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The Best Places to Visit in August

From you’re soaking up the sun on an exclusive Mediterranean island to indulging in culture in the heart of the American Midwest, here are a few of the best ways to squeeze in a vacation before Labor Day.


By Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler

Is there any month more tailor-made for a vacation than August? The peak of summer is the perfect time to jettison all 9-to-5 obligations and indulge in a trip, whether you’re soaking up the sun on an exclusive Mediterranean island or indulging in some culture in the heart of the American Midwest. Here are a few suggestions of the best ways to squeeze in a vacation before Labor Day. This gallery was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new information.
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Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda is one of Europe’s most glamorous summer getaways, with stunning white sands and yacht-crammed waters off Porto Cervo. Development here was originally led in the 1960s by Prince Karim Aga Khan—the beach, Spiaggia del Principe, is named in his honor—and the scene he established continues today. Channel your inner billionaire by booking one of the newly redesigned suites at the Hotel Cala di Volpe; the hotel also has a new beach club, so dress to impress—think bikinis that were never designed to actually get wet. Another option: the Hotel Romazzino, which is set on a hill away from the beach in the middle of gorgeous, headily perfumed garden. This month includes Ferragosto, on August 15, one of the most important festivals on Italy’s annual calendar. That night, book in for supper at one of the new restaurants on Porto Cervo’s beloved Piazzetta—either the freshly renovated classic fish spot, Il Pescatore, or Novikov, an Asian fusion from namesake owner and Russian restauranteur Arkady. Look out, too, for the polo match schedule; just remember to wear wedges, not heels, if you want to divet-stomp.


Palma, Mallorca

[post_ads]Like Ibiza, Mallorca forms part of Spain’s Balearic cluster and, like its better-known sibling, there are two contrasting sides to this island. It’s a pity that the all-you-can-drink deals in Magaluf overshadows the chic, Mediterranean vibe elsewhere on the island, embodied by the brand new Hotel Mamá in the capital, Palma. Dizzyingly designed by Parisian interiors guru Jacques Grange, it’s a funky, 32-room spot with a private cinema and a rooftop pool. Stay here to explore the sophisticated side of the island, whether visiting the workshop and studio of Catalan artist Joan Miro, who lived for most of his life here, or areas like the onetime fishing hub of Santa Catalina which has been made over with cool boutiques and tiny, upscale restaurants. Don’t miss the revitalized red light district Sa Gerreria, either, which is especially lively on Tuesday evenings, when all the tapas bars offer cut-price pintxos and beer.


Highway 1, California

Last year was a tough one for California's Highway 1. Winter rains cracked a bridge on the northern reaches, disconnecting Big Sur from San Francisco, before a landslide in the spring further south left it entirely cut off. The bridge was reopened quickly, last November, but it took until the end of July 2018 to repair the damage in the south, near Ragged Point. Finally, though, the entire PCH is now ready to cruise again (always best done southbound, so you’re closer to the ocean). En route, dip in the hot springs at Esalen with or without a bathing suit; the architectural sugar rush of Hearst Castle, with an OTT interior that looks like the inside of Elton John’s mind, never disappoints—just skip the congested Grand Rooms tour and opt to explore the Upstairs Suites instead.
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Kansas City, Missouri

America’s newest public artfest, Open Spaces, opens in Kansas City on August 25, kicking off a nine-week program of performing and visual arts centered on and around Swope Park. Curator Dan Cameron has assembled an unlikely roster of venues for his wide-ranging program, ranging from conventional (the Kemper Museum) to unexpected (a disused Catholic Church, an antique store). He’s bringing major names in music, like Nick Cave, and art, including Rina Banerjee and Nari Ward, to the city to host workshops and performances in the historic Starlite theater, which will also be the site of a two-day concert to cap the fest in October, headlined by a mysterious KC-born musician making a triumphant return to her hometown. Stay at the brand new 21c Museum Hotel—also a venue for the art fest. Make sure to try some KC-style BBQ at the upscale joint Q39 and the Brookside Poultry Company where chef Charles d’Ablaing has earned accolades for his odd-sounding but delicious sour cream fried chicken.


Mount Fuji, Japan

[post_ads]For a couple of months each summer, from mid-July until the end of August, the snow at the top of Mount Fuji melts enough to allow climbers access. During that window, around 200,000 would-be mountaineers scale the 12,000-foot peak, aiming to see sunrise from its summit. Of the four potential trails, skip two of them: at up to 10 hours, Gotemba is the longest, and has significant stretches without restrooms or huts, while Fujinomiya can become congested, since it uses the same trail for ascent and descent. Better to stick with either Yoshida or Subashiri, which are less over-trafficked and both require around six or so hours of climbing uphill. The easiest way to organize a trip is via a tour operator like InsideJapan, which can coordinate overnighting on the mountain and provide English-speaking guides. Just add on a few days at the end in Hakone, the resort at the mountain’s foot, to rest and recover—an extended stint at the Tenzan onsen will soothe every strained muscle.


Etosha National Park, Namibia

Winter in Namibia is cold at night—you’ll definitely need a sweater for those early morning game drives—but the daytime's drier conditions mean that animals congregate at waterholes and so are much easier to see. Namibia has bona fides in sustainable tourism: it was the first country on the continent to build environmental protections into its constitution, and almost one fifth of the country’s landmass counts as protected reserves. The most high profile is Etosha National Park, home to around 500 lions, or half the country’s population, as well as birds like ostriches and vultures, elephants, and, of course, cheetahs. In fact, Namibia hosts the largest wild population of the cats in the world. If you opt to explore beyond Etosha, there are two new accommodation options to try: the just-opened Shipwreck Lodge from Journeys on the Skeleton Coast, right at the mouth of the Huarusib river or the freshly rebuilt, 8-room Serra Cafema Camp, which was reconstructed in collaboration with members of the local Himba villages.

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Asunción, Paraguay

During this landlocked Latin American nation's midwinter, temperatures average in the mid 70s and rainfall’s at a minimum. The lapacho trees that are so common in Paraguay burst into flower around this time, too (the bright pink flowers are the Latin American equivalent of Japanese sakura). Be warned that August 15 is a major national holiday. The country celebrates the Feast of Assumption, when the namesake capital (Asunción) was founded, with parades, concerts, and festivities. For an intensely religious commemoration of that same day, head to the small city of Caacupé, the country’s Christian hub and the site of old miracle story centering around the wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the church at Tobati. Make sure to detour to the southern settlement of Bella Vista del Sur, too. There, you can visit factories and plantations for the national drink, yerba mate. Though it’s becoming mainstream across America, this tea, made from the leaves and bark of a tree, originated here; Campesino and Pajarito are the biggest brands if you need a souvenir. Alternatively, to tackle the maximum in the minimum time, join an organized tour like this one from Intrepid, which debuts in August.


See more at: Condé Nast Traveler

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Travel Magazine: The Best Places to Visit in August
The Best Places to Visit in August
From you’re soaking up the sun on an exclusive Mediterranean island to indulging in culture in the heart of the American Midwest, here are a few of the best ways to squeeze in a vacation before Labor Day.
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