With festival season in full swing, August offers no end of opportunities to party, from Nevada's off-the-wall Burning Man, to Maine's food-fuelled Lobster Festival. That said, it also offers plenty of options for blissfully chilled-out breaks – and they're all here, in our run-down of the best places to visit in August.
But look beyond these clichés, and you'll find a lush mountain region that's growing in popularity as a haven for bikers and hikers.
Crisscrossed with trails through idyllic landscapes of sun-soaked vineyards, tranquil lakes, and quaint chalets, it’s a fabulous spot for summer cycling.
Into wine? Time your visit to coincide with one of the many summer wine festivals that happen along the Badische Weinstraße. Routing through Baden's wine-growing region, you can hike, bike or drive through stunning scenery, with plenty of places to eat, drink and make merry along the way.
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With the innovative My Leeds programme running city-wide through August, this is arguably the best month to visit. This community-based initiative will celebrate local stories and creativity, with events taking place across the city's 33 wards. Expect a jamboree of dance, sports, art and craft.
Given that Leeds has been hailed culinary capital of the north, food will feature large, too.
Into art? Leeds Art Gallery presents a diverse collection of work to suit all tastes, from Francis Bacon paintings, to Grayson Perry sculptures and Damian Hirst installations.
Lovers of live performance will also be spoiled for choice in Leeds. The sparky city is home to Opera North (the only nationally recognised UK opera company outside London), Leeds Grand Theatre and Northern Ballet.
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If football isn't your thing, Sydney packs punch as a destination with something for everyone. And that's thanks to its glittering harbour, beautiful beaches, and fantastic food scene.
In addition, outstanding national parks are easily accessible. For example, if you’re into nature and wildlife, top national parks are within an hour of the city, including Ku-ring-gai Chase and Royal.
Meanwhile the magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains present top opportunities for bushwalking.
If that's not enough, you also voted Sydney one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Celebrated for its “the way life should be” motto, Maine is also a top destination for seafood aficionados, especially lobster lovers. These cold-water crustaceans have been farmed along the coast here for generations — they thrive in the chilly, clean water.
There’s no shortage of places to dine on prime specimens, from fancy restaurants to casual lobster shacks, where you can enjoy your juicy tails and claws in the salty open air.
While lobsters are farmed year-round, the annual Lobster Festival in Rockland makes Maine one of the best places to visit in August. It's an old-school celebration of all things lobster. Think fun family games, a big parade, plus the world’s biggest lobster steamer.
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But that's not to say you should avoid Italy all together. Instead, enjoy some peace and quiet in the lovely landlocked region of Umbria.
While it shares many attributes with its bigger, glitzier neighbour, Tuscany — picture-perfect hill towns, sun-dappled olive groves, fine food and wine — Umbria is more down-to-earth. It's also refreshingly quiet in August, and cheaper than Tuscany.
Known as “the green heart of Italy", Umbria is a largely unspoiled region of rolling hills, woods, streams and valleys. To the east, this pastoral landscape gives way to more rugged scenery, such as the dramatic twists and turns of the Valnerina, and the mountains of the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini.
When you're done exploring such breath-taking natural landscapes, Umbria's dozen or so hill-towns boast architectural treasures that rival far bigger famous cities.
The latter — a fairy-tale-esque, hilltop beauty — hosts a number of festivals through the year, with the Todi Festival usually held in late August or early September.
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The islands vary widely in character. Some are completely barren, others harbour timewarp fishing villages, while a few boast chic spas and fine-dining restaurants.
Fiskebäckskil, for example, is one of the most attractive villages along the Bohuslän coast. Peppered with old wooden houses perched on rocky rises, it has several serene seaside resorts.
Unsurprisingly, seafood is a big deal here, with crayfish a speciality in August. The likes of lobster safaris and fishing excursions form the bulk of local activities.
Browse more places to stay on the Bohuslän coast, west Sweden.
It's held way out in the Black Rock Desert, twelve miles north of tiny Gerlach, which is itself a hundred miles north of Reno.
With no big-name acts or programmed activities, the temporary residents of “Black Rock City” live by Burning Man rules. No commerce is allowed, and “Burners” must participate in the festivities in some way.
Many attendees construct huge, otherworldly sculptures, flashing with lights or flames, which contribute to the surreal atmosphere. After dark, the desert comes alive with all manner of surreal projections and anything-goes performances.
Some say the festival has become too popular in recent years, but it remains one of the most unusual experiences to be found anywhere on the planet.
And remember, wherever you're thinking of heading, there's sure to be a Rough Guide guidebook to enhance every step of your journey from the moment you start planning.
Fear not if you're not keen on planning all those pesky details — that's why our customisable tailor-made trips exist. Contact a local specialist to start your journey.
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Header image: the incredible Fly Geyser in Nevada, USA © Shutterstock