If you’re eager to explore somewhere outside Europe, working out where to go in August can be a bit of conundrum. While, for many of us, it’s the ideal time to take a couple of weeks off work, it’s also high season in most destinations and the school summer holidays mean that even the most idyllic destinations can feel crowded.

See Iceland's extraordinary scenery in summer | Travel Nation

But it’s not all bad news! If you choose carefully, there are some brilliant places to visit in August that still provide a feeling of remote peace, a sense of real adventure and, with a bit of luck, some glorious sunshine. Booking in advance is the key to bagging a good deal, so start thinking early to beat the rising rates. To help you on your way, here’s a handful of the best places to visit in August:

1. Iceland

Arguably, Iceland’s natural beauty peaks in August when the landscape is green and the days are sunny. All the roads are passable and, with 16 – 18 hours of daylight per day, it’s a great time to drive the scenic interior of the island, zipping between waterfalls, glaciers and lagoons. If that’s not enough, the berry-picking season kicks off in the second half of the month, the waters offshore are teeming with whales, and it’s your last chance to see puffins in Iceland before they fly out to sea. 

Spot whales off the coast of Iceland in summer | Travel Nation

August is also a brilliant time to get a glimpse into the unique Icelandic culture. All kinds of weird and wonderful festivals take place in August, including the European Swamp Soccer Championship, The Great Fish Day, Reykjavik Gay Pride and the much-anticipated annual firework show at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Yes, Iceland is busy in August, but there’s no better time to soak up the spirit of the island.

2. Ecuador

Many tourists only explore a tiny part of mainland Ecuador as a precursor to a Galapagos cruise, and this is a real shame. Ecuador may be a petite country, but it’s packed with surprises, and the mainland deserves to be seen as a destination in its own right. It’s a little land of extremes, from the snow-tipped peaks of Andean volcanoes to the tropical Amazon rainforest. If you’re after epic scenery in a short timeframe, you can’t do any better.

Spot oncillas in Ecuador's Amazon | Travel Nation

August is the perfect moment to escape to Ecuador because it’s the driest month in both the highlands AND the Amazon. Wander through the craft markets in Cuenca, drive along the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’, disappear into Mindo cloud forest, pound the cobbles of Quito and spend a few days deep in the Amazon. Ecuador is excellent value for money and this a rare window of opportunity in terms of the weather, so get booking and grab your backpack.

3. Cook Islands

Let’s face it – paradise looks best in the sunshine. Even the dreamiest of beaches can lose its glamour after days of continuous rain, so if you’re thinking about heading for the South Pacific on a long-haul barefoot break, make sure the outlook is mostly sunny. In August, the answer lies in the castaway Cook Islands.

Wade through the bright blue waters surrounding One Foot Island | Travel Nation

In August, there’s minimal rainfall in the Cook Islands, guaranteeing you the classic Robinson Crusoe experience with white sands, blue lagoons and clear skies. Schools are out on both sides of the world, so it’s not the cheapest time to travel, but you can’t put a price on tropical sunshine. It's unbridled beach bliss.

4. Malawi

Malawi is a place that leaves a deep mark on every visitor. Home to welcoming people, extraordinary wildlife and warm lakeshores, there’s a spirit to this long, skinny country that will keep you coming back for more. August is a lovely time to laze on the beaches of Lake Malawi, spot wildlife in the nine wildlife reserves and meet the friendly locals.

It may not be a headlining African destination like Kenya or Tanzania (yet!), but trust us, you’ll soon be hooked on starry nights over Lake Malawi. Go and feel the mystery for yourself.    

Relax on the shores of Lake Malawi | Travel Nation

5. Eastern Canada

Summer in Eastern Canada is the chock-full of windswept coastal charm. If you’re after a road trip with classic rural charm, it’s a winner. Here, you can explore picturesque seaside villages that look like Canada’s answer to the Amalfi Coast, feast on wild blueberries, spot humpback whales on the Bay of Fundy and hike dramatic cliff-top trails to lonely lighthouses.

Explore beautiful St. John's Bay in Newfoundland | Travel Nation

Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador are awesome in August, with mild temperatures, clear skies and an endless supply of lip-smacking lobster rolls. No wonder, then, that it’s a popular place to spend a summer. To escape the crowds, try heading for Fogo Island Inn on Newfoundland, one of National Geographic’s ‘Unique Lodges of the World’. Flanked by carpets of wildflowers in summer and facing out to sea, it’s a seriously special place.   

6. Kenya

If you visit Kenya in August, you can bag yourself a front row seat to ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Every summer, the legendary Great Migration takes place across both Kenya and Tanzania, providing the wildlife experience of a lifetime. It’s expensive, and you’ll need to book in advance, but you won’t regret it for even one moment.

By August, the wildebeest migration usually reaches the Mara River in Kenya’s Masai Mara, one of the most perilous parts of the journey. Here, you can see nearly 1.5 million wildebeest attempting to clamber safely across the river, dodging crocs in the water and lions on the shore. It’s heart-in-your-mouth stuff. Just don’t forget to breathe!

See the Great Migration in Kenya | Travel Nation

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

If chasing the sun isn’t your style, head for the cool climes of Buenos Aires in August. It may be winter in Argentina, but the capital is dry, cool and deliciously tourist-free. The nights are chilly, but the red wine will keep you warm, and the steak will knock your thermal socks off. All of this adds up to make Buenos Aires a brilliant off-season escape.

See street artists and tango dancers in Buenos Aires | Travel Nation

Need more convincing? If the prospect of people-watching from a colonial plaza over a bottle of Malbec isn’t enough, the Buenos Aires Tango Festival also takes place in August, with atmospheric performances, classes and concerts all over the city. If you’ve ever wanted to learn the world’s sexiest dance, now is your chance. You won’t be feeling the cold for long!  

8. Bali

While much of South East Asia is being knocked about by monsoons in August, Bali is warm, dry and reliably sunny. If you’re addicted to Asia, it’s your best bet. On Bali, temperatures hover around 27 degrees in August and skies are generally clear, providing the perfect conditions for a tropical getaway. Explore the rice paddies surrounding Ubud, visit ornate temples on dramatic hilltops and laze on white sands until the sun goes down.

Escape to the rice terraces of Bali | Travel Nation

Popular with tourists all over the world, Bali will inevitably be busy in August. However, there are all kinds of exclusive boutique resorts tucked away between the rice paddies and scattered along the coastline. If you plan ahead, you’re bound to find somewhere that provides a peaceful slice of the slow life in the sunshine.  

9. Pacific Northwest

The USA’s Pacific Northwest is notoriously rainy. Smack bang in the path of a weather pattern formed over the Olympic Mountains, Seattle sees far more than its fair share of showers, so picking your moment to visit is very important. August offers a brief respite from the rains, making it a great month to explore the gorgeous scenery of both Washington State and Oregon. You might still need your mac from time to time, but it won’t become like a second skin in August.   

Visit Lake Diablo in North Cascades National Park | Travel Nation

Weather systems aside, the Pacific Northwest is an area of jaw-dropping natural beauty that deserves to be explored. After filling up on delicious fresh produce at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, head into the wilderness to explore Mount Rainier National Park, Crater National Park, and North Cascades National Park. Next, drive to wild beaches of the Oregon Coast before sipping coffee in the cool hangouts of Portland.

Ready to organise an August escape?

We are experts in planning multi-centre holidays all across the world, as well as round the world flights, road trips and honeymoons. No challenge is too big! To start planning your next trip, give our expert travel consultants a call on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email and we’ll quickly get back to you.

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