August is high season for tourism, but crowded city streets and packed beaches shouldn’t put you off from finding a fantastic holiday destinations. HotelREZ has it all on offer, from festivals in the United Kingdom to European city breaks, and some beautiful underappreciated beaches.
Best for festivals
BOOK NOW. Really, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is so highly in demand that booking tickets well ahead of time is essential. The festival, which has been running since 1947, showcases some of the best and most inventive comedy, theatre and music in the country. It’s an open access festival (unjuried), meaning absolutely anyone can enter, so the performances range from household names, to amateur groups and experimental works. Some of our best known comics, including Rowan Atkinson, Jo Brand, and Ben Elton launched their careers at the Fringe, and actors like Derek Jacobi and plays such as Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead made their debuts here. Even if you don’t manage to find yourself some tickets, Edinburgh is still a beautiful city and well worth a visit in its own right. Wander about the picturesque old town or take a climb up Arthur’s Seat in between shows and experience the Scottish capital for yourself.
Every August, the tiny village of Daresbury in Cheshire undergoes an astonishing transformation. The birthplace of Lewis Carroll becomes, for one weekend, a dance music paradise at the Creamfields Festival, hosting tens of thousands of revellers and a host of great DJs and dance acts, including Daft Punk, Eric Prydz and The Prodigy. Daresbury is just 16 miles from Chester, and 22 miles from both Liverpool and Manchester, so the festival is easy to visit as part of a longer break. Chester itself is a pleasant enough place to spend a day or two, with historic buildings, fascinating Roman ruins, a bustling old market and decent restaurants and pubs. Liverpool, meanwhile, is vibrant and cosmopolitan, the beneficiary of years of rejuvenation. Home to the famous ‘Three Graces’, the World Heritage Site at the Albert Docks, and to one of the world’s most popular football clubs.
Best for summer city breaks
The city of lights has always been a classic destination for families, couples and solo travellers. Never out of fashion, Paris continually reassures and surprises with a heady mixture of iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and unique festivals and events, such as Kiosquorama, an ‘eco-citizen musical festival’ starting in August, that offers an eclectic programme of concerts in the city’s green spaces. Our recommendation is to take a stroll around Montmartre, the artistic and cultural home of the Belle Époque. Here you’ll find iconic sights like the Moulin Rouge and the Sacré-Cœur, as well as winding, atmospheric streets with unique cafés, bars, and restaurants. Curiously, the cemetery is a particular highlight; many of the tombstones – some containing famous figures – are very ornate and macabre.
The Kölsche are immensely proud of their city, and it’s easy to see why. Cologne, straddling the mighty River Rhine, has just the right combination of culture, history, food, and drink. Its most striking landmark is the magnificent Gothic cathedral; if you arrive by train, it will tower over your first view of the city. The best way to see it – and the church of Great Saint Martin with which it shares the skyline – is by river cruise, which is a pleasant way to spend a summer’s afternoon. Elsewhere, on your travels round the city’s immensely walkable quarters, you might stumble across the home of 4711 eau de cologne, or a quiet bar for a drop of typical kölsch beer. One of the most interesting quarters to walk round is the bohemian Agnesviertel, home to a host of independent shops, bars and galleries. August is the hottest time of the year in Cologne, and the perfect time to the visit the city.
Best for the coast
We can’t have a list of the best destinations in August without some beaches, and you won’t find many better than in the Algarve. This little region on the southern tip of Portugal is blessed with clean beaches, clear water, and beautiful coastal scenery. Unfortunately, this is high season for tourists, so your best bet is to go in search of some of the Algarve’s lesser known beaches, such as Praia de Albandeira, a tiny, delightful spot for swimming and diving that is completely off the tourist radar. Other recommendations include Praia do Amoreira, with countless rock pools filled with starfish and sea urchins, and Praia do Barril, part of which is covered by anchors left by tuna fishing boats that once came there. Elsewhere, you can visit the historic Moorish city of Silves and the regional capital of Faro – and don’t forget to eat plenty of delicious local seafood.
Isle of Wight, England
The Isle of Wight has been a popular destination for a ‘stay-cation’ since the Victorian times. Its beautiful coastline, pretty seaside towns and traditional British pubs make it a magnet for tourists from throughout the rest of England. The island’s largest town, Cowes is a renowned centre for yachting, and in August, Cowes Week attracts visitors from all over the world for one of the best-known regattas in the world, with as many as 1,000 boats taking part. Nearby visitors will find Osborne House, the summer home of Queen Victoria and an interesting tourist attraction. If you’re looking for the finest coastal scenery head over the Alum Bay. There you can treat yourself to a traditional souvenir of a glass paperweight filled with multi-coloured sand, and take a look at the Needles, a striking headland and line of offshore rocks. Elsewhere, you might want to comb the beaches for fossils: the Isle of Wight is one of the best places in the UK to find the remains of tiny prehistoric creatures in the sand.
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Untitled – Image by Schimonski via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Chester – Image by Smabs Sputzer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Cologne – Image by Simon Collison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Isle of Wight – Image by Cristian Bortes via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Edinburgh – Image by Kirsty McWhirter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Edinburgh Fringe 2013 – Image by <p&p>photo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
[Hyper tourist] Montmartre – Image by Fabrizio Sciami via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
L’Algarve – Image by Enric Rubio Ros via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)