UPDATED: This article was originally published in May 2018
You’ve decided you want to travel more this year (good on you), but you’re struggling to choose your next destination. Surely there’s an easier way than trawling through endless travel mags and guidebooks for the answers, right? That’s where our ultimate month-by-month travel guide comes in: your easily digestible list of places to visit, things to experience, and amazing weather to chase around the world.
Onto August now, and in Europe things are really hotting up! There are ample active adventures to be had the world over and embarking on a fur-filled safari is still very much an option. Whether you’ve always wanted to admire the Victoria Falls in Zambia, sip a pint or two of stout in Ireland or make the journey along the fearsome Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. Here’s your guide for where to travel in August.
Compared to its widely visited neighbours, Slovenia is a fairly new kid on the European travel block. But wanderers are slowly beginning to realise the pull of this small yet charming nation. From the turquoise waters of Lake Bled to the country’s emerging wine scene, there’s plenty to be enjoyed. Not to mention it’s a proper active traveller’s paradise with exciting outdoor escapades to suit everybody.
At the height of summer temperatures can soar, making the beguiling Slovene Riviera the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun away from the hordes of tourists peppering Italy and Croatia’s beaches. You can always hide from the heat by heading to the alpine northwest for a leisurely walk or hike. Alternatively, why not climb aboard a raft on the Soča River for a white-water thrill ride? A super fun way to cool off!
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This East African gem has so much to offer. Whether you’re intrigued by fascinating local cultures, pristine white sand beaches, extraordinary natural landscapes or incredible wildlife, you’ll find it all (and so much more) in Tanzania. Get ready to head off on a safari around the Ngorongoro Crater in search of rare black rhinos, or shop for indigenous wares at Mwigobero Market on the edge of Lake Victoria.
August brings about the best time for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and the tallest free-standing volcano in the world. There are several different routes to the summit, and these vary considerably in terms of ease and price. Here at Intrepid we offer hikers the Marangu Route (the only trail with hut accommodation), Machame Route (the most popular) and Rongai Route (the easiest). Which will you choose?
When many of us think of Argentina our minds drift to thoughts of the buzzing capital, Buenos Aires. Housing the astonishing Recoleta Cemetery, the brightly coloured district of La Boca, the space-age Puente de la Mujer footbridge and an abundance of top-notch eateries. Not forgetting it’s the home of tango too, and BA celebrates this sensuous dance style with a festival all of its own over two weeks in August.
There’s more to this South American favourite than its cities though. What about Mendoza’s vineyards, Patagonia’s glaciers and the remarkable Iguazu Falls? Despite being a drier month, these waterfalls are still impressive. Lower water levels lead rock faces to peek through the flow, making them appear even more spectacular. Be sure to spend two days at this world wonder, including one on the contrasting Brazilian side.
From Chinese to Indonesian, Thai to Indian, Malaysia is a real melting pot of different cultural influences. And its multi-ethnic makeup is part of what makes it such a fascinating place to visit. For instance, you could be soaking up Hindu history at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, before marvelling at the modern architecture of the national mosque and then dining on dumplings in China Town.
Throughout August the weather in Malaysia is mixed, with tropical downpours not uncommon. But the east coast is gifted with long sunny days that offer flawless diving and snorkelling conditions. Hari Merdeka, Malaysian Independence Day, is celebrated on the 31st and gives you the chance to party with the locals. Towns and cities are decorated with flags and a big parade is held in front of the king in Kuala Lumpur.
Ah, the Emerald Isle, a place of astounding natural beauty, ice-cold pints of stout, intriguing history, charming locals and toe-tapping traditional music. Known for its unreliable weather, the peak of Irish summer is the ideal time to visit this oft wet and windy destination. Get ready to while away the hours on walks along miles of deserted sandy coastline and fill your lungs with that fresh country air.
If you’re a bit of a Star Wars buff, then a visit to Kerry is crucial. Its craggy cliffs, secluded bays and the spooky Skellig Islands form the backdrop of the world-famous franchise’s most recent episodes. Be sure to make the trip around Slea Head too for amazing views back over the peninsula, keeping an eye out for the ancient beehive huts. A drive over the Connor Pass also provides epic vistas that are able to rival those found in New Zealand.
Crocodiles, elephants and leopards – oh my! Animal lovers will adore exploring Zambia’s national parks, including the South Luangwa Reserve where the river is overcrowded by humongous hippos. August marks the middle of the dry season here, bringing with it warm days, clear skies and cooler nights. Making it a brilliant time for viewing game before the daytime temperatures become too hot to bear.
Aside from the awe-inspiring wildlife in Zambia, you’ll also find the incredible Victoria Falls. Called Mother Nature’s ‘Smoke that Thunders’ by some, because its spray can be seen from more than 30 miles away. Whilst the falls frequently steal the show, there’s even more to be enjoyed in this part of Africa, from browsing markets for tribal keepsakes to meeting isolated communities spreading centuries worth of traditional wisdom.
Getting back to nature tops the itinerary when it comes to spending summer in Norway, and its ever-changing landscape is a serious sight to behold. Remote islands, deep fjords, rugged coastline, soaring mountains, glinting glaciers, the Northern Lights – the list really does go on. Plus, you’ll have the chance to try out all manner of al fresco activities, from out-of-this-world hiking to hair-raising rafting.
Admittedly visiting Norway in August can err a little on the pricey side, but it’s definitely worth the investment as it happens to be the best time to visit the Western Fjords. These sea-flooded valleys are blue-hued and fringed by steep cliffs, making them one of the most picturesque destinations on the planet. You can also dabble in a spot of wild walking if you fancy, or take in the scenery on a hike along one of the many marked trails.
Papua New Guinea’s dry season runs from June to September, when the country experiences lovely warm days and relatively low rainfall. It’s a fantastic time to visit if you’re interested in hiking the Kokoda Track. The trail is drenched in history, as it was once the site of a gory World War II battle between Japan and the Allies. Be warned though, choosing to accept the Kokoda challenge is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Spanning a massive 96 kilometres, the Kokoda Track is a single-file walking route buried deep in the steamy jungle. You’ll follow in the footsteps of the soldiers who fought over Port Moresby, learning amazing tales of bravery as you go. You’ll come across stirring mountainside memorials and meet the friendly-faced locals living in far-flung villages that pop up along the way. Prepare to push your own physical and mental boundaries to the limit!
Lots of travellers come to Tibet for a taste of its intense spirituality. To explore cliffside Buddhist temples, witness chanting monks and bask in the tranquillity of its many magnificent monasteries. It also boasts giddy Everest views, the opportunity for numerous high-altitude treks and the world’s highest railway on the route to Lhasa.
August is a time of celebrations in Tibet, like the Nagchu Horse Racing Festival held in the country’s northern grassland. It’s here you’ll see traditionally dressed locals pitching their tents by the track, bartering, singing and dancing. Another is the Shoton Festival (or sour milk banquet), which commemorates the end of the monk’s meditation season. People gather to eat the specially cultivated yoghurt, watch the local opera performances and engage in other religious activities.
You might think, given the heat, that the suggestion of travelling to Turkey in August is a slightly stupid one. But, it’s a brilliant time to take in the sights of Cappadocia and Istanbul, whilst the tourists choose to flock to the country’s many coastal resorts instead. If you did fancy a few days R&R by the sea, Kas is a great place to explore. Its crystal-clear waters make for dreamy snorkelling and you can even kayak over its ancient sunken city!
People will tell you there’s nothing quite like the alien landscapes of Cappadocia and they’d be right. Spend your time ambling through underground cities and admiring its fairy chimneys from above on a sunrise balloon ride. Before swapping calm for chaos, on an exploration of the country’s capital, Istanbul. Get ready to lose yourself in the Spice Bazaar, visit the Aya Sofia and try a plethora of tasty Turkish treats.
Feature photo by IM_photo.