Summer's almost here! But where to find a great-value beach holiday in Europe? And how to escape the crowds? Here's where to holiday in August 2018...
1. Puglia, Italy
Best August holiday for: Authentic Italy
It might not be the glitziest or most well-known region of Italy, but Puglia is all the better for remaining under the radar. Even in the height of summer its beautifully rugged beaches and gorgeous masserias (farmhouse hotels) are relatively crowd-free - a remarkable contrast to the heaving resort towns of northern Italy.
Hire a car to discover the medieval walled towns and rolling countryside of inland Puglia, or fly and flop on one of the many gorgeous beaches along Italy's picturesque ‘heel'.
2. Bordeaux, France
Best August holiday for: Sipping wine in the sunshine
There's something about the rolling countryside around Bordeaux that makes a glass of its gorgeous local wine taste even better: maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the romantic setting, or maybe the French simply keep the best bottles for themselves?You can explore Bordeaux's best bits on our fabulous new foodie cruise with Raymond Blanc, which departs in August 2018.
Raymond will entertain guests with an exclusive talk, a cooking demonstration, and a lavish gala dinner. He'll be joined by wine expert Susy Atkins, who'll introduce all of the region's best wines.Drinking world-class wines in sunny vineyards, under a cloudless sky with excellent company... now that sounds like our idea of heaven. See the details
More like this: 8 European islands you must visit
Best August holiday for: A spectacular summer cruise
As your ship plies the glassy indigo waters of Norway's western fjords, you'll wonder why it's taken you so many years to visit Norway - and why this incredible country is still blissfully crowd-free.
Norway's fjords have crept from the sea into the country's mountainous interior, flooding the valleys between towering peaks. You'll cruise past thundering waterfalls and tiny fishing villages, and disembark to discover fabulous walking routes, seafood restaurants, and jaw-dropping view points. It's a bold, beautiful landscape - and the ultimate respite from Europe's crowded resorts.
4. Isle of Wight
Best August holiday for: A fun weekend break
If you fancy a long weekend away but don't have the budget to venture far, the Isle of Wight is a great choice for August holidays - especially if you've got family in tow. From live music to street theatre, the Ventnor Fringe Festival (7-12 August 2018) brings vibrant performing arts to the island, while Lendy Cowes Week (4-11 August 2018) boasts parades, food markets and spectacular sailing regattas.
More like this: 14 fabulous spring mini breaks & hotel offers from £90pp
5. South Tyrol, Italy
Best August holiday for: Losing weight in style
There’s no better place to kick-start your diet thanPreidlhof– a multi-award-winning five-star spa resort named the ‘Best Hotel Spa of Italy’. This South Tyrol retreat has an impressive 5,000 square metres of Spa and Wellness facilities, plus a Michelin-star restaurant where meals are designed to rebalance the body and promote weight loss.
Our exclusive offer includes a body fat & energy balance analysis, metabolic rate measurement, two personal training sessions and complimentary fitness, yoga and meditation classes, guided nature hikes and bike or Vespa rides. Guaranteed to make you feel brilliant! Join our5-day Preidlhof fitness retreat, from £1,595 including flights, full-board accommodation and fitness/wellness facilities.
6. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Best August holiday for: The world's best tango
While the weather is cool (yet comfortable) in Buenos Aires, the locals' dance moves are hot, hot, hot! August brings the International Tango Festival to the Argentinian capital - a two-week celebration of this electrifying dance form.
With free performances, milongas (group dances) and classes, this dance extravaganza is the perfect place to learn - or just sit back and appreciate - the sensual drama of authentic tango. Move over, Strictly!
More like this: 9 of the best fitness holidays (that do actually work)
7. Okavango Delta, Botswana
Best August holiday for: Safaris by boat
Where to holiday in August for amazing wildlife watching? You can't go far wrong with the Okavango Delta - a vast game reserve in northern Botswana, home to hippos, elephants, lions, leopards and more. In August, the wet season is in full swing, meaning the delta is flooded and the animals are active - making them easier to spot.
Take your pick from game drives, safari walks, and trips to see the bathing animals in traditional dugout canoes. As your boat glides silently through the reeds, your guide will point out the wrinkly hulks of wallowing elephants and hippos just a few metres away - a truly unforgettable, spine-tingling sight.
Best August holiday for: A far-flung escape
Where to go in August to escape Europe's scorching resorts? Head to Iceland - just a three-hour flight from the UK - where blissful solitude and cool (but still pleasant) temperatures await...
While Iceland languishes under cloud for most of the year, August is its time to shine - with midsummer granting long days to explore its smoking volcanoes, burping hot springs and splashiest waterfalls - and maybe even squeeze in some (rather bracing) beach time at Vik. This is certainly a summer holiday with a difference - and the kids will love it too.
More like this: Is this the ultimate holiday for Strictly fans? We think so!
Best August holiday for: Beach fun and great food
This peaceful isle has 2,000km of coastline, secluded gin-clear coves, and charming trattorias serving just-caught seafood and all the pasta you could possibly wish for. The Costa Smerelda is the island's tiny strip of millionaire's villas and glitzy bars, whereas the rest of the island is low-key and very local.
Don't miss the village of Chia, on the south coast, and its string of beautiful sandy bays. You're less than an hour's drive from Cagliari, but the vibe here is far-flung and natural. Bring a picnic.
All images from Alamy