Photo by Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock
Photo by HandmadePictures/Shutterstock
Cape Town is among our top ten destinations for June.
Dreaming of a beach vacation? Seeking an adventurous experience? On the hunt for the perfect plate? June has plenty in store for you.
It’s officially summer somewhere—the Northern Hemisphere, to be exact. But vacation planning follows the Happy Hour rule (if it’s 5 p.m. somewhere, you can sneak in a snifter), so use it as an excuse to take the year’s headline trip this month.
Perhaps you fancy exploring Britain to help the Queen celebrate a country-defining milestone, or heading to one of the most charmingly retro U.S. resorts to celebrate all things lilac? Then again, 2022 is the first year when Juneteenth is a federal holiday, so consider heading to Houston, the city where it was first officially fêted, or perhaps mark Pride Month with a long-haul trip.
Here are 10 appealing places around the world to travel to this June.
June is great for: gorging on highbrow culture
Berlin might no longer be the affordable artist magnet it became after the fall of the communist-era wall, but the impact of that influx remains. Berlin’s cultural offerings are among the best in the world, whether the medieval sculpture-packed Bode-Museum, a roundup of swoonily romantic 19th-century canvases at the Alte Nationalgalerie, or the showstopping bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, which anchors the collection at Neues Museum.
For the most cutting-edge works of all, though, book months ahead for a tour of the Sammlung Boros, a private collection moodily ensconced in a World War II bunker. As for this month’s extra lure: The free open-air Staatsoper für alle (“State Opera for All”) concert takes place, under the auspices (and baton) of the Argentina-born conductor Daniel Barenboim, who’s now based in Berlin.
Book now: 25 Hours
A funky chainlet of poshtels that combines an Ace hotel–like energy with an emphasis on the arts, 25Hours is ideal for anyone lured to Berlin for its culture. The outpost here sits in the listed Bikini-Haus, close to the Zoo in City West.
Berlin’s much-ballyhooed—and delayed—new airport finally opened two years ago, but it still enjoys fewer than expected direct flights stateside because national carrier Lufthansa doesn’t deploy it as a hub. The best option is to hop United from Newark.
June is great for: toasting her Maj, with tea or beer
Yes, Britain does enjoy the occasional sunny summer’s day, and everyone will be hoping for a few cloud-free days over the first weekend of June, which has been earmarked as a one-off public holiday in nod to Queen Elizabeth II.
She reached the milestone of 70 years on the throne in February, the longest reign of any British monarch, ever; locals will relish her Platinum Jubilee’s arrival thanks to these bonus days off. Join them somewhere other than London with a trip to Manchester, England’s answer to Detroit, a one-time manufacturing hub turned hipster haven.
Toast her Maj with a pint or two of craft beer, for which Mancunians have become justly known, thanks to spots like Cloudwater Barrel Store Tap Room, an eight-year-old, atmospheric microbrewery in a converted industrial space, and rivals like Port Street and the Pilcrow. A Summer Beer Thing, a beerfest that started in 2018, is due to return June 17–19, adding extra reasons to come thirsty. Even better, June 19 is also Manchester Day, a parade-anchored celebration of the city when its streets transform into a party.
Book now: The Lowry
The artist known for his instantly identifiable matchstick men was from Manchester, so book a night at his namesake hotel, the Lowry, right on the river in Salford, where the BBC has its northern base.
Virgin Atlantic is the best option, with direct flights from Atlanta, New York–JFK, and Orlando, Florida.
June is great for: blossom-viewing beyond cherry season
Lilacs have been planted on this island in Lake Huron for more than 200 years, although no one is sure how they ended up a staple of the forests. One theory is that a New Hampshire farmer brought them with him to remind him of home. Whatever first brought them here, thanks to the high pH level conferred on local soil by the underlying limestone, they’ve thrived and often reach heights of 40 feet. Today, there are more than 250 varieties on the almost four-square-mile island, all of them celebrated in a fiesta dating back to just after World War II; in 2022, it runs from June 3 to 12.
The 10-day event is Mackinac’s biggest bash; it crowns a Lilac Queen to preside over events while offering walking tours with lilac expert Jeff Young, live music, and a 10k run. The event peaks with the Lilac Festival Grand Parade on the afternoon of June 12, with a flotilla of horse-drawn wagons: This island remains proudly car free.
Book now: The Grand Hotel
Arriving at the Grand Hotel is more like stepping into the cover of a classic romance novel than checking in at a hotel. The 388-room grande dame of the island kicked off its 136th season early last month.
Getting to Mackinac is half of the fun: There are no bridges, so every journey involves a boat unless you charter a puddle jumper from the local airstrip, but where’s the fun in that? Book a flight to either PLN (Pellston Regional Airport) or CIU (Chippewa County International), and take one of the regular shuttles to the ferry docks from either.
June is great for: sailing the Caribbean’s lesser trafficked southern reaches
Grenada, of course, is best known for its produce—it earned the sobriquet the spice island for the industrial volumes of nutmeg it started producing after a few seeds were planted here by a schooner en route home to Europe from Asia.
But it offers more than colonial-era farming: After a two-year hiatus, the Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta is returning this month, running for four days starting on June 3. The nonprofit event dragoons sailors from several local islands, including its namesake where boatbuilding has a been a centuries-old craft for the 1,000 or so residents; they compete in various categories of racing while attendees can enjoy landlocked bashes like DJ sets and games for kids, both standard issue and overgrown, such as obstacle races.
Book now: Calabash Hotel
Expat Brit Leo Garbutt’s Calabash Hotel is one of the island’s plushest perches—and the ideal spot for any green-fingered guests: Each suite is named after a local plant or tree, and the gardens are labeled in detail if you want to take a tour (or use the guide ginned-up by one enthusiastic former overnighter).
There are direct flights on JetBlue from New York–JFK, while American offers direct links from Miami and Charlotte, North Carolina.
June is great for: celebrating Pride
Mark Pride Month with a jaunt to one of the cities with the highest proportion of LGBTQ+ residents in the world—around one in four. Its riotous celebrations return in full force after COVID-related reductions, with the anchor its 1.25-mile-long parade on June 10, one of the world’s largest and most all-inclusive. In 2019, more than 250,000 people from all over the globe descended here for that event. Programming for 2022 includes beach and circuit parties—Forever Tel Aviv is the banner promoter, which usually runs mega, DJ-powered events over five nights during Pride Month—plus a Mediterranean outpost of Wigstock, the Drag Race forerunner that began in New York City and has been a staple of Pride here since the mid-1990s.
Book now: David Kempinski
Try the brand-new, 34-story David Kempinski, a high-rise right on the city’s beachfront parade. Splurge on one of its 14 VIP suites, and you’ll enjoy a hotel within a hotel, complete with its own, stand-alone pool complex on the 34th floor.
El Al has service direct from New York, as does American, or try Virgin Atlantic via London.
June is great for: African music from all eras
After a two-year hiatus, the three-day music and artfest Origins returns on June 3—a refreshing reminder that this historic city isn’t simply looking to its lavish past (though snaking through the souk can have a gloriously time-warping effect, as if stepping back a few centuries into the hubbub). This electronic music–anchored event brings artists like Hannes Bieger, Toto Chiavetta, and Mark Höffen to perform and aims to bolster the young creative scene in Marrakech. Music lovers should consider a detour, too, to the seaside town of Essaouira just under three hours’ drive away. That’s where a four-day festival of music highlighting gnaoua is scheduled to take place—check for this year’s details on its Facebook page.
Book now: La Mamounia
Where better than La Mamounia, a palace turned palace of hospitality that’s a chance to savor every era of the city, from precolonial to YSL-era French in a single spot? Even better, it’s recently undergone a top-to-toe renovation.
Most direct international flights touch down in Casablanca, so either opt for that plus a two-hour drive, or connect in Europe to land in Marrakech proper.
June is great for: hiking and driving through the 14ers
Summer is peak hiking season in Colorado, and Colorado Springs sits at the base of one of the city’s best-known 14ers (mountains with an elevation of 14,000 feet or more): Pikes Peak. This month, the slopes host an adrenaline-boosting extreme event, the International Hill Climb on June 26, which is a road race up to the top; fittingly, it’s nicknamed the Race to the Clouds. For one night only, the night before the race, the ban on camping on Pikes Peak is lifted, so you can wake up in situ and spend the day there, even if you’re not firing up a Ford Bronco to power up the road to the top through a 12-mile course with more than 150 turns.
Book now: Cloud Camp
The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp is a plush all-inclusive offshoot of the classic hotel on top of Cheyenne Mountain that opens seasonally from May to October; onsite activities include guided hikes, pickleball, archery, and all things outdoors.
Countless services include seasonal flights from San Diego, Las Vegas, and Fort Myers, Florida, on low-cost carrier Frontier.
June is great for: seeing Mexico’s second city waving the rainbow flag
Another Pride Month option is this city in Mexico’s west, the capital of the tequila-producing region of Jalisco and the second largest metropolis after Mexico City. Four years ago, the first, two-day Festival Prohibido took place, thanks in part to the appointment of a sexual diversity director in the state, Andres Trevino, the first person to hold such a role anywhere in Mexico. His efforts have resulted in various LGBTQ-friendly changes, including becoming the first state to allow transgender individuals to change their legal name and snaring the host city role of the Gay Games next year. After a pandemic-era pause, this year will see the return of Prohibido once more, again in the first week of June, and again, with an emphasis on art by LGBTQ-identifying artists.
Book now: Casa Habita
The 37-room Casa Habita was built as an art deco mansion in the Lafayette nabe in the 1940s before being rebooted as the city’s first design-focused boutique hotel, complete with an outdoor pool and a spa with views across the city.
Take your pick, with service on airlines including Aeromexico and low-cost carrier Volaris; there are direct flights from countless cities across the United States, including Salt Lake City, Reno, and Fresno, California.
June is great for: observing Juneteenth, where it all began
Last year, President Biden made Juneteenth an official national holiday—but that was more than four decades after Texas made it a state holiday, the first to do so, in 1980. Houston, its largest city, is home to the fourth largest Black population in America, so where better to mark the first year the entire country will observe this emancipation-anchored event?
Check out Emancipation Park, the oldest park in Texas; it was once the only such greenspace open to Black residents after a slice of land was purchased in 1872 by a few formerly enslaved people to ensure they always had somewhere to mark Juneteenth. It underwent an overhaul of more than $30 million in 2019, renamed as the Emancipation Park Conservancy, and earmarked by UNESCO as a Site of Memory for the world. The full slate of Juneteenth celebrations for 2022 has not yet been released, but check for updates at epconservancy.org.
Book now: La Maison
Midtown’s seven-room, Black-owned La Maison is more like a B&B than a hotel proper, close to downtown and the Theater District. Come hungry: the first-rate southern breakfasts are a signature.
From the NYC area, all three legacy carriers operate direct, nonstop flights; look at Spirit as an option from Chicago-ORD or Los Angeles-LAX.
June is great for: taking to the waters
Cape Town’s spot at the tip of Africa primes it for whale watching in season, which starts this month: Expect southern right whales migrating north from their cold feeding grounds off Antarctica; they begin to arrive this month, as well as humpbacks, which have been spotted in supergroups of up to 200 animals in the waters here in the past. If you’re a surfer, remember that winter months are the best time to catch the biggest waves and enjoy more consistent swells (try Surfers Corner in Muizenberg). And there are two worthwhile festivals this month: Spruce up your home with a dose of contemporary African chic via Decorex or catch some upcoming stand-ups at the Funny Festival, which runs all month.
Book now: One&Only
The biggest rooms and suites in the city are at One&Only, at almost 700 square feet; it’s a handy, glammy oasis amid the shoddy and overtrafficked V&A Waterfront.
United restarts its direct service from Newark-EWR to Cape Town early this month, upping it from a seasonal schedule to year-round.
This article was originally published in March 2019 and was updated in April 2022 to include new information.
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