.
Head out to the Cayo district in the west of the country. It is the largest district and home to impressive Maya Ceremonial Caves (Belize actually has the largest cave system in Central America), such as the Actun Tunichil Muknal with many skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware. Cayo is also the center of the Mundo Maya Empire, a civilization that settled along the country’s lakes and rivers centuries ago. On your hunt for ancient sites include the ruins of Xunantunich and Caracol. In fact, there are over 900 ancient Maya sites bespeckled all over the country.
With almost 400 kilometers of coastline, Belize has about 450 offshore islands (cays) to enjoy various water activities. Belize is famous for a giant marine sinkhole called the Great Blue Hole with a depth of over 120 meters. Currently, this location ranks among the world’s best dives, but there are more in the region to choose from. Half of Belize is covered in rainforest, much of it protected by the government and unexplored.
June is also the month of the annual Placencia Lobsterfest, or the opening of the lobster season. This year it’s taking place between 26–28 June and it’s an event attracting thousands of local and international visitors. There are plenty of contests and activities, also for children, such as tipsy tuna toss, hot spicy wings eating contest, kayak racing, or throwing the cast net.
Surprisingly hospitable, Greenland
Occupying a significant part of the Arctic, Greenland remains a land of mystery for most. It is the world’s largest island and yet the least densely populated territory to be found. No surprise there as most of its land is covered by snow and ice.
You’ll find basically no roads here between places and most of getting around is done by planes, boats, snowmobile, or sleds. Hiking is also a great way to experience the country, especially at this time of year. But any way you travel across the land, the views will be spectacular.
Greenland is not so cold and inhospitable as the general perception might be. In June, parts of the country can warm up to somewhere between 10 and — on a good day — even 20 degrees Celsius. The landscape will turn green, with wildflowers and sheep nibbling away on the grass. The month of June also marks the start of the season for blooming cottongrass, which goes on till September.
Summers north of the Arctic Circle are characteristic of their midnight sun, lending a bit of softness to the rough landscape of glaciers and treeless mountains. Depending on whether you’re in the south or north, the sun does not set for days, weeks, or even months and your nights will be accompanied by warm hues of the never-setting sun on the horizon.
Small island, endless variety, Corsica
In June, the Mediterranean Sea around Corsica is just about getting warm enough for a decent dip. Despite being a rocky island, though, the coast is outlined with turquoise waters and stretches of sand dotted with shrubs and pine trees, and rolling mountains in the background. No wonder that the French island is often said to boast some of the most attractive beaches in the whole of France.
To add a cultural touch to your holiday, visit the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte in Ajaccio. The house, in which he was born in 1769, was his family’s property for almost three centuries, from 1682 till 1923. Corsica is also the birthplace of another renowned historical figure, although in this case there are speculations about its accuracy. While some believe that Christopher Columbus was born in Italian Genoa in the year 1451, others believe it was within the citadel walls of Calvi ten years before that, in 1441.
Corsica is also perfect for hiking. The GR 20 (fra li monti) runs across the island — divided into a steep and rocky northern and a lower-altitude southern part — and has been described as one of the world’s best trails. Besides dramatic scenery, you’ll most likely be able to spot the national tree of Corsica — chestnut. Chestnut crops go back centuries and have become cultural heritage and staple food during periods of famine. Especially the region of Castagniccia is famous for its chestnut groves.
Celebrating winter solstice ancient style, Peru
June brings along major celebrations of the winter solstice dating back to the 15th-century Inca Empire. Back then, some 25,000 people would gather in the former capital of Cusco to celebrate the shortest day of the year and the return of the light.
After a long ban on the festival, its modern-day re-enactment by the Andes’ indigenous cultures maintains some of the former practices. It starts in the morning on 24 June in front of the Inca Temple of the Sun — Coricancha, which used to be the centerpiece and holiest place of the Incan mythology. Later on, there’s a reading of the coca leaves to foretell the fate of the Empire for the upcoming year. It’s a day full of music and special dances, colorful costumes (such as the woven aya huma mask), and food sharing.
Since the celebrations involve processions and walking around, sightseeing will be a natural part of them. To contrast the historical side of Cusco with the contemporary, San Blas stashes cafes, restaurants, and night bars, plenty of independent shopping options, and great views of the city which was allegedly designed in the shape of a puma.
Summer full of events, Prince Edward Island, Canada
By June, the sky above the Prince Edward Island has typically cleared up, with an occasional shower and average temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Visitors have started pouring in but their numbers won’t peak until months to follow. It is also the start of various summer festivals and events that will be taking place all throughout the summer.
Every night from 1 June, the historic Victorian shopping buildings in downtown Charlottetown lends the stage to hundreds of emerging musicians. Summer breathes life into every bit of the island, with outdoor activities and events, such as the three-day St. Louis Bluegrass & Old-time Music Festival with many local and off-island entertainers, or the Confederation Players Walking Tours & Historical Reenactment which brings the history of Confederation alive.
As July approaches, all of Canada is getting ready for the annual celebrations of Canada Day, including the islanders on Prince Edward. Canadians have celebrated over 150 years since the forming of the federation of Canada on 1 July 1867. The day is a source of pride for Canadians and the days-long festivities usually include music, bike rodeos, activities for children, fireworks, barbecue, and many others.
The cultural liveliness of PEI will make your trip here only half complete. Heading outside of cities and towns, you’ll discover lighthouses, fertile farmlands, and rolling hills scattered all across the land. The landscape won’t present many dramatic views per se (the highest point is at an elevation of about 140 m or some 459 feet), as it lies low surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence; nevertheless, its charm will be difficult to shed… just like the red sand stuck to your shoes.
Eco-friendly adventures, Montenegro
As one of the youngest countries in Europe and in the world (declared independence in 2006), Montenegro still lives in the shadow of its northwestern neighbor — Croatia. Both countries share virtually the same coastline but Montenegro enjoys much lower volumes of tourists and lower prices, too.
On top of that, Montenegro has an amazing and varied landscape, such as the 1,300 meters deep Tara River Canyon in Durmitor national park. It is the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world, after the Grand Canyon in Colorado. This is also where you’ll find the Đurđevića Tara Bridge with beautiful views across the canyon and river underneath with the below clearance of up to 172 meters.
Roughly in the middle of the coast lies Sveti Stefan. What once used to be a small island village with a couple of hundred inhabitants has turned into a peninsula with a luxury resort frequented by the world’s elites. Yet, it’s no less picturesque. To quench your thirst and curiosity, visit the Šipčanik wine cellar. It’s set up in a 356-meter-long tunnel which used to be a secret underground aircraft hangar during the times of Yugoslavia.
But June in Montenegro is also one of the ideal times for outdoor camping as temperatures at night hover at a pleasant 15 degrees. It’s a great way to travel more eco-friendly, explore overlooked or lesser-known places, and give back to the local community. By connecting locals and travelers, the community initiative Meanderbug helps every traveler experience a lesser-known side of the country by becoming part of the local community, and in turn boost (sustainable) tourism.