September offers many perks for travellers, regardless of their destination. In the northern hemisphere, the end of the peak summer season means cooler temperatures, fewer crowds and off-peak pricing, whereas in the southern hemisphere, September heralds the arrival of spring. From hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia to taking in a live fado performance in Portugal, these are our favourite September destinations and travel experiences:
As the most of Europe moves into autumn, September in Albania is still delightfully summery. The stunning coastline of the Albanian Riviera is dotted with idyllic horseshoe-shaped bays and pebbled beaches that are much less crowded than during the peak summer months. Take a morning stroll along Sarandë’s waterfront promenade, then head out of town to the sublime Plazhi i Pasqyrave (Beach of Mirrors), named for the way the sunlight reflects off its crystal-clear water. Further inland, the Albanian Alps are a dream hiking destination in September, cloaked in thick forest and dotted with icy lakes and tiny villages such as the impossibly beautiful Theth, which is surrounded by meadows filled with autumn colours.
September is a wonderful time to visit Ireland, delivering settled, mild weather and relatively long hours of daylight. It’s the ideal time of year for exploring some of Ireland’s 30,000 castles, taking in one of the many, vibrant music festivals or road-tripping through the Emerald Isle’s loveliest landscapes, taking in must-see attractions like the Ring of Kerry and the Giant’s Causeway, and hidden gems like Dursey Island and the Serpent’s Lair. Sample Ireland’s greatest export during a visit to Dublin’s Guinness Factory, and great Irish craic at the city’s legendary Temple Bar pub. Choose from a vast array of incredible hikes suited to every level of fitness, from the fairytale forest trails of Tollymore National Park to the exhilarating coastal views of the Ballycotton Cliff Walk.
Germany’s Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a popular summer destination in Europe, but as autumn tiptoes into the southwest corner of Germany this region becomes even more enchanting. Dotted with dense forests and pretty villages, you may find yourself wondering if you’ve stepped into the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale! You can live out your Disney dreams by visiting one of the region’s magical castles, which include the hilltop, storybook castle of Neuschwanstein. For centuries, the region has been renowned for its mineral hot springs and picturesque spa towns: a restorative soak in Bad Wildabad’s 19th-century thermal baths is the ideal way to wind down after exploring the Enz Valley. For an entirely different but equally traditional German experience, treat yourself to a stein of beer and a healthy serving of Bavarian culture at Munich’s famous Oktoberfest which, despite its name, actually gets underway in mid-September.
Warm, sunny days make Turkey a popular holiday destination to visit in September, ideal for enjoying a variety of experiences from lazing on an island in the Aegean to browsing through the market stalls of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. A guided city tour is a great way to see iconic structures like the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia, as well as hidden gems like the Basilica Cisterns and the Ottoman Bird Palaces. The centuries-old ruins and beautiful beaches of the Turquoise Coast are best explored aboard a traditional gullet, while the landscapes of Cappadocia are at their most captivating when seen from above in a hot-air balloon. Retrace the footsteps of ancient traders along the Turkish section of the Silk Route, take a dip in the mineral-rich natural pools at Pamukkale, and marvel at the centuries-old tunnels and houses that make up the historic underground city of Kaymakli.
September marks the beginning of the Moroccan autumn, when the soaring temperatures of summer have eased but the sunshine remains plentiful. Although it’s still a little too hot to venture into the Sahara region, you’re assured of an incredible Moroccan experience by choosing Marrakesh as your base. Sample delicious local cuisine at an authentic Marrakech restaurant, shop for souvenirs in the city’s bustling markets, then enjoy an evening drink in a rooftop bar as the setting sun lights up the ancient walls of the Medina. On the Atlantic coast, the historic port town of Essaouira offers beautiful sandy beaches and a multitude of water sports. The famous blue city of Chefchaouen, nicknamed ‘the blue pearl of Morocco’, is a photographer’s paradise: a cascading collection of blue-washed buildings interwoven with steep, cobbled streets. This tranquil setting is the ideal spot in which to enjoy the Moroccan tea tradition, which involves green tea, sweetened with plenty of sugar and enlivened with fresh mint leaves, and served in pretty glass teacups.
September in the Southern Hemisphere heralds the arrival of spring, and there are few destinations that are more magical this time of year than Argentina. In Buenos Aires, you’ll find a festival atmosphere thanks to major events such as ArteBA, a week-long art fair that showcases artists and artworks from all over the world. For wildlife lovers, spring is one of the best times to visit the vast Iberá Wetlands: the second-largest wetland in the world, this area is fast becoming one of Argentina’s major eco-tourism destinations, offering luxury lodge stays, boat tours and even horse-trekking adventures. At the heart of Northern Patagonia’s Lake District, Bariloche is renowned for its Swiss influence, with great spring hiking and amazing chocolate.
From the sunny beaches of the Algarve to the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley, Portugal is one of our favourite places to visit in Europe during September. In Lisbon, you can enjoy free outdoor jazz and fado performances in the city’s many parks, while the nearby Costa Azul offers a collection of peaceful beach towns, incredible seafood restaurants and the spectacular cliffs, bays and mountains that comprise Arrábida National Park. In northern Portugal, the beautiful riverside city of Porto is a mix of charming blend of architectural styles, cobbled streets and exquisitely tiled churches – the ideal setting in which to spend a sunny evening enjoying a hosted port and wine tasting experience. It’s only a 90-minute drive from Porto to the golden hillsides of the Douro Valley, making a day trip into this famous wine-producing region the perfect addition to your stay.
The autumn foliage season sees entire mountainsides in the US cloaked in vibrant shades of red, orange and gold, beginning in September with the northernmost states such as Washington, Vermont and Massachusetts. On the coastline of Maine, Acadia National Park occupies roughly half of Mount Desert Island, with a well-paved loop road that provides visitors with incredible views of its breathtaking fall colours, rocky coastline, lakes and mountains. Alternatively, an epic road trip through seven Western states will allow you to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes of Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree National Parks.
For these and more unforgettable September holiday experiences, talk to your personal travel manager.