For many destinations, September is the best month to travel. The global transition to shoulder season often means fewer tourists, more affordable travel, and still have the benefit of decent weather. From Europe to New England to Asia, here are my top recommendations for where to travel in September.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
In Europe, a highly coveted summer destination, crowds rapidly disappear, retreating to back-to-school routines and a reluctant acceptance of faded tan lines. One of the more popular locations in Europe is the Amalfi Coast, a spectacular stretch of coastline tracing Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. With dramatic cliffs, family vineyards and lemon groves, and adrenaline-producing switchback roads winding through quaint seaside villages, the Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly one of the best places to travel in September.
Not only will you find fewer crowds, but September weather is beautiful as the daytime temperatures remain high and swimming is still enjoyable. One of my favorite places to stay on the Amalfi Coast is in Anacapri, located on the island of Capri.
The secret is almost out, but not quite! Still growing in popularity, and one of my top recommendations for where to travel in September, is Portland, Maine. The summer crowds have noticeably increased in past years, but September is still relatively quiet and a wonderful time to visit this historic Maine city. A cozy hoodie and hot latte are perfect companions to accompany an autumn weekend getaway. Moreover, you will find shorter wait times for Portland’s top restaurants, such as Duckfat and Fore Street. Be sure to stroll down Portland’s cobblestone streets and check out the area’s numerous lighthouses!
Traveling to Bali should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. An Indonesian island that is graced with both cultural and natural wonders, Bali is an optimal place to travel in September. Warm, sunny days define Bali’s dry season, creating opportunities to explore temples, rice terraces, waterfalls, and beaches.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
While September is usually the recommended time to visit many U.S. National Parks, one that particularly stands out is Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Trek a couple of hours northwest of Denver to find yourself immersed in dramatic forest scenery anchored by snow-tipped mountains. When not hiking the extensive trail network offered by Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoy Colorado’s local brewery scene or make your way to the quaint college town of Boulder. Just be sure to factor time into acclimating to the higher altitude!
Croatia is one of my favorite destinations in Europe and the perfect place to travel in September. If you have time, be sure to spend your days exploring the entire country, including highlights like Dubrovnik, Split, and Plitvice Lakes National Park. If you must prioritize, though, zero in on Hvar, Croatia. The island of Hvar is often considered a place to avoid in the summer months due to the overwhelming influx of tourists and increased high-season price tags. Come September, however, the swarms of humans dissipate, replaced by inviting and romantic cobblestone streets dancing around centuries-old seaside villages.
One of the best things to do in Hvar, Croatia is to rent a bike for the day and follow this path to cappuccinos, gelato, and wine.
I personally find Iceland an appealing year-round destination, but late September is especially promising if looking to still get reasonable sunlight and weather while having a chance to see the northern lights. In September, Iceland’s midnight sun, a time where daylight is nearly 24 hours, continues its rapid transition to an eventual winter of darkness. The northern lights can only be seen on a clear, dark night and, without hesitation, I can say it’s one of the more magical experiences I have had in my life. If you are only visiting on a layover or for the weekend, here is the best way to spend 24 hours in Iceland. Although this itinerary is from a winter trip, it works for other seasons too!
Where to Travel in September – FINAL THOUGHTS
If you are looking to travel in September, I recommend booking your travel sooner rather than later to find the best deals. While flights and accommodations will be more available during the shoulder season, these are all still very popular destinations. That said, I just booked a trip to Norway for the first weekend of September and my last-minute flight was not too bad (Shout out PLAY Airlines!). Here are my go-to sites for scoring the best travel deals!