August is when holiday euphoria fills the air. There’s nothing quite like leaving your daily routine behind in favour of carefree times on the beach, in the countryside or at any of the world’s great festivals. Here’s our pick of August’s finest destinations with or without the crowds:
Joining the crowds
Edinburgh is wonderful at any time of year, but August is especially good fun. Not only is the weather at its warmest, the city’s medieval streets fill with buskers, artists and actors taking part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The largest of its kind in the world, this mesmerising event lasts all month and has the entire city buzzing. Expect astonishing cultural performances all over the city, from humble street corners and pubs to the Central Mosque and Dovecot Studio Ladies Baths. Add to this Edinburgh’s fascinating history and abundance of historical buildings and you’ll be in for a wonderfully cultural stay.
Bali is not quite the hippy hideaway it once was. Its beautiful beach resorts now fill up with surfers and sun-seekers alike, especially during peak season. But Bali isn’t purely a luxury beach paradise.
Temples intermingle with golden-domed mosques while hidden away in dense jungles on secret islands are tribes far removed from the outside world. Bali boasts three UNESCO listed sites: the mystical Pakerisan Valley; the pristine Jatiluwih Rice Terraces; and the 18th century Taman Ayun Temple, so there’s also a wealth of culture to discover.
Avoiding the crowds
Portugal’s ever-popular Algarve is well-known for perfect beach holidays. But fewer people have heard of the equally beautiful, far more laid-back west coast of Portugal, just an hour’s drive north of Lisbon. Head for Comporta, a beach-side region of golden-sands, rice paddies, canals and verdant fields. Even in August, Comporta is blissfully un-crowded so you can rent one of its many stylish villas, stock up on fresh, organic produce from a roadside stall and enjoy uncomplicated sunny days basking on golden sands and swimming in the warm Atlantic Ocean.
Kenya in August basks in very comfortable temperatures and offers some of the best opportunities to spot wildlife in its natural habitat. This time of the year also triggers the Great Migration when herds of wildebeest and zebra shift their grazing grounds from the Serengeti to the Mara plain. As you watch the herds move across the plains of the Maasai Mara, you might also like to enjoy real “Out of Africa” moments at Angama Mara, a magnificent lodge on a Great Rift Valley where the film was shot.
Wales’ wild and wonderful beaches remain under the tourist radar even in August when the seas are at their warmest and the sun is (usually) shining! You’ll find miles upon miles of gloriously uncrowded beaches all along the coast, from Pembrokeshire’s white sandy Barafundle Bay to the ‘Beach of Romance’ at Llanddwyn, Anglesey. For walkers, the Wales Coast Path stretches along the entire coastline, encompassing no less than 41 beaches, 18 castles and 12 nature reserves along the way.