The 10 best holiday destinations in August for summer sun

From Spain to Sri Lanka, these are the places to go if you want to get out and about in the warmth

Chris Wilson
Tuesday 09 May 2023 15:16 BST
When August rolls around, the summer is in full swing
When August rolls around, the summer is in full swing (PA Wire)

As summer approaches, greater attention will turn to plans with family and friends for that long-awaited trip abroad.

With brighter days, warmer temperatures and the kids off school, August remains a popular choice of month for a summer holiday.

While the UK weather can range from heatwave to downpours, many destinations offer near-uninterrupted sun along with more manageable daily temperatures.

Some places are best avoided at the height of summer, such as Seville, where temperatures can regularly hit 40C. Nevertheless, there are plenty of enticing destinations where August is the perfect month for a holiday, whether you’re looking at being active or just lying on a sun lounger.

From a Greek island to the Portuguese coast, Italian lakes to a Columbian city, here are some destinations that are sure to inspire your August summer holiday.

Crete, Greece

A view of Chania, a town in Crete (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 29C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 11

With an average temperature just under 30C and just under 12 hours of sunshine per day, August in Crete offers a more pleasant and temperate experience than nearby Corfu or mainland Greece. The largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Crete is a mountainous island as famed for its historical importance (think of the the Minoans) as it is for its beaches.

Tourists can visit the capital, Heraklion, to see a stunning old harbour, Venetian architecture and the ruins of the (alleged) oldest city in the world, Knossos. Alternatively, go to Chania for another scenic harbour, colourful buildings and beautiful beaches. Other towns, such as Rethymno, are less touched by tourism for those hoping for more of an “authentic” experience of Greece.

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Nice, France

The southern French town of Nice is home to miles of sandy beaches (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 28C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 10

One of the most famous cities on the French Riviera, Nice has long been a tourist destination. Queen Victoria was known to have visited several times, while other visits from European aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries contributed to its establishment as a fashionable destination.

Today, Nice stands out as one of the more accessible and affordable places in southern France and was recently awarded status as a Unesco World Heritage site in 2021. With several plazas, its own beach (and the famous Promenade des Anglais), a picturesque port and buzzing nightlife, Nice’s high-end reputation has morphed into it being a city with something for everyone.

Valencia, Spain

Valencia’s main square and town hall (Getty Images)
  • Average temperature in August: 31C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 10

Spain’s third city has enjoyed a rise in popularity with foreign tourists in recent years. Offering miles of golden sand, warm sea and the guarantee of heat and sun, it also contains an extensive old town that is lined with cobbled streets, a range of quality restaurants, hole-in-the-wall bars and independent shops.

Three impressive plazas and a stunning cathedral form the focal point of the city, while the beaches of Malvarrosa and Patacona are home to dozens of cafes, beach bars, excellent (often paella-led) restaurants, football and volleyball pitches, and dozens of happy locals. Attractions include the City of Arts and Sciences (and its aquarium), the 12km Turia Gardens and the Holy Chalice, supposedly used by Jesus during the Last Supper.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is perhaps most famous for its walled Old Town (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 30C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 11

Perched tantalisingly close to the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is the seaside gem of Croatia. While more recently famous for being the filming location for Game of Thrones, the Old Town, encircled by 16th-century walls, is replete with Baroque and Gothic architecure, impressive squares and limestone streets.

Visitors can walk along some sections of the walls before taking in several medieval buildings, such as the clock tower or cathedral. Though pebbly in places, the beaches offer great access into the azure waters of the Adriatic and also house – along with the Old Town – a good portion of the city’s nightlife.

British Colombia, Canada

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Colombia (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 21C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 11

Although cooler than some summer getaways, August is the perfect month to visit one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces. Home to the city of Vancouver, part of the Canadian Rockies and incredible forests and lakes, British Colombia is best experienced in summer, when the full range of outdoor activities is possible.

The cooler temperatures allow for getting out and about in any of the seven national parks, where you can swim, hike, fish, cycle and kayak to your heart’s content. If you prefer, visit Vancouver – the third largest city in the country – or go to Whistler; even outside of ski season, the famous resort town provides plenty of natural beauty and opportunities for physical activities. Parts of the province receive up to seven days of rain during the August, but you can seize this opportunity to see stunning areas of natural beauty in different conditions.

Algarve, Portugal

A beach in Portimao (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 29C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 11

A popular destination for Brits, visit the Algarve for rugged, golden beaches, picturesque towns, and blue seas and skies. This slither of southern Portugal has several amazing locations for sun in August, with its temperate Mediterranean climate meaning it often stays cooler than other places in the country.

Faro, the region’s capital, contains the main airport and also offers cobbled streets, neoclassical architecture and nearby green spaces. Albufeira, 46km away, is one of the most popular beach and party towns in the area, with rocky cliffs, hidden coves and several adventure activities. Lagos offers similar with regard to beaches but with a more calm and relaxed atmosphere. Tavira and Silves provide a similar range of activities and beaches as well as scenic Old Towns.

Medellin, Colombia

An aerial view of Medellín (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 29C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 11

While many nearby destinations are coming out of (or are in the middle of) winter in August, Medellin’s location (just over 400 miles north of the equator) means that August temperatures remain high.

Nicknamed “The City of Eternal Spring” due to its good weather, the city was once more famous for drug production than as a tourist destination. However, the sprawling city set in the mountains of Antioquia has improved enormously in recent years, with recent advances in transport and infrastructure saw it named as the most innovative city in the world by the Urban Land Institute. It now holds a reputation as a clean, thriving and safe city, with several features – such as its wildlife setting, extensive metro system, and its cable cars – contributing to the city becoming a “hipster holiday destination”.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

A view of Ljubljana and its river, the Ljubljanica (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 27C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 10

The Slovenian capital is another city that has become somewhat of a hipster destination in recent years, for good reason. With the river and medieval castle as focal points, the city offers several lesser-known cultural attractions and plenty of opportunities to learn about the region’s often understudied history. The city is home to several excellent bars and restaurants (both on the riverside and further into town). Those looking to combine an urban break with some rural escapism can pair a visit with a trip to Lake Bled, a lakeside town just an hour from the capital. Its idyllic setting and small size make for an easy spot to relax and unwind by the water.

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Huts and boats on the shore in Trincomalee (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 34C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9

Anyone looking to travel further may want to head to the Indian Ocean. The weather in Sri Lanka varies quite dramatically throughout the island, but August presents an excellent opportunity to visit the north.

Jaffna might offer the taste of a city and Wilpattu National Park is home to the natural beauty of lakes, but Trincomalee provides both – with the addition of scenic port and beach areas. Gokarna Bay is known for its white sand, while the city itself is home to historic Hindu temples such as Koneswaram and Bhadrakali Amman. If the beaches don’t take your fancy, you can head to nearby Kanniya and visit the hot springs.

Milan and the Lakes, Italy

A village on Lake Como (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in August: 29C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 8

Famous as a fashion capital, Milan is one of the most accessible cities in Italy due to the number of daily flights from the UK. In summer, it receives less tourists than southern destinations and is often far cooler, with its average temperatures of 29C ensuring it’s still a smart summer choice.

While the city itself has a plethora of cultural, historical, architectural and leisure attractions, the nearby lakes of Como, Maggiore and Garda can be reached by direct train services (journeys take between 40 minutes to just over an hour) and offer more picturesque views with a lakeside setting. While prior planning may be needed to minimise some of the costs, the opportunity to bask in the lakeside sun just before ordering your risotto may be too good for some to turn down.

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