Where to go in August

Pandemonium reigns at airports throughout Europe and North America in August. It’s the height of the summer holiday season and everyone is determined to find their place in the sun as prices soar along with the temperatures.

As the cities empty out and the migration to the Mediterranean coast begins this is probably a good time to visit the classic capitals of Europe, take a cycling or walking holiday in the French Alps, Scottish Highlands or explore Britain’s western isles and visit quaint coastal towns in Cornwall. London’s green parks glow like emeralds in their summer glory, and Euro-Disney in Paris gives families a rip-roaring time. Edinburgh in Scotland is a hive of activity in August when the world’s most famous Arts Festival fills the city with drama. Dublin revolves around the summer sun and the streets are alive with arts events, music festivals and groups of students enjoying the sunshine. 

To enjoy a great August holiday away from the sweltering heat and madding crowds  take a cruise around the coast of Scandinavia (Norway is particularly splendid), or take off for Reykjavik to enjoy the stunning scenery of Iceland.

If the beach is your bag you are spoilt for choice along the Mediterranean Coast and islands (as long as you booked well in advance), or if you find the Med too hot to handle opt for the Atlantic coast and find your sunny spot on the Algarve in Portugal,  or the gentle Channel Islands. Paddle a bit farther into the mid-Atlantic for some peace and quiet in the garden-like Azores islands, a picture-perfect paradise in August.
For unspoilt sandy beaches with a pine-wood backdrop, Spain’s Costa de la Luz on the Atlantic Coast bordering Portugal is delightful – it is packed with visitors in August but even in the height of the summer season it is possible to find a secluded spot for sunbathing. The Greek Islands are also a great place to spend the last days of summer. Italy is packed in August and the major cities are filled with local tourists and international visitors enjoying the sunshine. 

If it MUST be the Med, take a break from the busy, most popular resorts and try something different – like maybe Malta (and it’s little sister island, Gozo), described as one large open-air museum with its medieval citadels to complement a striking coastline full of secluded blue bays.

Across the Atlantic in north America, Canada is sublime in August, particularly for holidays in the great outdoors. This is a great time to visit the breath-taking Niagara Falls, rainbows dazzling against blue sky. In the United States the deep south swelters uncomfortably in August and Florida is subject to heavy thunderstorms, but the lovely Big Sur stretch of coast in central California is fresh and pleasant, while Hawaii has some great surfing spots. To get back to nature in the USA in August head for the northern Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park for sunny days, clear nights and low humidity. Alaska offers an amazing escape from the crazy American summer. Find the right spot in the Alaskan wilderness and bask in nature's glory, among untold wildflowers and magnificent wildlife.

Much of Asia and the tropics is hot, humid and extremely wet in August – conditions not conducive to fun in the sun - but there are alternatives for a typical tropical beach break for long-haul travellers. The Indonesian island of Bali in the Indian Ocean is dry, hot and happening in August, ideal for sun-seekers. On the Indian Ocean coast of southern Africa, Mozambique – with its miles of stunning beaches – offers perfect tropical weather with clear blue skies, plenty of sunshine and almost no rain in August. The same goes for the exotic spice island of Zanzibar, and the beach resorts of Mombasa on the Kenya coast.