The six best places to travel to in August 2023, from Riga to Rio de Janeiro

Whether you’re seeking a dose of culture, cooler climes or a tropical island escape, here are some of the top destinations this month

Armenia is one of several destinations worth travelling to in August. Photo: Jake Belvin / Armenia Travel
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It’s the hottest month of the year in many destinations and the last chance for people to squeeze in some summer travel. But with scorching temperatures and overcrowded destinations becoming the norm, where are some good places for a holiday in August?

While that very much depends on what you’re looking for, there are plenty of amazing locations that shine this month. Those with an adventurous spirit might want to consider Saudi Arabia – the kingdom’s mountainous areas are glorious at this time of year. In jam-packed Europe, there are still some destinations worth considering, like pocket-friendly Riga in Latvia.

And if you can handle crowds for a few days, head to Scotland where the fairy-tale-like capital comes into its own when hosting the annual Fringe festival, and remote beaches and lush countryside await as the perfect post-city-break escape.

Here are six of the best places to travel to in August.

1. Riga, Latvia

If you want an affordable European holiday in August, head for Riga. The largest of the Baltic capitals has a colourful old town, canal-lined parks and a wealth of culture and history. The warmest month of the year in Latvia comes with pleasant temperatures that hover around 23°C, and the country's capital comes to life with open-air concerts, markets, pop-up stalls and firework displays. And unlike many other cities in Europe, it’s yet to be overrun by summertime tourists.

2. Abha, Saudi Arabia

While much of the Middle East is too hot to handle in August, Saudi Arabia’s Abha is an exception. Surrounded by craggy mountains and dense juniper forests, the capital of the Asir region is the place to go for outdoor hikes, mountain exploration and overnight camping.

It’s also where you’ll find the country’s first national park, stretching from the Red Sea coastline to the kingdom’s highest peak. The Asir Summer Festival runs until September 1, bringing music, concerts, art and culture to the misty mountain landscape.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland’s pretty capital comes alive in August when international crowds descend upon its hilly streets for the annual Fringe festival, the world’s largest performance arts festival that booms with comedy gold. While it’s certain to be crowded, it’s well worth spending a few days in the capital to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Afterwards, an easy train ride west will take you to Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city known for its shopping, culture and live music scene. Or head north where you’ll find uncrowded beaches and glasslike lochs – the perfect antidote to your time in the big city.

4. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

As the end of southern Africa’s winter spreads across the continent, the six islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique are getting into their stride. August sees the often-sweltering temperatures become clement and the rains stay away.

It’s the perfect time to unwind on the region's famed beaches or take to the coral-laced waters for snorkelling and scuba-diving. It’s also a good place to spot humpback whales as they migrate from Antarctica to East African waters at this time of year. If you prefer to stick to dry land, try horse-riding, birdwatching and sand dune safaris.

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

With average temperatures hovering between 18ºC and 25ºC, Brazil’s party city experiences winter in August – which means pleasantly warm days. It’s the ideal time to take in Rio de Janeiro’s top landmarks without having to fight against a blazing sun.

Head to the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain, then visit Tijuca National Park and stroll along Copacabana Beach, where you probably won't be the only one humming Barry Manilow’s 1970s hit.

To escape sun-worshipping throngs, stay near Leblon Beach where luxury hotels and high-end restaurants come with smaller crowds than at other beaches in the city.

6. Yerevan, Armenia

With medieval architecture and striking natural landscapes, Armenia offers travellers an indulgence of history and an overload of nature, not to mention wallet-friendly prices.

The capital city, Yerevan, enjoys sunshine-filled summer days with August temperatures hovering just under 30ºC – with plenty of parks and outdoor dining to make the most of the weather. It’s the place to sample one of the oldest cuisines in Europe, with dishes featuring herbs, wildflowers and regional spices.

Summer is also a great time for hiking in Armenia’s more mountainous areas where conditions are cooler and less crowded.

Updated: August 04, 2023, 4:39 AM