Sicily's white-sand beaches

As the warmer weather gets into full swing, nothing says summer like a day at the beach soaking up the sun, while for travellers itching for more adventure, the start of the summer is a perfect time to experience an array of exotic adventures. Here are our suggestions for some sizzling June getaways – just don’t forget to pack the suncream.

Best June holidays for…cities

Short Haul: Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp Het Steen Fortress 200The Het Steen Fortress by the River Scheldt
Creative Commons / Veerle De Caluwe

Antwerp may be renowned for being ‘the diamond capital of the world’, but Belgium’s second-largest city is also famous for its friendly inhabitants with a passion for low-stress living. Cruise by impressive Gothic and Flemish architectural masterpieces, such as the Cathedral of Our Lady and the home of acclaimed Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens, while strolling down the charming medieval streets.

If shopping or nightlife is more your thing, Antwerp boasts an array of trendy clubs by the waterfront and famous designer boutiques in its fashion district. Don’t forget to stop-off at the illustrious diamond district to gaze at some of the world’s most precious jewels.

Follow a day of sightseeing with a traditional dinner of freshly caught fish from Antwerp port before settling down to a film screening at the Antwerp Film Museum, part of the Royal Palace. Alternatively, take a romantic dinner cruise along the beautiful River Scheldt past the Het Steen Fortress, home of the National Maritime Museum.

Long Haul: Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Capilano Bridge 200Take a daring walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Creative Commons / netsnake

Surrounded by breathtaking snow-capped mountains to its north and sparkling beaches to its west, Vancouver is one of the world’s most picture-perfect cities and its dramatic backdrops provided stunning visuals during the recent 2010 Winter Olympics, including the Capilano Suspension Bridge (the longest and highest of its kind) and the iconic Canada Place complex.

This coastal city is divided into three districts, each of which has unique attractions, so explore as many neighbourhoods as you can. Start in east Vancouver on the artistic and culturally diverse Main Street before meandering through the cedar-scented beauty of Stanley Park in downtown. Once you’ve made the most of the magnificent ocean views, head to downtown eastside to discover the cobblestone boulevards of Gastown and the colourful Millennium Gate in one of Canada’s most vibrant Chinatowns. A trip to Vancouver would also not be complete without a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery or a trip on one of the city’s famous whale watching tours.

Best June holidays for…beaches

Short Haul: Sicily, Italy

Sicily Cala Rossa 200A magnificent sea view from the cliffs at Cala Rossa
Creative Commons / Claudio Cesarano

Located at the southwestern tip of Italy, the rugged region of Sicily promises scorching sun and searing temperatures, so June is the perfect time to go before the mercury hits its sometimes overbearing peak. In addition to the beautiful waters, the numerous islands in this area offer mouth-watering cuisine and local sweet dessert wines. The brilliant sun coupled with turquoise waters and soft white sand provides a stark contrast to the barren landscape surrounding the volcanically active Mount Etna, Sicily’s highest mountain at approximately 3350 meters (10991ft.).

A largely untouched region that is any archaeologist’s paradise, there is much to explore away from the sunlounger, with Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples and Monreale Cathedral particular highlights. Lovers of Greek and Roman mythology will appreciate the ancient ruins in Syracuse and Roman mosaics in Piazza Armerina. Foodies, meanwhile, will find their tastebuds tickled by traditional Sicilian cheeses, fresh fish, salads and decadent desserts such as perfectly made cannoli or cassata.

Long Haul: Seychelles

Seychelles Beach 200Stunning beaches and turquoise sea in the Seychelles
Creative Commons / Alexander Mussard

Recently making headlines as the honeymoon location for newly weds the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it appears that not even the royals can resist the allure of the Seychelles. Escape to one of the 115 islands that make up this kingdom and lounge like a king or queen on stunning sandy shores. For something a bit more energetic, take a whale shark dive into the warm Indian Ocean water on Mahé or Praslin Islands, the two most populated areas of the Seychelles.

Nature lovers will enjoy the rare plant and wildlife that thrives in the luxurious tropical forests, almost untouched by humankind. Look up in the sky, and you’ll not only see resplendent blue skies but also a variety of wild birds. The Aldabra Atoll, deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a must-see for its phenomenal coral-fringed lagoon and giant tortoises. And because the islands are very close to one another, quick and easy day excursions can add a truly unforgettable tropical experience to your stay.

Best June holidays for…the outdoors

Short Haul: Cyprus

Akamas Peninsula Cyprus 200Wildlife and rugged landscapes at the Akamas Peninsula
iStockphoto / Thinkstock

This unique island is an eclectic blend of Europe and Asia, and although it lies at the crossroads of three continents, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean has a distinct character of its own. Summer partygoers will love tourist hot-spot Ayia Napa, which has given Cyprus the nickname “island of sin”, but curious travellers looking for adventure will not be disappointed.

Small villages in the northwestern Akamas Peninsula boast an outdoor paradise untouched by mass tourism, while miles of rolling fields, fantastic wildlife and sparkling blue sea await tourists in the Karpas Peninsula. Fearless swimmers can also enjoy a scuba dive in Larnaca Bay, where they can explore the ruins of the Swedish ferry MS Zenobia that capsized and sank in 1980. Back on land, explore Cyprus’s medieval castles or take a walk along the shore where shimmering island vistas will take your breath away.

Long Haul: South Africa

South Africa Kruger Safari 200An elephant offers a perfect viewing platform for a sunset
Creative Commons / safariaafrica

Anyone who loves a taste of the outdoors will enjoy South Africa. A visit to the Kruger National Park is a must, especially this month when the malaria risk is at its lowest and cheaper off-season safari deals and airfares can be found. Visitors will be thrilled by the vast landscapes filled with wondrous African wildlife as walking or drive-through safaris offer close contact with lions, cheetahs, and giraffes in this diverse Eden of Africa.

For something truly memorable, sign up for the Elephant Back Safari, an authentic wildlife viewing experience in Letsatsing Game Reserve near Sun City. If that holds no appeal, other exciting options include mountain biking and hiking trails and Africa's longest zip line attraction. For those with even less fear, the country also boasts one of the world's highest bungee jumps.


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.