August is an extremely popular month to travel, especially to Europe, where temperatures are set to soar. Prices tend to skyrocket, too, as the school holiday rush means that families will be nabbing flights to make the most of their fixed six weeks off.
Of course, there are brilliant places to visit all over the world during the month of August. Whether you’re after a hot island holiday, a life-changing wildlife experience, or an unexpected long-term adventure on the road less travelled, we’ve got you covered.
Skip ahead to your chosen travel type by clicking on one of the below, or keep scrolling for the full list:
- The best August destinations for nature and ideal weather
- The best longer-term travel experiences for August
- Where to go in August for arts and cultural experiences
- The best places to visit for wildlife watching in August
Here are the 20 best places to visit in August…
The best August destinations for nature and ideal weather
1. Off-the-beaten-track Croatia
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Sibenik, Croatia (Shutterstock)
Croatia’s hottest (and driest) month is August – with temps climbing as high as 28°C – so of course the likes of Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar and other classic destinations will be packed with visitors making the most of the sun.
If you want to enjoy the sparkling temps in Croatia without the crowds, head to the Mamma Mia island of Vis. Or for a city vibe, discover all of the amazing things to do in Sibenik, or Rovinj.
Alternatively, why not skip Plitvice and Krka and head to one of Croatia’s six lesser-visited national parks? Kornati may be tricky to visit, but is perfect for true explorers. Paklenica National Park is another gem, ideal for hikers unafraid of a hot, hot hike.
2. Matera, Italy
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Matera, Italy (Shutterstock)
Matera is one of Basilicata’s biggest draws and was named one of two 2019 European Capitals of Culture. A few days is the perfect amount of time to delve deeper into how Matera turned its rep around from ‘Italy’s shame’ to ‘iconic cultural hot spot’.
With highs of 29°C in August, its the ideal time to explore its fascinating cave districts in the sun, enjoy the natural beauty of Polino National Park, Italy’s largest, and sample the region’s authentic cuisine. For a longer trip, rent a car and head towards Pompeii, Sorrento, or in the opposite direction to coastal Bari.
3. Medellin, Colombia
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Medellin, Colombia (Shutterstock)
August in Colombia, weather-wise, is a bit hit and miss. Whether you’ll get sun or showers really depends on which region you’re visiting, whether you’re after a wildlife adventure in the Amazon or some time in the city.
One thing Medellin has in August that makes up for its – at times – overcast appearance? The spectacular 10-day celebration of nature, known as Feria de Flores (Festivals of the Flowers).
Every August, the city blooms with the bright colours of flowers, paraded down the streets. Hundreds of concerts, crafts sessions and floral parades take to the streets and fill the city’s best venues. It’s a must for any nature lover’s travel wish list.
4. Off-the-beaten-track Greek island hopping
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Ithaca, one of our off-the-beaten-track Greek Island picks (Shutterstock)
Sunseekers won’t be surprised to see Greece on our list for August. It’s a classic summer holiday destination, whether you’ve booked with a travel agent, arranged an island-hopping boat tour, or you’ve planned your trip yourself.
As with Croatia, just because it’ll be busy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the perks. After all, there’s a reason it’s so rammed.
Simply take the road (or waterway) less travelled to one of our 17 secret Greek island picks, for an unforgettable beachside break with a difference. It’ll be incredibly warm, whichever island you choose. Average highs in August are 31°C, so make sure you’re prepared.
5. Tallinn, Estonia
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Tallinn, Estonia (Shutterstock)
When you think of Tallinn, you may find the peach-coloured Alexander Nevsky Cathedral springs to mind, surrounded by droplets of crisp white snow.
We don’t blame you. Though freezing, Estonia and its neighbours Latvia and Lithuania make fine winter breaks. But they shouldn’t be overlooked during the summer months, either.
Walking through Tallinn’s comprehensive Old Town and soaking up the atmosphere in Freedom Square is just as satisfying in the sun. With plenty of steep hills to climb, to get to the best views of the city, it’s almost easier without all the ice…
The best longer-term travel experiences to take on in August
6. Guyana & The Guianas
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications The rainforest of French Guiana (Shutterstock)
South America’s smallest wonders Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname are prime for visitors at the end of August. It’s he perfect time to witness the breathtaking Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, follow in Papillon’s footsteps in French Guiana, and sample Suriname’s tasty, speciality rums.
Firstly, the weather’s always warm, but it’s dry season on the Guianan coast during August, and French Guiana tends to be drier and warmer in August – as does Suriname.
All three countries are sandwiched between Venezuela and Brazil, so we’d say you’re best off lengthening your trip and visiting all three at once. At least you’ll have the benefit of being as far off the beaten track in South America as possible.
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Mongolia (Shutterstock)
You can’t really go wrong in Mongolia at this time of year. Expect vibrant steppes rich in shades of green during the month of August, and just-right temperatures of between 20°C and 25°C.
If you head to the mountains, you’ll probably find it’s slightly colder than everywhere else – arguably better conditions for longer treks, which won’t require sweating it out in the heat. Wild camping and cycling are other must-do activities in August – as is heading to the vast Gobi Desert in the south.
It’s also prime time to visit Lake Khövsgöl, in northern Mongolia, near the Russian border. The country’s biggest and most beautiful freshwater lake dazzles in the sunlight, and seems to stretch for miles on end.
8. Northern Kyrgyzstan
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Burana Tower in Chuy Valley, northern Kyrgyzstan (Shutterstock)
August lands firmly in the middle of Kyrgyzstan’s peak season (May to October), so certain areas will be packed with visitors and locals (here’s looking at you, Lake Issyk-Kul).
However, it is a good time to take on the epic hikes that Central Tien Shan (the ‘Celestial Mountains’ in Chinese) has to offer. The highest peak reaches 7,439m, so this is no casual climb. You’ll need to be an experienced walker, with a high-level of fitness to make the most of it.
9. Jodhpur, India
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Jodhpur, India (Shutterstock)
The Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is a travel photographer (and Instagram lover’s) dream come true. A seemingly endless maze of blue houses, winding alleys, and colourful doors awaits.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that. Expect history and art in the renowned, 15th century Mehrangarh Fort. Admire the ornate decoration of Jaswant Thada. Get out into nature at the impressive Mandore Sculpture Garden, get active with water activities in Lake Kaylana, or picnic at the 12th century Balsamand Lake.
Visit in August particularly for bearable heat (lows of 26°C and highs of 34°C), and the good chance that you’ll find some savvy accommodation deals. August is off-season, so though you won’t find yourself a lone visitor at any stage, it’s likely you may experience a tiny bit less of the typical bustle.
10. Langkawi, Malaysia
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications The stunning views of Kilim Geoforest Park in Langkawi, Malaysia (Shutterstock)
There’s so much to explore in Malaysia, it almost seems unfair to single out the archipelago of Langkawi. Though we suppose, with a longer trip time, there’s nothing to stop you heading further afield…
But with suitably warm temps (often around 28°C to 31°C), incredibly natural beauty to marvel, cable cars and boat trips galore, and unusual wildlife sightings practically guaranteed – it’s an appealing all-rounder for a sunny getaway without the ‘packaged holiday’ feel.
The best August destinations for arts & culture
11. Edinburgh, Scotland
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications A sign for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, in 2018 (Shutterstock)
In August, you won’t struggle to find a variety of culture and entertainment festivals in most of the major British and European cities. For the best of the best in summer fun, you need to head to the Scottish capital.
Not only does the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival and its world-class comedy and theatre take over the architecturally-stunning city for the entire month of August, but you’ll also find a host of other big name festivals.
Expect arts exhibitions, orchestras and dances at the Edinburgh International Festival, performances at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival- both throughout the month. Towards August’s end, there’s a Fireworks Concert in the city centre, and a mix of multicultural events at the Edinburgh Mela Festival on 31 August.
12. London, England
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications London, England (Shutterstock)
Every month in London has something for everyone, but August really ups the ante in terms of arts and culture offerings for travellers.
On the 6 and 7 August, head to the Great British Beer Festival comes to Olympia in Hammersmith, and East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, respectively. The London Craft Beer Festival takes place this month, too.
Laugh your socks off at the variety of Underbelly Festival shows on the South Bank throughout the month, and BBC Proms – for classic music fans – has performances running throughout August.
Gin lovers rejoice on 17 August, for The Oval in Kennington offers up the Gin & Rum Festival 2019. Or on the same day, head to Alexandra Palace for the StrEAT street food festival. As month draws to a close, embrace the colourful madness of the iconic Notting Hill Carnival on 24 August.
13. Papua New Guinea
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Mount Hagen Cultural Show in Mount Hagen township, Papua New Guinea (Shutterstock)
Every August, the city of Mount Hagen in the western province of Papua New Guinea comes alive for the days-long performances, feasts and musical festivities hosted by locals during the Mount Hagen Cultural Show.
Drier than June and the coolest month of the year overall, the weather also makes a compelling argument for August as the best time to explore Papua New Guinea’s exotic cities and towns.
Of course, Papua New Guinea is a challenging destination and truly off the well-trodden trail. As such, only very experienced travellers should plan to visit, keeping a close eye on the FCO’s Official Travel Advice before going, too.
14. Guča, Serbia
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Guča, Serbia’s famous Trumpet Festival (Shutterstock)
The Guča Trumpet Festival, known sometimes as Dragačevski Sabo, is probably a little less well-known that the likes of the Edinburgh Fringe and Notting Hill Carnival.
Nevertheless, the small Serbian town of Guča comes alive for three days in mid-August for its annual festival, showcasing the best in brass music performances. Hundreds of thousands attend each year.
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications The Roman ruins of Dougga in Tunisia (Shutterstock)
Tunisia’s perhaps not the first place you’d think of for a short break with a focus on the arts. However, August provides a few opportunities to see a different side to this North African country.
Firstly, there’s the Tunisia Art Festival. Not so into art? The Tabarka Jazz Festival might be more your swing. The International Festival of Carthage, too, offers live music, as well as theatre, opera and even a bit of ballet.
Dougga International Festival is another opportunity to experience live music – this time in the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, located in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Roman city of Dougga. The festival ends in the first week of August.
The best places to visit for wildlife watching in August
16. Discover birds and monkeys in northern Ecuador
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Squirrel monkey in the Ecuadorian jungle (Shutterstock)
On South America’s west coast is Ecuador. A delightful combination of the Andes, Amazon and the Galápagos Islands (just to name a few), it’s home to many unique and colourful wildlife species. No surprise then, that it’s become one of our top August wildlife trips.
Head to the northern part of the country to give yourself the best chance of seeing the cheeky-looking squirrel monkey, a marmoset or tamarin in the wild.
Birders in Ecuador have the opportunity to see around 1,600 species total. Undeniably, it’s one of the planet’s best birdwatching countries in general. Staying in the north, you’ll see rare macaws, the sleek Andean condor, hummingbirds aplenty and brightly-patterned toucans (again, to name a few). Get your binoculars ready…
17. Go polar bear watching in Arctic Canada
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications The Roman ruins of Dougga in Tunisia (Shutterstock)
Summers in the Canadian Arctic are, unsurprisingly, rather short. They’re also the very best time to get out on the water in a Zodiac and do a bit of polar bear-spotting from your expedition boat.
As we all know, polar bears are best admired from a distance. They’re nowhere near as cuddly as as they look. But you may have a chance of getting a little closer than usual, as the Zodiacs can get quite close.
18. Watch macaws in Manu National Park, Peru
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Macaws in Manu National Park, Peru (Shutterstock)
In the south-east region of Peru, find yourself stunned by the natural prowess of Manu National Park. Also classed as a Biosphere Reserve, you’ll be awed by its lush Amazonian jungle, and the striking Andean Highlands.
It’s the perfect place for the avid birdwatcher to see the wow-worthy macaw in its natural habitat. These beautiful parrots – often a mix of red, yellow, blue and green feathers – are best spotted collecting clay at ‘clay banks’ or ‘clay licks’ around the park, to feed on later. Quite an incredible sight.
August is typically the beginning of the season for the most sightings, with September and October also thought to be ideal months.
19. Meet orangutans in Borneo
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications A young orangutan in Borneo (Dreamstime)
Borneo’s orangutans basked in the spotlight when Dame Judi Dench visited an orangutan sanctuary during filming of her documentary, Wild Borneo Adventure, for ITV.
August is one of the best times for us non-knighted folk to head to this South-East Asian island paradise to try for a wild sighting.
Danum Valley in Sabah (the northern part of the island) offers 400 sq km of rainforest reserve for wild orangutans to swing in. Travel along the Kinabatangan River, too, to try and see these magnificent creatures in their homes.
20. See grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park
© Provided by Wanderlust Publications Grizzly on the move in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA (Shutterstock)
Unlike polar bears, we think it’s fair to say that grizzlies do look a little bit mean. They’re quite elusive, too: there are only around 150 bears living within the Yellowstone Natonal Park itself, or around 700 in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
To see one roaming, you’ll need proper viewing kit. Wake before sunrise or wait until sunset, and use dusk and dawn to to scour the area with your telescope and/or binoculars.
Yellowstone National Park’s official website suggests Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley as two of your best sighting spots, also noting that Dunraven Pass, Swan Lake Flats, and Gardiners Hole are also good places to try.