The Best Holiday Ideas for September 2021

End of the Asian monsoons and the scenery is lush, green and stunning

Where to go on holiday in September

After the peak in summer temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere and with kids back at school, September is the perfect time to enjoy lovely weather without the peak season crowds and prices. Europe is great to visit with warm, dry days, while pretty much the whole of Africa is primed for safari adventures. The monsoon rains are still affecting much of Southeast Asia but there's autumn festivals to tempt you for a visit. It's also a great time to visit the Middle East as temperatures dip to more bearable levels.

Whether you're a nature lover or sun worshipper, there's plenty of choice when it comes to destinations in September. To help you plan your September 2021 holiday, we've put together our recommended destinations and experiences as well as our choice of beaches and wildlife hotspots that are perfect at this time of year.

Top Destinations and Travel Experiences for September

Croatia Island Express main image - Zlatni Rat Beach - Brac - Croatia
A summer blowout

Catch the last of Europe's summer after the crowds have gone

Summer is coming to an end in Europe, but the temperatures in Greece, Turkey and Croatia remain warm and pleasant. Better still, the schools are back, meaning most of the beaches and hotels are much quieter than in the busy summer period from June to August. Prices are lower too, making September the perfect month to enjoy the last of Europe's summer sun on a beach break or an island hopping cruise.

Recommended tour: Sailing Split →

A cheetah in Kenya's Masai Mara
Spotting the big five

Making the most of Africa's dry season

September is one of the best months of the year to head on safari in Africa. The dry season in the southern countries of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana make it an ideal time for game viewing, with vegetation thin and animals gathering at the few remaining watering holes to drink. In East Africa, the Great Migration is in full swing across the Serengeti, with millions of prey animals moving to greener lands, and the predators following their every move.

Recommended tour: East Africa Encompassed →

Chinese Lanterns
A chinese adventure

Pleasant weather and fewer crowds

Similarly to other destinations, China experiences a drop in visitors during September, as many people get back to work and school. The cities are less crowded and the autumn leaves in the countryside make for wonderful photos. Temperatures are down on the peak of summer but still warm enough to not need a sweatshirt and there's not too much rain. The Chinese will also be celebrating the mid-autumn festival, so expect towns and cities to be beautifully illuminated with colourful lanterns.

Recommended tour: Chinese Checkers →

Coquerel's sifaka - Madagascar
an animal adventure

Lemurs and whales in Madagascar

In Madagascar, migrating whales are making a splash off the coast during September. It's also the beginning of the lemur mating season, with pregnant females and some of the early youngsters visible within the country's national parks. Rainfall is at virtually its lowest point of the year, with reptiles taking the opportunity to bask in the sun, and temperatures are pleasant, in the mid-twenties (centigrade)

Recommended tour: 1000 Views of Madagascar →

Best City Breaks in September



View of Dubrovnik from the old city walls - Croatia Tours - On The Go Tours
Historic sites and TV settings

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The charming walled city of Dubrovnik can be a little bit overwhelming in summer, drawing huge crowds and stifling temperatures. September is a much better month to visit the endearing city, with fewer travellers and more suitable temperatures. The Game of Thrones filming locations will be much easier to capture on camera and the quaint cafes will be cheaper with better service.

Iguazu Falls in Brazil - South America Tours - On The Go Tours
Glorious photography

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

If you want to see Iguazu Falls at its most beautiful, September is one of the best months in the year to visit. Water levels aren't at their peak but the cooler temperatures of September generally mean clearer skies so you can snap that perfect picture of the cascades against a blue backdrop. With less water flow you also get to glimpse the rocky terrain over which Iguazu Falls pours. September is also a good month to visit the Amazon or Pantanal in neighbouring Brazil, with lower accommodation prices in Rio and the south.

Dubai-Main-2
winter sun in the desert

Dubai, UAE

Dubai is hot and dry all year round, as you would expect from a desert city. In September the crowds are fewer and the temperatures, whilst still hot, are more bearable than during the previous months. Humidity is also lower, making this a great month to visit. Time can be spent lounging by the beach or feasting on exquisite food in an air-conditioned restaurant

Pyramids - On The Go Tours
Archaeological wonders

Cairo, Egypt

After the fierce heat of the summer months, September is a fantastic month to explore the Middle East, from the ancient wonders of Egypt to the lunar-like deserts of Jordan. Cairo is probably the pick of the bunch, with incredible sites such as the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara much easier to explore in the cooler weather. With the Grand Egyptian Museum due to open its doors in 2021, after a very long wait, there's never been a better time to start thinking about that trip to Cairo.

Best Festivals in September

Every month of the year holds its own unique offering of special events and festivals. In the Northern Hemisphere many cultures celebrate the harvest with autumn festivals, while in the south people gather for some unique music events.

Regatta Storica in Venice, Italy

Regata Storica

Where? Venice, Italy
When? 5th September 2021

One of the most highly anticipated events in Venice’s calendar, Regata Storica takes place every first Sunday of September. Celebrating one of the city’s best-known traditions, Venetian rowing, the event involves a historic boat parade and a series of exciting races. The boat crews are also decked out in 15th-century costumes, allowing you to experience a slice of Venice’s history for the day.

Mid-autumn festival in China - September holiday ideas - On The Go Tours

Mid-Autumn Festival

Where? China
When? 21st September 2021

September is when the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with lanterns, shrine worship and plenty of delicious treats. The most popular treat is a mooncake, round pastries with sweet red bean paste inside that are gifted to family and friends. The festival is held on the full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month of China’s lunar calendar each year, which falls somewhere between late September and early October.

Park in Bogota, Colombia

Jazz in the Park

Where? Bogota, Colombia
When? TBC

Held in Bogota in mid-September, Jazz in the Park has been celebrating the city’s thriving jazz scene since 1996. Public parks such as Simon Bolivar and Independence Park are filled with the sounds of saxophones, trumpets and pianos as local musicians showcase their best work. The festival is also completely free, making this a great time to visit the Colombian capital.

Breaching Southern Right Whale - Africa tours - On The Go Tours

Hermanus Whale Festival

Where? Hermanus, South Africa
When? late September 2021

Every year the coastal town of Hermanus in South Africa pays homage to the southern right whale with three days of ocean-themed activities and exhibitions. People gather to watch the migrating sea beasts and learn more about them. The event started life in 1991 and it's still the only eco-marine festival in the country. Visitors can also enjoy music, markets, good food and a Whales ‘n’ Wheels classic car show.

Best Beach Destinations in September

The Mediterranean is still good in September with temperatures starting to drop but still warm enough for sailing and beach breaks. It's still lovely along the eastern coast of Africa with plenty of destinations to choose from. The monsoon rains are drawing to a close across Southeast Asia but it's better to wait a few months more for the best weather in this region, while in Central America it's hurricane season so best avoided at this time.

Maldives Beach Couple

The Maldives

The monsoons that affect the Maldives between July and August have now moved on, so the weather improves with clearer skies and less rainfall. As it's not the driest season of the year, prices will be reasonable and availability better. It's a good time for surfing and diving is also good on the Western sides of an atoll (coral island), with more plankton and greater chances of encountering dolphins and manta rays after the heavier rains.

Cruise-Dubrovnik-Itinerary-2-Group-Tours-Croatia

Croatia

Croatia's peak holiday season is now over as children across Europe return to school, yet the Mediterranean weather is still balmy, with pleasant temperatures, warm waters and minimal rainfall. Prices drop a little at this time of year so you can still enjoy a sailing trip without breaking the bank and there are still plenty of opportunities to relax on sandy beaches and explore historic cities along the coast. There's also the added bonus of much thinner crowds across the country.

BEACH

Morocco

Spanning a distance of 1,200 miles from the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Morocco has plenty of coastline to plan the perfect beach break. From Tangier to Agadir, there are plenty of accommodation options and September is the perfect time to visit, with hot but bearable temperatures and little rainfall. The more popular resorts are also well-connected to international airports and there are many historic cities to explore.

Sri Lankan Beach

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's pristine coast on the northeast side of the island is experiencing its last good month of weather in September before the monsoons hit the region. Now's the time to plan a visit to Arugam Bay and the coastline north of Trincomalee, with warm weather and little rainfall. It's still wet on the other side of the island but it's still possible to visit Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle and its many ancient marvels as well as the national parks.

Best Wildlife Destinations in September

The dry season continues across Africa, with minimal rainfall and hot temperatures. It's been a few months since the last rains so the foliage is sparse, making it the perfect time to visit for a wildlife safari. You can take your pick of any destination from Kenya to South Africa, all are great for wildlife at this time of year. Elsewhere, it's a great time for jungle treks and fishing in the Amazon, with low water levels, while Sri Lanka's famous elephant gathering is taking place in Minneriya National Park. Madagascar and the Galapagos are great at this time of year, for those looking to get off the beaten track.

Zebra Crossing - Africa Overland Safaris - Africa Lodge Safaris - Africa Tours - On The Go Tours

East Africa

The annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle is a year-long journey, with September one of the busiest months as thousands of animals cross from the northern Serengeti in Tanzania to the adjacent Masai Mara in Kenya. It's a journey fraught with danger, from the sheer drop at the river banks to the hungry crocodiles that stalk the waters of the Mara River. It's one of the best months to visit East Africa to witness the brutal spectacle.

Botswana-general-page

Southern Africa

Game viewing is at its best in Southern Africa as wildlife congregates around the few remaining watering holes after months of dry, warm weather conditions. It's a great time to visit South Africa with southern right and humpback whales breeding in the warm waters off the coast, while herds of elephants start to come together in Botswana. Namibia's national parks are also ideal at this time of year before the temperatures soar.

Swimming-with-seals-in-the-Galapagos

The Galapagos

Between June and November the Galapagos Islands experience a cool and dry season. Rougher seas are perfect for diving, as plankton and nutrients are scattered far and wide, attracting larger fish and sea birds such as albatross and penguins. In September, sea lions are also at their most active as the females come into season and the males begin their battle to win over a partner.

kingfisher_ttouristboard

Madagascar

Madagascar becomes a bird watcher's dream in September with the start of the breeding season and arrival of many migratory species. In preparation for finding a mate, birds will become much more vocal, filling the forests with song, and beginning to display their most impressive moves and breeding regalia. If bird watching is what you're after, book in advance as lodges in prime birding locations tend to be small and book up quickly.

See more of our Travel Calendar

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October

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November

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December

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January

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February

Holi festival hands and colour image

March

Cherry blossom and castle - Bucket List

April

St Petersburg during White Nights - On the Go Tours

May

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June

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July

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August