A paraglider enjoys the sunset in Rio de Janeiro

From books to sunburn via the brilliance of Brazil, if you’ve not booked your August holiday yet, we’ve got six late-summer getaways that may just surprise you.

For beach bums...

Short haul: Agistri, Greece

The tourist season winds down quickly in Greece, but time your holiday right and you’ll get warm summer sun and wistful whitewashed villages at bargain prices. To escape the last of the red-bellied tanners, visit lesser-known Agistri, an island an hour from Athens by ferry.

Seek out Aponisos to the south of the island, a secret cove of serene, see-through seas, slow-rocking fishing boats and a smattering of sun loungers. Yes, it’s a pebbled beach, but there won’t ever be enough people around to see you hobble over them.

There may be very little to do on Agistri, but that’s the point. Visit its shady pine forests, fill up on sizzling souvlaki (grilled meat skewers) and freshly caught seafood, and let all your worries wash out with the tide.

Agistri in GreeceAgistri in Greece
Siete Vidas / Thinkstock

Long haul: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fours years since the euphoria of the London Olympics, it's time to welcome back the greatest sporting event on earth to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro from 5-21 August.

All the action, including judo, synchronised swimming and - for the very first time - kiteboarding, will be focused around the vibrant Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood.

Better known as Barra, the region boasts 18km (11 miles) of tropical, white beaches - the best in Rio de Janeiro - and is a mecca for surfers, windsurfers and bodyboarders across the megalopolis.

Of course no Rio trip is complete without a visiting Copacabana. The city's iconic beach offers stunning views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and will play host to a number of Olympic events, including beach volleyball which will see midnight matches held for the first time. A carnival atmosphere is likely to ensue.

Rio de Janeiro, the 'Marvellous City'Rio de Janeiro, the 'Marvellous City'
Barichivich / Thinkstock

For adrenaline junkies…

Short haul: Buñol, Spain

The Spanish town of Buñol isn’t a typical tourist spot, but for one day of the year it draws thousands for La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight. Every year on the last Wednesday in August, tonnes of tomatoes are hurled out on the streets, which soon turn roads into a town-wide slick of gazpacho.

But don’t think you can just turn up in Buñol with your tomatoes and start pelting people on the street - the festival has become so popular that it’s now ticketed. Book yours in advance, else you’ll be left with nothing but salad for your entertainment. We also suggest that you leave your best threads at home…

La TomatinaLa Tomatina
Creative Commons / Lukasz Lech

Long haul: Kandy, Sri Lanka

Okay, you might not be the one juggling fire, thwacking ‘snake whips’ or carrying burning copra baskets, but just witnessing Kandy Esala Perahera, one of the most lavish spectacles in Sri Lanka’s crowded holy calendar, is a thrill in itself.

Lit by torchlight, look out for Maligawa Tusker elephants as the procession of bejewelled humans and tusked animals stride through the streets of Kandy, as traditional dancers and acrobats weave frenetically through the parade.

Taking place 8-18 August, a plethora of carefully orchestrated processions make their way through this famed city during the final month of the Yala monsoon season.

If you’re after a little for adrenaline-fuelled action, move onto Trincomalee on Sri Lanka’s east coast for snorkelling, diving and some of the best beaches in the region.

Kandy Esala Perahera takes place in Sri LankaKandy Esala Perahera takes place in Sri Lanka
Creative Commons / Vasse Nicolas Antoine

For city slickers…

Short haul: Edinburgh, Scotland

We know what you’re thinking: Edinburgh in August? We must be one clown short of a bloomin’ circus - but hear us out. Yes, the Scottish capital will be chock-a-block as some 50,000 performers swing into town for Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but we’re not asking you to seek out a backroom comedian or bolshie cabaret act.

Instead, book lovers should leaf their way through the excellent Edinburgh International Book Festival. Held at Charlotte Square Gardens from 13-29 August, entry is free, and you’ll just dole out for the talks and workshops that you fancy.

From Ben Aaronovitch to Ghassan Zaqtan via poet-turned-rapper-turned-author Kate Tempest, there are over 800 writers on the bill meaning you’ll definitely find something to entertain you - even if it’s just lying in the sun with a new novel.

Edinburgh in AugustEdinburgh in August
Ramonespelt / Thinkstock

Long haul: Memphis, USA

Nearly 40 years since Elvis Presley left the building for the very last time, the King still commands the same faithful following in death as he did in life. He'll be remembered at the 38th annual Elvis Week from 8-16 August at Graceland, his former home and 5-hectare (13-acre) estate in Memphis.

Built on the bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, Tennessee's largest city was once named the poorest in the USA but has been experiencing something of a reversal of fortunes lately, fuelled by a growing international interest in its rich cultural heritage.

Music-lovers flock to the birthplace of the blues and Sun City Studios, which opens its vaults to reveal the origins of rock 'n' roll, while avid foodies come to source some of the finest examples of Southern food in any US city.

Crooner wannabes will travel miles to battle it out for the title of ‘Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist', before Elvis Week culminates with a stirring candlelight vigil as more than 30,000 diehard fans carry a flame up the iconic Graceland driveway to Elvis Presley’s final resting place in the estate's Meditation Garden.

Memphis, TennesseeMemphis, Tennessee
Thinkstock / Thinkstock



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.