This travel guide is brought to you by National Geographic Traveller (UK).
Smart planning is crucial when considering travels in August. Europe is popular during this time, but clever tactics are needed to circumvent the mass of tourists and rising costs around the Mediterranean and adjacent beaches. If you’re seeking more than a crowded vacation on the beach or an uncomfortably warm city excursion where most spots are closed for summer, it may be worthwhile to explore other options.
August is an ideal month for families to venture to distant destinations when they typically have more free time for travel. The southern hemisphere is experiencing winter at this time, leading to more affordable packages and less demand for tours and accommodations. For example, South America’s dry season presents excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, while August is the best time for migration safaris in Kenya and Tanzania where river crossings and astonishing wildlife phenomena occur.
Known for its incredible biodiversity and varying landscapes, Ecuador provides the essence of South America in a compact package. You can traverse the high-altitude Andes, deep Amazon, Pacific coast and beyond within a span of two to three weeks, without needing to take an extended break.
August marks the winter in Ecuador, requiring light jackets and warm hats at higher elevations. The dry season reduces the Amazon’s typical humidity and bug population, making it excellent for wildlife spotting. The clear Andean skies provide unobstructed views of towering volcanoes, cities settled by the Spanish, and vibrant market towns. Whale spotting on the coast and exploring the unique wildlife of Isla de la Plata are also highlights during this time.
Responsible travel tip: Consider eco-friendly accommodations run by Indigenous communities, such as Mashpi Lodge (cloud forest), Black Sheep Inn (Andes) and Kapawi Eco lodge (Amazon). Wanderbus offers a unique hop-on-and-off tour experience throughout Ecuador starting from the capital, Quito.
Switzerland’s Alpine slopes transition into hiking and biking trails once the ski season ends, offering stunning wild swimming spots and glaciers adorned with wildflowers. August is a popular time outside the ski season, but overcrowded tourist spots are uncommon. Swiss National Day on August 1st fills towns and cities with street festivals, parades, fireworks, and live music. For the best views of the Alpine landscape, consider taking scenic train routes such as the Bernina Express or Jungfraubahn.
Responsible travel tip: Switzerland can be reached by train from the UK, and the Swiss Alps and lakes offer numerous off-grid camping sites. Some provide tents and swimming areas, while others, like Whitepod in Monthey, offer luxury eco-glamping accommodations.
- The Hebrides, Scotland
The over 50 islands off Scotland’s west coast serve as a great contrast to the crowded seaside spots in the UK’s southwest. Weather can be unpredictable, but the southern Hebrides typically enjoy more dry sunny days. Activities range from island hopping between Islay, Mull, Harris, and Lewis, to exploring whiskey distilleries. Book ahead or plan your travel after mid-August when Scottish schools resume.
Responsible travel tip: Glasgow provides easy access to the Inner Hebrides via a well-connected network of buses, coaches, and ferries.
Denmark, with its extensive coastline and almost unending daylight during summer, is an excellent choice for exploration in August. Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, offers a blend of Viking history and modern amenities. Activities include hiking in the Mols Bjerge national park and exploring medieval castles.
Responsible travel tip: Denmark’s vast and mostly flat national cycle network offers a low-carbon way to enjoy your travels. The Danish Cycling Federation’s route planner can guide you to the most serene routes.
The mainland destinations offer a quieter experience compared to the crowded islands. Nafplio and Kastoria offer unique experiences with ancient ruins, venetian villas, and pine-fringed mountains.
Responsible travel tip: Fly direct to one of Greece’s larger islands and explore the less crowded areas. Consider eastern Crete and visit the Vai, Europe’s only palm forest and the UNESCO-listed Sitia Geopark.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about August travel destinations
Q: What are some recommended travel destinations for August?
A: Some recommended travel destinations for August include Ecuador, Switzerland, the Hebrides in Scotland, Denmark, and Greece. These destinations offer unique experiences and diverse landscapes during this time of the year.
Q: Why is August a good time to travel to far-flung destinations?
A: August is a great time for families to explore far-flung destinations because it’s a period when many people have more travel time available. Additionally, the southern hemisphere experiences its winter, making it a good time to find better value deals and less competition for tours and accommodation.
Q: What are the highlights of traveling to Ecuador in August?
A: Traveling to Ecuador in August offers several highlights, such as experiencing the country’s geographical diversity from high-altitude Andes to the deep Amazon and the Pacific coast. August is Ecuadorian winter, providing clear Andean skies and making the Amazon less muggy and buggy for better wildlife watching opportunities.
Q: What makes Switzerland a recommended destination for August?
A: In August, Switzerland’s Alpine slopes turn into hiking and mountain biking trails, and the country experiences almost limitless daylight hours. It’s an ideal time to explore the picturesque landscapes, enjoy outdoor events, and experience Swiss National Day celebrations on August 1st.
Q: What can travelers expect in the Hebrides, Scotland, during August?
A: In August, the Hebrides in Scotland offer a refreshing escape from crowded UK seaside destinations. Visitors can enjoy white-sand beaches, azure blue waters, and a variety of outdoor events, music festivals, and local Highland games. It’s a great time to hop between beautiful islands like Islay, Mull, Harris, and Lewis.
Q: Why is Denmark a prime place for exploration in August?
A: Denmark is an excellent destination for exploration in August due to its extensive coastline and extended daylight hours during summer. Cities like Aarhus offer a perfect blend of Viking history and contemporary charm, and the country’s flat national cycle network provides a low-carbon adventure option for travelers.
Q: How can travelers explore Greece in August without dealing with crowds?
A: To avoid crowds in Greece during August, consider focusing on mainland destinations like Nafplio and Kastoria. Additionally, exploring less-visited areas, such as eastern Crete with its unique palm forest and Sitia Geopark, can offer a quieter and more authentic experience.
Q: What are some responsible travel tips for visiting these destinations?
A: Responsible travel tips for these destinations include considering eco-friendly accommodations run by Indigenous communities in Ecuador, exploring off-grid camping sites and eco-glamping options in Switzerland, utilizing Denmark’s national cycle network for low-carbon adventures, and visiting less-crowded areas in Greece. Additionally, planning trips after mid-August in the Hebrides can help avoid peak tourist season.
More about August travel destinations
- National Geographic Traveller (UK): https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/
- Mashpi Lodge (Ecuador): https://www.mashpilodge.com/
- Black Sheep Inn (Ecuador): https://blacksheepinn.com/
- Kapawi Eco Lodge (Ecuador): https://www.kapawi.com/
- Wanderbus: https://www.wanderbusecuador.com/
- Bernina Express: https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express
- Jungfraubahn: https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/jungfraubahn-cogwheel-railway/
- Whitepod (Switzerland): https://www.whitepod.com/
- The Danish Cycling Federation: https://www.cycling-embassy.dk/
- Responsible Travel: https://www.responsibletravel.com/
- National Geographic Traveller’s 25 best Greek islands: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/04/the-25-best-greek-islands-to-visit-in-2023
- 5 of the best places to visit in the Hebrides: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/03/5-of-the-best-places-to-visit-in-the-hebrides
- How to plan a family rail adventure around Europe: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/02/how-to-plan-a-family-rail-adventure-around-europe
- 5 must-see wildlife experiences in South America: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2021/08/5-must-see-wildlife-experiences-in-south-america