If you’re in need of an emergency dose of sunshine before the winter sets in, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to soak up the warmth on a Mediterranean beach or go in search of adventure on the South African plains, September has plenty of options.
Take some time out to feast your eyes on spectacular sights and feast on with delicious seasonal specialities in our monthly round-up.
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The searing temperatures of summer in China start to cool down in September. Good news if you’re hoping to fit in lots of sight-seeing. Even though there’s a sizeable amount of ground to cover, it’s worth putting some time aside to see the Great Wall, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. If ancient history is high on your agenda, head over to Xian where you’ll find the Terracotta Warriors as well as the week-long Ancient Culture Art Festival. The streets come alive with colours as dancers, drummers and actors perform. And it’s all topped off with spectacular firework displays around the palace in the evenings. Or for something more modern, seek out the famous Pudong skyline in the contemporary city of Shanghai.
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September is a wonderful time to explore Ibiza as the summer crowds start to wind down. After a lively August, with buzzing beaches and clubs bursting at the seams, the island tends to sit back, relax and enjoy the view for the rest of the season. Take a drive and you can find your own little patch of paradise on the island’s stunning beaches, such as Las Salinas. Stroll around the old town or spend a morning picking up souvenirs at the famous Hippy Market in Punta Arabi. The pace of life may be slowing down but the clubbing capital is far from partied out. You’ll be able to catch the legendary club closing parties before saying goodbye to summer in the Mediterranean for another year.
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Although much of South East Asia is waiting for the monsoon season to pass, Bali remains dry until around mid-October. So you’ll find plenty of sunshine during the day coupled with beautiful, balmy evenings. If you want to get your surf on, beginners can catch some waves along the sandy beaches running from lively Kuta to chic Seminyak. Then relax on a beach bar bean bag to watch the sunset over the sea with a chilled cocktail in hand. More experienced surfers can head to Uluwatu, where you’ll also find a cliff-top temple with monkeys and magical views. Or try Ubud for stunning rainforest scenery and culture in the form of Hindu temples and local arts.
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A city break with a difference, Munich’s upbeat Oktoberfest celebrations take centre stage at this time of the year. Despite the confusing name, Oktoberfest actually starts on the 17th of September and lasts for just over two weeks. Breweries across the city open up their huge multi-story beer halls and tents, serving up local beers and Bavarian food. Try Augustiner, the oldest brewery in town, which has been making beer in wooden barrels since 1328. There’s more to Munich than fantastic beverages though. There are plenty of other things to do and see, such as exploring the opulent Munich Residenz.
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Harvest season hits Texas in September and the Lone Star state transforms into foodie heaven. Known for its fabulous Tex-Mex and southern soul food, the abundance of fresh ingredients only serves to amplify the flavours and your dining experience – and everything’s bigger in Texas. You’ll find food trucks galore at the many County Fairs and food and wine festivals scattered across the state. Try the annual Houston Hot Sauce Festival where you can expect chips and dips aplenty. While you’re there, check out the museums, including the Space Centre Houston. Or head to the coast to explore the island city of Galveston, with its Victorian mansions, fun-filled pier and authentic gumbo at the famous shrimp festival.
New Forest, England
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If you want to get active, why not spend a long weekend exploring the New Forest? September can often see mild weather, so camping could be a fun option. Or opt for a countryside cottage in one of the pretty villages that surround the vast National Park. Pull on your hiking boots or jump on your bike and follow the trails that run through the 143 miles of ancient woodlands. You’ll see the leaves turning into a pretty mix of autumnal shades and you might catch a glimpse of roaming deer or wild ponies. The New Forest is also conveniently close to England’s south coast, where you can take a stroll on Bournemouth beach or visit attractions like the 16th century Hurst Castle.
Cinque Terre, Italy
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September is a lovely time to visit this collection of five gorgeous coastal villages dotted along Italy’s west coast. Built into the hills and connected by hiking paths, boats and a train line, you can cover all five in a day. However it’s advisable to take your time and enjoy the breath-taking scenery. After a sizzling hot August, the sun becomes a little less intense so you can take full advantage of the hiking trails. The Blue Route runs alongside the sparkling sea and lush vineyards. Go for a long lunch at one of the open-air seafood restaurants around Vernazza harbour, serving up the catch of the day. Or spend time on the beach at Monterosso where you can see historic attractions and striking volcanic rock formations.
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As South Africa moves into spring, it’s one of the best times to go on safari at the sensational Kruger National Park. Wildlife is drawn towards the waterholes during this dry season, so you’ll have more chance of seeking out magnificent lions, elephants and the rest of the Big Five gang. Make your way to Cape Town and explore its Museum Mile. Or why not hop in a cable car to see the panoramic views from the top of Table Mountain? The city blooms with millions of daisies at this time of year and the Namaqualand Flower Festival celebrates this with a trail run, yoga and live music. If you’re after a bit of beach time, try Durban where you’ll find warm temperatures and lots of stretches of soft, golden sand to choose from.