California is home of the water jet pack

From trumpet festivals in Serbia to jet packing in California, we round up the best trips to take this August. 

For beach bums

Short haul: Killybegs, Ireland

Ireland’s beaches have some of the cleanest water in Europe according to a recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency, and Fintra Beach, just outside the fishing town of Killybegs in Southern Donegal, is a superb spot for a dip.

Fintra is one of the nicest and safest beaches in IrelandFintra is one of the nicest and safest beaches in Ireland

This 1km (0.62-mile) beach is lined with sand dunes and remains relatively quiet, even in the summer months. Not only does the beach benefit from rugged natural beauty, but from June until September, lifeguards help make it one of the safest spots to enjoy a dip.

After drying off, visitors can revel in the annual Killybegs Summer Festival, which is held every August. The event is a lot of fun with highlights including the annual Wheelie Bin Race and Strong Man competition, while more traditional aspects include the ‘blessing of the boats’ – a ritual to keep local fishermen safe at sea.

Long haul: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

With the World Cup over and the rowdy football fans long gone, August is the perfect time to visit Brazil. And if you’re searching for pristine beaches then look no further than Baia do Sancho, winner of the World’s Best Beach in Trip Advisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Baia Do Sancho has been voted the best beach in the worldBaia Do Sancho has been voted the best beach in the world
Creative Commons / Roberto Faccenda

The white sandy stretch is located on the beautiful Brazilian 21-island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site so perfect it looks as though it’s been photoshopped.

However, if it’s world-class snorkelling you’re after then head over to Praia da Atalaia. When the tide goes out at this beach, a tidal pool is revealed that is so precious to the local government that only 100 tourists are allowed to enter per day. Restrictions here are harsh (no make up, no suntan lotion, no standing) but if you are one of the lucky few granted entry to the shallow pool, a remarkable diversity of marine life awaits you, including lobsters, octopuses and small lemon sharks.  


For city slickers

Short haul: Guča, Western Serbia

Trumpeters from all over Serbia perform during the festivalTrumpeters from all over Serbia perform during the festival
Creative Commons / Dejan

Every year this tiny hillside community, a three-hour bus ride from Belgrade, plays host to Guča Trumpet Festival, the largest trumpet event on the planet. Each August, an estimated 900,000 people descend on the village to watch and listen as the very best in the business battle it out be named best trumpeter in the country.

Despite growing international popularity, the festival manages to effectively retain its native authenticity. Serbian restaurants line the main streets, serving up plates of pljeskavica, a patty made with two or more types of meat and onions, and endless glasses of slivovitz, a Serbian brandy, that’s as tasty as it is fun to say.

As the festival winds down, the rustic charm of this traditional village shines through. If you have time, venture into the surrounding countryside where hidden treasures like the UNESCO-listed Studenica Monastery will help vanquish the festival hangover.

Long haul: Levuka, Fiji

Levuka's architecture contrasts beautifully with its tropical settingLevuka's architecture contrasts beautifully with its tropical setting
Creative Commons / d&Im and Johannes Zielcke

The former Fijian capital, Levuka, had its colonial port area named a UNESCO World Herritage Site in 2013 and now, in the dry Fijian winter, is the time to witness it in all of its glory.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral, built in 1844, stands proudly as the jewel of the historic Beach Street. The Gothic colonial architecture contrasts beautifully with the surrounding mango trees, white shores and dormant volcanoes, creating a landscape unlike anywhere else in the world.


Levuka itself welcomed European settlers, and the village chief, known as ‘Tamana na vavalagi’ (father of Europeans), is a direct descendant of the original chief who welcomed the first settlers to the island.

If history isn’t your thing then head inland to Levuka’s luscious, jungle-filled interior that’s at its most green at this time after Fiji’s wet season. A short trek through the forest that’s home to the kula (dwarf parrot) ends with beautiful panoramic views of the Koro Sea’s surrounding reefs.


For thrillseekers

Short haul: Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Two people tackle Skaftafell Glacier Two people tackle Skaftafell Glacier
Creative Commons / Guillaume Baviere

Iceland stole the limelight last year as the backdrop for numerous Hollywood blockbusters including Star Trek Into Darkness, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Thor: The Dark World.

But the silver screen offered only a sneak peek at this incredible nation, which has much to offer thrill-seeking tourists this summer. Top of our list is Vatnajökull National Park, which is home to the famous Skaftafell glacier. Visitors can hike across this giant glacier, traversing dramatic ice ridges, exploring dark ice caves and wading through glacial rivers as they go. And all while trying to catch a glimpse of the huldufólk (hidden people), who are said to reside in the glaciers and rocks of this mythical country.

Long haul: Newport Beach, California

Jet pack flights last between 15 and 50 minutesJet pack flights last between 15 and 50 minutes
Kevork Djansezian / Thinkstock

Welcome to Newport Beach, California, one of the most chilled-out places in the world. Not the place for thrillseekers to be heading this August, right? Wrong. 

Newport Beach is one of only three places in the world where people can take flight on the world’s first recreational water-fuelled jet pack (yes, it’s an actual jet pack).

A 200-horsepower marine engine pumps out a thousand gallons of water a minute, generating over 420 pounds of thrust, which is capable of lifting passengers over 9m (29.5ft) into the air. You can fly, hover, turn and dive (yes, it also works underwater) freely over the waters of Newport Beach for 15 to 50 minutes at a time.

After safely returning to dry land, why not stop by at the annual Newport Beach Lobsterfest (10 August), which offers all-you-can-eat lobster and complimentary wine. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample the lifestyle of California’s rich and famous residents. 


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.