September might be known as the back-to-school month, but why not buck the trend and fit it one last adventure? In Europe, the autumnal vibe means the summer tourists have departed and there are so many cool cultural events to check out. September in North America is your best chance of catching the Northern Lights while further south, the ice is melting in Chile and Argentina, revealing otherworldly landscapes to explore.
So, how to choose where to go? Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you everywhere you should travel this September or next.
Ah Galway, no wonder Ed Sheeran’s singing away about you. Ireland’s most scenic harbour city is all rugged coastal cottages and winding lanes, steeped in Irish folklore. Even better, September marks the popular International Oyster Festival so you can slurp and sample super-fresh seafood plus a whole range of organic farm-to-fork cooking. Wash it down with Champagne and Irish stout if you so wish.
The masses have gone back to school or headed home and the weather is fabulous – a balmy 26°C average. September is the time to climb Lisbon’s seven hills in search of pastel houses and vibrant Azulejo tiles (you know the ones on Instagram). There’ll be endless pastel de nata waiting for you at the bottom.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Desolate and unashamedly dramatic, the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places in the world. People have even likened the landscape to Mars! September is also known as ‘shoulder season’ with mild temperatures and fewer tourists, meaning it’s the best time to soak up the stillness of the desert, check out the hot geysers and dabble in a little stargazing. Up for an adventure? Head onwards to Patagonia where the ice is melting and temperatures are warming up.
The Turkish capital is a major European cultural hotspot. Art and architecture reign supreme and every September, Istanbul proves its artistic worth with Contemporary Istanbul – a show-stopping art fair exhibiting everything from sculptures to canvases.
After the rainiest month of the year, early autumn is a great place to visit this bucket-list-worthy region. Where the mountains are glacier-capped and icebergs float off the coast, explorers and active types are spoilt for choice. If you’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, you’re in luck. Head to Fairbanks (just 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle) or Denali National Park for your best chance to see them (peak times are around midnight to 4.30am).
Sure, the russet leaves are lovely in New York this time of year but how about the stunning ochre-rust landscape in lesser-known Utah? There’s colourful foliage along the scenic drives but the best way to get around is hiking. Follow the trails in Bryce Canyon National Park or go in search of the Potash Evaporation Ponds – shimmering, azure salt pools in the middle of the red desert.