Where to go on vacation in September

September is a great month for exploring Europe, especially the Mediterranean. The summer crowds have gone, but the weather remains fine enough for small ship cruises, multi activity breaks and walking vacations. In Asia, it’s a great month for following the Silk Road in sunshine or heading to Malaysian Borneo. If you like your rainforests to be in their least rainy state, this is their driest season. There are a few vacation destinations to avoid in September: monsoon season is still underway in Southeast Asia and Southern India, and hurricane season is sweeping over the Caribbean. Save those shores for another month.

1. Iceland

In autumn, Iceland explodes with life on all fronts. On shore, leaves on bushes and birch trees turn gold. In the water, humpback and minke whales, plus orca, can be seen off the coast at Husavik. But it’s the night sky that causes the biggest scramble: September is the first month of the year when it’s dark enough to see the Northern Lights.

2. Jordan

It’s too hot in summer in Jordan, so many vacation companies have a break, restarting in September. This is a great month for cultural vacations – sleeping under the stars in a Wadi Rum camp or watching the light change as the sun sets over Petra. It’s also a good time to visit Aqaba. As the Red Sea warms, turtles, eagle rays – and keen divers – amass underwater.

3. Malaysia

It’s warm all year round in Malaysia and Borneo, but the drier season runs from February to September, making early autumn a good time to visit, especially if you’re taking a trip to the south of Borneo. September is also the month of the Borneo International Kite Festival. Orangutans can be seen year-round, but turtles are best spotted this month – head to Lankayan Island.

4. Scotland

The weather might be wetter in the Highlands than it is in high summer, but in September Scotland makes its own sunshine – in the oranges of burnishing bracken and the yellowing of the turning trees. August is the busiest month in Edinburgh, thanks to its Fringe festival. In September, the capital breathes a sigh of relief and is much more relaxed.
The Silk Road

5. The Silk Road

September is a great month to travel along the Silk Road. Traveling long distances means there’s lots of flux in the climate, but September might be the perfect compromise: it won’t be too cold in the Kyrgyzstan mountains, so you won’t be shivering in front of the scenery, and the snow will have long melted so you can make it across the high-altitude passes. It isn’t too hot in Uzbekistan’s cities either – after a long hot summer, it will be cooler but still wonderfully sunny.
Southern Europe

6. Southern Europe

The Med jet set have left the beaches, high summer is over, and all over Southern Europe vacation towns breathe a sigh of relief. In quiet, sunny September, Southern Europe is less crowded, the water is warm, and the harvest brings great local produce to the table – great after an active vacation. Go walking in Greece, Spain, Italy or Southern Portugal, cruising in Croatia, or exploring in Albania.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Best places to go in September or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

September vacation advice

We’ve asked our expert travel partners where they’d go in September. Here’s what they say…
Robert Kidd, from Scottish vacation expert McKinley Kidd, says Scotland is a surprise hit in September: “Everyone wants to go on our rail vacation to Scotland in May or June, but I think the nicest times are actually in the autumn. The weather can be a bit more mixed, but you get the autumn colours and especially the heather from late August, and then in September the trees begin to turn.”
Uros Kumer, from our Croatia cruising specialists Frontier Adriatic, likes taking travelers out in the quieter autumn months: “We love sailing in Croatia in late April, May, June and September. In these periods it is less crowded and once you reduce crowds everything is nicer, calmer and cleaner. The weather is also good in this period and, importantly, it is also more affordable.”
Farah Abubakar, tour designer at Experience Jordan, says that hiking in Jordan can be great – outside of summer: “The best times to hike Dana to Petra or to visit Jordan in general is spring and autumn. We avoid summer – June, July, August. It’s too hot here for hikers and we stop our walking tours, and then we start again in September. In winter, it’s very wet and rainy and sometimes snowy.”
Andrew Appleyard, from our adventure vacation specialists Exodus Travel, says – whether you’re following the Silk Road or visiting Uzbekistan on its own – it’s best before it gets too cold: “May is my favourite time of year there, or late September. Later than that, it does get really cold down near the Afghan border, but it is warmer further north.”
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Serhat Beyazkaya] [Iceland: Davide Cantelli] [Jordan: soomness] [Edinburgh: Adam Wilson] [Silk Road: Azamat E] [Southern Europe: Gaddafi Rusli] [Scotland in Autumn: Adam Gavlak]