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The best places to travel in August 2023

Planning a summer holiday? From Alaska to Indonesia via Slovenia, these are the very best places to travel in August

Written by
Emma Sparks
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August means holidays. Okay, every month can theoretically mean holidays in the modern world, but the whole ‘school’s out’ element certainly makes August premium time for stuffing the suitcase and heading off on a jaunt. Expect hot weather, sardine-can selfie space hustling and premium rates. Great!

Now now, weary traveller, leave that cynicism at the door because the world is ready to show its best side during the summer months. If you’re looking for something a little different, the best places to travel in August have plenty to offer, from the wilds of Alaska and the plains of East Africa to wintry South America and hiking in the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What are you waiting for? 

RECOMMENDED: The best places to travel every month of the year

Best places to travel in August

August is slightly rainier in Alaska than earlier summer months, but with fewer crowds and lower prices, the benefits often outweigh the weather risks. It’s a wonderful month to spot caribou, wolves and golden eagles in Denali National Park, as well as grizzly bears, who are busy hunting salmon so they can fatten up before hibernation. They also nibble on the season’s abundant berries – blueberries are particularly fat and juicy in Alaska – and you can also taste them at the annual Alyeska Berry Festival in Anchorage. Don’t miss Alaska State Fair in Palmer, which marks the last days of summer with concerts, fairground rides and street food.

Discover the best things to do in Alaska

Slovenia
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2. Slovenia

Slovenia might just be Europe’s worst-kept secret. In August, the capital Ljubljana and Lakes Bled and Bohinj are packed with locals and tourists alike, but if you do want to guarantee a crowd-free trip, there are plenty of lesser-known corners of this compact country to explore. As the holiday resorts sizzle, alpine regions offer respite from the heat, making it the perfect time to climb Mount Triglav. But if you really want to get off the beaten track, head east to wander around the pretty towns of Maribor and Ptuj, or go wine tasting in the surrounding Styrian vineyards. Slovenia has gorgeous towns around every corner, from Idrija to Kamnika via Radovljica, Brežice and all the rest. 

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Seattle, USA
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3. Seattle, USA

The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being, how do we say this, a little bit drizzly. What is the best way to ensure good weather when visiting? Nothing is certain in this life, of course, but heading to Seattle and its surroundings in August is your best bet. The warm weather means outdoor activities aplenty, from city markets and food festivals to embracing nearby nature, while the ferries are also at their busiest during this time. 

East Africa
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4. East Africa

All kinds of adventures await in East Africa in August. The Great Migration is in full swing, meaning wildlife-spotting opportunities abound in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, and it’s also one of the best times of year to track silverback gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. Beach bum? Into your snorkelling and scuba diving? The weather is warm and dry (and the waters brimming with marine life) on Pemba Island and Zanzibar.

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Riga, Latvia
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5. Riga, Latvia

If you want an affordable European break in August, make it Riga. With its colourful old town and beautiful parks, it’s easy to while away the summer days here without breaking the bank. The warmest month of the year sees the capital come to life with open-air concerts, street performances, pop-up food stalls and firework shows.

It’s winter in Buenos Aires, but the low season is the best time to live like a local, as residents often escape the city during the busier summer months. Culturally the capital is very much alive and kicking, with the two-week-long Tango Festival and World Cup showcasing the best of Argentina’s national dance with free performances, workshops and talks, as well as the pro-competition. 

Discover the best things to do in Buenos Aires

 

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Bosnia and Herzegovina
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7. Bosnia and Herzegovina

A word of warning; it can get pretty darn hot in Bosnia and Herzegovina in August. That is more true in Herzegovina than Bosnia (Mostar tends to hover around the 40C mark), but refreshing salvation is at hand in the shape of the country’s fantastic mountains. Hiking in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still developing, but an enthusiastic group of organisations have opened up mountains like Prenj, Maglaj (the country’s highest) and Vlašić, not to mention the Olympic mountains around Sarajevo. Keep to the trails though, for your own safety. 

Sri Lanka
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8. Sri Lanka

Beach lovers will have the pick of the sand in Sri Lanka in August, with good weather expected pretty much everywhere in the north, east and west. Lower rainfall means an altogether more relaxed time, and August also represents the tail-end of the low season in Sri Lanka, so fewer crowds. It isn’t unusual to see blue whales here at this time of year too, and who wouldn’t want to see the world’s largest animal doing its thing?

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It’s the height of summer – though the weather is, as always, unpredictable – and the entire country is awash with festival fever, particularly on the long bank holiday weekend. London’s Notting Hill Carnival is an essential rite of passage, while elsewhere in the city, you’ll find outdoor film screenings, rooftop pop-ups and gigs galore. As for other UK cities, take your pick: Edinburgh’s booming with comedy gold at the Fringe, there’s International Beatleweek in LiverpoolManchester Pride, and of course, the famous World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales

Discover the best places to visit in the UK

 

Samoa
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10. Samoa

Looking for a low-key paradise isle? Samoa is blissfully free of flashy resorts and tourist traps, letting its natural and cultural riches speak for themselves. Samoa is popular with New Zealanders and Australians looking for a little winter sunshine, so book ahead to nab yourself a beach hut (known as a fale) and spend your days hopping between the islands’ must-sees, including Insta-friendly To-Sua Ocean Trench, the Alofaaga blowholes and Falealupo Canopy Walk.

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Bulgaria
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11. Bulgaria

Ready for long summer days spent partying on the beach? Make a beeline for Bulgaria’s affordable Black Sea Coast resorts, where there’s a sun lounger (and a glass of rakia) with your name on it. If you’re after a little culture, you’ll find the antidote to the region’s Irish pubs in Burgas, where the International Folklore Festival welcomes traditional singers, musicians and dancers from all over the Balkans and beyond to showcase their talents in late August. Inland, adventurous types should tackle Bulgaria’s highest peak, Mount Musala (2,925m), before the snows return.

Australia
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12. Australia

August might be high-season in most parts of the world, but it is actually the end of winter in Australia and thus the end of the low season. Don’t try and wrap your brain around it too much, the world is a funny place after all, but it makes for lower prices, quieter streets and a sense of having this immense continent all to yourself. Okay, not quite, but Australia in August is a different beast to Australia in December, with cooler weather and an altogether more laid-back atmosphere. Yes, more laid-back. 

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Madeira’s mild temperatures make it a winner with travellers year-round, but summer is the best time to spot or swim with whales and dolphins, of which there are more than 20 species in the island’s waters. It’s also a fine time for scuba diving, canyoning and coasteering, as well as hiking the interior’s rugged hillside trails, which follow a network of levadas – ingenious aqueducts constructed between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries to transport water to communities living in the southeast of the island.

Iceland
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14. Iceland

There’s never a bad time to visit Iceland, right? August is the warmest month of the year here, but do remember that that means daily averages between 10 and 15 degrees celsius, so it is hardly sweltering. Still, balmy for Iceland, and visiting this gorgeous part of the world during the ubiquitously-bright summer months is an experience in itself. The grass is a little greener during August, and the warmer weather allows Iceland’s wonderful wildlife the chance to cavort through the fields. Yes, it is just like a fairytale. 

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There are 17,000 islands in Indonesia – but few travellers venture beyond Bali. August brings the best weather and the inevitable accompanying crowds, so you’re better off skipping the chaos of Kuta and yogi-saturated Ubud for underrated isles such as Sumba or Pulau Weh, both of which boast white sands, turquoise waters and cheaper accommodation. Raja Ampat in West Papua receives some rain at this time of year, but don’t let that put you off booking a homestay and exploring its dazzling coral reef.

Need more travel inspiration?

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