The majestic Maldives

Itching to get into the summer spirit? We round up where to go in July, from Indian Ocean paradise isles and secluded Scottish hideaways to jazz, art and fashion fests in some of the world’s most iconic cities.

For beach bums

Short haul: Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria beachSoak up the July sun in Gran Canaria
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One of seven Canary Islands, Gran Canaria boasts 228km (142 miles) of coastline with fine white sand and intense blue seas. The sun-kissed island offers up to 11 hours of sunshine per day during July, with average temperatures of 28°C (82°F). Relax in a choice of accommodation varying from fun family resorts to hidden, romantic villas. Head over to the capital of Las Palmas set between two tranquil bays and explore the old town neighbourhoods Vegueta and Triana, where you’ll learn stories and secrets from the island’s maritime history amid narrow, cobbled streets. Food is also something to be savoured on the island: enjoy traditional dishes including the popular conejo al salmorejo (rabbit marinated in wine, garlic, vinegar and spices) and spicy sancocho soup.

Long haul: Seychelles

The Seychelles Swim in the Seychelles' turquoise waters
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Dotted in the Indian Ocean are the 115 paradise islands that make up the Seychelles. Each treasured island has an array of breathtaking beaches featuring silken white sands and deep-turquoise seas. If you’re seeking peace in a paradise location, then look no further.

Aside from the beaches, there is plenty to do: enjoy close encounters with tropical marine life during the ultimate snorkelling experience; keep an eye out for sooty terns, brush warblers and other rare feathery friends on a bird-watching tour, or challenge yourself by hiking the Cassedent trail on Mahé Island, where you can enjoy picturesque viewpoints and  the remains of an old distillery before finishing with a swim at a beautiful natural waterfall.

For culture vultures…

Short haul: Berlin

Berlin Open Air Festival Make your mark at the Open Air Gallery
Creative Commons / artie

Place yourself in the heart of Berlin’s hip cultural scene by enjoying the Open Air Gallery (ends 7 July), which annually attracts thousands of people to Oberbaumbruke for its spectacular range of al fresco art in the form of unique sculptures, photos and paintings. Visitors can even leave their own personal mark by painting or drawing on a 120m-long (393ft) canvas. Alternatively, Fashion Week brings glamour and style to Berlin for five days between 2-7 July, with numerous runway shows open to the public.

When you’re in the city, make sure not to miss its legendary attractions – whether it's the iconic the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate or the grand Berliner Dom cathedral and the Reichstag featuring a stunning dome designed by architect Norman Foster.

Long haul: California

California Fillmore Jazz Festival Get a taste of California's passion for jazz
Fillmore Jazz Festival

Music lovers are sure to enjoy the largest free jazz festival in California, with the Fillmore Jazz Street Festival set to attract 100,000 people across two days from 6 July. In addition to live music from multiple stages, sink your teeth into an impressive range of diverse gourmet cuisines and plunder 12 blocks of art and craft stalls.

As part of this year’s 4 July celebrations, San Francisco will host one of the state’s most jaw-dropping firework displays. Stand along the waterfront in the welcoming evening breeze and watch the sky come alive with colour. Whilst here, check out the city’s Museum of Modern Art and discover the 26,000-strong collection of design, architectural and sculptural pieces.

For adventure-seekers…

Short haul: Isle of Skye

Isle of SkyeExplore magical Eilean Donan Castle
Creative Commons / shakyphoto

The extraordinary geology of the Isle of Skye attracts many passionate hikers to this unspoilt outpost in northwest Scotland. Summer is the best time to enjoy the outdoors with trails that lead to stunning and unforgettable views. Whether you’re an avid hiker or an amateur stroller, there is something for everyone. The Coire Lagan is one of the more challenging routes; it climbs to high, icy mountain peaks over a distance of nearly 10km (6 miles), whereas the Kylerhea Otter Haven trail is a flat, 2.5km (1.5-mile) meander offering the chance to see elusive otters and basking seals.

A favourite place to stay is Fossil Cottage, situated on a still, silent seashore in the south of the island. It's full of Scottish character and is the perfect location to watch the sunset. Its neighbouring village, Broadford boasts charming restaurants that serve fresh, local fish.

Long haul: Maldives

The Maldives Dive with graceful whale sharks
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The relative isolation of the Maldives has led to an incredible array of marine life thriving in the azure Indian Ocean waters lapping the shores of these gorgeous islands. The crystal-clear waters afford front row seats to divers who want to explore fascinating coral and psychedelic fish species in some of the planet’s most pristine reefs.

Get up close and personal to manta rays, whale sharks, barracuda, tuna, trevally, puffer fish, fusiliers, squirrelfish, wrasses and much more. Swim through sun-dappled shallow reefs and caves, or around pinnacles and under overhangs festooned with colourful sponges. With some of the best luxury dive boats and resorts around, diving in the Maldives is truly in a league of its own.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.