Best places to go for a holiday in September

COUNTRIES

AUSTRIA

Why you should go: The September shoulder season has fewer crowds, generally good autumnal weather and some of the clearest alpine scenery. Farmers drive their flower-decorated cows down from alpine pastures, and wine regions such as the Wachau Valley (donau.com) and Burgenland (burgenland.info) turn russet as harvest season arrives.

Don't miss: Hohe Tauern (hohetauern.at), Austria's largest national park and the biggest nature reserve in the European Alps, is a geography book of glaciers, brilliant blue lakes, waterfalls, areas of forest and tundra and soaring alpine peaks, culminating at 3798 metres at Grossglockner. Although some farming occurs on the national park's fringes, its core preserves untouched alpine scenery disturbed only by hiking trails. See austria.info 

See also: Twenty reasons to visit Vienna

ARGENTINA

Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: It's the beginning of spring and the best time of year to visit not just Buenos Aires but Argentina's national parks. The Patagonian Lake District erupts in wildflowers, whales migrate along the coast and elephant seals return to land to breed. Valdes Peninsula Nature Reserve is a great place to spot these awesome sea creatures.

Don't miss: Iguazu Falls are at full capacity and are higher, wider and more wonderful than Niagara. The Argentinian side has a better visitors' centre and more dramatic approach through the rainforest to the Devil's Throat, where water plunges and rainbows soar. However, head over the border to Brazil for the widest, most panoramic views. See turismo.gob.ar 

See also: Buenos Aires' famous market you don't have to wake up early for

MALDIVES

North Male-atoll, Maldives, 02.04.2017, sting ray surrounded by school of butterfly fish. satjul28cover - transports of delight JOHN BORTHWICK - A traditional dhoni voyage along ?the North Male Atoll CREDIT: Shutterstock

Sting ray surrounded by school of butterfly fish, North Male Atoll. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Draped like a jewelled pendant off India, the islands of the Maldives are the ultimate in castaway island luxury. Monsoons hit in July and August, then fade in September, with only sporadic rain but much lower prices. If you're looking for a paradise of spa pampering, butler service and fresh seafood at a (relatively) bargain price, this is your moment.

Advertisement

Don't miss: At Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (conradhotels3.hilton.com), the spa has glass floors so you can watch colourful fish flitting below. There's also an all-glass underwater restaurant. Gili Lankanfushi (gili-lankanfushi.com) sits on its own coral island. Its Crusoe Residences can only be reached by boat, and appear to float in the sparkling lagoon. See visitmaldives.com 

See also: The hardest thing to do in the Maldives? Meet a local

SRI LANKA

SunMar11coverAsia ; Only-in-Asia Experiences ; text by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock *** REUSE PERMITTED *** *** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** BREAKOUT Leopard crossing the road - Sri Lanka national parks Yala.

A leopard crossing the road in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Sri Lanka means ''splendid isle'', certainly apt for this country of highland waterfalls and tea plantations, surf beaches and ancient Singhalese ruins. National parks, a fine cuisine, colonial towns Galle and Colombo and gold-capped temples surrounded by misty jungle add to the appeal. September is a good time to visit the east coast, and a reasonable time overall.

Don't miss: Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage (nationalzoo.gov.lk) has some 80 resident animals. Visitors can watch baby elephants getting their morning feed of milk. In the afternoon, the highlight is a parade of formerly injured or abused elephants heading riverwards for baths accompanied by plenty of splashing. If you're impressed, you can do volunteer work at the orphanage. See srilanka.travel 

See also: The world's newest five-star island destination

THAILAND

Sea of red lotus at sunrise in Udon Thani,Thailand Shutterstock 261187319 tra10-Asia-coverstory

Sea of red lotus at sunrise in Udon Thani,Thailand. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Though it's rainy season in Thailand, don't be put off, as sudden downpours are generally short and bring a welcome respite from humidity. East coast islands such as Koh Samui get far less rain than their west coast counterparts. Hotels offer discounts, top sights are far less crowded and the countryside shimmers a vivid green.

Don't miss: Khao Yai National Park (dnp.go.th) is Thailand's oldest national park and a World Heritage site. Few overseas tourists come here, but it's rightly popular among Thais, and well set up with hiking and biking trails and other soft adventure options. Float down the Nakhon Nayok River in a rubber raft, and cycle under towering bamboo. See tourismthailand.org 

See also: Twenty things that will shock first-time visitors to Thailand

CITIES

KYOTO, JAPAN

SunNov12trav10 Flower Displays Traveller 10 ; text by Brian Johnston SUPPLIED Enjoying the nightlife under the cherry blossoms of Maruyama Park in Kyoto. ? Japan National Tourist Office

Enjoying the nightlife under the cherry blossoms of Maruyama Park in Kyoto. Photo: Japan National Tourist Office

Why you should go: Kyoto is Japan's ancient capital and Tokyo's alter ego, with tranquil gardens and countless temples. The city farewells its summer heat and humidity in September, and enjoys a spate of festivals and cultural events honouring the harvest season. At night, wander Gion district, whose streets are lined with traditional restaurants, teahouses and antique shops.

Don't miss: Follow the Philosopher's Path along the Biwa Canal, which passes so many temples it could take a day to complete. The path begins near the famous Silver Temple (actually a wooden pavilion set in raked gardens), but Eikan-do is possibly the most charming temple, where monks snooze on verandahs and birds twitter in the trees. See kyototourism.org 

See also: Twenty reasons to love Kyoto

VANCOUVER, CANADA

SatJul29Vancouver - Chinatown, Vancouver, Canada - Brian Johnston Credit: Shutterstock Chinatown historical mural on East Pender Street, depicting a Chinese laundry in 1884

A mural on East Pender Street, in Chinatown, Vancouver, depicting a Chinese laundry in 1884. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Vancouver is splendidly located between ocean and mountains. The city has innumerable parks, green spaces and waterfront promenades. With the summer crowds gone and the weather crisp but still fine, September is a good month for exploring. The 11-day Vancouver Fringe Festival (vancouverfringe.com) brings together 90 different acts.

Don't miss: The University of British Colombia's excellent Botanical Garden and Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden (botanicalgarden.ubc.ca) have superb maple trees that start to take on autumn colours in September. The university's Museum of Anthropology has an outstanding collection of First Nation totem poles, painted canoes, ceremonial masks and jewellery. The grounds showcase two Haida longhouses and more totem poles. See tourismvancouver.com 

See also: Three-minute guide to Vancouver

DETROIT, USA

Why you should go: A decade ago, Detroit was a symbol of American manufacturing in decline, and still features empty factories and semi-abandoned neighbourhoods. It has started to make a comeback, however. Enjoy new public works, a burgeoning restaurant scene, street markets and some great baseball. September provides decent weather.

Don't miss: The city that gave the world Motown has a humming jazz and blues scene, so check out live venues. The early September Detroit Jazz Festival (detroitjazzfest.org) is the largest free jazz festival in the USA, and features everything from gospel choirs and funk groups to evening jam sessions. There are performances by remarkable up-and-comers too, proving that Detroit still retains its jazz mojo. See visitdetroit.com 

See also: Detroit, USA: Motor City makeover

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

Mexico City skyline.

Mexico City skyline. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Maybe it's the elevation (2250 metres) that makes you feel lightheaded in Mexico City, or the backstreet tequila bars, the arty and youthful vibe or the mariachi bands. This year, Mexico City has the added attraction of being World Design Capital. September is a great time to visit: balmy temperatures, tail end of the rainy season, and fewer visitor numbers.

Don't miss: The Museum of Anthropology (mna.inah.gob.mx) has indigenous artefacts that attest to 3000 years of Mexican history, and Templo Mayor (templomayor.inah.gob.mx) relates the story of the Aztec city that once stood here. Spanish architecture is also impressive, especially around the huge main plaza, overlooked by palaces and a madly decorated cathedral. See cdmxtravel.com

See also: Mexico's mad, must-see event

HONG KONG, CHINA

*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** SunNov19covernew ;?Stopover Cities ; copy by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock HONG KONG - JUN 19: Neon lights on Tsim Sha Tsui street on June, 19, 2015.?

Neon lights on Tsim Sha Tsui street, Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: There are plenty of reasons to visit Hong Kong, one of the world's most vibrant cities, including top dining and shopping. The second half of September is the sweet spot between the summer typhoon season and the soaring prices and crowds of winter. The Mid-Autumn Festivals falls on September 24 and features carnivals and lantern exhibitions.

Don't miss: Stanley is a beachside town reached by a road from the city that supplies sweeping coastal views. It has a noted market along its main street under bright-coloured awnings, which you can plunder for brand-name sportswear, silk blouses and shirts. It's also a good place to pick up fabric, from Chinese linen to Indian embroidered cotton. See discoverhongkong.com

See also: Best destinations to visit in August

See also: Best places to visit in July

See also: Best places to go for a holiday in June

See also: Best destinations to visit in May

See also: Best places to go in April

See also: Best places to go for a holiday in March

Comments