Where to go in August 2014: The Best August Travel Experiences
For all other months, go here: The Best Travel Experiences
The August Edition of the Best Travel Experiences series is action-packed. The best experiences have been handpicked and features the best travel blogs with insider information on how you can do these.
August brings the best outdoor weather to earth’s northern wildernesses offering pristine conditions. The hot weather in North America and Europe with the World’s largest beer floating event in Helsinki and Europe’s most unusual pool. Some unique african safaris are available with the Bicycle safari in Hell’s Gate and the flooding of the Okavango Delta allows a canoe safari as the animals migrate there to enjoy the fruitful abundances.
Where to go in August: Just Plain Crazy Travel Experiences (Don’t Try This at Home)
- Riobamba, Ecuador – Ride Devil’s Nose clinging to the Top of a Train: ‘The World’s Most Difficult Railway’ snakes through switchbacks up the Andean mountains. Just like a movie, passengers can opt to ride on top. The treacherous track passes through tiny villages and beautiful scenery, gaining a highest altitude of 11,841 feet. Although Ecuador is known for eternal springtime and great most of the year, July-August are the best months for trekking in this area.
- Thingvellir National Park, Iceland – Dive Tectonic Plates at Silfra Lagoon: Incredible visibility and geology make this one of the top diving destinations in the world. Swimmers cross between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, switching continents with a flap of their flippers. Some tour companies offer midnight trips! Dive Silfra Lagoon
- Bunol, Spain – The World’s Biggest Food Fight: (August 27th, 2014) Bring tomatoes and join 20,000 people for La Tomatina. Around the main event, festival-goers can enjoy music, dancing and fireworks. It’s best to wear white because once the fight starts, over 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown through the streets.
- Kelabit Highlands, Malaysia – Eat Monkey in the Jungle: Trekking in this area has been described as “Hell in the Jungle” for its wealth of mosquitoes and leaches. Travelling during the dry season from March-September helps. If you’re lucky, your guide will bag a monkey for dinner. Kelabit Adventure
- Pripyat, Ukraine – Visit Chernobyl, Dark Tourism at its Best: On April 26th, 1986, when the Chernobyl Nuclear Station Exploded, more than 100,000 residents in surrounding towns were immediately evacuated, never to return. Today Pripyat looks like a snapshot from Soviet life nearly 30 years ago. Visit this mysterious place for a taste of history unmoved.
Where to go in August for the Best Wildlife Encounters
- Okavango Delta, Botswana – Canoe Safari: Travel to one of the world’s largest inland deltas during August to take a mokoro trip. The mokoro is a traditional canoe-type vessel, perfect for exploring the delta and spotting many animals. The delta is home to the largest pack density of the endangered African Wild Dog, along with hippos, cheetahs, leopards, and so many more. Okavango Canoe Safari
- Papua New Guinea – Liveaboard to some of the World’s Most Unspoiled Reefs: Multiple locations off different islands of this nation offer everything you could want from a diving experience. With colors so vibrant, this area is known as a photographer’s paradise, boasting many international award-winning photos from its waters. Take a live-aboard trip for the full experience. Travelers can dive year-round but the water is warmer from May-November.
- Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya – Bicycle Safari: For an independent adventure, rent bikes and explore the park at your own pace. No guide or motor-powered vehicle required. The dry season through August brings the best chance to see animals, and good weather to add a hike through the gorge within the park. Hells Gate Bike Safari
- Island of Rhodes, Greece – Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes): Thousands of beautiful butterflies travel to this valley in August to reproduce, creating one of the most attractive sights in the country. Enjoy the view but be careful not to disturb the butterfly’s sensitive lifecycle.
- Serra de Canastra, Brazil – See the Giant Anteater: Navigate cascading waterfalls to track the unique ‘Ant Bear.’ This area is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its stunning beauty. August and September offer the best weather for animal-finding expeditions.
- Alaska, USA – Bay of Pillars: This nature-lover’s paradise is home to lumbering bears, majestic bald eagles, glimmering fish and so many more spectacular species. Arrive by seaplane from Sitka and immerse yourself in tranquil surroundings. Wake up early to catch the haunting fog that invades the pine trees around the bay in the morning. Bay of Pillars Alaska
Where to go in August for Summer Parties
- Helsinki, Finland – The World’s Largest Beer Floating Event (Kaljakellunta): (August 1, 2014) Lovers of beer, nature, and fun unite on the Kerava River. Participants travel by decked-out rubber boats while enjoying all the drinks they can bring without sinking. The date of the festival is announced on social media as the end of July approaches. It is organized through social media, so sign up is through a Facebook Page
- Berlin, Germany – Europe’s Most Unusual Pool (The Bathing Ship): Escape the summer sun in one of the world’s most unusual pools. The pool was created as an art project from the hull of a vessel in 2004. With a bar and often a DJ spinning music, this is the perfect summer escape. Bandeschiff Most Unusual Pool
- Key West, Florida, USA – Lobsterfest: (August 7-10th, 2014) Private boats enjoy a small window before commercial lobster season opens. With the right “tickling” technique, you can bag more lobsters that you can eat in a week. Possibly the most gluttonous party of the summer includes a lobster boil, a bar crawl (of course, its Key West), live music, a street fair and seafood brunch. Key West is a great place for watersports too! Key West Watersports
Where to go in August for Culture at its Best
- Torngat Mountains National Park, Canada – Live with Inuits and Join the Polar Bear Guard: There are no roads, no signs or campgrounds, and the park recommends you take an Inuit trained polar bear guard. This experience is for the rugged adventurer! Visit Torngat base camp to meet Inuit to travel with and share legends around the campfire.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – Buenos Aires Tango Festival: (August 13-26th, 2014) Dance the night, or many nights away! Take tango lessons, marvel at spectacular dance teams as they tango together, or cheer for the world championships of tango, held during the festival. Buenos Aires Tango Festival
- Omo Valley, Ethiopia – Visit Traditional Tribes: There’s no other place in the world like the Omo Valley. It is home to many different tribes of people speaking more than 45 different languages and expressing their distinct cultures through body adornments, piercings, scarification, paint and more. Look out for the Bull Jumping Ceremony, a rite of passage in the Hamar Tribe. The Tribes of Omo Valley Ethiopia
- Northern Territory, Australia – Mysterious Uluru (Ayers Rock): Known traditionally as Uluru, Ayers Rock is a large sandstone formation that holds outstanding cultural, spiritual, and natural significance for the Anangu people in the area View ancient carvings and paintings within the rock, or explore around the outside of this natural wonder. Visiting Uluru, Ayers Rock Also, The Ghan, an epic train ride, is a great option for seeing the scenic heart of Australia, as you can schedule a stopover in Alice Springs.
Where to go in August for Extreme Sports
- Pacific Northwest, United States – Windsurf the Columbia River Gorge: Strong summer winds funnel through the chasm between the mountains, perfect to ride. The gorge offers ridiculous scenery and awesome adventure as the only navigable route through the Cascade Mountains. Beginners should head to Hood River for windsurfing schools. Columbia River Gorge
- Wales, United Kingdom – Coasteering: The hottest adventure sport of the summer, coasteering involves swimming, hiking, and scrambling along rocks as you make your way along a coast. Wales offers many awesome opportunities to try this trendy sport. Check out Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Parks for routes.
- Nias Island, Indonesia – Surf a Perfect Wave: The internationally popular Sorake Bay has both right and left-hand breaks. Surfers can watch sea turtles swim below as they wait for waves, or travel to other close-by spots also boasting great breaks. After the tsunami in 2004 and an earthquake in 2005, this area changed dramatically but remains a gem for surfers and adventurers alike.
- Florence, Oregan – Sand Master Park: Looking for a cool new sport? Come to the world’s first sandboard park. Boards and sleds are available to enjoy epic rides and test your skills on 40 acres of sculpted dunes. Lessons are available for beginners.
Where to go in August for the Best Competitions
- Llanwrtyd Wells, United Kingdom – The Bogsnorkelling Triathlon: (August 23-24th, 2014) If a normal triathlon or the usual snorkeling experience is too tame, this event is for you! Run 8 miles, snorkel 120 yards in a peat bog trench, and finish with a 12 mile mountain bike ride. Individuals and relay teams are welcome to jump in the sludge.
- Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA – Pikes Peak Marathon: (August 16-17th, 2014) This award winning race weekend offers runners a chance to ascend the mountain (13.3 miles) or ascend and descend to complete a full marathon. Racers climb over 7,812 feet, battling rocky trails and altitude adjustments for the glory of this impressive accomplishment.
- Whitsunday Islands, Australia – Hamilton Island Race Week: (August 16-23rd, 2014) Australia’s premiere yachting event and a must-do among the international sailing community, this event takes participants along the Great Barrier Reef, through gorgeous waters and picturesque beaches between the 74 Whitsunday Islands. During the week there are plenty of on-water and off-water events for all to enjoy. Explore Wonderful North Queensland with Kids
Where to go in August for Outdoor Adventure
- The Boundary Waters, Minnesota, USA –Portage Historic Fur Trader Routes: Follow in the portage trails of French fur traders across a watery wilderness of over 1000 lakes. The area is pristine and access is strictly controlled, so you will not see too many others carrying your lightweight canoe from lake to lake and camp at your own private lake. For the more adventurous, sea planes can drop you far out to make your own path back. Boundary Waters Minnesota
- East Java, Indonesia – Hike Mount Bromo: The most iconic mountain in Indonesia and one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The top of Mt. Bromo blew off, leaving an incredible crater that spews white smoke. Travelers from all over begin hiking in the wee hours of the morning to reach the summit and relish its panoramic views as the sun rises.
- Papua New Guinea – Hike the Kokoda Trail: This epic trail through the wilds of Papua New Guinea was the scene of historic battles between Japanese and Australian forces during World War II. It is largely a single-file footpath that exposes adventurers to a host of elements and dangers. June-September are the best months to go for the cooler, drier weather.
- Pamir Mountains, Tajikastan – Hike the Roof of the World: Bike, hike, drive or ride a camel through unique areas of these beautiful mountains. Along the way, stop to see the museum for Sufi mystic and musician Mubarak Kadam Wakhani, and spectacular views from the Yamchun Fort. The trek is not without danger (landslides, fallen rocks, no guard rails) but the best time to travel is August for the weather. The People of Wakhan Valley
- Greece – Climb Mount Olympus: Set out from Litochoro, Dion or Petra to make your way up the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans. Refuges dot the mountain paths and August weather allows travelers access to the tallest reaches of the mountain.
Where to go in August for Natural Beauty
- Ireland – The Dingle Way: Ireland has over 30 long-distance well-serviced walking trails, but the diversity of the Dingle Peninsula’s landscape is what makes it an especially remarkable choice. The path travels from one lively village to the next, passing through golden beaches, rugged cliffs, dusty plains, evergreen forests, stone ruins, and fields that are greener than you even thought possible.
- Alice Springs, Australia – Hike the Larapinta Trail: This trail stretches 139 miles and boasts numerous notable attractions. The Ochre Pits along this path are made up of several layers of rock, ranging in color from red to gold. The magnificent sunrises and sunsets are reason alone to hike through the day and camp under the stars.
- Hveravellir, Iceland – The Blue Hole: Relax in the luxurious hot springs of this geothermal hotspot, amid one of Europe’s greatest wilderness areas. After soaking up the warm water, photographers can go wild, capturing awe-inspiring scenery.
- Skaftafell, Iceland – Svartifoss Waterfall: The fall is surrounded by ominous black columns of lava, giving it the name “Black Fall.” Its uniqueness and haunting outlay has inspired many architects, especially those building cathedrals. Visitors can hike through the area to see glaciers and other natural wonders.
- Styria, Austria – Bad Blumau Hot Springs Spa: Relax and rejuvenate yourself at this beautiful, environmentally friendly spa complex built over hot springs with the highest mineral content in Europe. Eat locally sourced food and enjoy sumptuous therapeutic treatments. An architectural feat, no two of the 2,400 windows in this establishment are the same.
Where to go in August for the Best Festivals
- Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA – Burning Man Festival: (August 25th – Sept. 1st, 2014) You haven’t lived if you haven’t been to Burning Man! This annual week-long festival is a celebration of community, art, and love. Upwards of 50,000 people attend to enjoy freedom of expression and witness the epic ceremonial burning of a gigantic ‘man’.
- Kandy, Sri Lanka – Festival of Buddha’s Tooth (Esala Perahera): (August 1-11th, 2014) This festival is a combination of two ancient traditions, requesting rainfall from the gods and commemorating when the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th century CE. Most beautiful dances involving culture, color and fire fill the town and elephants parade around in magnificent costumes.
- Cappadocia, Turkey – Hacibektas Festival: (August 16-18th, 2014) Saint Haci Bektas Veli was a mystic, leader of Islamic philosophy and founder of the influential Bektasi sect of dervishes in the 13th century. His life and dedication to humanity are celebrated in his home town over three days. Book early to stay in a cave hotel or take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia.
- Edinburgh, Scotland – Edinburgh Festival: (August1-25th, 2014) The largest art festival in the world and deemed one of the greatest shows on earth, this gigantic festival is not to be missed! With no artistic director, the program is shaped by the wide variety of artists who come to share their work. Edinburgh Festival
- Surabaya, Indonesia – Asian Fashion Week: (August 15-18th, 2014) If style is your bag, you don’t want to miss this unparalleled celebration of culture, collaboration and art. More than 32 Asian countries will be represented by innovative and exclusive designs.
Pic Credits: Tomatina, Chernobyl, Silfra, Devil’s Nose, Kelabit, Columbia River Gorge, Coasteering, Surf Nias, Okavango, Octopus, Petalouds, Bay of Pillars, Bandeschiff, Lobsterfest, Tango, Omo, Uluru, Bog Snorkeling, Pikes Peak Marathon, Whitsunday, Bromo, Kokoda, Wakhan Valley, Olympus, Dingle, Blue Hole, Svartifoss, Burning Man, Buddha’s Tooth, Hacibektas Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Beer Floating, Kite Surf
Which is your favorite? Have a Best August Travel Experience or a blog post to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below:
The myWanderlist Best Travel Experiences for Other Months
- Best January Travel Experiences
- Best February Travel Experiences
- Best March Travel Experiences
- Best April Travel Experiences
- Best May Travel Experiences
- Best June Travel Experiences
- Best July Travel Experiences
- Best August Travel Experiences
- Best September Travel Experiences
- Best October Travel Experiences
- Best November Travel Experiences
- Best December Travel Experiences
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