Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

"Никогда не делает ошибок только тот, кто не пробует ничего нового." Альберт Эйнштейн ZMEY
Время на прочтение: 19 минут(ы)

The lazy, hazy days of summer are over — but September is the new January, they say, which means the time is ripe for new beginnings, and new adventures. See how South America is blooming: not only the jacaranda trees and their bursts of blue-violet, but the exciting high cuisine, design and arts scenes exploding everywhere from Argentina’s always chic capital to the Peruvian Andes. Looking for a final boost of D vitamins to carry you into the last quarter? It’s the sweet shoulder season for a number of exotic, sugar-sand islands. Or discover a new beach in Europe — the mercury stays high the further you explore south or east. Better still, there are sustainable ways to enjoy even the most opulent of these getaways. Read on for inspiration on where to go on holiday in September.

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    1. Galway

    Temperature: 17°C high; 10°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 1 hour 25 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+0

    Ireland’s most scenic city is a blast any time of year, but the Galway International Oyster Festival is an excellent reason for going in September. On the last weekend of the month, the beginning of the native oyster harvest is celebrated with parades, the World Oyster Opening Championships (really) and devotees slurping hundreds of the delicacies with stout and Champagne. Sitting pretty on the River Corrib, the harbour town has always been a favourite for its waterside views, snug pubs and super-fresh seafood. But today, it’s also a standard-bearer for west-coast produce, leading the way in local, organic, farm-to-fork cooking (see Michelin-starred Loam’s seasonal tasting menus). A bit of contemporary culture comes courtesy of Coffeewerk + Press: part third-wave coffeehouse, part art gallery, part design shop.

    Sustainable travel tip: Galway’s sustainable food scene isn’t just limited to Michelin-starred affairs such as Loam. Other pioneers include Tartare Café and Wine Bar (local, farm-fresh ingredients; organic and natural wines; compostable cups and napkins), Kai (as well as serving a daily-changing menu of local ingredients, the restaurant recycles all its waste, with around 25 per cent of it converted into fuel) and Dela, which grows its own produce, allowing for a ‘plot to plate time of minutes’.

    Read travel guide to Galway

    Travel Guide To Galway

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    2. Hermanus

    Temperature: 20°C high; 12°C low


    Season: spring


    Travel time from UK: 11 hours 30 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+2

    Less than two hours’ drive from Cape Town, Hermanus has grown from fishing village to popular seaside destination for good reason: it offers the world’s best land-based whale-watching. Come in September, when the Hermanus Whale Festival (27-29 September) celebrates peak season for southern right whales breaching close to shore. Though the fest brings heaps of entertainment – live music, vintage car shows, street food, kids’ activities – spare some time for exploring Hermanus beyond the crowds. It’s at its very best on gorgeous cliffside walks, secluded white-sand beaches (Voëlklip is made for picnicking), or at refined countryside restaurants – The Restaurant at Newton Johnson is set on its own farm, overlooking the winery’s vines.

    Sustainable travel tip: Land-based whale watching is about as un-invasive as it gets, and saves on pollution produced by boats. So, while plenty of operations offer whale-watching boat tours here, why bother when the view is so good from terra firma? Hermanus even has its own ‘whale crier’, who helpfully roams around blowing on a kelp horn to alert you to sightings.

    Read travel guide to Cape Town

    Travel Guide To Cape Town

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    3. Utah

    Temperature: 26°C high; 10°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 10 hours 30 minutes


    Time difference: GMT-7

    Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’ national parks live up to the moniker, but there’s such a thing as too much demand. Congestion at Arches and Zion is so bad now, officials are proposing reservations-only entry. Although those plans have been shelved for now, to really feel the magic of these landscapes you’ll need to escape the mob. September, after Labor Day weekend, is the sweet spot: the summer crush is gone, but temperatures are still moderate, so you can comfortably hike those incredible trails. This is American scenery at its largest: nothing but great rock cathedrals, blush-pink cliffs and rust-red canyons for miles. And with Under Canvas, you can camp right among them. At the site, which is 10 miles north of Moab, safari-style tents have en-suite bathrooms and luxe king-size beds, while mornings bring fresh coffee and cinnamon French toast.

    Sustainable travel tip: Though the ‘Mighty Five’ get all the press – and the visitors – Utah also has an impressive state parks system, with landscapes that vary from Mars-like stone forests (Goblin Valley) to bison-speckled beaches (Antelope Island). Visiting state parks takes pressure off the nationals and gives you a crowd-free experience, while also signalling to authorities that every inch of Utah’s wilderness is worth protecting (and they need to know, given the recent Trump-ordered opening of Utah monuments to mining and drilling).

    Read where to go in the US during Autumn

    Where to go in the USA during autumn

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    4. Istanbul

    Temperature: 25°C high; 17°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 3 hours 50 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+3

    Istanbul has always been a cultural giant. It straddles two continents and sits on a major branch of the Silk Road, so pretty much every marauder has left their mark here through the ages, creating a city that’s richly diverse in its art, food and mood. And every September, the Turkish capital proves its contemporary cultural chops with the art fair Contemporary Istanbul, where show-stopping installations, sculptures and canvases showcase the region’s most intriguing works. For more cutting-edge Istanbul, head to Beyoğlu, the ultimate good-times hood. When not at a gig, boutique shopping or bar-hopping, check out New Anatolian Cuisine at Mikla, where the lamb-shank dumplings with smoked buffalo yogurt might just change your life.

    Sustainable travel tip: Yes, you absolutely can travel to Istanbul by train, though it’ll take you a good four days. The route, however, is a fascinating one, in parts retracing the journey the Orient Express made back in the 1920s. Arrive in Paris on the Eurostar, then take a TGV Duplex to Munich (6.5 hours), and from here the overnight Lisinski sleeper train to Zagreb. Next day, take a train to Belgrade (seven hours), and spend the night there before travelling onwards to Sofia (11.5 hours, summer service runs direct until mid September). Explore the Bulgarian capital before the final leg, an overnight sojourn aboard the Sofia-Istanbul Express.

    Read our travel guide to Istanbul

    Travel Guide To Istanbul

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    5. Loire Valley

    Temperature: 22°C high; 10°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 1 hour 20 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    This UNESCO-listed river valley is the epitome of bucolic bliss. Little wonder French royalty of yore ditched Paris for its gentle pastures, scattering myriad romantic châteaux across the landscape, plopped amid sprawling manicured gardens or perched on placid lakes. As the back-to-school crowds filter out, take advantage and meander its villages and vineyards in relative peace. Plus, the first weekend of September is marked by the annual Vines, Wines and Walks festival, where visitors choose between various wine trails, led by local winemakers – so you can stroll, sip and chomp the finest cheese with the help of an expert guide.

    Sustainable travel tip: It could hardly be easier to reach the Loire Valley by train. After arriving at Paris Gare du Nord via Eurostar, take the Metro Ligne 5 to Paris’s Gare d’Austerlitz and catch any one of the Orléans-bound trains that leave the station every half-hour. Journey time to the valley capital is about an hour on the fastest trains.

    Read our travel guide to the Loire

    Travel Guide To The Loire

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    6. Zanzibar

    Temperature: 30°C high; 21°C low


    Season: cool


    Travel time from UK: 12 hours 45 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+3

    ‘Exotic’ barely covers it. Zanzibar is another world. Its beaches are mirage-like: salt-white sand, ocean toned electric-blue. Mythical, Unesco-listed Stone Town is an ancient maze built on trade between disparate cultures: Arab, Persian, Indian, European. The scent of cloves fills the bazaars, and gothic churches mingle with domed mosques and Persian hammams. Hotels here are smarter of late; see the waterside Park Hyatt, or Zuri Zanzibar’s thatched villas. September is dry – before the ‘short rains’ of November and December – and not so stifling at around 27°C.

    Sustainable travel tip: You’ll see a lot of operators offering the chance to swim with dolphins in Zanzibar – don’t do it. Tanzania is one of only a few spots in the world with no official regulations to limit the impact of tourism on its dolphin population, and bad practices abound.

    Zanzibar’s hot new beach hotels

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    7. Buenos Aires

    Temperature: 18°C high; 11°C low


    Season: spring


    Travel time from UK: 13 hours 45 minutes


    Time difference: GMT-3

    They call it the Paris of South America, but Buenos Aires has long tangoed to its own beat. Nothing feels quite like wandering the tree-lined streets of its largest barrio, Palermo, past rainbow-hued street art and bohemian coffee haunts, quirky galleries and fashion boutiques. It’s more seductive still in September, when the cold winter is easing off, but still-thin crowds largely comprise fun-loving locals and expats. Life-changing steaks and chic cocktail bars beckon at every corner; new — and hard-to-get-into — speakeasy Uptown BA recreates a New York Subway station. On the bright side, low-fare long-haul airline Norwegian just launched a direct flight from Gatwick, so there should be plenty of pesos in your pocket for bribing the bouncer.

    Sustainable travel tip: BA is a super-bikeable city and, even better, its bike-sharing scheme, Ecobici, is free to use.

    The best shopping in Buenos Aires

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    8. San Francisco

    Temperature: 21°C high; 13°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 11 hours


    Time difference: GMT-8

    Tourist-spotting is easy in San Francisco: just look for the people dressed for summer, teeth a-chattering. The City by the Bay is prone to chill winds and bracing fog, particularly in the summer months. September, though, is when the California dream kicks in, all clear blue skies and certified sun. Soak up those cherished rays with the tech wunderkinds in so-hot-right-now Mission district, where flamboyant sunbathers fill palm-dotted Dolores Park, and weekend brunchers order ‘organic pop tarts’ in the courtyard of a converted Art Deco movie palace, Foreign Cinema. Or do as the proper locals do and head across the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa and Sonoma. The vineyards seldom look better than when soaked in autumn’s warm glow.

    Sustainable travel tip: Farm-to-table is less a trend in San Francisco than it is a way of life. California is overwhelmingly agricultural, and the wealth of produce on the city’s doorstep means SF’s hottest restaurants all serve regional produce with pride. (Avoid Downtown tourist traps and instead head for hip ’hoods such as the Mission District.) Hiring a car to visit Napa and Sonoma? Do as the locals do and drive a Prius.

    4 San Francisco secret foodie experiences

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    9. French Polynesia

    Temperature: 28°C high; 22°C low


    Season: winter


    Travel time from UK: 23 hours


    Time difference: GMT-10

    July and August are the busiest months in French Polynesia. Hold out until September and, as well as having more overwater bungalows to choose from, the weather’s still heaven. No heavy rains until November; none of the later months’ humidity to force on the air-con. Just blue, blue lagoons and the kind of peace you only find at the end of the world. Though it’s the very picture of paradise, locals call Bora Bora “boring boring”. For a quick culture dose, head out of your resort and visit the pearl farms of quiet Taha’a, or meet the blue-eyed, giant sacred river eels of lush Huahine (but maybe leave it to your guide to feed them).

    Sustainable travel tip: Get out of your resort and look for local tour operators offering excursions with an eco bent. Nani Travels, for example, was founded by a young Tahitian, Alexandrine Wan, and offers the likes of helping with coral-reef restoration, e-biking around Mo’orea island’s pineapple fields and monitoring shark populations.

    Where to stay in the South Pacific

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    10. Albania

    Temperature: 27°C high; 15°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 3 hours


    Time difference: GMT+1

    It might not quite be the “new Croatia” just yet, but that’s part of the appeal — this Balkan gem has so far managed to remain largely off-radar. There’s always some hardy adventurer ready to be first, though; in the unspoiled Albanian Alps, Brooklyn native Catherine and her Albanian partner run five-room farmhouse Hotel Rilindja, a cosy oasis amid peaks and meadows, where evenings bring feasts of spit-roasted whole goat and fresh reservoir trout. Or escape to the Albanian Riviera for glorious golden sands and clear, cobalt water lapping craggy coves. In summer, the beaches are packed with fugitives from Tirana — but come September they’re back at work, while the climate stays Mediterranean and the Adriatic keeps warm.

    Sustainable travel tip: Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and only small pockets of it are benefitting from tourism: namely, the Riviera, and even then, it’s mostly in the form of day trips from cruise ships. Heading into the mountains brings you up close to more traditional, rural communities and puts your money where it matters most. While independent travel can still be tricky here, Responsible Travel offers walking, cycling, food and wine and cultural itineraries that don’t just focus on the coast.

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    11. Mexico City

    Temperature: 24°C high; 12°C low


    Season: wet


    Travel time from UK: 11 hours 25 minutes


    Time difference: GMT-6

    Massive, messy Mexico City has never been cooler. The lively capital’s young, artsy vibe is everywhere: at the colourful cafés clad in geometric-print tiles; in chic, farm-fresh brunches and craft cocktails blended with home-brewed botanicals; at the urban market in an old auto parts warehouse hawking local designers. Little wonder it’s World Design Capital 2018. September is the last drop of rainy season, which keeps this always-busy megalopolis short of tourists; what they don’t know is the rain tends to come at night, and in quick, sudden fits. By day, it’s 25°C and perfect for nibbling on street eats (pick your lime-doused grilled corn straight from the wheelbarrow) or exploring the city’s most fashionable ‘hood: leafy, bohemian Roma Norte. (yes, of Oscar-winning film fame).

    Sustainable travel tip: Mexico City’s traffic is notorious, so give cabs a miss and register with the Ecobici bike-sharing scheme or Grin electric scooter app instead. Don’t be one of those jerks who parks their e-scooter in the middle of the pavement when they’re done, though. Thanks.

    Mexico City design hotspots: the new names to know

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    12. Japan

    Temperature: 26°C high; 20°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 11 hours 30 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+9

    Cherry blossoms be damned. The madding crowds are less maddening in autumn, when trees brushed scarlet and gold make Kyoto’s sublime temples and gardens an even more precise image of perfection, while sunny skies sustain Tokyo’s bright summer mood. Dive into the urban frenzy — pinging Pachinko parlours, the rhythmic slurp of ramen bars, streets lit in video screen beam and neon — then find your Zen on sacred, misty mountaintops. Try the pilgrimage trails, remote shrines and steamy onsens of the Kii Peninsula while you can still say you were there first.

    Sustainable travel tip: There’s no need to hire a car in Japan. The country’s incredibly efficient rail network is super-fast, super-timely and super-clean. Buy yourself a Japan Rail Pass ahead of the trip – it can only be purchased before you arrive in Japan.

    10 cool things to do in Kyoto

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    13. Peru

    Temperature: 19°C high; 15°C low


    Season: dry


    Travel time from UK: 12 hours 35 minutes


    Time difference: GMT-5

    September is the best time for trekking in Peru — the last gasp of dry season after the summer hordes have packed up their walking poles, with clear, sunny days obliging those breath-stealing Andean views. But the Inca Trail isn’t the only hot-ticket pilgrimage around here nowadays. In 2018, chef Virgilio Martínez, of Lima’s Central (hailed the world’s sixth-best restaurant), launched what might be the planet’s most ambitious eatery. Mil restaurant overlooks the lesser-seen Inca ruins of Moray, just 30 miles from trekker gateway Cusco; the menu features only ingredients found here, a dizzying 11,500ft above sea level. The foodie odyssey continues in Peru’s increasingly buzzy capital, with two restaurants on the world’s top ten list, and plenty of charming hole-in-the-walls dishing out fresh, citrus-kissed ceviche. Better still, September water temps are best for sampling Lima’s surf scene.

    Sustainable travel tip: Straying off the beaten track will bring more sols to the people who need them most, and one place that’s especially true is Chaparri Ecological Reserve. On Peru’s northern coast, the reserve – home to rare species including the spectacled bear and the puma – is owned and managed by the local community. However, land speculators have, in recent times, aggressively attempted encroachment on this protected territory. Visiting is the best way to give locals much-needed resources to help them keep up their good work.

    The secret trail to Machu Picchu

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    14. Lisbon

    Temperature: 26°C high; 17°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 2 hours 45 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+0

    It’s no mystery Lisbon is so popular these days. What’s not to like? Afternoons are for climbing its seven hills in search of the best miradouros — terraces with poetic views over its pastel houses and red rooftops — while evenings are best spent in taverns that serve up sensational seafood fresh from the neighbouring ocean. Night-owls make a beeline for Bairro Alto. Lax open-container laws make the city’s central district a party — join and drink in the dawn. September has fabulous weather — averages of 26°C — and you’ll get the city to yourself, as the unlucky masses have gone back to school.

    Sustainable travel tip: Not only can Lisbon be reached by train from London in fewer than 24 hours, it’s also a chance to travel in style on the overnight Sud Express train, which has sleeper cabins with private showers, and a café/bar. First, catch the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the high-speed TGV to Hendaye, on the Spanish border (5 hours), followed by a night on the rails. Arrive in Lisbon refreshed and ready to go.

    The best shops in Lisbon

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    15. Morocco

    Temperature: 33°C high; 19°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 3 hours 35 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    Morocco saturates the senses. See Marrakech’s chaotic medinas; the raggedly isolated mud-wall towns of the High Atlas; Essaouira’s salty sea air and sun-dappled surf. All are at their finest in September. As the summer sizzle mellows, both Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts remain bikini-balmy, while the winter chill that grasps desert nights and mountain villages is yet to take hold. And a smart new crop of design hotels — typically airy riads with crisp courtyard pools, renovated by French fashion photographers and Italian aristocrats — makes Morocco an especially stylish place to lay one’s head. Fez, a vast, medieval warren of a city, has been busy restoring its ancient buildings and monuments, so there’s no end of historic houses, palaces and secret gardens, mosques and mausoleums to explore.

    Sustainable travel tip: You’ll see a lot of working horses and donkeys in Morocco – happily, many of them are protected by SPANA, an international organisation that works with some of the world’s poorest communities to improve the welfare of working animals, and to educate their handlers in animal rights. So if you’re offered a horse and cart ride, and the horse is wearing a SPANA tag (often around the ankle), go for it: your money validates SPANA’s efforts.

    Somewhere for the weekend: Essaouira

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    16. Ibiza and Formentera

    Temperature: 27°C high; 19°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 2 hours 30 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    Those crazy free spirits who spend the season out in Ibiza and Formentera breathe a sigh of relief when September comes. At last you can get a spot to shake out your towel on the beaches again, and a table for lunch at a beach restaurant without so much as a booking (even at Formentera’s famous Juan y Andrea). It’s all still hot, hot, hot, the closing parties are the clubbing highlights of the season, and hotels and villas suddenly become a lot more affordable — though you’ll still have to take out a loan for drinks.

    Sustainable travel tip: Embracing the White Isle’s natural assets is the best way to make a trip here sustainable. La Granja, for example, is a chic inland farmstead that serves slow food from its own biodynamic garden, and works with the Ibiza Preservation Fund to support the island’s organic farmers. In it for the beaches? Rent a solar-powered charter yacht from La Bella Verde and explore the coast’s quieter corners.

    What’s new in Ibiza and Formentera

    Where is hot in September? Our top 10 destinations

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    17. New York

    Temperature: 25°C high; 16°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 8 hours


    Time difference: GMT-5

    New York we love you, every day of the year, but possibly in September most of all. For the weather, for the new season, and all the fresher air of autumn and possibility of a new season and that new season’s styles, the way the city gears up again after sultry, away-on-Long Island August. (Yes, for that matter, Long Island is lovely end-of-season in September, too, from the Hamptons to Montauk.) Or combine New York City with an Upstate New York roadtrip to the Catskills, all that autumnal mellow mistiness and sense of nostalgia for a thing you never even had, listening to the Grateful Dead as you wind through the trees to your log cabin.

    Sustainable travel tip: Happily, one of Manhattan’s best neighbourhoods – we’re talking about the West Village, of course – is also a treasure trove of farm-to-table restaurants. Don’t miss Blue Hill (supplied by its own upstate farm, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture), Bell Book and Candle (which sources from its own rooftop garden), and Rosemary’s (which is just showing off, cooking up ingredients from both its own upstate farm and rooftop garden).

    15 of the best New York hotels

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    18. Sicily

    Temperature: 24°C high; 17°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 3 hours 10 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    When isn’t there a good time to go to Sicily? The warm wind that blows across the Mediterranean from Africa keeps Italy’s sunniest, most richly cultured island hot well into autumn (you might still get a heatwave), though its wild and beautiful beaches are never crowded in September; yet it’s cool enough for exploring the labyrinthine streets of its enchanting baroque towns. Memorable meals are to be had everywhere — September is a fine time for fruit and produce from Etna’s rich national park; and there’s no problem getting a room in Sicily’s most charming boutique hotels.

    Sustainable travel tip: Cool fact: you can travel to Sicily by rail, aboard an InterCity train that’s loaded onto a ferry for the seafaring part of the journey. True story! Arrive in Paris via Eurostar, then take the overnight Thello sleeper to Milan. From here, you can catch an InterCity sleeper service to several Sicilian destinations: Messina, Catania, Siracuse or Palermo (choosing Messina means you’ll disembark in time for lunch). Sound complicated? Railbookers can deal with the details.

    The best small and secret hotels in Sicily

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    19. Milan

    Temperature: 24°C high; 16°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 2 hours


    Time difference: GMT+1

    It is a surprising fact that it rains more in Milan than in Manchester. Still, never let bad weather stand in the way of a truly splendid city break. Go in September, which has the fewest rainy days of any month in Milan, and an average daytime temperature of 24ºC. Go new-season shopping and spend too much money on some excellent boots which will keep your feet dry and make you happy in the cold, wet months ahead. Or go to Manchester, and tell everyone that it may be raining, but at least it’s not as wet as Milan.

    Sustainable travel tip: Arrive fashionably slow, by train. Take the Eurostar to Paris, followed by the overnight Thello sleeper train to Milan. Beds come with a pillow and duvet, and if you book a sleeper cabin you’ll also get a towel, washpack, slippers, earplugs and eye mask, and a sink. How very civilised.

    Zona Tortona — Milan’s coolest new hood

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    20. Corfu

    Temperature: 28°C high; 17°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 3 hours 5 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+2

    The shoulder seasons — April-May, September-October — tend to be the most pleasant time to visit Greece and the Greek Islands. But blue as the Ionian Sea is, it’s still chilly in springtime — so we will plump for September in Corfu, when our morning swim is a warm and delicious affair, when the island’s forested hills are still green for afternoon dozes beneath the oaks and olive trees.

    Sustainable travel tip: If Greece was hit hard by the financial crisis – and it was – rural Greece was hit worst. The exodus to the cities has only become more pronounced, and the few who remain in the countryside have limited ways to make a living. Corfu, though, is the greenest of the Ionian islands, and that means agriturismos abound. Staying at a family-run farm, even just for a few days, helps keep old traditions and rural communities alive.

    Corfu: the evergreen Greek island

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    21. The Cotswolds

    Temperature: 19°C high; 9°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from London: 2 hours 30 minutes by car


    Time difference: GMT+0

    Simply one of the loveliest places in the world, at any time of year, the Cotswolds. Its loveliness wraps itself around you like the early morning mist among the orchards; its drystone cottages and honeycomb-coloured Cotswold stone buildings, ancient and eternal, clambered all over by rambling roses and wisteria; its trickling rivers and weeping willows and wild swans; gentle landscapes and the quaintness of its beautiful UK villages, and all those country-house hotels for a weekend break in the UK. September brings the harvest, when the local produce is at its best, and the hunter’s rich pickings are cooked magnificently in all of the best restaurants in the Cotswolds.

    For more ideas see our guide to the best things to do in the Cotswolds, and the best hotels in the Cotswolds.

    The best things to do in the Cotswolds

    The best hotels in the Cotswolds

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    22. Zimbabwe

    Temperature: 25°C high; 15°C low


    Season: dry


    Travel time from UK: 13 hours


    Time difference: GMT+2

    The original ultimate safari heavyweight is back in the game and is becoming the safari destination to watch. There are some fantastic new lodges opening up in Zimbabwe’s exceptional and little-visited national parks, and beside the Victoria Falls. September is one of the best months to go to Zimbabwe for game-viewing, when wildlife congregates around the diminishing watering holes as the temperatures begin to rise and rain is rare, and large elephant herds can be seen in Hwange National Park. It may be high season, but the parks here never get crowded.

    Zimbabwe: back in the game

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    23. Santorini

    Temperature: 26°C high; 20°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 4 hours


    Time difference: GMT+2

    Ask an islander what their favourite month on Santorini is, and they’ll likely tell you September. The boiling, broiling summer rush is over, the sea is warmer than ever and the skies are blue, blue, all day long, and the evenings are cooler in its up-steps-and-down hillside towns. September sunsets paint the town of Oia gold, and the deep blues of the Caldera seem heightened in these days of late summer.

    The best hotels in Santorini

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    24. Budapest

    Temperature: 23°C high; 13°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 2 hours 25 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    A grand and romantic city, Budapest, with a complex history and beautiful architecture. September is the driest month in the city, the days still warm. The evenings may be drawing in, but as night falls its cool neighbourhood ‘ruin pubs’ are lit up by fairylights and full up with a young crowd drinking cocktails outdoors in these pop-up bars set up in crumbling buildings. Ideal autumn pursuits: a wallow in its thermal baths, or sweet pastries and strudel in its wonderful cafés.

  • Where to go in September: 25 top destinations

    25. Barcelona

    Temperature: 26°C high; 20°C low


    Season: autumn


    Travel time from UK: 2 hours 10 minutes


    Time difference: GMT+1

    It’s definitely still sunshine season in September in Barcelona — temperatures average around 25ºC in the daytime, a balmy 19ºC at night. The locals are back from their holidays, but everyone’s still going to the beach and eating out and partying like mad to make the most of the last days of summer. Catalonia’s national holiday is on 11th September, when the city closes for parades, concerts and celebrations, and the Fiestas de la Mercè is a week-long festival, the biggest of the year, with hundreds of musicians and carnivals, performances and gigs, planned and impromptu, all over the city. And the hot new neighbourhood everyone’s talking about right now: El Poblenou.

    The best rooftop bars in Barcelona

    For where to go in other months, see our Holiday Calendar:


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