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Lion, Etosha National Park

Best places to travel in September 2021 & 2022

Whether falling in autumn or spring, September can showcase countries at their most scenic, from the green, lamb-dotted valleys of New Zealand and the wildflower-coated countryside of Argentina to Russia’s rust-hued city parks.

In Canada, the salmon run sees bears gather for a feeding frenzy along British Columbia’s rivers. Bhutan’s clear skies are ideal for hiking among its mountains, while similar conditions in Bolivia make for excellent photography around its salt pans. Spain and Turkey are pleasantly warm without the crowds of summer. And, in South Africa, you can combine regions while they’re at their best. It’s also an excellent time for seeing Namibia’s wildlife and stargazing among its desert dunes.

Festivals and events around the world in September

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Spain

Still retaining heat after its hot summer, Spain in September is pleasantly warm, mostly dry and sees fewer visitors. The air turns crisp at night, while days see clear, deep-blue skies without haze. It’s still warm enough to swim in the sea, and temperatures are more comfortable for hiking and city sightseeing, soaking up authentic Spanish life as the pace slows.

You’ll also have a chance to experience the wine harvest, perhaps timing your visit for the Fiestas de San Mateo — a week of parades and performances in La Rioja to celebrate the Feast of Saint Matthew and the grape harvest.

Vineyard, La Rioja
Vineyard, La Rioja

South Africa

You can visit South Africa at any time of year. But, with most regions at their prime in September, you can plan a varied trip that gives you the best of all worlds.

In the northern regions, including the Kruger, cooler, drier conditions make for excellent game viewing. Animals are active and easier to see as they gather around vital water sources, with many also giving birth to their young. On the west coast, wildflowers cover the otherwise dry and dusty landscape. And, you’ll have the best chance of seeing southern right whales, which migrate from Antarctica to the warm waters off South Africa to have their young.

White rhino, Kruger National Park
White rhino, Kruger National Park

New Zealand

As spring arrives in New Zealand, temperatures start to rise and the country begins to thaw. Snowmelt feeds waterfalls and rivers, making for excellent white-water rafting. The valleys are at their greenest, with wildflowers starting to bloom and newborn lambs skipping in the fields.

As with any time of year in New Zealand, rain is possible, but you’ll find September is far quieter than the summer months and you’ll have your pick of the best places to stay. Off the coast, you can take boat trips to spot orcas, while warmer temperatures on the North Island are ideal for following walking tracks through national parks while there are fewer visitors.

Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier
Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier

Argentina

Wildflowers, rising temperatures and active wildlife herald the beginning of spring in Argentina. September sees fewer visitors than later months, and if you don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures, you’ll find plenty to see and do and a wide choice of places to stay.

In Buenos Aires, jacaranda trees start to bloom and many sights will be crowd-free. You could also head to slower-paced Mendoza for some wine tasting — the region’s particularly known for its Malbec. Elsewhere, you can see southern right whales off the Peninsula Valdes, as well as a large number of Magellan penguins along the shoreline.

Vineyards, near Mendoza
Vineyards, near Mendoza

Namibia

Warm but not scorching or humid, dry and with clear skies ideal for stargazing among the desert dunes, September is an excellent time to visit Namibia. Having endured most of the dry season by now, animals big and small will be congregated around the vital water sources in Etosha National Park, making them easier to spot. You can drive yourself around the park for flexibility, or join guided game drives for extra insight.

Elsewhere, you could enjoy dune activities like sandboarding and quad-biking in the Namib Desert, kayak with seals off Swakopmund’s coast or head north to see desert-adapted elephant in Damaraland.

Sossusvlei, Namibia
Sossusvlei, Namibia

Bhutan

As monsoon season ends, Bhutan’s skies clear to reveal striking views of its mountains and valleys. While rain might linger at the beginning of the month, the worst will have passed, and the pleasantly warm temperatures are ideal for hiking. While this means that more visitors flock to the country in the latter half of September, Bhutan’s rigid restrictions on tourist numbers means it never gets too busy.

We can arrange for an experienced local guide to lead you along lesser-known trails and provide insight as you visit the country’s monasteries and dzongs. September also sees a few festivals take place in Bhutan, including Thimphu Tshechu, a three-day religious festival in the capital.

Taktsang Monastery
Taktsang Monastery

Turkey

As temperatures ease from hot to pleasantly warm, September showcases Turkey at its best. It’s still balmy enough for the beach and for swimming in the sea, the cities are quieter than in summer months, and conditions are more comfortable for sightseeing, whether in Istanbul or a further-flung region. You’ll also have a wider choice of hotels, some offering great value, particularly along the Turquoise Coast.

With attractions remaining open until mid-October, you won’t be missing out on anything compared to the busier summer months, whether you want to tour ancient sites, sample the country’s cuisine, or take in the landscapes and unique culture of Cappadocia.

Cappadocia
Cappadocia

Bolivia

Dry, sunny, and cool, September is an excellent month to visit Bolivia if you want to spend time in the great outdoors. It’s a rewarding time to go hiking in the country’s highland areas and for photographing the dazzling salt flats and Lake Titicaca contrasted against deep-blue skies. It’s also one of the best times to see the lakes of the high Altiplano transformed by the pink plumage of thousands of flamingos.

While the beginning of September can be fairly busy, visitor numbers dwindle as the month progresses, leaving you with a wide choice of hotel options and the chance to see Bolivia’s best-known sights without the crowds.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Russia

As Russia enters its autumn, visitor numbers lessen and it’s a great time for photography. The changing leaves add splashes of red, orange and gold in the city parks, complementing the bright onion domes of Russian Orthodox churches. You can explore museums and palaces with few others around, taking your time to soak everything in.

Temperature-wise, it’s still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities comfortably, from walking tours of Moscow and St Petersburg to cruises on the Volga River, weaving through the rust-dappled countryside. You might like to time your stay for Moscow City Day, in early September, which includes military tattoos, fireworks, music concerts, and street-theatre performances.

St Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg, Russia
Travel Ideas in January

Places to travel in January

As Christmas slopes into the distance, journeying to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time on a Caribbean island, a secluded Cambodian archipelago or Vietnam’s sandy shores. It’s also summer in Australia, a season celebrated with outdoor cinema screenings, festivals and sporting events.

In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch new-born zebra take their first steps, as migratory birds feast on the fresh grasses. If you’re after cooler climes, temperatures in India have cooled enough to make exploring its fortress cities comfortable. Or, embrace winter in Paris, where crisp, clear skies showcase the monument-filled skyline and fewer visitors make for an ideal Louvre museum experience.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in February

Places to travel in February

Whether you’re wrapping up warm to experience wintry activities like a troika (sleigh) ride in Russia, or looking to escaping the colder temperatures at home with a cruise along the Nile under sunny skies, February can make an excellent time to travel. A safari in Tanzania gives you a chance to see new-born antelope take their first wobbly steps, while warm temperatures in Argentina make it an ideal time for trekking in Patagonia.

We’ve shared some of the most popular destinations to visit in February below, as well as a few countries that you may not have considered, where you can visit key sights without the crowds.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in March

Places to travel in March

As winter turns to spring across the Northern Hemisphere, Japan’s blooms start to emerge, and milder temperatures coupled with the showings of early plum blossom make it a good-value time to travel here ahead of the peak season. Portugal also begins to warm, making it a good time for coastal hikes and city sightseeing without the summer crowds.

In South Africa, the wine harvests are in full swing and Kruger wildlife is at its healthiest among the fresh, green vegetation following the rains. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies show the beaches of Sri Lanka and Morocco at their best. Meanwhile, cooler climes in New Zealand makes March an excellent month to explore, with quieter walking trails, near-empty coastlines and a good chance of sunshine.

Places to travel

Harrismith Beach, Barbados

Places to travel in April

If you’re looking to go on safari, April is the best month to tiger-spot in India’s national parks, where you’ll also see a supporting cast of elephants, deer, and birdlife. For a coastal escape, you’ve got your pick, including Mexico’s Mayan Riviera and secluded Maldivian islands.

If you’re seeking adventure, this is the time of year to take an in-depth tour across Vietnam, or explore the highlights of Morocco at their best. April is also a month of festivities around the globe, from the Festa di San Marco in Italy and cherry blossom celebrations in South Korea to Caribbean regattas and music festivals.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in May

Places to travel in May

Across the northern hemisphere, May brings spring blossoms, sunshine, and warmer weather, but the summer crowds haven’t arrived to most destinations. In the southern hemisphere, the rains are ending and the weather is starting to cool down a bit.

If you want to get outside to enjoy the ample sun, you might hike in Scotland, look for wildlife in US National Parks, or take a water safari in a mokoro canoe in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It’s also a popular time for festivals, whether you’re in Venice to watch the mayor pledge himself in a symbolic wedding to the sea, watching jazz performances in Saint Lucia, or sampling single-source organic chocolate in Belize.

Places to travel

Herd of elephants in South Africa

Places to travel in June

The solstice at the end of June brings long days to destinations in the northern hemisphere, making it an excellent time to get outdoors. You can roam through Canada’s wilderness, hike in Germany’s Black Forest or soak up the sun in the French Riviera.

This is also a popular month for festivals. For example, Greece’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival lets you watch ancient plays performed in ancient venues, while in Peru, you can attend a festival celebrating the Inca sun god, Inti. The month also marks the end of the rainy season in places like Uganda and the Zanzibar Archipelago, where you’ll find well-watered landscapes bursting with life, but mostly sunny skies.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in July

Places to travel in July

July gives you many destinations to consider if you’re looking to experience them in their prime. Explore the great outdoors while the sun shines in the US’s northern states, Austria or Switzerland. Balance beach relaxation with culture or wildlife in Costa Rica, French Polynesia or Vietnam. Or, in Kenya, be among the first of the season to see the Great Migration herds arrive as they make their frenzied crossing of the Mara River.

July is also one of the only months you can cruise the Arctic or hike in the mountains of Ladakh. And, in Japan, you can escape the summer humidity in the Japanese Alps.

Places to travel

Mirissa Beach, Sri Lanka

Places to travel in August

Many destinations are ripe for a summer break in August. For a trip focused around wildlife, consider a safari in Tanzania, which experiences its dry season, a trip to Borneo to see turtles hatch, or a visit to Brazil’s Pantanal for a shot at seeing a jaguar.

Elsewhere, beaches are at their best on Sri Lanka’s north and east coasts, Iceland’s interior has thawed out ready for you to explore on foot and by superjeep, while northern Australia is dry, sunny and comfortably warm for hikes. Alternatively, you might like to soak up the culture in Luxembourg or the Netherlands, stay on a hacienda in Ecuador’s countryside or enjoy a family escape to Mauritius.

Places to travel

Lion, Etosha National Park

Places to travel in September

Whether falling in autumn or spring, September can showcase countries at their most scenic, from the green, lamb-dotted valleys of New Zealand and the wildflower-coated countryside of Argentina to Russia’s rust-hued city parks.

In Canada, the salmon run sees bears gather for a feeding frenzy along British Columbia’s rivers. Bhutan’s clear skies are ideal for hiking among its mountains, while similar conditions in Bolivia make for excellent photography around its salt pans. Spain and Turkey are pleasantly warm without the crowds of summer. And, in South Africa, you can combine regions while they’re at their best. It’s also an excellent time for seeing Namibia’s wildlife and stargazing among its desert dunes.

Places to travel

Amalfi coast, Italy

Places to travel in October

Whether you’re looking for spring blooms, autumnal foliage or prime wildlife-viewing opportunities, you’ll find plenty of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to travel in October. Below are just some of the places we feel are at their best at this time of year, along with our suggestions on the best things to do there.

You could make the most of excellent hiking conditions in New Zealand, go whale watching in South Africa, or indulge in fresh produce during harvest time in Vietnam, Japan or Italy. And, in many of our chosen countries, you’ll be visiting outside the busiest times of year.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in November

Places to travel in November

Sunny beaches in Thailand, wintry cities in France and blazing foliage in Japan — you can choose from a wide variety of destinations if you’re planning to travel in November. Below, we’ve selected some of the best places to visit, as well as some suggestions of what to see and do while you’re there.

Popular cities in Europe empty out, giving you free run of museums in France, Spain and Italy. Crowds also thin in Peru, so you’ll have more elbow room to enjoy Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Thailand and Vietnam both have sunny weather suitable for a beach break, while Morocco’s hot temperatures decline, making it a great time to explore the main cities.

Places to travel

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

Places to travel in December

In December, you can relax in a natural hot spring in Japan before visiting snow monkeys that do the same, enjoy a private tour of the Louvre without the usual crowds or nibble king cake in Portugal. The month offers a wealth of options across the globe, so we’ve listed some of the most popular destinations. We’ve also suggested a few you might not have thought of, where you can take advantage of quieter cities to enjoy sights that are often very busy.

Hike through caves in Vietnam, ply the Amazon’s tributaries by boat in Peru or just relax under sunny skies in Australia or the Algarve.

Places to travel