School’s out for summer, you’ve set your out-of-office message at work, and you’ve freed up your schedule – it’s time to go on an adventure! Europe is an amazing place to visit in August, whatever type of vacation you’re seeking. Temperatures are pretty mild in the northern parts of the continent, while the shores of the south enjoy blissfully high temperatures and oodles of sunshine that will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.
But, unless you’ve got a few years to spare, there’s no way you can explore all of Europe at once. So how do you choose where to go? If you’re eager to embrace nature, the Dolomites in Italy are an excellent place to hike at this time of year. Or, if you’d prefer something a little livelier, the Tivoli Gardens theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark, is absolutely buzzing in August.
Greece’s dreamy islands are ideal if you’re looking for a sun-kissed beach break, while Iceland is a fantastic choice if you want to enjoy the stunning scenery without having to wrap up in layers upon layers of clothes.
Whether you want to immerse yourself in a contrasting culture, get lost in streets teeming with history, surround yourself with rugged beauty, or dive into a delicious foodie scene, Europe has got you covered!
To help you plan the perfect summer escape and have the vacation of a lifetime, we’ve put together a list of the 14 best places to visit in Europe in August.
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The 14 Best Places to Travel in Europe in August
1. Stay Up All Night with the Festivals in Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is one of the most incredible places in Europe for festivals in the summer. While the high-octane events begin in June, the biggest and best are kept until the end and take place throughout August.
The month begins with Stockholm Pride, which boasts a massive program packed with everything from art exhibitions and talks about sexual health to movie screenings and even pop-up wedding booths where you can get married. Don’t miss the pride parade, which takes place on Saturday each year of the festival.
Stockholm Pride is followed by the Stockholm Culture Festival a couple of weeks later. This all-encompassing event brings together workshops, dance classes, live music, and all kinds of fun activities for the whole family.
The Baltic Sea Festival is one of the most popular festivals, which takes place at the very end of August. A little more cultural than you may expect, this festival is held in the Swedish Radio concert hall Berwaldhallen and features top-level conductors, ensembles, and artists in the classical music genre.
2. Go Hiking in the Dolomites, Italy
Tucked away in a beautiful part of northern Italy, the Dolomites is the name of a spectacular mountain range that covers over 346,000 acres. One of the most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country, this awe-inspiring alpine destination is a natural playground for hikers.
Because it’s fairly remote, the Dolomites can be tricky to get to with public transport. It’s much easier to rent a car and travel there yourself as part of a road trip. The journey itself is more than worth it – there are countless stunning mountain passes where you can stop and enjoy the view.
The Dolomites enjoy superb weather in August, making it one of the busiest times of year to go. To avoid the crowds, we suggest hiking early in the morning or late in the evening. Alternatively, you can follow some of the lesser-known trails that attract fewer people. Alta Badia, Alta Pusteria, and Val di Funes are all great choices.
3. Ride the Highest Cable Car in Europe in the French Alps
France practically shuts down in the summer, leaving you with much fewer options than if you traveled at any other time of year. But that shouldn’t put you off. While many businesses are closed in August, this warm and sunny month is the best time to enjoy the phenomenal beauty of the French Alps.
While they’re covered in a thick layer of ski-ready snow in winter, the French Alps are lush, green, and sun-dappled in the summer. This region of the country stretches on for hundreds of miles, giving you more than enough ground to explore.
For an incredible experience, we suggest taking a ride on the highest cable car in Europe in Aiguille du Midi. It takes you from 3,400 feet above sea level up to 7,600 feet above sea level in just 10 minutes. The views are absolutely sensational, so make sure you’ve got enough memory in your phone.
Other parts of the French Alps worth visiting include the enchanting village of Annecy, the magnificent mountain city of Chamonix, and shimmering Lake Leman.
4. Drive the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, head to Dublin in Ireland and follow the epic Wild Atlantic Way. Stretching on for a colossal 1,553 miles along the country’s western seaboard, this king-size journey is the longest coastal touring route on the planet. It wraps all around the western side of the country, from the north to the south.
You’ve got to be a confident driver because the route is filled with sharp, unexpected turns. But as long as you’ve got your wits about you, you’ll have an incredible time and see all sorts of fascinating sites you’ll be telling people about for years to come.
Because there’s so much to see, the Wild Atlantic Way takes around two weeks to complete. Lighthouses, castles, surfing spots, glistening lakes, whale-watching points, kayaking bays, towering cliffs, and fishing holes are just some of the fantastic places you’ll drive by.
There are plenty of opportunities to get out and stretch your legs, too, with loads of hiking, walking, and cycling routes along the way.
5. Have an Amazing Day Out at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark
There’s no getting around it – August is one of the busiest times of the year for Copenhagen, which means you’ll be sharing the buzzing city with plenty of other visitors. But the reason it’s so busy is that there’s so much going on! The weather is reliably warm, sunny, and dry in August, making it an excellent time to visit Tivoli Gardens.
This theme park is located in the beating heart of the city and features the perfect balance of retro fairground-inspired rides and modern theme park-style rides. Here you’ll find a Ferris wheel, a classic carousel, and mini bumper cars next to loop-de-loop roller coasters, drop towers, and scramblers.
If that’s a bit much for you, there are more relaxed parts of the park, too, including an aquarium, hanging gardens, orangery, bamboo forests, and loads of pretty lawns.
6. Stand Under Icy Waterfalls in São Miguel
Want an idyllic beach vacation but don’t want to be surrounded by crowds? Spend your summer in São Miguel. This Portuguese island is located in the Azores, far off the western coast of mainland Portugal, and never gets as busy as the rest of Europe – even in the middle of summer.
As one of the best places to visit in Europe in August, this stunning island enjoys long sunny days with high temperatures and no rainfall, making it the perfect choice for a summer vacation. Once rumored to be the lost Island of Atlantis, São Miguel is a nature lover’s paradise. Here you’ll find tumbling waterfalls, bubbling hot springs, and lush, humid jungles you’d never expect to find in Europe.
At 131 feet, the Salto da Farinha Waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls on the island. But our favorite is the Poço Azul waterfalls, which cascade into crystal-clear pools that are perfect for swimming.
One quirky piece of info about the island is that it’s absolutely teeming with cows. These gentle giants live a wonderful life in São Miguel, drinking from the natural springs and grazing on green meadows.
7. Learn About Austria’s Culture at the Salzburg Festival
Salzburg is a gorgeous city to visit at any time of year, but it’s at its most beautiful in August. During this month, this captivating city is known for its clear blue skies, thick green trees, shimmering blue river, and the colorful wildflowers that line it.
This picture-perfect paradise is also at its liveliest in August, when the ancient city’s squares burst to life with all kinds of intriguing festivals. The Salzburg Festival is, without a doubt, one of the best. Highlighting the city’s fascinating history, heritage, and culture, the festival encompasses opera performances, theatrical shows, and classical music concerts.
Shows regularly sell out – but don’t worry. There are usually several showings of the most popular performances, so you should always have a chance to see your favorites.
When you need a break from all the action, head to one of the city’s laid-back parks. Mirabell Gardens is a wonderful place to relax. In summer, it’s filled with a mix of locals and visitors, all reclining on well-manicured green lawns and enjoying the sunshine while recharging.
8. Be Blown Away by the Scenery in Iceland
Iceland is at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists, but the icy-cold temperatures are enough to put off even some of the most dedicated adventurers. If you’ve always wanted to visit the “Land of Fire and Ice,” make plans to do so in August.
Iceland is transformed from a snow-covered wonderland in winter into a magnificent, lush country in summer. At this time of year, you can admire the mesmerizing beauty of the Highlands (they’re only accessible June-September), hike around lava fields in Snæfellsjökull National Park, and go whale watching (the best time is April-September).
August is also a wonderful time for watching baby puffins take their first flight, going hiking over impressive glaciers, and visiting the relatively new Fagradalsfjall Volcano.
The Midnight Sun is another reason you should visit Iceland at this time of year. Although your chances of spotting the Northern Lights are almost zero in summer, the opportunity to witness daylight in the middle of the night is something that’s hard to turn down.
9. Unleash Your Cultural Side in Edinburgh, UK
Don’t handle the heat too well? Then Edinburgh is one of the best places to travel in Europe in August. This enchanting city enjoys mostly sunny weather with a mild average temperature of 59°F (15°C) and the odd rain shower in August. This weather is perfect for exploring the city’s ancient cobblestone streets and world-famous attractions.
From Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, and Calton Hill to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Lauriston Castle and Gardens, and the Edinburgh Dungeon, there’s absolutely loads to visit here. You can even swing by Johnnie Walker Princes Street and enjoy a whisky-tasting experience!
Scotland also boasts one of the most jam-packed August events programs we’ve ever seen. The Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival, and the Edinburgh Art Festival are just a small number of exciting things going on at this time of year.
10. Party Until Dawn at the Helsinki Festival in Finland
Picture Helsinki and you probably think of a freezing cold place covered in ice and snow. Winters can be incredibly harsh here, which is why summer is a marvelous time to experience the city. At this time of year, the average temperature is 59°F (15°C), but there’s plenty of sunshine, so it can often feel a little warmer.
As summer is on its way out, most tourists will have already gone, leaving you with plenty of space to explore the city streets without fighting through crowds. If you’re brave enough, go swimming in the Allas Sea Pool or, for something a little warmer, spend a couple of hours at the Löyly Helsinki Sauna.
Whatever you do, you’ve absolutely got to check out at least one festival while you’re in Helsinki. Flow Festival is one of the biggest and best. This weekend-long event focuses on house and electronic music, with big-name and up-and-coming artists from all over Europe showing up to wow huge crowds with their incredible music.
11. Sail Around Enchanting Islands in Greece
Greece is one of the most popular summer vacation destinations in the world. Instead of spending all your time in mainland Greece or on a single island, make the most of your time off by island-hopping between as many Greek islands as you can fit in. Not only is this a great way to see as much as possible, but it’s also a fantastic method of keeping cool, since the sea breeze will make temperatures feel much lower than on land.
Renting a boat and a captain to help you navigate around the islands comes with loads of benefits. Your transport and accommodation are covered at the same time, plus your captain does all the work while you soak up the sun, sip cocktails, and nibble on Greek mezze. Whenever the sun gets to be too much for you, you can ask your captain to stop while you jump into the sea and cool down!
12. Make Your Fairytale Dreams Come True at Baden-Württemberg in Germany
Europe is dotted with magical castles that look like they belong in a fairytale, and you’ll find some of the best in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Rent a car, hit the road, and get ready to feel like royalty as you stand before the imposing Hohenzollern Castle.
This landmark is easily one of the most unique places to visit in Europe in August when you can snap an amazing picture while the castle is surrounded by lush greenery. Heidelberg Palace is another one that’s definitely worth visiting. Although it’s technically a ruin, it’s in excellent shape and still has a magical feel to it.
There are loads of other must-visit sites within this sprawling state, too. Lake Constance is a wonderful place for water sports and hiking, while the university city of Tübingen is a charming place to simply wander and see where you end up. The famous Black Forest is an excellent spot for foodies (the region is home to 17 Michelin-starred restaurants!), and the riverside city of Ulm boasts some spectacular historic architecture.
13. Pamper Yourself with a Spa Session in Andorra
Andorra is probably best known for its snowy slopes that provide the ideal environment for skiing and snowboarding. But visit during August, and you’ll find the place looks completely different in the summer. This undulating mountain range tucked in between France and Spain boasts cool temperatures between 62°F (17°C) and 53°F (12°C), making it one of the best places to travel in Europe in August if you want to avoid the heat.
When you need a bit of a boost, make plans to visit Caldea Spa. This amazing spa is divided into two – a family-friendly spa and an adults-only spa.
The family-friendly Thermoludic boasts a panoramic rooftop pool, a huge indoor lagoon, Indo-Roman baths, an aqua massage space, and an Icelandic bath. The adults-only Inúu offers an outdoor lagoon and jacuzzi, a giant interior lagoon, and a relaxation space with deck chairs and soft music.
When you’ve had enough time to relax, there are still plenty of things to do here. The quaint town of Encamp is definitely worth a visit. This stunning destination boasts a gorgeous mountain backdrop along with historic architecture and so many cafes, bars, and restaurants that you’ll be spoiled for choice.
14. Cool Off in the River in Lavertezzo in Switzerland
Switzerland is another one of those places that many people think of as a cold country, with towering mountains generously covered in thick, white snow. While that’s true in winter, it’s the complete opposite in the summer. Lavertezzo is a remarkable place to visit in August. At this time of year, the average temperature is 70°F (21°C), compared to winter when it’s a bleak 33°F (1°C).
This picture-perfect destination is known for the glistening river that runs through the town. In August, you’ll see loads of visitors and families lounging on the smooth boulders that line the river and jumping in for a dip. It’s the best way to cool down in summer if the heat ever gets to be too much for you.
As well as enjoying a refreshing swim, there are loads of other fun things to do in Lavertezzo in August. There are historic castles and churches to explore, countless pretty gardens to discover, and even a tiny pair of islands surrounded by the vast Lake Maggiore.
There you have it! The 14 best places to visit in Europe in August. What’s your favorite European destination to travel to in August?
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