5 best places to go in September and October

Although not the first one to say, I’ll reiterate—these are weird times. And while international (and sometimes even domestic) travel is basically out of the question at the moment. We and many other adventuresome folks are thinking ahead to when it’ll be safe for us to explore the world again. Nothing right now is guaranteed, but we are hopeful that travel will resume by the summer, if not sooner. That being said, fall trips are probably a safer bet. So, where can you start dreaming about?

Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast in September

As one of the sunniest spots on the Mediterranean coast, Europeans (and others) flock to this Riviera during July and August. That makes for crowded streets, beaches, shops, restaurants, and just about everything else. September is the beginning of Croatia’s shoulder season and the intense summer crowds start to thin. It’s also when the temperatures are more moderate—warm enough to explore without jackets, but not so warm that you’re sweating and uncomfortable.

Spain in September or October

In the north, September is considered one of the best months to walk the Camino de Santiago because the weather is generally warm with blissfully cool evenings and mornings. Plus, the trails are not as busy as in July and August. In the south, October is the shoulder season, which like Croatia, means fewer crowds and more moderate temperatures. This is also the time of year when you might see olive or grape harvests going on depending on seasonal factors.

The Himalayas in September or October 

Fall in Bhutan and Nepal typically brings the driest weather, which means the clearest skies. And it’s important to have clear skies to enjoy views of the spectacular and humbling mountains. If you want to see Everest and other sky-high peaks on your hikes or through a plane window, this is the time to go. You’ll see farmers in their fields harvesting the season’s bounty, and temperatures can still reach into the 80s in some places!

Portugal and the Azores in September or October

Summertime in Portugal is hot and dry and the most popular time for visitors. But by autumn, the intense heat of the summer has passed, and there are fewer crowds, which is better for both your urban and rural exploration. Whether you choose to explore the mainland, the lush volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic, or both, you’ll find pleasant temperatures both on the ground and in the water (if you choose to take a dip).

New Zealand in October

October is one of the best months for spotting dolphins, whales, and penguins (who doesn’t love penguins?). Since it’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll also see adorable baby lambs grazing alongside their mothers and wildflowers blooming on the hillsides. There’s something lovely about seeing the landscape come to life again with color. Plus, you can often find better airfare prices!

Matt Holmes is the Founder & President of Boundless Journeys. Boundless Journeys is an award-winning tour operator that goes off the beaten path for immersive and authentic travel experiences.

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Comments (12)

  1. Nick Dougill says:

    There are going to be a lot of frustrated travellers ready to splurge on some big adventures by the autumn. After a dose of claustrophobic isolation people will be crying out for open spaces. I can see big treks and epic journeys being really popular.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      Absolutely! We certainly expect (and hope!) that for people who have always made travel a priority in their lives, the desire to continue exploring the world and engaging with new cultures will be all that more intense after this episode in our life.

  2. Vernon says:

    None of my friends or family are taking holidays at the moment or anytime soon. Come September and October, if we are virus free, there are going to be many people with plenty of days of holiday to take who will be looking at these ideas excitedly.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      That’s a very good point…aside from simply having the desire to travel when this is over, those who have been fortunate enough to continue working will have time available to do so.

  3. Anthony says:

    I’m somewhat stranded in my travel life at the moment but I’m already looking forward to where I might be going next. And the Himalayas are up there at the top of my list. I really want to visit Nepal. Croatia and Spain I would love to get there later in the year though.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      So great to hear that Nepal is on your list! I also encourage you to look into Bhutan. It’s absolutely one my favorite countries.

  4. Gemma Stringer says:

    I personally can’t see things returning to normal with travel by the summer, and I almost hope it doesn’t because I’m fearful that ending the restrictions too soon would be a mistake and a second wave would happen. But I do imagine by October things may start to improve so who knows. It’s nice to dream about regardless because I’m sure I’m not alone in liking to think of taking a trip somewhere at the moment!

    I’ve been to Spain in September before and I really enjoyed it, it was a good bit quieter than when I’d been in July before and the temps were still very reasonable, getting away with just a cardigan most days. Odd spells of rain were few and far between too. I’ve not been to Camino de Santiago but I’ll have to look into that as I’d like to go back to Spain again in future. The temperatures in the Himalayas in Sept or Oct surprised me, never imaged they could reach the 80s, that’s not bad at all.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      If you want to return to Spain, I’d definitely recommend an abbreviated version of the Camino, as you’ll travel through the incredibly diverse regions of the north, each with distinct cuisine, culture, and landscape! And as for the Himalayas, despite the elevation, they also straddle the same latitudes as the Grand Canary Islands and Florida – it’s easy to forget they aren’t far from the Tropic of Capricorn!

  5. Jeanne Mitchell says:

    These are all good spots to travel and have a vacation but some of these places experience changing weather. Although, since there has been a slight change in terms of air pollution and other types of pollution because of the lockdowns in many countries, I think the temperatures would be near accurate as the forecast. Anyway, we all deserve to have that time away from all this madness and problems that we are facing today. Sad to say, some people wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to these places because of COVID-19. Heart-breaking news are all over the media and families are suffering because of this, businesses shutting down and many people are struggling to have atleast something to eat. But I am also hopeful that all this ends soon and that I would be able to plan a trip by at the earliest September. Cautious travel, I believe, should still be on our minds for the rest of the year. Good suggestions though, for where to travel in the “ber” months.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      Unfortunately, given the scope of the situation, few people will be left completely untouched by this in some way. But it’s important to remember that we are incredibly resilient as a species and unknown positives will come out of this. Just last week, China and Vietnam set out plans to ban the wildlife trade, a huge step in the world of animal conservation and hopefully help prevent a repeat epidemic. Cautious travel, as you said should be on our minds, as should cautious optimism about life after COVID.

  6. Perry M. says:

    I’m not that adventurous enough to try the Himalayas, though I find it very interesting. I’m not sure it’s doable for me given my age. All those hiking and heights and rugged terrain. However, I am all for light walking and more relaxing and a lot of winning and dinning. New Zealand has always been on my radar but haven’t gotten the chance to visit since I’m on the other side of the world. I wonder if October would be a good month to visit the wineries in either Otago or Hawke’s Bay.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      The terrain in Bhutan is actually very tame (most of the country is in the lower and lusher foothills of the Himalayas) and because of it’s incredible culture, you can choose a much more cultural-focused itinerary with more walking instead of rigorous hiking. October is definitely a great month for wineries in NZ. The won’t be harvesting as it’s spring time, so you’ll see the buds on the vines and of course be able sample their wines!

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