Think of August and the first thing that comes to mind is probably sunshine. And plenty of it. But August can also spell adventure in just as generous measures. And escapades this time of year are almost always sun-kissed affairs.
So whether you’re looking to slip off to the continent for a slick city escape or are in need of something more far-flung and soul-inspiring, browse our top picks for where to go this coming month for ideas that might just have your name written all over them. Enjoy The August Edit.
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A safe choice perhaps, but it’s not for nothing that Barcelona has iconic summer status. Between the beachside city’s chilled mañana vibe, its colourful streets and its tasty gastronomic scene, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Wonder Las Ramblas for some world-class people watching, hop over to La Sagrada Familia, or swing by the Barri Gòtic to shop its labyrinthine streets for handmade espadrilles. When hunger strikes, you’ll want to check out the famous La Boquería Market. Once a place to buy groceries, it’s grown into one of Barcelona’s top attractions, welcoming some 45,000 visitors a day. It’s not at all off the beaten path, but if you can handle the crowds, the rewards come in the delicious form of unlimited tapas, freshly-caught seafood and rich squid ink arroz negro.
Other summer highlights include park hopping and picnicking at the likes of Park Güell, Parc de la Ciutadella, and Parc del Laberint H’horta, magical open-air concerts under the stars at Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, and one of Barcelona’s biggest annual celebrations, La Festa Major de Gracia, a street festival taking place this year from 15-21 August.
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There’s something magical in its name and something very “fairy tale” about this remote, rugged destination in eastern Canada. Home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and inspiring national parks, here is a place to discover your inner explorer somewhere between soaring mountains and majestic gorges, and to embrace all things outdoorsy – without any hoards that might have had the same idea.
Our top picks include trekking across the half-a-million year old landscapes of Gros Morne National Park (spotting moose as you go, of course); visiting Cape Spear, the easternmost spot in the western hemisphere from which you can almost see Ireland if you look out to sea; hiking the trails of Trinity up to viewpoints for whale-watching and iceberg-spotting; and seeing puffins up close in Elliston.
As far as cuisine goes, Newfoundland is also earning itself a reputation amongst well-travelled foodies. There’s a strong farm to table movement and paired with the local fishing culture you’ve got a winning combination. Think locally-caught lobster rolls, plenty of fresh oysters and colourful, buttery vegetables. For the more adventurous, you’ll also find moose jerky.
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If you’re keen to mix up the summer’s Mediterranean scene and try something different, Reykjavik could be just the place. Of course, the city makes a great base camp for excursions to the likes of the Blue Lagoon and the country’s many other natural wonders, but Reykjavik has its own charm too.
Wildlife lovers can take a boat out from the city’s harbour in search of humpback whales and puffins, or escape back to nature without having to go far at all – the scenic Tjornin Lake is bang in the middle of town and the impossibly blue Bruarfoss Waterfall is a stone’s throw away. There are also 17 thermal pools around the city to enjoy and the sky-scraping Hallgrímskirkja church provides a great opportunity to appreciate some spectacular panoramas over the colourful rooftops and surrounding landscapes.
Back on the ground, the varied independent boutiques of downtown Reykjavik are worth a visit, as is the Perlan Museum of Icelandic Natural Wonders, home to an impressive replica ice cave amongst other state-of-the-art exhibits showcasing the country’s nature. And a final wildcard if we may… you might also consider a visit to the Icelandic Phallological Museum which is only open during the summertime.
In town for the weekend? Check out our 48-Hour Guide to Iceland
In Botswana, August falls during dry season making it a great time to visit. There’s less water and vegetation around driving animals to concentrate around waterholes and rivers making for easier spotting. You’ll have no complaints about the happy absence of mosquitos either!
Botswana is all about the wildlife safaris and your options are varied and many. For some iconic African wilderness ft. cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, elephants and rhinos to name a few, you’ll want to add the Okavango Delta to your Botswana bucket list. Previously voted the best game reserve on the African continent, the Moremi Game Reserve is an interesting option too. There’s also Kasane, located between the Four Corners of Africa where Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia meet. It’s prime territory for exploring the Chobe River and an excellent base for hopping over the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Wildlife aside, the town of Jwaneng – built upon the richest diamond mine in the world – is a curious stop, as are the Tsodillo Hills for their UNESCO World Heritage cave paintings as well as the depths of the Kalahari Desert for its otherworldly landscapes.
Adventuring alone? Check out our Guide to Solo Travel in Botswana
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Declared the happiest country in the world on multiple occasions, the summertime vibe in the Danish capital is a good enough reason alone to visit Copenhagen. But between the lively city life, the beautiful European gardens and the Nordic beaches there are plenty of other reasons to visit in August. Best of all, the warm sunshine lends itself to embracing the small city’s biking culture and exploring everything on two wheels.
You’ll want to see the Little Mermaid, discover the colourful New Harbour and swim in its ultra-clean waters, and certainly go to the top of the Round Tower for views over the whole city. And when it comes to beach time, Svanemøllen and Amager Beach Park are within easy reach of the city centre.
As for Nordic cuisine, if you’ve heard of the award-winning restaurant Noma you’ll know it’s worth a try. Hop over to Papirøen for a great selection of street food and an opportunity to taste your way through all things Danish under one roof.
Spending the weekend? Check out our 48-Hour Guide to Copenhagen
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is always a good idea, but if you like to be out and about, you’ll get the most daily sunshine hours in August. And there’s plenty to keep you busy from dawn to dusk. For those who like an ocean view, catch some waves or some rays on one of many sprawling beaches including Malibu’s Paradise Cove Beach, Venice Beach and Carbon Beach, otherwise known as the backyard to the billionaires. You can also explore Santa Monica.
A little more inland, you can shop ‘til you drop on Melrose Avenue, at The Grove, Third Street Promenade or Rodeo Drive, attend a baseball game if that’s more your scene, or catch an open-air movie with Street Food Cinema (gourmet food trucks promised too as the name suggests).
As for special August happenings, there’s the International Surf Festival from July 31st to August 4th, the Splash House Palm Springs Pool + Music Weekend and the Long Beach Jazz Festival, both on the weekend of the 9-11th.
For more on Los Angeles, check out our Insider’s Guide to the city.