Looking for holidays in September 2018? These great autumn breaks provide sun, fun and adventure…
Best for… A bargain break in paradise
July and August is monsoon season in the Maldives, but the rains start to clear in September. There may still be some rainfall but it will be patchy, and temperatures will be balmy (in the high twenties).
Because the weather is less predictable, now is the chance to bag a bargain in the Maldives – a couple of weeks in a luxurious over-water villa, perhaps? Shop around: there are some great savings to be made, so you can bag a high-end resort holiday for a fraction of the usual cost.
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2. Scilly Isles, UK
Best for… An easy family beach break – no passports required!
Thanks to the warm winds of the Gulf Stream, the Isles of Scilly – just off the tip of Cornwall – stay warm and dry well into September. And with the summer crowds gone, September is the perfect time to hit the white sand beaches, cycle the bike trails around the islands, or get active on the coast with kayaking, SUP, and even snorkelling with seals.
The five inhabited islands feel wonderfully far-flung, but of course you don’t even have to worry about airport immigration queues or visas. Getting around is all part of the adventure: it’s easy to explore by ferry, and the islands look even more spectacular from the sea.
Top tip: The island of St Mary’s is the gateway to the rest of the archipelago: it’s a quick hop by plane from mainland UK – Cornwall, Newquay and Exeter.
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Best for… Great weather, and a fab view of the Great Wall
After the heat of the summer, September is the best time to visit China. Temperatures are still mild – perfect for exploring Beijing, meeting Chengdu’s pandas, or walking the Great Wall – and your views won’t be obscured by cloud.
If you’re cruising the Yangtze River, you’ll be rewarded with long days, cool nights, and clear views of the beautiful countryside. Our exclusive 16-day Great Tour of China holiday departs in September 2018, and includes all of these activities and lots more – plus a mini break in Hong Kong at the end of the holiday. See the details and book
4. South Africa
Best for… Whale watching and safaris
South Africa’s dry season falls from May to September, and generally offers some top-notch safari conditions. The animals congregate around watering holes, temperatures are mild (with no rainfall), and the malaria risk is low. In September, you won’t have to do battle with the school summer holiday crowds – so you won’t have to jostle to get great views of the Big Five.
Meanwhile, the coast of Hermanus – a small town in South Africa – is busy with southern right whales, who migrate from Antarctica to these warmer waters to give birth. Stand on the cliffs for the best aerial views, or sign up for an exhilarating sea kayaking trip to get really up-close.
Top tip: September is also the best time to see the colourful wild flower carpets of Namaqualand, in the far west of South Africa.
5. Europe’s big cities
Best for… City breaks without the crowds
The idea of a city break might not seem so appealing in summer, but in September – when the kids are back at school, the temperatures have dropped, and prices are lower – Europe’s cities are back on the map.
The weather will still be quite warm, so opt for an urban break with some great beaches (Barcelona), nature on its doorstep (Dubrovnik), or just some seriously lovely parks (Paris).
Best for… Sunshine and culture – without the sweltering heat
If you want a mix of great weather and bewitching culture, this is one of the best places to go in September. Morocco isn’t much fun in the summer: it’s ludicrously hot, and shops and restaurants close for the holy month of Ramadan (which, at the moment, starts in late May). In early Autumn, however, the cities exhale as temperatures cool.
It’s still sunny enough to hit the beach or pool, but you won’t wilt away while sightseeing or shopping. Our top tip for 2017? Head to Fes, where you’ll get hopelessly lost in atmospheric souks, sip mint tea in beautiful riads, and treat yourself to a beautiful hand-dyed leather handbag from the Tannery Quarter.
Top tip: Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday, will fall in the first week of September this year. Be prepared for some shop closures and shorter opening hours – and lots of celebrations. The focus is on family gatherings rather than big street parties.
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Best for… Wild long-haul adventures
The Argentine spring (from September to November) is the best all-round time of year to explore this magnificent country – from the cosmopolitan capital Buenos Aires to the thundering Iguazu Falls and spectacular national parks.
Head to Peninsula Valdes nature reserve to spy whales, seals and penguins, or the Lake District – in north-west Argentine Patagonia – to hike among beautiful wild flowers.
Top tip: It takes just over 15 hours to fly to Argentina from the UK, so you’ll want to pack as much into your trip as possible – but it’s definitely worth the journey. Be sure to toast your arrival with a glass of Argentinian Malbec.
8. Andalucia, Spain
Best for… Crowd-free beaches and wine harvest festivals
When the summer crowds have departed, Andalucia – Spain’s southernmost region – puts on its gladrags to celebrate the wine harvest. The area is famed for its fruity sherry-like tipples, as well as some lighter traditional wines, and in September all of the wine-producing towns – Jerez, Competa, Vinuela and lots more – host harvest festivals to celebrate the year’s produce.
This is the best time for gentle sunshine, lower prices and quieter beaches too. While the Costa del Sol’s coast can feel a little tired and tacky, head east to Nerja where there are still some lovely natural coves.
Top tip: Take some time to explore the whitewashed villages, high in the hills of Andalucia. Up here the views are magnificent and it’s a joy to wander the quaint (though sometimes steep!) streets.
9. Greek Islands
Best for… Bargain family beach breaks
Greece can be great value at any time of year, but September really sees some great bargains. The summer crowds are long-gone so the beaches are quieter, and hotels (which are entering the low season) are going out of their way to attract new guests.
This is a splendid time to explore Greece’s islands, which remain just as beautiful as they were in the height of the season – but now have much more bearable temperatures. You’ll find us island hopping in the Cyclades, plying the turquoise waters between the likes of Santorini, Paros and Mykonos.
Top tip: Lots of low-cost holiday companies offer package breaks to Greece, but make sure your operator is ATOL protected – which means that if they run into financial difficulties (which happens more than you might think), your money and holiday are 100% protected.
All images from Alamy
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