The Best Travel Destinations in Europe in August
With the European Union recently announcing that it will soon re-open for tourism this summer, it’s time to start planning that European getaway!
Whether you’ve been daydreaming about tasting Italian gelato in Rome, road-tripping around the other-worldy landscape of Iceland or maybe indulging in a croissant at a cafe in Paris, you’ve got options! Typically, August is one of the busiest months in Europe, but with things just re-opening, my guess is that most people will still be hesitant about travel and therefore it is likely to be one of the best times to travel. My bestie is on her honeymoon in Santorini right now and says it’s EMPTY since it recently reopened – so here’s hoping that you can have a slice of heaven in the Med this summer… without the crowds.
The following destinations are at their peak in August and can’t be missed!
Where to travel in Europe in August:
Hide from the summer heat in one of the many esteemed art galleries scattered around Florence, or wander the sun-soaked cobblestone streets while cooling off with ample Aperol spritz’s and cones of gelato. Climb to the top of the Duomo for panoramic views of the city, or catch sunset at the hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo. The real treasures of Florence, however, lie in the winemaking region of Tuscany just outside the city. Ride a vespa through the countryside as you hop from vineyard to vineyard, finishing off the day with a classic Tuscan steak dinner. If you have time, make a stop at the Saturnia Hot Springs (but go early to beat the crowds)! For a countryside stay you won’t forget, check out this unbelievable castle hotel, or rent out this entire villa with insane views that sleeps up to 9 people, or opt for go for this modern 3-bedroom villa in the little Tuscan village of Lucca.
The Cotswolds, England
One of the loveliest places in the world, any time of year, the Cotswolds are a collection of villages in the English countryside (one of the most well-known being the ancient spa city of Bath). The fairytale quaintness is unparalleled; with rolling hills, warm stone architecture, antique shops, large manor houses, and lively pubs and restaurants. An escape to the countryside and a nice hot cuppa is just what you need after a few days of fast paced city life in London. Stay at the Crowley Manor house if you want to be transported right into a scene from Pride and Prejudice (but with a luxury award-winning spa).
The French Alps
There’s something incredible about staying in the mountains in the summertime. Especially when it’s the French Alps. The air is clear and fresh, the surrounding peaks jut high into the clear blue skies and the nostalgic little mountain villages bring you back to a slower-paced kind of life. Whether you have lofty goals of hiking Mont Blanc, or just want to sip on some ‘blanc’ wine, the countryside is calling. Road-trip from Paris to Chamonix (stopping for a few days to taste wine in Burgundy). Grab a few bottles of Chateauneuf-Du Pape on your way to stock the mountain cottage (or to stock the hotel bar), and reward yourself with a glass after a long day of exploring. Make sure to check out the infamous The Aiguille du Midi Skywalk, “Step into the Void”- a glass box thousands of feet in the air overlooking the snow capped wonder of Mont Blanc. Stay close to it all in Hotel Mont Blanc in the adorable ski town of Chamonix – the summer prices are hard to beat!
The Azores, Portugal
When you think of European Islands, you don’t normally envision lush fauna, volcanoes and hot mineral springs… But, that’s probably because you haven’t heard of the Azores. This stunning Portuguese archipelago sits between Lisbon and the United States. When August rolls around, the whales roll in, making it the perfect opportunity to see these majestic and gentle giants up close and personal. When you’re not whale-watching, you can find unique “natural swimming pools” formed from the collapse of small volcanic craters. The Azores are comprised of nine islands, which to me most closely resemble the islands of Hawaii, especially when it comes to the black volcanic beaches. If you love outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and surfing as opposed to just lounging on the beaches you’re going to love it here. During high season there are ferries that connect the 9 islands, each of which has its own unique natural phenomena. For sustainable luxury, stay at White Azores on the largest island Sao Miguel, or maybe you want to connect with nature in an eco-lodge tree house at Caparica. If a private villa is more your style, check out this chic minimalistic 3-bedroom with ocean views.
Many travelers want to escape the summer heat, and if that’s a criterion you have then you should visit Amsterdam in August. With average highs in the mid-70’s, it’s the best time of year for strolling about and enjoying a pint outdoors. The city has endless things to do, like visiting the Van Gogh Museum or Anne Frank’s House, as well as exploring the Red Light District. Go for a canal cruise, eat waffles, and maybe even partake in some unusual substances, when in Rome! Stay at the luxurious, canal front Banks Mansion Hotel for top-notch service and location or go for a more unique experience and stay on this renovated houseboat!! SO cool!
Iceland in the summer is a land of magic: with the sun still up at midnight, the natural hot springs, and endless unbelievable landscapes/waterfalls. The summer temperatures are pleasant and sometimes even warm during the day, with cool evenings that will make you want to get cozy in a cute little cabin at night. For a more luxurious experience, stay at the highly acclaimed Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel where you’ll have access to the iconic healing turquoise waters of the Blue lagoon hot springs. Or if you’re feeling the cozy cabin vibes, check out this adorable mountain hut.
If you’ve never heard of the Spanish island of Menorca, then the locals would probably consider that a success. This Mediterranean oasis is best known for its secluded beaches, especially when compared to its much more popular neighbors, Mallorca and Ibiza. Menorca, unlike its rowdy neighbors, kept the massive resorts to a minimum to preserve the natural beauty and, boy, has it paid off. The entire island was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993 for its commitment to sustainability, protecting large parts of the island from being built on. There are more beaches with turquoise water and white sandy shores here than Mallorca and Ibiza combined. If it’s a luxury boutique hotel escape you’re after, you can’t get any better than Torral Benc – with its white washed walls, warm neutral tones and highly acclaimed slow food restaurant. If a private villa is more you’re style, whether you’re traveling with another couple or bringing the whole family along, this stunning modern villa has its own pool and sun deck.
San Sebastian, Spain
This foodie city is located in Basque Country, along Spain’s northern coastline close to the French border. One of San Sebastian’s biggest draws is the Pintxo bars- the Basque version of tapas. There are also 3 Michelin star restaurants to choose from; Akelarre, Arzak and Martin Berasategui (book as far in advance as possible). When you’re not wining and dining, Concha Beach is beautiful and great for lounging the day away. Zurriola Beach is the best for those wanting to surf! San Sebastian is also conveniently located to the Rioja wine region and the world renown Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, these make perfect day trip excursions! For a classic beachfront hotel, go with Villa Favorita or this incredible 2-bedroom flat with beach views!
Nestled between two high mountain lakes and surrounded by the Swiss alps, lies the picturesque village of Interlaken. The perfect location for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Interlaken is known for being the adventure capital of Europe. If bungee jumping isn’t your cup of tea, stick to the numerous gorgeous hiking trails or maybe visit the 13th century Oberhofen Castle. Either way, you’re in for picturesque Swiss villages and platefuls of well earned raclette! For a bit of old world grandeur, stay at the Hotel Royal St. Georges located right on the lake, or for a unique stay opt for the fun and eclectic rooms at Maison Bergdorf.
The getaway city to the Fjords, Bergen is also one of the most charming cities in all of Europe. It is the perfect stop if you plan on continuing to explore the northern Fjords towns. August brings warmer temperatures and long hours of sunshine to this northern fishing village. Tourists flock here in their thousands to see the colorful facades of these historic trading buildings along the water, but there is much more to do than just marvel at the surroundings. Head to an ice bar for drinks, take a fjord boat cruise, go on a food tour to taste all the unique Norwegian flavors and maybe even make it to a few museums. Hiking is also at its peak in the summer months, pun intended 😉