Best places to visit in August

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 14.02.2024

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.

1. Black Forest, Germany

Best for hiking, biking and wine-drinking

Close to Freiburg in south-west Germany, the Black Forest is arguably best known for its cuckoo clocks and indulgent gâteaux.

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.

Browse more places to stay in the Black Forest, Germany.

Germany's Black Forest landscape

Love hiking and biking? Germany's Black Forest is one of the best places to visit in August © Funny Solution Studio/Shutterstock

2. Leeds, UK — one of the best places to visit in August

Best for culture, community and food

While Leeds’ tenure as 2023 UK City of Culture kicked off with The Awakening at Headingley Stadium on 7th January, plenty of incredible events will be held around the year. 

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.

Explore more places to stay in Leeds.

Leeds City Kirkgate Market © Prawrawee Lim/Shutterstock

Kirkgate Market, Leeds — a hotspot for foodies © Prawrawee Lim/Shutterstock

3. Sydney Australia

Best for footie fans, beach bums and culture vultures

Follow the beautiful game? From 20th July to 20th August, New Zealand and Australia will co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with Sydney staging the final on 20th August 2023.

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.

See more places to stay in Sydney, Australia, and read our guide to accommodation in Sydney.

Aerial view of Sydney Opera @ Shutterstock

Sydney's iconic Opera House © Shutterstock

4. Maine, USA

Best for scenic seasides, forests and food festivals

Known for its lobster shacks, dense forests, scenic lakes and seaside enclaves, Maine offers tremendous opportunities to explore wide-open spaces. That remains the case in peak summer season when visitors are drawn to its dramatic coast.

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.

Discover more places to stay in Maine.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine © EastVillage Images/Shutterstock

5.. Umbria, Italy

Best for food, wine and escaping crowds

In August, when all Italy is on holiday, locals tend to flock to the sea. As a result, unless you're a fan of big crowds, queues and general chaos, you might want to avoid the coast.

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.

Picture yourself chilling out at tranquil Lake Trasimeno. Or how about spending your days exploring magnificent medieval towns like Perugia, Assisi and Todi?

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.

    Where to stay

  • Best for foodies: Hotel Cenacolo. Assisi's biggest hotel complex boasts a cloister and great Umbrian restaurant.
  • Best for nature-loving families: Le More E I Gelsomini. Smart apartments with BBQ facilities and pool.
  • Best for couples: Boutique Hotel Aurora. This friendly three-star in Spoleto has a cute courtyard and terrace.

Explore more places to stay in Umbria, Italy.

Assisi, Umbria, Italy

Assisi, Umbria, Italy © Stefano_Valeri/Shutterstock

6. Bohuslän coast, west Sweden

Best for sailing, seafood and blissful solitude

Within striking distance of cosmopolitan Gothenburg, Sweden's Bohuslän coast presents itself as a rugged, 10,000-island archipelago. The ideal location for summer escapes, it's one of the best places to visit in August if you're seeking serenity, or love sailing.

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.

Fjällbacka fishing village in Sweden

Fjällbacka fishing village in Sweden © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

7. Nevada, USA

Best for fiery festivals and desert magic

Once a year in late August, fifty thousand people descend on a remote patch of desert in northwest Nevada to take part in the world’s ultimate counter-culture festival. Namely, Burning Man.

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.

Where to stay

Given that only self-sufficient folk are admitted to Burning Man (you must bring water, food and shelter), here's some options if you plan to visit the state's other biggest illuminated draw — Las Vegas:

  • Best for big spenders: Venetian Resort. An opulent five-star with casino, 40 restaurants, giant pool deck and 150+ boutique stores.
  • Best for retro style: Jockey Club Suites. A friendly three-star that's more old school style than modern glitz.
  • Best for budget travellers: Downtowner Boutique Hotel. A pleasant, affordable option near Fremont Street Entertainment District.

See more places to stay in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada.

Burning Man Festival

Burning Man Festival © Sunshine Seeds/Shutterstock

Want more inspiration for your summer break? Discover our best travel destinations for 2023, and some of the best European summer destinations.

You might also want to read our run-down of the best places to visit in July.

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.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Header image: the incredible Fly Geyser in Nevada, USA © Shutterstock

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 14.02.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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