5 best places to visit in September 2020
September holiday inspiration to celebrate the beginning of spring
Warming weather, school holidays and Father's Day – these are just a few teasers of what you can look forward to this month. Need something else to look forward to? How about a trip away from the everyday?
That's why we've brought you the best places you can set off to this month. They're all local, won't blow the budget and won't use up too much of your precious leave.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, some borders are closed. These are the latest travel restrictions so you can travel safely.
1. Best budget destination: Freycinet, Tasmania
September is prime whale watching season across Australia's eastern coast. Budget-friendly and local options to catch these magnificent mammals include Sydney, Hervey Bay, Gold Coast and Fraser Island, but for something different, try Great Oyster Bay in Freycinet.
It's a fabulous spot to catch humpback and southern right whales migrating north this month and being shoulder season, it doesn't attact too many tourists.
- September weather: 11–17℃, spring.
- Top September events: Whale migration, Junction Arts Festival, Great Eastern Wine Weekend and Blooming Tasmania Flower and Garden Festival (21-22 September).
- Best for: Outdoor adventures and weekend getaways.
2. Best city to visit: Perth
The Western Australian capital is at its finest, in all senses of the word, when spring comes around. It's a time when the weather is still cool but doesn't have too much rainfall.
As it follows a rainy winter, it's also ideal for catching the local wildflowers in bloom.
This year is said to be one of the best for the florals, so get in while you can.
- September weather: 17–22℃, spring.
- Top September events: Kings Park Festival, Perth Royal Show (cancelled for 2020), Toodyay Picnic Race Day (cancelled for 2020) and Listen Out (cancelled for 2020) dance music event.
- Best for: Nature and city breaks.
3. Best for events: Canberra
Fondly referred to as "Australia's biggest celebration of spring", Canberra welcomes the 32nd Floriade festival this year.
It's a month-long event featuring colourful blooms, markets, sculptures, workshops, amusement rides, live entertainment and children's activities.
- September weather: 13–19℃, spring.
- Top September events: Floriade, Turning Wave Festival (TBC 2020), Canberra Times Fun Run (TBC 2020) and the Canberra Moon Festival (TBC 2020).
- Best for: Weekend breaks, festivals and events.
4. Best for getting out on the water: The Gold Coast
Time to throw off your winter woollies and get wet on the Gold Coast. The days are warmer, the rains are yet to come and September offers great wind conditions for water sports.
Whether you're keen to do some whale watching, try your hand at paddleboarding or master kite-surfing, the Gold Coast has it all on offer this month.
- September weather: 15-24℃, spring.
- Top September events: Beach Rugby Australia Festival, Crafted Beer and Cider Festival and SWELL Sculpture Festival.
- Best for: Outdoor adventures, beach breaks and weekend getaways.
5. Best for a weekend escape: Kangaroo Island
Surround yourself with nature, relaxation and yes, a bit of a pamper on Kangaroo Island. This little speckle off the coast of South Australia packs a punch with its remarkable natural rock formations, enviable beachfronts and friendly characters, including kangaroos and seals.
Over spring you can catch the newborn kangaroos, wallabies and koalas emerging from their mother's pouches. It's also a great way to support your local as Kangaroo Island was hit badly during the 2019 bushfires.
- September weather: 15℃, spring.
- Top September events: Spring is when the island's wildflowers are in full bloom.
- Best for: Relaxation, nature, food.
Best places to visit in Europe in September
While we can't travel now, use these as inspiration for future spring trips. Many of the events mentioned are cancelled for 2020 due to the pandemic.
- Greece. All around the country, the crowds start to dissipate but the idyllic weather stays put. Corfu and Santorini (pictured) are particularly perfect at this time of year.
- Munich, Germany. Don't let the name fool you, Oktoberfest actually takes place at the end of this month, and if you're a fan of beer or just a great time, Munich is the place to be.
- Istanbul, Turkey. The summer temperatures start to drop this month and it's one of the best times to take a Bosphorus cruise. Modern art lovers should also make time for the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair.
- Ireland. If you're looking for mild weather, fewer crowds and lower prices, September can't be beaten. The Galway Oyster Festival is a particularly tasty treat this month.
Best places to visit in Spain in September
- Barcelona (pictured). Festa de la Mercé, one of the city's biggest festivals, is celebrated with fireworks, wine fairs and parades.
- Logroño. This is Spain's best destination for all things wine. This month you can celebrate with the locals during the annual La Rioja Harvest Festival.
- Canary Islands. Enjoy the same sunny weather as the peak season but without the masses sharing the beach with you.
Best places to visit in Italy in September
- Venice. The Regatta Storica (the first Sunday of September) and the Venice International Film Festival are two very good reasons to plan a visit this month.
- Naples. The most important religious festival in the city is the annual Feast Day of Saint Gennaro when you might get to see a miracle.
- Florence (pictured). For a taste of culture, tradition and an opportunity to view Florence all lit up by beautiful paper lanterns, pay a visit to one of Italy's best festivals, the Festa della Rificolona.
Best places to visit in Sicily in September
- Bronte. The Pistachio Festival, celebrating the green-gold of Sicily (the pistachio nut), is a special time to visit this village on Mount Etna.
- San Vito Lo Capo (pictured). Considered the most significant gastronomic event in Western Sicily, the Cous Cous Fest brings together different cultures, languages and religions in a culinary celebration.
- Ciminna. For something a little bit more traditional, visit Palermo on the first Sunday of September for the celebration of Saint Vito Day.
Best places to visit in Switzerland in September
- Appenzell. This is one of the best places to check out Alpabzug, the annual procession of cows dressed in floral crowns and fancy bells as they come down to the valleys from the mountains.
- Neuchâtel. This beautiful lakeside town will enchant you most times of the year, but a visit during its annual Grape Harvest Festival is definitely a highlight.
- Lucerne (pictured). The Lucerne Festival in summer draws music fans to central Switzerland for four massive weeks of classical music.
Best places to visit in Scotland in September
- Braemar (pictured). Arguably one of the most popular Highland Games, the Braemar Gathering has the added benefit of potentially giving you a glimpse of one of the royal family members.
- Largs. Find your inner Viking at the Largs Viking Festival where you can explore the 13th century village and witness traditional fire processions.
- Galloway Forest Park. Animal lovers will get a chance to see a variety of wildlife and the spectacle that is red deer rutting season towards the end of the month.
Best places to visit in the US in September
- Utah. The "Mighty Five" national parks including Zion (pictured) are great to visit in September. The heat of summer has subsided and the holiday crowds are gone for the year.
- San Francisco. The city's infamous fog starts to clear in September and temperatures rise a little higher, making this one of the best times to visit.
- New York. This city is always full of people, but September gives you a little bit of a breather. You'll find great weather and tons of festivals to fill your travel itinerary.
Best places to visit in Canada in September
- Vancouver Island. The milder weather means you'll probably have some beaches all to yourself in Tofino (pictured) and it's also a great month for hiking and wildlife spotting.
- Prince Edward Island. A great one for foodies. You've got the Fall Flavours Festival all month long and the International Shellfish Festival in Charlottetown to indulge in.
- Toronto. The summer festivals continue with the Toronto International Film Festival, Beer Week and the Cabbagetown Festival.
Best places to visit in Asia in September
- Beijing and Northern China. The rain and hot weather starts to settle down in September. The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the agenda for a taste of a traditional holiday.
- Bali. September is near the end of the dry season so you can expect good weather, great conditions for diving and surfing and fewer crowds.
- India. Goa (pictured) and Delhi are ideal in the second half of September. The rains have cleared and you'll beat the crowds by a good few weeks.
Best places to visit in Japan in September
- Tokyo. September is one of only three months when you can witness a sumo tournament in Tokyo, and music fans should book ahead for Ultra Japan.
- Hokkaido. Head to the northern areas of Japan for the first sight of Japan's autumn leaves. Sounkyo Gorge, in particular, offers a picture-perfect view.
- Osaka (pictured). Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is one of the most traditional and exciting festivals in the country.
Best places to visit in Thailand in September
- Ko Samui. If you're keen for some island time, avoid Andaman Sea islands like Ko Phi Phi and head instead to the islands of the Gulf for the least amount of rain.
- Phuket. Ready to get out on the waves? Phuket should be free of the crowds until November and the beaches belong just to the surfers.
Top September events
- Father's Day. Dad's big day lands on the first Sunday of September, which this year is 6 September. It's bound to be a busy weekend wherever you are, so try to avoid travelling early in the month to steer clear of overpriced holidays.
- Spring school holidays. Depending on which state you're in, the spring school holidays start as early as 19 September and run into mid-October.
When's the best time in September to take a holiday?
For Australians, September is a month filled with event dates and school holiday breaks. It's also a time when the weather starts to turn warm so those looking to kick the winter blues will be considering travelling, even for a short weekend.
To avoid the crowds and the holiday surcharges, travel as early in the month as possible. In Victoria the school holidays start on 19 September, but for most other states they don't start until 26 September, so aim to leave early to avoid the worst of it.
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