The 18 best places to visit in September in the USA, Europe and beyond

With fall beginning to set in, the best places to visit in September make the most of the waning summer sun

Comp image of the best places to visit in September, including Big Sur, Paros and Kyoto
(Image credit: Future / Getty)

From beach towns to romantic cities, the best places to visit in September boast thinning crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere. Though the intense summer heat has started to subside, September still sees warm and lengthy days in destinations across both hemispheres.

Extend your summer vacation with one last beach vacation on the golden sands of San Diego, explore the depths of Maine’s backcountry as the leaves transform, or immerse yourself in the complex history of the Incan Empire on a city break. However you choose to spend the last of those languid summer days, September’s pleasant weather and chance to nab some great holiday deals give you even more reason to discover one of these destinations.  

Here are our favorite picks, ranging from the best islands in Europe and the best European city breaks to lush, far-flung destinations. If you're planning a break for another month, we've also included information on the best places to travel for each month of the year.

Best places to visit in September in the USA

San Diego, California

Balboa Park at sunset

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Beaches and culture

Average high temperature in September: 25°C

With a pleasant year-round climate, this city on California’s Pacific Coast is best known for its expansive parks and sandy beaches. For a day in the sun, head to Mission Beach where there are plenty of golden sands and lively waterfront bars. Indulge in a day of fun at Belmont Park, a beachfront amusement park that remains one of Mission Beach’s main attractions, and ride the iconic 793-meter long Giant Dipper roller coaster. Those with a penchant for watersports can enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, and surfing at the other numerous beaches.

Dive into the city’s culture and spend time at the 1200-acre Balboa Park, a must on any visit to San Diego. Aside from a plethora of walking paths and immaculately landscaped gardens, this urban green space is also home to over a dozen museums, art venues, concert areas, and the renowned San Diego Zoo.

Top tip: Due to the massive size of Balboa park, there is a free tram that shuttles visitors within close proximity to major attractions. It runs daily with extended summer hours of 9am to 8pm. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here (opens in new tab).

Big Sur, California

Bixby Bridge at sunset

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Playing outdoors

Average high temperature in September: 25°C

Spanning some 145 kilometers between Monterey Bay and San Simeon on the rugged California coast, Big Sur is characterized by dramatic seaside cliffs, picturesque beaches, and plummeting waterfalls.

September sees warm and dry weather, which makes for an epic US road trip to experience this scenic coast and its roadside attractions. You can be fairly autonomous if opt to explore the area via car, making it the perfect solo holiday destination. Drive the twists and turns on the Pacific Coast Highway, the main road that runs through California’s central coast. 

Aside from the independent art galleries and picturesque eateries along the highway, make time for attractions like Bixby Bridge and the 700-acre Limekiln State Park. With picnic areas and a plethora of hiking trails, you can delight in the sweeping coastal views. Catch a wave at Sand Dollar Beach, and all throughout your drive, keep an eye out for migrating blue whales and humpback whales, as September marks the end of whale watching season here.

Top tip: Budget at least two days to enjoy the attractions of Big Sur.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here (opens in new tab).

Oahu, Hawaii

Diamond Head and Resort hotels in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Relaxing on the beach

Average high temperature in September: 27°C

Oahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, but it's also arguably the most popular, with the summer months seeing tourist hot spots like Waikiki Beach in the capital Honolulu teeming with sun worshippers eager to soak in its vibrant island atmosphere. September not only sees the scorching temperatures cool but also offers a calmer, less crowded, environment for visitors. 

The days are still long, with an average of nine hours of sunshine, and warm enough to enjoy water sports, swimming, and surfing, with balmy evenings that allow for plenty of alfresco dining opportunities, as well as sampling the island's many waterfront cocktail bars. 

Due to their huge popularity, the Aloha Festivals now take place over a two-month period, starting in early September and carrying on until mid-October. During the festivals, expect to see colorful processions with intricate floats and traditional costumes take over the islands' streets in a celebration of Hawaiian culture. 

Top tip: To experience a quieter, more rural side of Hawaii, visit the North Shore of Oahu where you'll find unspoiled coves, clear blue waters, and breathtaking hikes. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Hawaii here (opens in new tab).

Bar Harbor, Maine

The cliffs of Acadia National Park at sunrise

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Reveling in natural landscapes

Average high temperature in September: 20°C

Situated along Maine’s glittering Frenchman Bay, the small town of Bar Harbor is a popular launching point for visitors to Acadia National Park. Sail the sparkling waters of Frenchman Bay, and walk along the Bar Harbor Pier for a stunning view.

The town itself on Mount Desert Island boasts plenty of charming historic homes, independent boutiques, and kitsch souvenir shops. September is also when its trees transform into fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, making its landscapes more enchanting. 

Those heading to Acadia National Park can expect lush forests and craggy coastlines, as well as scenic hikes and a spectacular drive to the top of the 466-meter Cadillac Mountain for stunning views over Acadia National Park. The picturesque landscapes that make up this 47,000-acre park on the Atlantic coast are a playground for those who want to bike, hike, swim or fish.

Top tip: A national parks pass is required to visit Acadia National Park, which can be purchased online to save time.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for the USA here (opens in new tab).

Best places to visit in September in Europe 

Paros, Greece

Paros, Greece - one of the best places to visit in September where it's still hot

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Strolling around its whitewashed villages

Average high temperature in September: 28°C

Accessible via a domestic flight from Athens or boat from Mykonos or Santorini, Paros is one of the best Greek islands to visit in September. Temperatures are still balmy with a high of 28°C and an average of 25° - but, like many of the best places to visit in Greece, the heat is less restrictive in September than it is during the peak summer months. 

“Paros is best known for its unspoiled beaches and traditional whitewashed villages. Like all Greek islands, Paros draws its beauty from nature, with hillsides dotted with olive trees and the sparkling blue of the Aegean sea," explains Mariek Anselme, cofounder of luxury vacation rental company A.M.A Selections (opens in new tab).

"We’d recommend visiting Paros in September to avoid the peak holiday season whilst still being able to take advantage of the clear blue skies and average temperatures of 25°C – great for sunbathing with less humidity than July or August. Paros in September offers a quiet, more authentic laidback Grecian experience with more opportunities to interact with the locals and immerse in their relaxed way of life."

With its beautiful whitewashed villages, golden beaches, mesmerizing sunsets, laidback pace and unrivaled local cuisine, Paros offers the full island package. But if you're looking for something a little buzzier or a beach holiday, check out our guide to the best beaches in Greece. By September, most seas are warm after a summer of sunshine but the scorching daytime heats of the summer months have passed.  

Top tip: Spend a day (or night) in the neighboring island of Antiparos, accessible via a ten-minute ferry ride from Pounda port, Antiparos. This off-the-beaten-track gem is home to chic boutiques, laidback beach bars and rugged cliffs.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Greece here (opens in new tab).

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Santiago de Compostela, one of the best places to visit in September

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Walking the iconic Camino de Santiago 

Average high temperature in September: 23°C

One of the best hidden gems in Europe, Santiago de Compostela is a small, charming town heaving with history. The famous pilgrimage site hosts thousands of tourists every year, many of whom end their trail of the Camino de Santiago or Way of St James, in the town. The journey is undertaken by people across the world for a whole host of reasons and offers a truly unique cultural experience, even if you're not religious. There are many starting points for the route across France, Spain and Portugal but they all come together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago), in Santiago de Compostela. 

If you're not quite ready (or able) to undertake the walk, a trip to Santiago de Compostela is still well worthwhile. Not only are the temperatures in September pleasant, but it's a great time to people-watch as you'll see pilgrims and walkers from all around the world reach the final point of your journey. Then of course, there's all the culture and history that the town has to offer; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a must-visit, as is the Museo das Peregrinacions e de Santiago to understand the history behind the pilgrim's walk. While small, the town has a lively nightlife too - eat and drink to your heart's content in the hip area of Bellavista. 

Top tip: The full pilgrim's walk takes around 30-35 days to complete, but you can do The Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago - the last 100km - in around five days. Stay in the town for another two days on the other side and you have a unique and memorable seven-day vacation in one of the world's most spiritual places.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Spain here.

Verona, Italy

An aerial view of Verona at dusk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Celebrating love

Average high temperature in September: 25°C

Tucked between Milan and Venice in northern Italy’s Veneto region, the enchanting setting of Verona has long inspired romantic getaways. 

Famed for being the setting of Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet, visitors to the city flock to the tiny balcony of the 14th-century residence that’s believed to be Juliet’s home. Now, it’s a museum dedicated to the literary heroine. Fans of this passionate love story will be delighted to celebrate Juliet’s birthday in the city each September 16, when the Juliet Club organizes a host of festivities that include dancing, performances by street artists and musicians as well as film screenings. Immerse yourself in the celebrations by dressing in period costumes and parading across the city with fellow fans, and share a passionate kiss with your loved one beneath Juliet’s balcony on this romance-filled day.

While you're there, don't forget to try some traditional Italian dishes (the options are endless, but try tastasal risotto while you're there, made with tastasal, a local salami)

Top tip:  The Juliet Club receives plenty of mail from fans who detail their own love stories or ask for relationship advice from Juliet. Fans can also write a letter to Juliet by leaving a note on the Wall of Letters, beneath the covered passageway. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Italy here (opens in new tab).

Valencia, Spain

An aerial view of Valencia and its Town Hall Square

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Gorging on paella

Average high temperature in September: 28°C

Home to historic cathedrals and bullrings, as well as futuristic buildings that house cultural and scientific exhibitions, Valencia at once, exudes old-world charm and modern vibes.

Its charming Old Town boasts lively palm-lined plazas and must-see landmarks like the Central Market, Silk Exchange, and the Santa Catalina Tower. For a more contemporary experience in the city, head to The City of Arts and Sciences and explore the interactive science exhibits along with an oceanarium, IMAX cinema, and planetarium.

As a port city on Spain’s southeastern coast, Valencia boasts several beaches, with the golden sands of Malvarrosa Beach not far from the old town. Plan for an early September visit if you’re hoping for a beach getaway. 

As the birthplace of paella, those who visit Valencia can’t leave without sampling this classic Spanish dish. Made with rice, and dressed with saffron, vegetables, chicken, and fresh seafood in a flat round pan, the paella has become a symbol of Valencia.

Indulge in some retail therapy while you're there too, and check out some of the best Spanish clothing brands.

Top tip: Though Spanish is one of two official languages in Valencia, Valencian is the other dominant language in this region, which is a dialect of Catalan.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Spain here (opens in new tab).

La Gomera, Spain, Canary Islands

la gomera in the canary islands, one of the best places to visit in september

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Nature and tranquility

Average high temperature in September: 28°C

La Gomera enjoys a mild climate year-round, but August and September are the best months to visit when temperatures reach a high of 28°C

A four-hour flight from the UK or a 40-minute ferry from Tenerife, the second smallest of the main Canary Islands boasts a spectacular, wild landscape with volcanic mountains, lush rainforests, black sand beaches and cliff-top villages.

Loes Daniels, Co-Founder, Experiencegift (opens in new tab) recommends La Gomera as a must-visit during September. "La Gomera is a spooky, unique getaway and is one of the Canary Islands' most fascinating islands," he tells us. 

“September is the perfect time to travel after the busy summer season starts to decline. You can always able to find good deals and it is the perfect month to travel to avoid the crowds."

Grab your best walking pole and best hiking boots and explore the bewitching green laurel forests in Garajonay National Park. The Unesco World Heritage Site spans 4,000 hectares and hosts a myriad of plant species, often sitting below a sea of fog giving it a mystical feel. The sprawling, lush forests and mossy paths are completely unspoiled, though the park is well signposted if you want to visit alone. Alternatively,  book a guided rainforest hike to really explore the best areas, and get some historical insights.

Top tip: The island has over 250 hiking trails with options for all abilities - so don't be deterred if you're not a regular hiker. A good sunhat, quality trekking shoes and your best sunscreen is a must. The hot temperatures can sometimes be masked by the sea breeze.

September brings in cooler temperatures across much of Europe but it's still the prime month for visiting many cities. You might need to layer up for the below destinations, but they're still worthy of a place on this list. 

Galway, Ireland

Bridge over River Corrib and Galway Cathedral

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Knocking back oysters by the sea

Average high temperature in September: 13.5°C

If you're a fan of oysters, September time in Galway is about to go firmly on the bucket list. This picturesque Irish city offers beautiful scenery throughout the seasons, but September sees the destination really come to life with the arrival of the Galway International Oyster Festival (opens in new tab)

The annual event is always held on the last weekend in September in the center of Galway City and its residents take the occasion very seriously indeed. Since the event launched in 1954, the streets of Galway have welcomed over half a million visitors, who've washed down over three million oysters with champagne and stout, against the scenic backdrop of the Claddagh area, a former fishing village just outside the city walls. 

The festival aside, Galway's thriving restaurant scene is reason enough to visit, with neighborhood eateries Loam (a cozy restaurant and wine bar focusing on ingredients native to Western Ireland) and Kai (a pioneer for sustainability in the area serving laid-back, yet delicious, modern cuisine) well deserving of their Michelin stars. 

Top tip:  Head to the Latin Quarter to experience the cultural heart of the city. It's a hot spot for live music, with buskers on every corner and live music performances that spill out onto the streets. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Ireland here (opens in new tab).

Munich, Germany

A full beer hall at Oktoberfest

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Drinking steins full of beer

Average high temperature in September: 19°C

For beer lovers and enthusiastic partygoers, Munich in September is an obvious destination. Celebrated for 16 to 18 days at the end of September each year, Oktoberfest pulls in some six million visitors, all of who are eager to experience its beer halls, dance to lively polka and folk music, and gorge on traditional cuisine. Adorn yourself in traditional Bavarian dress by sporting lederhosen or dirndl.

Aside from being the site of Oktoberfest, Germany’s third-largest city is also home to a host of historic palaces and cathedrals. Wander Marienplatz, Munich’s central square, and explore New City Hall and Old Town Hall. Visitors can watch figures on the Glockenspiel dance three times daily in the tower of the New City Hall.

To take a break from the sightseeing and beer drinking, visit the 900-acre English Garden, and walk, jog, or cycle along its network of pathways that meander along the winding streams and around the artificial lake.

Top tip: Bring cash with you to the beer tents. Though there’s usually an ATM in each tent, lines can be long. Expect beers to be upwards of 12 EUR per liter.  

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Germany here (opens in new tab).

Best places to visit in September across the world

Montréal, Canada

Montreal's dazzling skyline

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Experiencing Europe in North America

Average high temperature in September: 19°C

As the largest city in Québec province, Montréal is a dynamic and cosmopolitan hub. Wander along the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal, an enclave of trendy hotels, restaurants and hip galleries that have been converted from buildings that date back to the 17th century. The high concentration of historic sites in this area, including the city’s crown jewel of Notre Dame Basilica, means that Old Montréal can be easily explored on foot. From there, find your way to the live promenade by the Saint Lawrence River in the Old Port of Montréal.

The best panoramic view of the city can be found atop the 233-meter high Parc du Mont-Royal. As Montréal’s favorite urban green space, the manicured grounds provide a tranquil space for visitors to take a break from sightseeing.

Montréal is also home to one of the world's most amazing gardens, Montréal's Botanical Garden, which boasts ten exhibition greenhouses, each filled with a different horticultural collection.

Top tip:  From bagels to loaded poutine to breakfast pizzas, Montréal is a city that loves its brunch. Come hungry and visit the ever-popular St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel. Don’t miss the indulgent breakfast poutine at Fabergé. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Canada here (opens in new tab).

Barbados

Barbados, one of the best places to visit in September

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Swimming with sea turtles

Average high temperature in September: 31°C

Barbados isn't somewhere you immediately think of when planning a trip in September. While it's true there can be heavy showers, they're normally brief and pass quickly to reveal clear blue skies and blistering sunshine. And because its less popular in September, you can often find brilliant travel deals.

George Hammerton, Director of Hammerton Barbados (opens in new tab), says: "September is one of the best times to visit Barbados. Most people think of visiting in the 'peak season' between mid-December and mid-April when the weather is at its hottest. But, actually, prices are at their lowest in September and the weather is still fantastic with plenty of sunshine and a gloriously warm sea. 

"The reason that I think September is one of the best times to visit Barbados though,  is because it is one of the few periods in the year when every species of sea turtle on the island are in hatching season. This means that visitors can swim with some of the rarest sea creatures in the world, while watching adorable hatchlings taking their first steps into the ocean. It's truly magical."

Top tip: Make a trip to the east coast town of Bathsheba - one of the most spiritual places in the world. It's an entirely different experience from the hustle and bustle of the south and west side of the island. With craggy rocks, thunderous waves and unusual rock formations, the unique landscape feels rather other-worldly.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Barbados here. (opens in new tab)

Cusco, Peru

Cusco's Plaza de Armas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Cultural exploration

Average high temperature in September: 21°C

Peru is home to nearly half of the top 10 highest cities in the world, one of which is Cusco. Many use Cusco as a base to visit Macchu Pichu and to witness the layered hues of gold, red, and turquoise of Rainbow Mountain, though the charm of this city high in the Peruvian Andes deserves more time. 

Once the capital and center of the Inca Empire, Cusco boasts a rich history and its culture and architecture reflect a mesmerizing blend of Spanish and Incan influences. The ancient Inca site of Sacsayhuaman reveals some of the tension experienced between the Inca forces and the Spanish conquistadors. 

Explore Plaza de Armas, the cultural heart of Cusco, and people-watch in the trendy restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that line the square. Wander to the nearby artisan neighborhood of San Blas. Brimming with galleries and cozy boutique shops, this district radiates bohemian vibes.

Top tip: Cusco is nestled at an elevation of 3,399 m. Plan to stay in the city for a minimum of two days to acclimate before embarking on physically strenuous activity. Accommodation options range from hostels to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.  

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Peru here (opens in new tab).

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Elephants sipping from a watering hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Wildlife viewing and outdoor adventures

Average high temperature in September: 30°C

At a sprawling 14,651 square km, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserve and is home to buffalo, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest and impala. Those eager to embark on a safari vacation without the crowds should consider Zimbabwe. 

Though visitors to this park can spot wildlife year-round, September is prime wildlife watching season, as it’s part of Zimbabwe’s dry season. Its clear blue skies and minimal mosquitoes make for excellent conditions, and the wildlife tends to congregate at the park’s riverways and watering holes this time of year.

Stay at the park’s exclusive camps and lodges so you can participate in game drives and walking safaris by day. Venture out by night for the opportunity to see civet cats and bat-eared foxes. Budget time to view the stunning Victoria Falls nearby, and hike through the region’s rainforests or go white water rafting on the Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls.

Top tip: Staying at the park’s private lodges will allow you to participate in nighttime safaris.  

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Zimbabwe here (opens in new tab).

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto at sunset, one of woman&home's best places to visit in september

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Moon viewing parties and stunning scenery

Average high temperature in September: 24°C

You might miss the famous cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons, but September in Kyoto is perhaps equally as special and you'll benefit from smaller crowds and cheaper accommodation (as well as some of the best flight deals). The end of summer is still warm, often peaking at around 29°C, but without the intense humidity of other months. The changing of seasons is marked by various festivals and moon-viewing parties accompanied by music and performances. The city is more relaxed in September which also means you'll get an opportunity to visit the countless and endlessly impressive Buddhist temples, imperial palaces and beautiful gardens - without battling the crowds.  

Top tip: Visit between September 10-12 when the city marks the full Harvest Moon with relaxed moon-viewing parties and events. One of the most popular places to spend the event is Daikaku-ji temple, where visitors can ride on ornate boats and watch the moon rise up the sky, then reflect back in the tranquil lakes. An extremely unique experience. 

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Japan here.

Tangier, Morocco

North africa, Morocco, Tangier, old medina and famous Continental hotel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best September holiday for: Exploring the souks 

Average high temperature in September: 23°C

The souks of Morroco are some of the biggest and most vibrant in the world, with the vast open-air markets attracting visitors from across the globe. But with temperatures reaching highs of 37°C in the hottest summer months, the environment can be stifling. A September visit promises a cooler climate and fewer crowds, with temperatures dipping below 25°C. 

In the low season, Tangier in northern Morocco offers a calmer alternative to hectic Marrakesh or claustrophobic Fez, with calming coastal scenes and an ocean breeze. For jazz fans, the Tanjazz Festival (opens in new tab) is an annual event that takes place in September and attracts jazz artists from all over the world, as well as showcasing local talent. 

A port town on the cusp of Europe and Africa, Tangier offers a unique blend of cultural influences, spanning everything from its culinary offering to its ornate architecture. While it's a city that's often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors, there's plenty to discover in this artistic and bustling city. 

Top tip:  While the beaches closer to the city aren't as picturesque, there are some beautiful seascapes within reach. consider Try Achakkar Beach (about 25 minutes away in a taxi), which is home to some incredible rock formations called the Hercules Caves.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Morrocco here (opens in new tab).

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Namibia, one of the best places to visit in september

(Image credit: Getty)

Best September holiday for: Watching wildlife

Average high temperature in September: 29°C

A country of extremes, Namibia's magical and vast landscape is home to the tallest sand dunes in the world, sprawling game reserves, world-famous deserts and national parks. It's undoubtedly one of the best places to watch wildlife in the world as it's home to hundreds of species, from zebra, blue wildebeest, elephants, lions, black rhinos, buffalos and more - the list truly goes on. And there's no better place to observe these majestic species than on Etosha National Park, northwestern Namibia, where some 114 mammal species live.

Charlie Potter, Managing Director of ethical and sustainable travel holiday company, ForRangers Travel + Adventure (opens in new tab): "The best time to visit Namibia is September and October when the temperatures are a very pleasant 20+°C and the chance of rain is low. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing  - especially in the nature reserves in and around Etosha National Park - as with limited water sources the wildlife gathers around the salt pans and waterholes in front of some of the lodges for excellent sightings."

Top tip: Book in advance. Namibia is sparsely populated and lodges and hotels can book up months in advance. You can often find deals through travel agents, who can help advise on extras, like car rentals too. The best time to visit Nambia is off-season, making it a perfect adventure travel holiday for over 50s.

See the latest official tourism travel advice for Nambia here (opens in new tab).

Best places to visit during every month of the year

Planning a trip for a different month? Check out our dedicated guides on where to visit for every month of the year.

Vivian Chung
Freelance travel writer

Vivian is a Vancouver-based freelance writer who has worked for Culture Trip and Fodor's Travel as well as Woman&Home. She covers a wide range of topics, ranging from travel and outdoor adventure, to food and mental health and wellness. She's a curious wanderer with a thirst for adventure, and when she’s not writing, can likely be found lazing by a lake, hiking the forested trails of beautiful British Columbia, or on a mission for the next best donut.

With contributions from