November sees most cities in the northern hemisphere getting cosy and gearing up for winter. However, on the other side of the equator, some destinations are shaking off the rainy season and enjoying glorious sunshine. With an array of fiery festivals celebrating everything from flame-coloured autumn leaves to floating lanterns and bonfires, the world is ablaze with a wonderful selection of activities to bring a warm glow to your November.
Banner Image Credit: iStock.com/Kawinnings
The epitome of Scandinavian cool, Copenhagen is packed full of cosy cafés, numerous palaces, art galleries and museums. If you didn’t catch the long summer days, November is a great time to visit Denmark before the dark winter really sets in. Check out the Tivoli amusement park and gardens, which date back to the mid-19th century. Or take a look around the historical Christiansborg Palace, perched on its own tiny island in the river. The spectacular views from the top of The Round Tower are not to be missed, nor is a wander along the colourful harbour of Nyhavn.
Image Credit: iStock.com/scanrail
Carry on walking towards Kastellet and you’ll find a nod to Hans Christian Andersen in the form of the famous bronze sculpture of the Little Mermaid. If you fancy a day trip, you could take a drive to the charming town of Køge, one of this year’s top 10 Avis Untrending destinations.
Gran Canaria, Spain
Sun worshippers, fear not! You still have a chance of catching some (very) late summer sunshine on the more southerly islands of the Mediterranean and also on the Canary Islands. As this Spanish archipelago sits just off the coast of Africa, it enjoys high temperatures for most of the year with thermometers simmering at around 24°C in November.
Image Credit: iStock.com/nito100
The island of Gran Canaria offers a mix of wild natural beauty and well-equipped holiday towns, depending on what you’re looking for. Its volcanic landscape gives way to both white sandy beaches and bays of black sand. Head over to the dunes of Maspalomas for a lively beach scene. Or hire a car and explore the more peaceful beaches that are dotted along the island’s 120 miles of rocky coastline. Then head into the dramatic, mountainous interior to discover traditional villages and beautiful views.
Brighten up a grey November with a road trip around the Sunshine State of Florida. This tropical peninsula, in the southeast of the United States, has many different sides to it. Orlando is best known for its selection of action-packed theme parks and hair-raising rides, including Universal Studios Florida and Disneyland. On the flip side, you’ve got the oldest town in the USA, St Augustine, located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Image Credit: iStock.com/Ugo Lora
You’ll find plenty of historical attractions to explore here, as well as picturesque, peaceful beaches such as Crescent Beach. Set off to the Everglades to see the famous alligators and the other creatures that live in the national park area. Check out the glitz and glamour of Miami or follow the peninsula down to the gorgeous Florida Keys, where you can spend your days snorkelling or seeing the sights, such as the Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum.
The rainy season is drawing to an end across much of Thailand, making it a lovely time to hit the beaches before the peak season crowds start arriving. There’s no shortage of tropical islands to choose from with Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and also the peninsula of Krabi remaining popular destinations. Try Koh Lanta for something off the beaten track, with its jungle interior and beautiful sunset vistas. There is also a lot to explore among the tranquil temples and lush forests of northern Thailand.
Image Credit: iStock.com/taronn
Take some time to discover the beautiful city of Chang Mai with its magical night market, as well as the hill tribe villages and wonderful waterfalls in the surrounding area. The city celebrates its Yi Peng Lantern Festival during November, when you’ll be able to catch the breath-taking sight of thousands of floating lanterns being released into the air at once.
Experience crisp autumnal days in Japan’s former capital, beautiful Kyoto. Aside from some fantastic museums, the city’s rich history is also present today in its traditional wooden buildings, authentic Japanese restaurants and age-old customs. You can still see colourfully adorned Geisha scurrying through the narrow streets of its Gion district.
Image Credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone
The autumn leaves, known as koyo, are celebrated around the country. You can see them emerge around mid-month in Kyoto, as red maple trees blaze in the parks and temple sites, providing an incredible backdrop to the city’s top attractions. Try Tofuku-ji temple for its lovely view from Hojo Garden and the three bridges. Japan’s Shinto shrines are also celebrated during November with Days of the Rooster activities and Shichigosan ceremonies, when young children wear a decorated kimono for the first time.
Stretched out along the west coast, Goa offers a little patch of Paradise away from the full-throttle pace of India’s major cities. It features palm trees swaying gently on blissed-out beaches, tranquil fishing villages and an interesting blend of Portuguese and Indian culture. You can taste this cultural combination in the unique flavours of the region and see it in the 400-year old churches sprinkled around the UNESCO-listed Old Goa area.
Image Credit: iStock.com/byheaven
The exotic beaches of the north are laid-back but also have a more energetic side. The birth place of the original full moon party, introduced by hippy communities in the 1960s, you can still join the monthly celebrations today if you time your trip right (this November’s full moon falls around the middle of the month). For an alternative after dark activity, you can browse for souvenirs in Arpora’s Saturday Night Market.
Remember, remember to head over to Lewes on the 5th of November. Although various Bonfire Night celebrations across the UK will light up the skies with fizzing fireworks and crackling bonfires, the Lewes Bonfire Celebrations are the largest of their kind. Groups gather in historical costumes to represent different societies.
Image Credit: iStock.com/AntGor
Among the traditions celebrated during this event, which dates back to the 17th century, you’ll find a parade through the streets, a glittering fireworks display and, of course, a blazing bonfire. If you have some time to explore the area further, consider adding on a few days to drive along the south coast. You’ll see a different side to the beautiful beaches and coastal towns that welcome so many visitors during the summer months.