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Schools are beginning to let out for the summer, the weather is warming up and it’s time for that sunshine-filled vacation. (Just the thought of sand between our toes and the salty smell of the ocean is giving us major wanderlust!)
Luckily, June is one of the best months to travel — especially to Europe and around the US. That’s because so many destinations have perfect weather, but the crowds of July and August haven’t yet descended. Of course, there are other reasons these are six of the best destinations to visit in June, including new airline routes, fun festivals and great new hotels.
Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to the 12 best places to visit every month of 2019.
For travelers heading to Machu Picchu, one of Peru’s greatest draws, there’s more urgency than ever before. It’s being threatened by mass tourism, so the quicker you can experience the bucket-list destination, the better. Fortunately, Peru’s allure extends well beyond the ruins of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Other roads less traveled include seeing condors fly at Colca Canyon, exploring the islands of Lake Titicaca and trekking through less popular, but equally impressive, Inca ruins such as Choquequirao, the so-called sacred sister of Machu Picchu.
Choquequirao won’t be off the radar for long, however, as the Peruvian government has announced plans to install a cable car and construct a road that will give tourists an easy lift to the archeological site. (Right now, it’s only accessible by an intense, multiday hike.) Whether you want to explore less-crowded Choquequirao or the iconic citadel of Machu Picchu, June is squarely in the middle of the cool, dry season in the Andes, which means perfect conditions for hiking.
Peru is also an ideal destination for serious foodies. Power couple Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, who started Central Restaurante, just launched an outpost in Moray, called Mil, that specializes in traditional Andean cuisine. And their next project, a restaurant in the Amazon rainforest, is already underway. Only dedicated epicures should make the journey, however, because it involves flying from Lima (LIM) to Puerto Maldonado (PEM) and then boating down the river for lunch. (The restaurant will close in the evening, as the river is too dangerous to navigate after dark.)
Another reason to head south to Peru this June? Flying around the South American nation just got easier with the launch of Sky Airlines’ domestic flights from Lima (LIM) to destinations such as Arequipa (AQP), Cuzco (CUZ), Iquitos (IQT) and more.
There’s never really a bad time to visit Portugal, but June sees fewer European visitors (they’ll typically flood the beaches come July and August), which means thinner crowds for you. Besides frequent routes to Lisbon and even flights to the Azores from the US (you can fly nonstop on Delta to Ponta Delgada-PDL from New York-JFK as well as Azores Airlines from Boston Logan-BOS), TAP Air Portugal will increase its flights from two to six per week on its A321LR aircraft between Newark (EWR) and Porto (OPO) starting June 1. And, beginning June 10, the airline will fly between San Francisco (SFO) to Lisbon (LIS) five times per week on the its A330neo aircraft.
Portugal may be a small country, but visitors can develop extensive and dynamic itineraries. The north tempts travelers with the port wines of the Douro Valley, while Porto offers wine tastings and boat rides along the Douro River. No matter where in Portugal you go, expect to wander past historical, tiled buildings at every turn.
Lisbon is another hotspot, with an established culinary scene and day trips that will take you to the nearby shores of Cascais or the colorful Pena Palace in Sintra. The Algarve region in the south is famed for its beaches — long stretches of inviting golden sands flanked by rocky cliffs. But the best part about Portugal? It’s one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, ensuring you can drink Champagne (well, at least vinho verde) on a beer budget.
June falls within Malaysia’s dry season, though your best bet for a rain-free vacation will be along the east coast. Start your trip on the Malaysian island of Borneo, where you can attend the Gawai Dayak festival (June 1), in honor of the season’s harvest, in the region of Sarawak. Join the lively parades, visit tribal longhouses and hang with locals all decked out in a traditional dress. Then, travel to central Borneo and join the Lul Bawang tribe in celebration of Irau Aco Lun Bawang (June 1 and 2): a cultural festival with parades, music, dances and delicious cuisine. You shouldn’t leave Borneo without doing a Malaysian safari in Sabah, where you can view orangutans in their natural habitat.
End your time on the eastern edge of Malaysia on an island for a relaxing beach break. Tioman Island, the perfect tropical escape, has some of the most beautiful beaches and most spectacular diving in Malaysia. Just watch out for triggerfish, which can be particularly aggressive during mating season.
Then, catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur, where you can stay in the brand new CitizenM KL hotel, with doors expected to open on June 1. Visitors can spend the night in one of 210 guest rooms in the Bukit Bintang district, which, according to the hotel, are both stylish and tech-focused. While there, check out Malaysia’s BookFest (June 1 through 9), which organizes events such as concerts, live readings and workshops. You can also sample local food and participate in ceremonies and parties all around the country in honor of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which marks the end of Ramadan.
Kick off your summer Adriatic adventure by flying to Dubrovnik (DBV). American Airlines is launching seasonal flights on June 7 between Philadelphia (PHL) to the medieval Croatian city on its Boeing 767 aircraft three times per week through late September. Once there, plan to live out your “Game of Thrones” fantasy, visiting spots where Cersei’s walk of shame and King Joffrey’s tournament were filmed.
Once you’ve had your fill of medieval walls and ancient history, head to Split to check out the Ultra Music Festival (June 12 to 14) with a lineup of very contemporary artists including Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, The Chainsmokers, David Guetta and Carl Cox. Nurse your festival hangover with a relaxed beach day where you can work on your tan. Croatia enjoys 12 hours of sunshine a day in June, so getting that perfect glow shouldn’t be too tough. Consider spreading out your beach blanket on Hvar, Brac, Vis or Solta, all just a short boat ride from Split. There, you’ll find both pebble and sand beaches surrounded by some of the clearest water in the Adriatic Sea.
Finish your trip with a visit to Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, where you can admire all the Austro-Hungarian architecture. If you squint, you might think you’re actually in Vienna. There’s plenty to do both indoors and outside, like visiting the city’s Museum of Broken Relationships, or hiking Medvednica, a mountain just north of the city center. Rock and indie music lovers can camp at the INmusic Festival (June 24 to 26) near the woodsy Lake Jarun to see artists like The Cure, Garbage and Thievery Corporation.
Budget travelers take note: Allegiant will have six new seasonal routes this summer to Nashville (BNA) from Cleveland (CLE), Allentown (ABE), Cedar Rapids (CID), Orlando (SFB), Bentonville (XNA) and Harrisburg-MDT, the latter of which is launching in June.
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll need a place to stay. Fortunately, Nashville is the midst of opening 25 new hotels in 2019. While not all are open yet, many are in the works, offering travelers fresh new options for accommodation as the year goes on. While we’re still patiently awaiting the Four Seasons Nashville, the Noelle Hotel (a Marriott property), which opened in late 2018, is a solid option, especially for millennials — or anyone who needs sparkling water on tap in the hallways.
Although Nashville’s music scene is always on point, with a dizzying number of venues lining the famous Broadway Street (known as Honky Tonk Row), music lovers should head to nearby Manchester to enjoy the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 13 to 16). The lineup features some A-List acts including Phish, Childish Gambino, Odesza, Post Malone, The Lumineers, Cardi B, Solange and more. Back in Nashville, the American Artisan Festival (June 14 to 16) will host over 150 creatives showcasing their photography, jewelry, ceramics, furniture and other works. Workshops and demonstrations are also part of the event calendar. Then, keep the party going with Nashville’s two-day LGBTQ Pride celebration (June 22 and 23).
Travelers with more PTO to burn should consider adding a 3-to-4-hour road trip from Nashville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a few days of hiking, cycling and picnics. If you have little ones in tow, don’t forget to stop at Dollywood along the way. Kids will love the theme parks, and parents (and any die-hard Dolly fans) will love the Dolly Parton memorabilia at the museum.
The United Kingdom
One of the best times of year to visit London is June, when warm, sunny days are best enjoyed strolling through one of London’s many parks or visiting some of London’s most beautiful gardens (which are typically closed to the public) during Open Garden Squares Weekends. Or, take in one of London’s most famous events, the Royal Ascot from June 17 to 22, where you can don a fancy fascinator and bet on horses with the British elite. Travelers dreaming of a quintessential British medieval town experience should head north for the Durham Regatta (June 8 and 9), with races, bands, food and other events on the banks of the River Wear.
But let’s not forget Scotland is also part of the UK, and you can check out the Edinburgh Film Festival — it’s the world’s longest continually run film festival (June 19 through 30). Or head over to Wales for a rather unusual event: the Man Versus Horse Marathon in Llanwrtyd Wells (June 8), a 22-mile circuit where runners compete against riders on horseback.
London is already one of the easiest international cities to reach from the US. But a new American Airlines flight just made hopping across the pond even easier for travelers based in the American Southwest: a daily flight from Phoenix (PHX) to London (LHR), which launched in April. British Airways also launched a nonstop seasonal route, April through October, from Charleston (CHS) to LHR two days per week, as well as a flight from Heathrow nonstop to Pittsburgh (PIT) four days per week on its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to wait a couple more years to fly JetBlue to London.
With the launch of The Points Guy UK, there’s so much more information out there for readers about London, British Airways and the UK in general. The UK team is even reviewing every single lounge at Heathrow so you’ll know exactly where to go for a cocktail before your flight back to the US.
Know before you go.
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