Extend your summer with a holiday in September, a time when most tourist hotspots reveal their quieter, calmer sides. Enjoy the more laid-back pace of life you’ll find on beaches and at resorts, and discover how some of Europe’s most appealing cities embrace the first tantalising signs of autumn.

See the sights in Dubrovnik

Summer weather hangs around for months in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Summer weather hangs around for months in Dubrovnik, making this exquisite city on Croatia’s Adriatic coast even more irresistible. Take a walk around the medieval and Renaissance walls that ring the Old Town before taking a dip in Banje Beach. Then pick up picnic supplies from the Gundulic Square market and hop on the little boat that shuttles over to the island of Lokrum for a lazy afternoon among the rocky beaches and olive groves.

Island-hopping is a breeze here in the Dubrovnik Riviera, so take one of the ferries that drops you off in the nearby Elaphiti islands. Eat grilled fish by the water’s edge in Lapad and stroll around car-free Koločep.

Drink wine in Budapest

Budapest gives you two cities in one: older, hillier Buda and slightly younger and funkier Pest on the other side of the Danube

Budapest

Budapest gives you two cities in one – older, hillier Buda and slightly younger and funkier Pest on the other side of the Danube. In Pest you’ll find some of the biggest sights – the glorious Hungarian Parliament Building, St Stephen’s Basilica, a mouthwatering indoor food market and the phenomenon of the ‘ruin’ bar – bars that have been set up in previously dilapidated spaces.

Cross the Chain Bridge to Buda and you’re instantly in a magical place of baroque buildings and gorgeous Danube views. Buda Castle is the romantic setting for the annual Budapest Wine Festival, one of the liveliest and most delicious in Europe.

Sunbathe in Sardinia

Sardinia’s sandy beaches come into their own in September, when most of the tourists have left but balmy days and nights remain in Italy’s second-largest island – it’s a gorgeous time to soak up the sun on the glitzy Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s northern coast. Head for its main resort, Porto Cervo, where sleek yachts line the harbour and the central Piazzetta is prime people-watching territory.

For a blissful day out, join a boat excursion to the Maddalena islands, a tranquil archipelago of lush islands and beautiful beaches.

Get lost in Fes

Morocco's ancient imperial city of Fes

Fes

At the heart of the ancient imperial city of Fes – said to be the oldest in Morocco – is the medina, where getting lost is all part of the fun. Set within the world’s largest car-free urban area, the medieval medina is a mind-bending warren of alleyways filled with souks, mosques and ancient monuments.

You’ll wander past stalls showing off crafts that have been practised for centuries – exquisite pottery, rugs, copper pots and leather goods, among many others. Hire an official guide to get the most out of the experience.

Explore Provence’s markets

In the South of France, the market towns and ancient cities of Provence – combined with the hills and mountains of the Alpilles and the Luberon – are especially alluring in September. Start in enchanting St-Rémy-de-Provence in the foothills of the Alpilles, which holds one of the most attractive weekly food markets in Provence.

Then head over to Aix-en-Provence – another fabulous place for browsing round markets – before plunging into the multicultural melting pot that is Marseille. Be sure to pay a visit to the city’s Noailles food market.

Enjoy Poland’s historic cities

Wander through Warsaw’s reconstructed Old Town, with its riot of gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings

Warsaw

All of Poland’s major cities – Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw – are wonderful to explore in September. Wander through Warsaw’s reconstructed Old Town, with its riot of gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings, before popping to the impressive Royal Castle. Krakow’s Market Square is exquisite, thanks to its beautiful medieval Cloth Hall. Over to the west, Wroclaw hums with the buzz of a university city, with a reconstructed Market Square that is simply stunning. And near the Baltic coast lies the vibrant port city of Gdansk, which is handy for Sopot and other coastal resorts.

Go on safari in Kenya

It’s still the dry season in Kenya, which means fewer water sources and more animals congregating in the same spots. That’s when you’ll get some spectacular sightings of thirsty creatures all jostling together for a drink. It’s also the tail end of the Great Migration of wildebeest, when they move in their thousands from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara.

If you’re near Lake Naivasha, you’ll be treated to the sight of hordes of hippos, zebras, giraffes and impalas.

Hit new heights in Lisbon

Walk up each of Lisbon’s seven hills to get under the skin of Portugal’s beautiful capital

Lisbon

Walk up each of Lisbon’s seven hills to get under the skin of Portugal’s beautiful capital. Just follow the trails up to the miradouros – viewpoints – that grace the high points of each hill and feast your eyes on one gorgeous vista after another. While the weather is still warm in September, you won’t have the glaring heat of summer as you explore the city. Come evening, it’s time to hit the bars in the Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s atmospheric old town where the party can go on all night.

Chill out in Ibiza

The thrilling pace of Ibiza’s summer, with its full calendar of clubbing, begins to slacken in September. And that means lazy days on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Balearics. By the end of September, it’s all about the closing parties in Spain’s White Isle, when things wind down but temperatures still stay pleasantly up.

If you’re not into Ibiza’s clubbing scene, September is also a good time to explore this Balearic Island’s natural beauty at a deliciously slow pace. Take a leisurely stroll around the UNESCO-listed Dalt Vila, the old core of Ibiza Town, with its yacht-filled harbour full of yachts, narrow medieval streets and muscular cathedral. Out of town, you might take a trip to the stunning Salines saltpans in the south and the island interior’s traditional whitewashed villages.

Published: July 26, 2022

Last Updated: December 29, 2022

Article Tags:  Budapest , Dubrovnik , Fes , Ibiza , Kenya , Lisbon , Poland , Sardinia

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