Top 10 destinations for travel in August

August is the month for family fun, with most kids off school. Our top 10 August vacations for the most part avoid the busiest places, and when they do visit popular family destinations such as Greece or Croatia, they tend to skip the hotspots. Small ship cruising and sailing vacations are idyllic in August, with endless opportunities to swim and snorkel at every anchorage. August is also a great time for getting up close to wildlife, whether you’re on safari in Tanzania, volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica or swimming with dolphins in the Azores.

1. Cruise in comfort in Southern Croatia

A small ship cruise is as chic as it is packed with culture and stunning scenery – and it’s the most idyllic way to explore the islands of Southern Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast. With just 40 passengers on-board, you can anchor in cosy harbours and coves that larger vessels can’t reach. Popular activities include tastings at island vineyards, tours of Dubrovnik and popping ashore for a walk, swim or cycle.

2. See Scotland by train

For a convenient, relaxed and scenic way to see the Scottish Highlands, go by train. A week-long tour on the West Highland Line from Edinburgh to Glasgow is full of Caledonian charm, and because it’s a tailor made trip, you can add in a stopover anywhere on the route. After reaching the coast following a ride on the Jacobite steam train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, you can add on a few days on the Hebridean island of Skye.

Our top selling trip: Scotland railway vacation
See all our trips: Scotland rail vacations
Read more: Scotland travel guide and railway vacations travel guide

3. Get active in Andalucia

This vacation in Andalucia features activities and accommodation as friendly to the environment as it is to families. You can stay at an off-grid hotel in rural Altiplano de Granada with a resident family of chickens and a terrace made for al fresco dining and stargazing. Spend your days wild swimming, paddle boarding, rafting, kayaking and canyoning with other families, or do as you please – tailor made itineraries let you relax however you like.

Our top selling trip: Altiplano de Granada activity vacation
See all our trips: Spain multi activity vacations
Read more: Andalucia travel guide and multi activity vacations travel guide
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4. Set sail along the Croatian coast

A small group trip, sailing aboard a stylish catamaran around Croatia’s Elaphiti Islands is especially popular with families with teens. They can sunbathe on deck or help with the crew, and while at anchor there’s a myriad of activities to enjoy in these beautiful islands. Paddle boarding, cycling, hiking, snorkelling and sea kayaking keep everyone entertained, and you might even see dolphins off the prow.

5. Swim with dolphins in the Azores

This Atlantic archipelago is world-renowned for whale watching. But the deep, dark waters around the Azores also attract a frenzy of dolphins which are content to have people swimming alongside them. Travel with a responsible company committed to putting the cetaceans’ welfare first, and enjoy one of the great bucket list activities: taking a dip with wild dolphins in their natural environment.

Our top selling trip: Swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores
See all our trips: Azores vacations
Read more: Azores travel guide and swimming with whales and wild dolphins travel guide

6. A Greek classic

Go on an epic adventure in the Peloponnese, a relatively untouristy region of Greece that’s great for multi activity vacations. Get your kicks white water rafting, sea kayaking and windsurfing, with trips suitable for kids as young as seven. And if you’re all tuckered out from fun in the sun, you can have a more relaxed day: wine tasting, a cookery lesson, or visiting one of many ancient archaeological sites nearby.

Our top selling trip: Multi activity vacation in Greece
See all our trips: Greece multi activity vacations
Read more: Greece travel guide and multi activity vacations travel guide

7. Baltic beauties

Soak up Baltic culture with a 12-day overland trip through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, taking in capitals, coast and Cold War history. Small group trips are a sociable and convenient way to discover a cluster of European countries that remains little-visited. Local guides provide expert commentary across UNESCO sites and national parks.
Our top selling trip: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania vacation
See all our trips: Baltics vacations
Read more: Baltics travel guide

8. Bear necessities in Romania

Small group walking vacations in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains immerse you in folklore, wilderness and wildlife. A visit to a bear sanctuary is bound to be an uplifting highlight of your trip, but you can expect to feel enthralled throughout. Roam Saxon villages, deep forests and tranquil mountain forests with a local guide who will show you that there’s much more to Romania than nonsense about vampires.

Our top selling trip: Carpathians Mountains vacation
See all our trips: Romania vacations
Read more: Romania travel guide and Carpathian Mountains travel guide

9. Turtle-y terrific Costa Rica

Perfect for families who like to help out on their vacations, especially those with kids passionate about conservation, this Costa Rica vacation finds you at a project on the Nicoya Peninsula. Between July and December, hundreds of sea turtles nest on the beach and they need a little human help. You’ll patrol by night, monitor nests, protect hatchlings and record observations when not surfing or relaxing in hammocks.

Our top selling trip: Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica
See all our trips: Costa Rica vacations
Read more: Costa Rica travel guide and Costa Rica volunteering vacations travel guide

10. Animal magic in Tanzania

Combine a few days on safari in Selous, Africa’s largest game reserve, with beach time in Zanzibar. Selous is twice the size of the Serengeti, home to elephants, leopards, hippos, crocodiles, zebras and lions, among many other fantastic creatures. After leaving your luxury lodge or camp, you’ll fly on to Zanzibar, where you can relax on its exquisite beaches, and snorkel or dive to coral reefs.

Our top selling trip: Selous safari vacation and Zanzibar
See all our trips: Tanzania and Zanzibar vacations
Read more: Tanzania and Zanzibar travel guide
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Arleen wiese] [Croatia small ship: Inera Isovic] [Sailing Croatia: Jonathon Smith] [Latvia: Sergei Wing] [Tanzania: joel herzog]