July is easily one of the two most popular travel months of the year. It may be a convenient time to get off of work and school, but unfortunately, that’s the case for everyone. That means popular destinations like London, Paris, Australia, and Iceland are inundated with tourists and high prices.
If traveling in July is your only option, there are plenty of worthy travel destinations that remain off the beaten path. We searched the globe to find out just which destinations offered great experiences, dependable weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds, and came up with these: the 30 best underrated places to travel in July.
Italy and Croatia are two of the most popular (and expensive!) European destinations, while nearby Albania remains one of the most underrated despite a similar culture. This beautiful country boasts stunning landscapes and some of the best beaches on the Mediterranean. There is also a rich local heritage, up-and-coming food scene, and some of the most intact Roman ruins to be found anywhere. Best of all, Albania is incredibly inexpensive compared to its surrounding countries.
Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, this small Caribbean nation is nicknamed the “Nature Island” in recognition of its lush scenery. Much of Dominica has been claimed a national park, meaning there is plenty of protected space to explore rainforest, a boiling lake, volcanos, hot springs, waterfalls, and beaches with both white and black sand. Dominica’s cities and towns are just as welcoming and fun. Additionally, Dominica greatly prides itself on its sustainable tourism.
Estonia is one of a few Eastern European countries to be included on our list of the best underrated travel destinations. Even during the busy travel month of July, Estonia remains practically tourist-free. The colorful and historic capital city of Tallinn is a fantastic place to wander and explore. Like something out of a fairy tale, Tallinn consists of cobblestoned streets, lots of local restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and pretty art installations. Don’t forget to pop into a local museum or two to take in some of this underrated country’s fascinating history.
This July, skip the hoards of tourists in Iceland and head to a different Arctic country: Finland! Finland is geographically similar to Iceland, and experiences the same 24 hours of day light during the summer months. Finland’s capital city of Helsinki is a joy to explore and is full of unique sites like the Temppeliaukio Church, a church carved entirely out of rock. Suomenlinna is a great place to hike amongst Finland’s stunning natural scenery, while the country’s Lapland region is a year-round winter wonderland to be experienced in the midst of summer.
Grenada is yet another underrated travel destination located in the Caribbean. No matter what you’re looking for in a vacation, Grenada’s “Pure Grenada” experience has you covered. Spend the days sunbathing on one of more than 50 white-sand beaches throughout the country, or grab your flippers and goggles for some underwater adventure. Grenada has some of the best dive sites around — including the Caribbean’s largest shipwreck site — as well as the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park.
July in Jordan is hot, but we promise you won’t be too bothered by the heat when you’re sitting high atop a camel and traversing the beautiful Jordanian landscape. Jordan is a friendly and welcoming country, with a rich heritage and tons to see and do. To get the full experience without much work on your part, consider booking a tour that takes you to Valley of the Moon, the famous rock carvings of Petra, and the country’s other must-see sites.
Monaco, the tiny principality located along the Mediterranean, doesn’t see nearly as many crowds as its neighbors along the French Riviera. Synonymous with wealth and glamor, Monaco is well known for its luxurious hotels and world-famous casino. If you win at the roulette table, consider renting a yacht and joining the royalty and Hollywood elite out on the dark blue waters. Otherwise, even lounging on the golden-sand beaches feels pretty great in this underrated destination.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The city of Montreal in the province of Quebec combines French architecture and culture with the stunning laid-back vibe of other European countries. Best of all, it’s a much shorter plane ride away than Europe itself. Wander through old town Montreal to see some beautiful examples of French-style architecture. Don’t forget to stop at a sidewalk cafe to enjoy an espresso. Other must-see sites include the Montreal Biodome, Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal Botanical Garden, and the lookout atop Mount Royal.
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam have become increasingly popular, but the nearby country of Laos has remained relatively underrated. This small country has a ton to see and do. With a culture highly influenced by both East and West, Laos is a kick to explore. Don’t be surprised if you come across a Buddhist temple situated next to a building that looks straight out of Europe. A few must-see sites include the stunning nature of Kuang Si Falls, the hiking trails of Mount Phousi, and the historic Buddhist temple of Wat Xieng Thong.
Situated off the coast of Africa, Madagascar is cooler and dryer during the month of July. Most people head to Madagascar in search of the country’s famous lemurs. Book a spot on a guided tour for the most access to the country’s various national parks and the best shot at spotting a lemur or two. Back in the capital city of Antananarivo, expect a vibrant Malagasy culture, welcoming locals, and a delicious food scene.
Other countries in southern Africa become overcrowded and expensive during the month of July, but surprisingly, Malawi has remained under the tourism radar. To see some of the Big 5, safari through Majete Wildlife Reserve, currently the only place in Malawi to see the most popular safari animals. If you enjoy snorkeling, Lake Malawi is one of the best spots in the world, while the miles of coastline boast luxurious resorts and white-sand beaches.
No matter how much time you choose to spend in Michigan, you’re unlikely to run out of things to do. From the charming college town of Ann Arbor to the slew of lakes near the Irish Hills, Michigan has something to offer just about anyone. If you enjoy nature, then check out Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where Isle Royale — America’s least visited and most underrated national park — offers lots of hiking trails and camping spots. The U.P. is also near Mackinac Island, the stuck-in-time island where horse-drawn carriages make their way past grand hotels and traditional fudge shops.
Red Sea, Egypt
Egypt’s Red Sea coastline is lined with luxurious resorts, and makes for the perfect underrated beach destination. Expect the coast to get pretty toasty in July, though you likely won’t mind the heat once you get in the beautiful emerald waters. The big-name resorts in places like Sharm el Sheikh are nothing if not luxurious. If you like snorkeling and scuba diving, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Egypt’s Red Sea coast boasts some of the best diving spots in the world.
We could probably make a list of underrated travel destinations with all Eastern European countries, but for now, Romania makes our list of the best places to travel in July. Rent a bicycle and cycle through the Romanian countryside, where medieval structures still stand with views of the stunning Carpathian mountains. Lovers of all things mysterious and occult can’t leave without exploring Dracula’s Bran castle, while those just interested in leisurely exploring would do well to book a wine tasting tour or a guided walking tour through the capital city of Bucharest.
Of all the underrated European countries, Russia is perhaps the most surprising. This massive country with its long and rich history is chock-full of things to see and do, and July is a great time of year to experience it. A river cruise down the Volga is a convenient way to see Russia’s best cities, while a trip on the famous Trans-Siberian Railroad means traversing the country in style. No matter where in Russia you choose to go, you’ll find plenty of fascinating historical sites and tradition to ensure a trip-of-a-lifetime.
Rwanda boasts one of the fastest growing tourism industries in all of Africa. July is part of the country’s dry season, and an ideal time to visit this lush, jungly country. In the capital city of Kigali, you’ll find a vibrant commercial center with plenty of European flair. Don’t forget to set aside some time to experience the heart-wrenching Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn about the terrible events that plagued Rwanda in 1994. Finally, no trip to Rwanda is complete without some gorilla viewing. Book a spot on a tour led by an experienced guide, then trek into the jungle in search of these beautiful endangered creatures.
Borneo is the world’s third largest island, and it’s full of fun things to see and do. During the month of July, the weather is mild and dry in the state of Sabah, on Borneo’s Malaysian side. If you’re looking for some epic climbing, look no further than Mount Kinabalu’s 4,000-foot summit. Most people, however, head to Borneo for the unique wildlife population. Book a stay at a lodge located along the Kinabatangan River, where you’ll spend the mornings and evenings on a real-life jungle cruise in search of pygmy elephants, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, and the elusive orangutan.
The country of Singapore is a small one, yet it’s rapidly becoming one of Asia’s most popular destinations. Head to Singapore during July, when the weather is warm but there is a ton going on. Meander through the exceptionally picturesque Gardens by the Bay, and “climb” to the top of Tiger Sky Tower and take in the panoramic views. The Singapore Zoo is a great place to get up close and personal with some of Asia’s best-known animals, while the National Gallery is an impressive collection of Southeast Asian art.
Melbourne and Sydney may be Australia’s go-to destinations, but if you’re looking to get off the beaten track, consider the country’s island state of Tasmania. This underrated destination is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so it’s a cool and pleasant climate come June. Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, is edgy and artsy, while a lush rainforest ideal for hiking and other outdoor adventures is located less than three hours away by car. And of course, no trip to Tasmania is complete without visiting the famous Tasmanian devils.
Uruguay tends to get lost in the shuffle of South American countries, and we genuinely hope that changes in the near future. Situated between the much more popular Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is a laid-back country boasting a vibrant waterfront capital city (Montevideo), a coastline full of world-class beaches, a rich cultural heritage, and a wine country that is quickly climbing the ranks of the wine world.