Thailand is filled with tropical white sandy beaches and translucent water

Feeling Olympics fatigue? If you're not interested in this summer's sport-fest, check out our top August escapes. Ranging from Dubai desert safaris to chic Madrid city breaks, we have some fabulous ideas for a final summer holiday fling.

For the adrenaline seeker…

Short haul: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

There is only one way to properly experience the dunes of the Dubai desert: a jeep safari. This is a white-knuckle ride with a difference: prepare to hang on tight as your 4-wheel drive twists, turns, plummets and plunges down near vertiginous mountains of sun-baked sand.

Dubai Desert SafariGet ready for the thrilling twists and turns of the desert safari
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After your hair-raising ride, expect to be treated to a barbecue dinner around a campfire, accompanied by a belly dance show. Afterwards, as the last sliver of sun disappears, steel yourself for the next leg of your adventure. With a sand board under your arm, climb up to the highest dune in sight and whizz down in sheer blackness at high speed. Exhilarating stuff; only for the brave-hearted.

Long haul: Tanzania, Africa

Reach new heights in Tanzania with a hot-air balloon ride as you soar over the plains of the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park. Keep an eye out for lions, giraffe, wildebeest, warthogs, elephants, monkeys and rivers filled with crocodiles and hippos as you soar above the tree tops for the ultimate safari experience.

For committed adrenaline-seekers, consider the trek to the top of 5,985m-high (19,341ft) Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. Escape from the heat of the valleys and book a five-day hike through lush mountain forests, moorlands, alpine deserts to the stunning snowy summit. This expedition to the roof of Africa guarantees a lifetime of memories.

For the culture vulture…

Short haul: Madrid, Spain

Following Spain’s Euro 2012 win earlier this summer, check out the country’s capital for a city break brimming with culture. As everything in Madrid is close together, it’s easy to cram in sightseeing and shopping in one day. Your first stop should be Museo del Prado, a world-renowned museum with a vast collection of art masterpieces ranging from Bosch to Rembrandt. Next head for the Palacio Real, an opulent, 3,000-room palace in the heart of the city, before checking out Plaza Mayor. Squeeze in some afternoon shopping in the central part of the city Plaza del Sol, a lively cobbled square packed with shops and cafés. Smaller boutiques, offering clothes, shoes and accessories line the nearby streets.

Madrid FlamencoAdmire the traditional style of Flamenco dance in Madrid
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To unwind in the evening, book a meal at traditional Spanish restaurant Casa Patas. Once you’re seated and sipping a glass of fresh sangria, enjoy the remarkable talents of vibrantly-dressed flamenco dancers for a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Long haul: Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is home to the one and only king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley. This August marks the 35th anniversary celebrations of his death, a fitting time for fans to visit Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum packed with music memorabilia, Sun Studio where Elvis did some of his earlier recordings and Graceland for tours around the singer’s grand former home.

From 10 August, week-long celebrations in tribute of Elvis will get underway and includes meet 'n' greets with special guests, photography exhibitions and entertainment.

For the beach bum…

Short haul: Antalya, Turkey

Lined with luxurious, exclusive resorts, Konyaalti Beach in Antalya is renowned for its endless stretch of shingly sand and transparent blue seas, perfect when you need to cool off from average 40°C (104°F) temperatures in August. This spot on the Mediterranean coast is a hit with well-heeled locals and tourists. When you tire of sunbathing, there are plenty of restaurants, cafés and shops to explore, plus two nearby water parks. Boat excursions are also available from the harbour and typically include trips to Duden Waterfalls, plus local beaches and coves for swimming and snorkelling.

Antalya BeachGet a tan as you lay on the sunny shores of Turkey
iStockphoto / Thinkstock

Long haul: Koh Samui, Thailand

Thailand is peppered with beautiful, tropical island idylls but one of the most popular is Koh Samui. Encircled by pristine beaches, there are plenty of options for sun-worshippers. However, one of the best beaches is 7km-long (4 miles) Chaweng on the east coast renowned for its toothpaste-white sand and clear seas. Whilst it is far from secluded, everything you could need is close at hand to your sun bed from cold drinks and snacks to massages. When you fancy getting some action, hop on a jet ski, catamaran or kayak, while divers can admire the spectacular reefs of the Gulf of Thailand.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.