The Best Places to Visit in August
It’s time to use that PTO, people. European vacation along the coast of Croatia? Cruise around Alaska? Whatever your preference, there’s really not a bad place to escape in the summertime. Here are our favorite places to go in August.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Dubrovnik may be the most famous (thanks, Game of Thrones), but up the coast, the Dalmatian islands are more than worth their own trip. The best way to see the area on your own time (and without all the crowds) is by booking a boat with Sunsail. The outfitter allows you to captain your own chartered sailboat or catamaran, or join a group flotilla with an optional skipper onboard. Here, you’ll cruise to popular isles like Hvar and Brač as well as lesser-known inlets such as Šolta, Čiovo, and Vis, where Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was filmed. There are secret local spots: On Vis, you can check out vineyards like Vina Lipanović, a former 1950s military base where the wine cellar is hidden in the old war tunnels, or in a tranquil inlet of Hvar—away from the bustling main town—sits Konoba Kotin, a secret seaside eatery on Hvar, only accessible by boat, where you can tuck into the day’s fresh catch while the sun sets on the horizon.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, so you can expect tons of celebrations in the region where it all started. On August 15-18, Bethel Woods, the original site of the iconic 1969 music festival, is hosting A Season of Song and Celebration with headliners like Santana, the Doobie Brothers, Ringo Starr, and John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival. If you want to peep some art as well as music, check out the $7 million Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts Center and Foreland, a 50,000-square-foot art gallery housed inside a restored 1840s mill. Then, kick back in the design-forward new boutique hotel Woodstock Way Hotel.
If you’d rather fill your vacation days with arts and culture over catching rays on the beach, head to Budapest. The annual Summer Festival from June to September has a handful of concerts, exhibits, and street food on the Open Air Stages of Margaret Island. Kicking off the month is the Hungary Grand Prix Formula One race (August 2-4, 2019), followed up by the Sziget Festival (August 7-13) of live music, beachside parties, boat rides, and world-class live music from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Florence + The Machine, Macklemore, and Post Malone. History buffs will love the Festival of Crafts (August 17-20) that has folk dancing, traditional handmade crafts, and artisanal markets in the courtyards of Buda Castle. It all culminates on August 20, which is St. Stephen’s Day—Hungary’s national holiday, similar to America’s Independence Day. They celebrate with all-day parties, parades, and fireworks displays over the Danube.
Cruise tourism in Alaska is a major trend in 2019 as a record 1.3 million passengers are expected this summer—a 16 percent increase from last year. In response to the popularity boom, a wave of ships are launching this year, including the Norwegian Joy, Royal Princess, and Ovation of the Seas. August is prime time as the days are longer, wildlife is most active, and the glaciers glisten from the late summer sun. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the Northern Lights paint the night sky.
Although peak season in the Maldives is from November to April, August is secretly the best time to visit. Because many tourists are scared away by the rainy season (May to October), hotels drop their rates and offer plenty of bargain-bin specials. This means not only will you get a good deal, but you’ll have the resorts all to yourself. The Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef is a younger, more affordable option with a buzzy vibe and 62 hip beach and overwater villas with outdoor rain showers and private sea access. You will encounter some storms, but they move quickly through the archipelago so short bursts of rain are followed by lots of sunshine and 80-degree temperatures. Plus, August is great for scuba diving since the whale sharks are most active during that time.
Scotland’s capital feels extra festive come summer. Culture vultures won’t want to miss the quirky Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an annual three-week celebration of arts (August 2-26, 2019). It features more than 3,500 shows from opera to circus to comedy. The festival dates back to 1947, in the wake of World War II, when eight theater groups spontaneously crashed the Edinburgh International Festival and staged their performances on the fringe (coining the future festival’s name). Today, the art and entertainment is spread across 300 venues in the city and attracts thousands of visitors worldwide.
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