September is the best time of year for shoulder season travel, because the summer high seasons in Europe and North America have ended, but the weather still remains beautiful.
While Europe is best avoided from June to August, due to the peak season crowds, destinations such as Italy or Iceland are some of the best places to visit in September.
With school breaks over there are none of the crowds but you’ll still enjoy constant sunshine.
Explore the Greek islands as the low season begins and score great deals on hotels and flights, or take to the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland where it’s now quiet and conditions are excellent for hiking.
Likewise, Canada’s high season is drawing to a close but the weather still remains perfect for outdoor activities in national parks such as Banff or Jasper.
Further afield, New Zealand is warming up and entering into spring time, a beautiful time to explore, again without the crowds.
South Africa is perfectly suited for wildlife safaris this time of the year, while in Peru, the high season crowds of Machu Picchu thin out while the skies remain clear and sunny.
To inspire your next adventure, here are the best places to visit in September!
9 of the Best Places to Visit in September
Iceland has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe in recent years, so much so that the small Nordic nation struggles with over-tourism during peak season.
Don’t travel here in June, July or August because this is when things are crowded.
Instead, wait until September, when European school breaks are over, when flight prices drop and when the days begin to get shorter.
The short summer will already be ending in this land of extreme weather cycles, but you’ll still have lots of daylight and plenty of beautiful natural attractions to visit.
Road trip around the famed ring road before the winter weather brings snow and ice, and catch the last whales off the coast of Husavik in the north.
Explore the sights of Reykjavik without the summer crowds and visit the iconic Golden Circle to see geysers, waterfalls and spectacular landscapes all in one day.
Our Top Recommended Iceland Tours:
- Explore Iceland with National Geographic Journeys – 9 days
- Best of Iceland with G Adventures – 7 days
- Complete Iceland with G Adventures – 9 days
Italy is a classic European destination that sees huge numbers of tourists during the summer high season, but like Iceland, this is once again one of the best places to visit in September.
Italy teems with tourists through summer and prices skyrocket but by September, things are quietening down already.
Take your pick of the best things to do, because the weather is still perfect for a beach holiday, while the cities are always vibrant.
Visit Rome for a taste of ancient history, or travel north to Milan for renaissance flair.
Visit Sardinia or Sicily for island getaways and beautiful beaches, where you’ll find clear water and Mediterranean weather.
And, of course, enjoy the food and the wine, and get out into the countryside or the Tuscan Hills to enjoy the best of Italian culture in September.
Our Top Recommended Italy Tours:
- Ultimate Italy with G Adventures – 14 days
- Highlights of Italy with G Adventures – 8 days
- Iconic Italy with National Geographic Journeys – 14 days
Travel across to the Aegean Sea, and you’ll find another classic European destination that’s great in September in Greece.
Summer can be chaotic in Greece, so skip the crowds and wait until the high season is over.
While September is busy, it’s nothing like peak season, and you can enjoy many of the best islands at a more peaceful time of the year.
The weather is perfect because the temperatures are still hot and the water is still wonderfully warm.
Enjoy the beaches of Mykonos or Santorini and make the most of cheaper flights and great deals on accommodation too.
Visit the capital, Athens, where you can explore the Ancient Greek sites without worrying about the queues, or travel to Thessaloniki to see a lesser-known part of the country.
With great weather, great food and great wine, Greece is one of the best places to visit in September.
Our Top Recommended Greece Tours:
- Best of Greece with G Adventures – 15 days
- Greece: Ancient Ruins & Iconic Islands with National Geographic Journeys – 12 days
- Sailing Greece: Athens to Santorini with G Adventures – 15 days
Head away from the Mediterranean and the Aegean, and one of the best places to visit in September in Ireland.
The Emerald Isle is a beautiful place to travel to, but in recent years it’s become incredibly busy through the summer months when the weather is at its best.
By September, the summer crowds are long gone, as the school breaks end and the rain begins again.
Luckily though, the rain is only light in September and you’ll have plenty of sunny days and warm weather.
Take a city break in Dublin, where the streets and attractions of the Irish capital are much quieter than in previous months.
Before the weather gets worse though, now is the time to travel to the Wild Atlantic Way, and Ireland’s long western coastline.
Gaze in awe at the Cliffs of Moher and the crashing ocean below, take a boat across to the remote and windswept Skellig Islands or drive the Ring of Kerry, a long-distance route that takes you through rural Ireland.
Our Top Recommended Ireland Tours:
- Iconic Ireland with National Geographic Journeys – 9 days
- Highlights of Ireland with G Adventures – 9 days
5. New Zealand
New Zealand is another great shoulder season destination in September because it’s a great time to see the country without the crowds.
This isn’t often seen as one of the best places to visit in September, because summer is still a few months away and the weather isn’t exactly perfect.
This is a transitional month and in the north, you might have beautifully sunny days while in the south you’ll have thunderstorms and perhaps even snow.
It’s a mixed bag, but as spring approaches the landscapes to become resplendent with color and bloom with life.
Hit the hiking trails as they open up after winter and before the crowds arrive, or go to the coast to see whales and dolphins in the water.
There’s always an adventure to be had in New Zealand, just don’t forget to pack warm clothes and a raincoat in your backpack before you head off each day.
Read more 35 EPIC Things to Do in New Zealand (For First Time Visitors)
Our Top Recommended New Zealand Tours:
- New Zealand Journey with National Geographic Journeys – 12 days
- Highlights of New Zealand with G Adventures – 15 days
- New Zealand Express with G Adventures – 9 days
6. South Africa
Also in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa is one of the best places to visit in September.
This is the end of the winter high season in the north while along the coast to the south the rainy weather and colder temperatures are on the change.
It’s a great time to explore the best that South Africa has to offer, and you can start the month by going on safari in Kruger National Park and by exploring all there is to see around Johannesburg.
Spend the second part of the month in Cape Town, enjoying the brightening weather and heading out along the Garden Route, to visit the wineries and beautiful scenes along the coast, before the summer high season starts in a few months’ time.
Our Top Recommended South Africa Tours:
- South Africa Safari Experience with National Geographic Journeys – 18 days
- South Africa Overland: Sea Cliffs & Safari Drives with G Adventures – 10 days
- Explore Cape Town & Kruger National Park with National Geographic Journeys – 10 days
7. Sri Lanka
In Asia, one of the best places to visit in September is Sri Lanka, because the island nation in the Indian Ocean is transitioning between monsoons.
Sri Lanka’s southwest monsoon is just ending in September while the northeast monsoon is only just beginning.
That gives travelers a brief respite when they can explore all of the countries, with just a few rain showers to deal with.
Head to Mirissa to enjoy the beaches of the south coast or visit Yala National Park for some resplendent green scenery.
On the east coast, you can find whales and beaches, particularly around Trincomalee or Arugam Bay, while inland elephant herds are amassing around watering holes and are easy to find on safari.
The weather is hot and slightly humid, but it’s worth visiting now because this is a low season in Sri Lanka and quiet time to travel here.
Our Top Recommended Sri Lanka Tours:
- Sri Lanka Encompassed with G Adventures – 14 days
- Discover Sri Lanka with National Geographic Journeys – 12 days
- Sri Lanka Express with G Adventures – 8 days
On the other side of the world, Peru is one of the best places to visit in September.
The South American nation is a firm favorite amongst tourists and travelers, with the iconic Inca site of Machu Picchu attracting countless visitors each year.
September is a quiet month though because this is the end of the winter high season in the highlands around Cusco.
But while temperatures are rising the rain hasn’t yet arrived and conditions are wonderful for hiking in the mountains.
If you’re looking for sunshine, then head down to the coast where you can find beaches and surf galore by the Pacific Ocean.
Before the humidity of summer and the wet season arrives to take the last chance of the year to enjoy a trip to the Amazon, an often overlooked part of this incredibly diverse country.
Our Top Recommended Peru Tours:
- Explore Machu Picchu & the Amazon with National Geographic Journeys – 11 days
- Peru Multi-sport with G Adventures – 15 days
- Explore Northern Peru with National Geographic Journeys – 9 days
In North America, it’s a great time to visit Canada, where the weather is still good and the summer crowds have thinned out.
While you can visit the cities such as Vancouver or Toronto any time of the year, September is a good opportunity to make the most of Canada’s great outdoors before the weather worsens over the next few months.
Visit Banff or Jasper where you can find two incredible national parks with endless hiking opportunities. The Rocky Mountains only enjoy a short summer season and that’s soon to end.
Hike to glacial lakes or enjoy natural hot springs, or tackle mountain peaks before the snow soon arrives and puts a quick end to summer in this part of the world.
Our Top Recommended Canada Tours:
- Vancouver Island & Northern Rockies with G Adventures – 11 days
- Discover the Canadian Rockies Eastbound with National Geographic Journeys – 12 days
- Canadian Rockies Encompassed with G Adventures – 19 days
Need Help Planning?
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We are full-time travelers who have been traveling since 2001. We have visited over a hundred countries across all seven continents.
Our travels have taken us to some of the most iconic locations like Iceland, Peru, and Fiji to just nave a few locations.
We always make our own travel plans so just imagine what we have learned along the way that can help you plan your trip.
In our plan a trip research section you can find our favorite resources that we use every day, including booking sites that we used to plan our travels.
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