Seville, Andalucia, Spain

Pernickety continuity experts look away as the fantastically grating worlds of sixth Doctor Colin Baker and second Doctor Patrick Troughton collide when they accidentally bump into each other’s time streams in The Two Doctors. The Andalucían capital, famous for its bitter oranges, adds a touch of exotic heat to this multi-Doctor storyline. Experience some feisty flamenco dancing and fill up at one of the city’s tasty tapas bars.

Central Park, New York, USA

Featured in myriad films including The Avengers, Home Alone 2 and The Devil Wears Prada, and boasting everything from a boating lake to a zoo, Central Park also acts as backdrop to 2012 episode The Angels Take Manhattan. The terrifying Weeping Angels make their mark, sending newlyweds Amy and Rory Pond permanently back in time.

Colchester, England

Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town, Colchester is mentioned as setting for a number of latter day Doctor Who episodes. Actor and comedian James Corden has his series debut in The Lodger and amusingly showcases Matt Smith’s impressive football skills. Once the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester is home to a number of places of archeological interest as well as a beautiful castle.

Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Exterminate! Exterminate! Yes the 1964 monochrome story The Dalek Invasion of Earth playfully used locations all over the British capital, surely frightening Londoners by the masses. As well as catching a show at the Albert Hall, you can take a tour around the auditorium, including a sneaky peek at the Queen’s private suites, the Royal Retiring Room.

Southerndown Beach, Wales

Fabled Badwolf Bay features in the climactic 2006 episode Doomsday, filmed at Southerndown Beach. Pulling at the heartstrings of Doctor Who fans across the world, the episode has one of the last appearances of Billie Piper as star-crossed lead companion Rose Tyler, who she plays with Shakespearian magnitude alongside David Tennant’s tenth Doctor.

Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, USA

The final shot to be filmed on location during American-centric 2011 episode Day of the Moon was at this dramatically extensive concrete dam in Arizona. For a small fee, the guided tour will take you down in to the depths of the dam to explore inner workings of this engineering marvel.

Leeds Castle, England

Let your inner child run wild while exploring the enchanting Grade I listed Leeds Castle and its grounds. Seen in the 1978 episode The Androids of Tara, this aristocratic abode is home to fictional Count Grendel of Castle Gracht. In reality the castle used to house Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon and today plays host to the world’s only dog collar museum.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, England

Get back to nature and make sure you spot the striking red-and-black hut featured in The Ultimate Foe during your visit to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which is free to all visitors and open all hours. Don’t get too close, as appearances can be deceiving; the hut was a TARDIS used by infamous Doctor Who villain The Master in this 1986 episode.

Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves, Wales

These caves star in 1978 Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet, written by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. “Ooh” and “ahh” your way through this maze of mighty stalactites, stand agog at the “frozen waterfall” and witness history being (very slowly) made as a new “shower” cave is born. Plus there’s even a dinosaur park to sink your teeth into.

The Majestic Theater, New York, USA

Delicately balancing the glamour of 1930s New York theatre days with the Great Depression, 2007’s Daleks in Manhattan is a stage for yet another Dalek invasion attempt. The beautiful sets were fashioned on the Majestic Theater in the heart of Broadway, which today welcomes visitors to watch their long-running production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Valley of the Gods, Utah, USA

This vivid and arid sandstone skyline is a postcard-perfect stretch for a road trip. The panorama helped give the 2011 story The Impossible Astronaut a truly cinematic feel. In addition to the extra special budget evident in the series opener, a replica of Buzz Aldrin’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission space suit was created exclusively for the episode.

Caerphilly Castle, Wales

This medieval castle surrounded by vast artificial lakes has been used in a number of episodes since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. Notably in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, Caerphilly plays the perfectly spooky setting for a haunted castle investigation in The Eternity Trap. Visit with an open mind: you never know who or what you might bump in to…

Harrison’s Rocks, England

This sandstone crag is a popular beauty spot among both climbers and Whovians with a sense of adventure. The outcrop features as a tricky entrance to the Dwellings of Simplicity in the 1982 story Castrovalva; you’ll find it in the countryside near Groombridge, East Sussex.

Cardiff, Wales

For a heightened chance of spotting the cast and crew filming on location, head to Cardiff to spend some time (albeit behind barrier tape) in the presence of the Doctor and the TARDIS; the production team make use of just about every landmark from the Millennium Stadium to Queen’s Arcade Shopping Centre. Be sure to join one of the many Doctor Who bus and walking tours around the city.

Vancouver, Canada

In a bid to resuscitate the series, the 1996 TV movie was a particularly hammy (and ill-fated) attempt at widening Doctor Who’s international audience. Filmed around Vancouver, parading as San Francisco, the film features the only extended appearance by dandy eighth Doctor Paul McGann, and Sylvester McCoy’s last appearance as the seventh Doctor. This was McCoy’s first and only time using the show’s eponymous hero gadget, the Sonic Screwdriver, which he ended up operating the wrong way round.

Paris, France

The 1979 story City of Death introduces Bond villain Julian Glover as alien Scaroth. In an elaborate plot to fund his time travel experiments by stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre with the use of snazzy shoestring special effects, a poetic Tom Baker saves the human race once again. Comedy fans keep your eyes out for Monty Python actor John Cleese’s cameo, as he discusses the finer artistic points of the TARDIS.

Congresso Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

This otherworldly Brazilian landmark, built by architect Oscar Niemeyer, is like something straight out of a futuristic Syd Mead illustration. Home to Brazil’s federal government, the National Congress of Brazil is cited as the Earth Presidential Headquarters in the 1973 Doctor Who, Frontier in Space. Free guided tours of the structure can be booked, just be on your best behaviour.

Stonehenge, England

A Cyberman, a Dalek and a Silurian walk into Stonehenge… no, it’s not the start of a dodgy joke, but a movie-like scene in the penultimate fifth series episode, The Pandorica Opens. You can still visit the world’s most famous prehistoric stone circle, though clambering over the boulders is strictly forbidden.

Trogir, Croatia

UNESCO-listed Trogir acts as a sunflower-drenched facade to this artistic Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor, where viewers get to experience a snapshot into the life of post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Many of the sets produced here were sympathetically modelled on Van Gogh’s famous paintings, and Pirates of the Caribbean actor Bill Nighy cameos as an uncredited gallery guide.

Venice, Italy

Bringing a touch of romance to the franchise, this sanctuary for sweethearts just so happens to play a second home to a blood-sucking alien species in the 2010 episode, Vampires of Venice. You can experience the gothic romance for yourself by gliding through the city on a gondola, but you might want to think twice before dipping your digits in the waters of the Grand Canal.

Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, Italy

This poignant location provided the setting for the 2008 story, The Fires of Pompeii, which reflected the inevitable ethical dilemmas thrust upon a time traveller. The bittersweet tale was also a conduit for the later casting of Karen Gillan as companion Amy Pond and new Doctor Peter Capaldi; both played roles in this episode.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote’s Montañas del Fuego in the Martian-like landscape of Timanfaya National Park provided the perfect setting for the 1984 Doctor Who story, Planet Of Fire. Also featuring the island’s stunning beach-laden coastline, the tale introduced the bikini-clad companion of Peri Brown, a character created especially to boost the American appeal of the series. Oo-er, Master.

LEIDESPLAIN, AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

This Dutch city plays host to a spirited space race against time as fifth Doctor Peter Davison romps around the streets of Amsterdam attempting to catch ex-Time Lord Omega before he turns into anti-matter, taking the Earth’s tulip and clog supplies with him. Why Amsterdam? It just happens to be Omega’s Earth base for operations – not a sketchy excuse for a production team holiday at all!

Spitbank Fortress, England

Filmed around the UK’s Solent, The Sea Devils episodes saw monsters causing menace around No Man’s Land Fort. Alas not currently accessible to the public while it’s being regenerated, you can still enjoy a nautical drive-by on your way to stay at neighbouring Spitbank Fort, which is now a quirky luxury hotel. Just keep your eyes peeled for holidaying turtle-humanoids.

Wookey Hole Caves, England

In 1975 while filming Revenge of the Cybermen in this allegedly haunted grotto, actress Lis Sladen had to be rescued from the caves’ waters after a speedboat stunt went awry. But this wasn’t the only doomed moment during filming; the stuntman meant to rescue her ended up in hospital and the production team’s electrician broke his leg slipping off a rock – some spooks just aren’t Doctor Who fans!

As trekking goes, the beginning of the Besseggen Ridge is a breeze. Sitting on the bow of a little tug as it chugs along picturesque Lake Gjende in central Norway’s Jotunheimen Nasjonalpark, you’d be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about – this is, after all, Norway’s best-known day hike, in the country’s most illustrious national park. But then the boat drops you off at a tiny jetty and you start the hike up the hill, knowing that each step takes you closer to the crest: a threadline precipice that’ll turn even the toughest mountaineer’s legs to jelly.

You’ll need a good head for heights, but it’s not a technically difficult walk: the path is generally wide and well marked by intermittent cairns, splashed with fading red “T”s. After the initial climb away from the jetty, the route levels out before ascending again across boulder-strewn terrain until, some 2.5 hours into the trek, you arrive at the base of the ridge itself.

The actual clamber up the ridge takes about half an hour, though the Norwegian youngsters who stride past, frighteningly upright, seem to do it much more quickly. It’s incredibly steep and requires a lot of heaving yourself up and over chest-high ledges; in places, the rock just drops away into thin air. But the views are some of the finest in Norway: a wide sweep of jagged peaks and rolling glaciers, and, far, far below, Lake Gjende, glinting green on sunny days but more often – thanks to the upredictably moody weather up here – resembling a menacing pool of cold, hard steel.

From there on, the going is comparatively easy, and you’ll probably scamper the remaining few kilometres back to Gjendesheim, your energy bolstered by the biggest adrenaline boost you’ll have had in a very long time.

Jotunheimen Nasjonalpark is accessed via Gjendesheim, 90km southwest of Otta. The Lake Gjende boat runs from late June to mid-Sept ( +44 (0) 6123 8509).

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

The brakes grind then release and you’re off, squeaking and squealing down a roller-coaster-like track for what might just be the train ride of your life. This is the Flåmsbana, a shiny, pine-green pleasure train that plunges nearly a kilometre in a mere fifty minutes. The unforgettable ride takes you from the heady frozen heights of the Norwegian mountains in Myrdal right down to the edge of the icy-blue waters of the Aurlandsfjord in the picturesque village of Flåm.

On the train, the old-fashioned carriage interior is wood-panelled and fitted with wide, high-backed benches which transport you back to the 1920s when the train was first built; it took over four years to lay the 20km track which spirals and zigzags down around hairpin bends and through twenty hand-dug tunnels during the course of its short journey. As you might imagine the views are spectacular; to accommodate this, enormous, over-sized windows were fitted to ensure you don’t miss a thing, regardless of where you happen to be seated.

As it runs all year, the train is a lifeline in the winter months for fjord inhabitants who were previously cut off by the long frozen winters. But for the best views, stick to late spring and summer when the ice and snow-melt create majestic,
crashing waterfalls (don’t miss the close-range view of Kjosfossen) that seem to leap and spring from every crevice in the sheer, verdant cliffs.

The Flåmsbana offers an experience that’s at the same time glamorous, hair-raising and magical. The dizzy inclines and thunderous soundtrack of crashing waterfalls will give even the most seasoned rider a shiver of excitement, and if you can’t help but conjure up images of runaway trains, just remember there are five independent sets of brakes – a necessary precaution and a very reassuring feature.

To get to the Flåmsbana take the train from Bergen to Myrdal (via Voss). You can buy your ticket all the way through to Flåm at the Bergen train station, which means you’ll be able to jump right on the train when you arrive in Myrdal. Visit www.flaamsbana.no for more.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

Alpine tundra, barren volcanic craters, steaming springs and iridescent lakes – the sheer diversity on the Tongariro Crossing makes it probably the best one-day tramp in the country. The wonderfully long views are unimpeded by the dense bush that crowds most New Zealand tracks, and from the highest point you can look out over almost half the North Island with the lonely peak of Mount Taranaki dominating the western horizon.

The 16km hike crosses one corner of the Tongariro National Park – wild and bleak country, encompassing the icy tops of nearby Mount Ruapehu, which is, at 2797m, the North Island’s highest mountain. Catch the Crossing on a fine day and it is a hike of pure exhilaration. The steep slog up to the South Crater sorts out the genuinely fit from the aspirational, then just as the trail levels out, Mount Ngauruhoe (2291m) invites the keen for a two-hour side-trip up its scoria slopes. Ngauruhoe famously starred as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films, and you can live out all your hobbit fantasies as you look down its gently steaming crater. Getting back on track is a heart-pounding, hell-for-leather scree run back down the mountain – in just fifteen minutes you cover what took an hour and a half to ascend.

The gaping gashes and sizzling fissures around Red Crater make it a lively spot to tuck into your sandwiches and ponder the explosive genesis of this whole region. From here it is mostly downhill past Emerald Lake, its opaque waters a dramatic contrast to the shimmering surface of Blue Lake just ahead. With the knowledge that you’ve broken the back of the hike you can relax on the veranda of Ketetahi Hut gazing out over the tussock to glistening Lake Taupo in the distance. Rejuvenated, you pass the sulphurous Ketetahi Hot Springs on the final descent, down to the green forest and the welcome sight of your bus. Tired but elated you settle back in the seat dreaming of a good feed and the chance to relive the events of the day over a couple of beers.

The Tongariro Crossing typically takes 6–8hrs and requires a good level of fitness. See www.doc.govt.nz for updates on track conditions.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

If you like the idea of cycling, but would rather cut off both arms and legs than bike up a mountain, then perhaps The Netherlands is the perfect place for you – especially if you’re also scared of traffic. The most cycle-friendly country in the world, Holland has a fantastically well-integrated network of cycle paths that make it simple for even the rawest cycling greenhorns to get around by bike, and to enjoy its under-rated and sometimes swooningly beautiful vast skies, flat pastures and huge expanses of water. If you don’t want to go far, get hold of a Dutch-style bike, gearless and with back pedal brakes or bring your own and follow the country’s network of 26 well-signposted, long-distance or LF (landelijke fietroutes) paths, which connect up the whole country so you never have to go near a main road. The Netherlands is a small country and it’s easy to cover 50km or so a day, maybe more if you’re fit enough and have a decent bike – the sit-up-and-beg Dutch variety are only really suitable for short distances. The one thing holding you back may be the wind, which can whip across the Dutch dykes and polders. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of your first Heineken of the evening after a long day’s cycle. Tot ziens!

The Dutch motoring organization, the ANWB, publishes a series of cycle maps that covers the whole country. Bike rental costs around €32 a week.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

Few spectacles can match the terrifying sight of the All Blacks performing a haka before a test match. You feel a chill down your spine fifty metres away in the stands so imagine how it must feel facing it as an opponent. The intimidating thigh-slapping, eye-bulging, tongue-poking chant traditionally used is the Te Rauparaha haka, and like all such Maori posture dances it is designed to display fitness, agility and ferocity. This version was reputedly composed early in the nineteenth century by the warrior Te Rauparaha, who was hiding from his enemies in the sweet potato pit of a friendly chief. Hearing noise above and then being blinded by the sun when the pit covering was removed he thought his days were numbered, but as his eyes became accustomed to the light he saw the hairy legs of his host and was so relieved he performed the haka on the spot. It goes:

Ka Mate! Ka Mate! (It is death! It is death!)

Ka Ora! Ka Ora! (It is life! It is life!)

Tenei te ta ngata puhuru huru (This is the hairy man)

Nana nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra (Who caused the sun to shine)

A upane, ka upane! (Step upwards! Another step upward!)

A upane, ka upane! (Step upwards! Another step upward!)

Whiti te ra! (Into the sun that shines!)

Over the last decade or so, descendants of tribes once defeated by Te Rauparaha took umbrage at the widespread use of this haka at rugby matches and consequently a replacement, the Kapa o Pango (Team in Black) haka, was devised. Numerous Maori experts were consulted over what form the haka should take but controversy still surrounds the final throat-slitting gesture, which is supposed to symbolize the harnessing of vital energy. The Kapa o Pango and traditional Te Rauparaha haka are now used roughly equally, the uncertainty over what they’ll be exposed to further unsettling the All Blacks’ opponents. But whichever you manage to catch, both versions still illicit that same spine-tingling response.

For match schedules visit www.allblacks.com.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

When Marlborough’s Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc hit the international wine shelves in the late 1980s its zingy fruitiness got jaded tongues wagging. All of a sudden New Zealand was on the world wine map, with the pin stuck firmly in the north of the South Island. Half a dozen regions now boast significant wine trails, but all roads lead back to Marlborough, still the country’s largest grape growing area, protected by the sheltering hills of the Richmond Range, and blessed with more than 2400 hours of sunshine a year.

Cellar doors around the region are gradually becoming more sophisticated, with their own restaurants and specialist food stores, but the emphasis is still mainly on the wine itself. And tasting it. To squeeze the very best from the area start by visiting Montana Brancott, the biggest and most established operation hereabouts. Take their winery tour to get a feel for how wine is made nowadays, then stick around for a brief lesson on wine appreciation. Even those familiar with the techniques will learn something of the qualities Marlborough winemakers are trying to achieve.

Next visit Cloudy Bay. Of course you’ll want to try the famous Sav, still drinking well today and available for tasting. Somehow it always seems that little bit fresher and fruitier when sampled at source out of a decent tasting glass. Come lunchtime, head for Highfield Estate with its distinctive Tuscan-style tower and dine in the sun overlooking the vines. A plate of pan-seared monkfish is just the thing to wash down with their zesty Sauvignon Blanc.

Visit www.marlboroughtours.co.nz or www.winetoursbybike.co.nz for more information.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

As dawn breaks in India’s largest and noisiest city, there’s a hubbub on Chowpatty beach that sounds altogether stranger than the car horns, bus engines and tinny radios that provide the usual rush-hour soundtrack. Standing in a circle on the pale yellow sands of the beach, a group of men and women are twirling their arms in the air like portly birds trying to take off. Dressed in a mix of saris, t-shirts and punjabis, they take their cue from Kishore Kuvavala, a man with a smile as wide as the Ganges, and the leader of the Chowpatty Beach Laughter Yoga Club.

Invented by Indian doctor Madan Kataria in the mid-Nineties, laughter yoga now has thousands of devotees. Many sessions, such as Kuvavala’s, are free for anybody to join, providing newcomers don’t mind an early start. Propelled by the philosophy that laughter gives humans huge spiritual and medical benefits, the session is book-ended by prayer and breathing sessions, and its main objective couldn’t be simpler – to set your giggling, howling, chortling and smirking instincts free.

Kataria soon found out after starting his original group that simple joke-telling wasn’t enough – not least because his devotees ran out of gags. So these days, laughter yoga clubs rely on physical comedy: stirring an imaginary bowl of lassi, laughing at yourself in an imaginary mirror, pretending to be an aeroplane and doing a giant hokey-cokey are all part of the forty-five minute Chowpatty beach session, which ends with a huge call and response shout-a-thon. It’s hard to let yourself go, but look around at the hordes of men and women roaring without restraint and soon you’ll be producing laughter of a volume and tone that would get you thrown out of most bars.

It certainly seems to be working. Laughter yoga clubs have now sprung up across the USA and Europe. The smiles on the faces of our motley crew of policemen, pensioners, students and office workers as they leave for work tell their own story. As Kishore explains at the end of the giggle-fest. “No need for lie-ins – but every need for laughter!”

The Chowpatty beach laughter club meets every morning at 7am at the eastern end of Chowpatty beach in South Mumbai. For more information on Kishore Kuvavala, see www.essenceoflaughter.com.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

When the English naturalist Joseph Arnold smelt rotting flesh during an 1821 expedition to the steamy jungles of Sumatra, he must have feared the worst. Back then, this was cannibal country. Blood-thirsty local tribes were known to capture their most hated enemies, tie them to a stake, and start feasting on their roasted body parts. So imagine his surprise when he learnt that the stench was coming not from a dead explorer, but a plant that produces the world’s biggest flower. Rafflesia arnoldii (named after Arnold and Sir Stamford Raffles, who led the expedition) can produce blooms up to one metre across – and they carry the stink of death.

No surprise then, that Arnold’s find has been nicknamed the “corpse flower” by those who’ve caught a whiff of it. There aren’t many who can say they have, though – this is one of Southeast Asia’s most endangered species. And despite each flower weighing in at around 11kg, they’re notoriously difficult to come across. They’re parasitic, for one thing, and can only take root beneath the dark green tendrils of undisturbed grape vines. And even when a plant does begin to thrive, its meaty-red flower lasts just days. If you want to see one in bloom, you’ll have to learn to follow your nose.

But why would a plant evolve to smell like rotting meat? Well here in Sumatra, where the race for survival is tough, it pays to be ingenious. Flies are lured into the corpse flower’s spongy interior by the promise of somewhere to lay their eggs, only to find they’ve been deceived.

When they eventually get bored, they’ll take off in search of somewhere better. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll drop pollen from one plant onto another. When you consider how unlikely this is to happen, you’ll realize that your chances of seeing the corpse flower are pretty slim. But what better excuse to go sniffing around one of the last great rainforests?

Tourists can hire a guide to point out the corpse flower from the office at the Batang Palapuh reserve, 12km north of Bukittinggi.

 

For hundreds more ultimate travel experiences, get Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth

Whether you’re after beaches, culture or countryside, June’s glorious weather and long days make it the perfect month to travel in Europe. Elsewhere, wildlife enthusiasts can spot whales in Iceland or bears in Yellowstone, while the World Cup will be in full swing in Brazil.

In a bumper round-up, Helen Abramson and Eleanor Aldridge run down the best places to go in June.

Relax on a beach in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

While most of Asia is in the throes of monsoon season, the east coast of Malaysia remains dry and sunny in June with calm sea conditions and average highs of around 30°C. The Perhentian Islands, off the northeast coast, close to Thailand, consist of Besar (large) and Kecil (small); Besar is the more developed of the two, while Kecil is more geared towards backpackers. If a tropical paradise is what you’re after, you’re in luck: you’ll find white-sand beaches, turquoise water, gorgeous beach huts, top snorkeling and diving opportunities (with visibility of up to 20m) and a wonderfully easy-going atmosphere to top it all off.

Go whale watching in Iceland

Take a trip to Húsavík, just south of the Arctic Circle on Iceland’s north coast, and you can see some of the greatest creatures on earth under a midnight sun. Whale populations in the Skjálfandi bay are strong despite the 2006 lift on the whaling ban, and chances of seeing some action on a half-day trip are high. The area is known for minke whales, but you can sometimes see humpbacks, orcas and the phenomenally large blue whales, which are commonly spotted in June. White-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises are a frequent sight, too, and if you don’t see a whale on a trip with tour operators North Sailing, they’ll book you on another voyage, free of charge.

Get outdoors in Yellowstone National Park

Sprawling across the northwest of Wyoming, Yellowstone is the largest and oldest National Park in the USA, established in 1872. June is one of the best times to spot wildlife here: gangly, long-limbed bighorn lambs and elk calf are taking their early steps, grizzly bears are on the prowl and wildflowers are sprinkled across the lower mountain slopes. Yellowstone also has a host of year-round geothermal attractions (the park contains over half of the world’s geysers), of which Old Faithful is perhaps the most popular. Local schools are out by now, but two million acres can absorb quite a few crowds.

Raft down the Grand Canyon

Picture the Grand Canyon, and you’ll probably think of the view from the top. But, as anyone who’s done it will attest, there’s no better way to really get to grips with the world’s longest and most awe-inspiring canyon than to spend a week or two looking up at its majestic walls from the very bottom. Embark on an adventure like no other, winding your way down the Colorado River on a raft, through the full length of the canyon (277 miles, or 446km). This is not for the faint hearted – this stretch of the river has an estimated 161 sets of rapids. Opportunities for mini hikes to tucked-away waterfalls or into side canyons filled with jungle-like foliage are abundant, and you camp on the riverbanks under star-filled skies. Trips don’t come cheap, and you can’t simply hop in a raft and make your way downstream – you’ll need to book yourself onto a commercial trip with a qualified guide; try Arizona Raft Adventures, based in Flagstaff.

Mess about in a boat on the Broads

Whether you choose to spend your time at the tiller of a traditional yacht or lounging aboard a modern cruiser, the best way to explore the UK‘s largest protected wetland is undoubtedly by boat. Slightly questionably marketed as “Britain’s Magical Waterland”, the Broads are actually man-made, created from flooded peat cuttings. June’s long and sunny days are the perfect time to potter about these 125 miles of waterways; you’re likely to encounter water voles, warblers, bitterns and swallowtail butterflies as you float along.

Witness the Festival of the Sun in Cusco, Peru

In the sixteenth century, Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) was the largest and most important ceremony to take place in the Inca capital of Cusco. With the sun at the furthest point away from earth in the southern hemisphere in June, the sun-god Inti needed some seriously reverent devotion and, of course, a whole lot of (animal) sacrifice. Since the mid-twentieth century, spectators have been able to watch a reenactment of this dramatic ceremony on June 24th in Sacsayhuamán, a fortress ruin a few kilometres from Cusco. A dancing procession is followed by speeches in Quechua, the Incan language, and a simulated llama sacrifice on a hill-top, complete with the frequently-satirized holding up of the heart. It’s not exactly the real deal, but we’re all five hundred years too late for that, and the modern version is still a tremendous spectacle and a good opportunity to party with the locals.

See what all the fuss is about in Naples

Ominously sited in the shadow of Vesuvius on Italy’s west coast, Naples divides opinion. Its reputation for grime and crime might be somewhat valid, but that means there are some great travel deals to be had. There is also one area where everyone agrees the city excels: pizza. This once-humble dish is now protected by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which has been promoting “true Neapolitan pizza” since 1984. A range of classes allow you to try your hand at becoming a pizzaiolo for a day or two, while temperatures in the mid-twenties afford excellent weather for day trips. The Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum are within easy striking distance, or you can hop aboard a boat to the island of Capri.

Relax on the Suffolk coast

The Suffolk coast, just a few hours from London but far, far removed from the hectic capital, boasts some of the UK’s most unspoilt coastline. The region also gets two hours more sunshine on average per week than the rest of the country, upping your chances of a good few pleasant days on the beach or of some rain-free coastal walks. The Aldeburgh Music Festival takes place over three weeks in June, showcasing some of the country’s best classical music, and you can keep clear of the hubbub by staying in campsites around the area – some right by the water’s edge, such as in the lovely fishing village of Sizewell, five miles from Aldeburgh.

Sightsee and surf in Andalucía

With the mercury creeping into the early 30s and an inordinate number of sunny days, Andalucía is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in June. Bypass the Costa del Sol to explore the region’s cities: Seville, Córdoba and Granada, site of the majestic Alhambra palace. Foodies can lose themselves among the bodegas of the sherry triangle, while inland the Sierra Nevada offers biking and hiking aplenty. Still hankering for some beach time? Try the Costa de la Luz. Heading down towards Tarifa, the Levante wind blows in from the east in June, creating excellent conditions for windsurfers.

Go mad for midsummer in Sweden

In Sweden, Midsommar is celebrated on the weekend nearest to the 24th of June. This commemoration of the summer solstice has its roots in pagan celebrations, and the current tradition of erecting a maypole – or midsommarstång – supposedly originates from this time. Ideally you’ll want to wrangle an invitation to spend the day in the countryside with a Swedish family. Midsommar is a celebration for all generations, a long evening of merriment fueled by meatballs, pickled herring and copious amounts of aquavit. In the far north of the country, the sun barely sets.

Join the festivities in Budapest

Divided in two by the river Danube, Hungary’s capital is split into historic Buda and modern, grittier Pest. Aside from the ample distractions provided by the city’s Turkish baths, ruin pubs and Art Nouveau architecture, there’s a host of events in June. Two festivals celebrating beer, including the Craft Beer Festival or Főzdefeszt, kick things off. The Summer Festival and Danube Carnival then start in mid-June, with traditional folk dancers and foreign acts adding to a varied programme of music and drama at the Margaret Island open-air theatre.

This feature updated April 2016.

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month