All Articles Where to travel in September around the world

Where to travel in September around the world

From celebrating Mexican Independence Day to cruising through Germany.

Sarah Kuta
By Sarah KutaAug 3, 2023 6 minutes read
Cochem Castle surrounded by fall foliage in Moselle Valley, Germany
Cochem Castle surrounded by fall foliage in Moselle Valley, Germany
Image: Hans-Peter Merten/Getty Images

In many parts of the world, September offers Goldilocks temperatures—not too hot, not too cold… just right. As such, it can be a dreamy month to travel, since you won’t need to worry about sweating through your clothes while sightseeing or trying to cram heavy winter gear into your suitcase. If you’re dreaming of an international adventure, but not sure yet where you want to go, consider these idyllic September destinations.

Looking for domestic destinations? Visit our guide to the best places to visit in September across the U.S.

Moselle Valley, Germany

View of vineyards and Moselle River in the Moselle Valley in autumn
View of vineyards and Moselle River in the Moselle Valley in autumn
Image: Jorg Greuel/Getty Images

As it winds through eastern Luxembourg and southwestern Germany, the Moselle River flows past quaint small towns, historic castles, and vineyards planted with tidy, geometric rows of grapes. In September, this European wine region comes alive with harvest celebrations and vivid fall colors.

One of the best ways to experience this under-the-radar valley is from the water itself, onboard a river cruise. Though several river cruise companies offer a Moselle itinerary, we like Avalon Waterways’ new active and discovery trip because it lets travelers choose their own adventure based on their interests and preferred activity level each day.

After departing from Remich, the sleek ship sails to Bernkastel-Kues, Cochem, Koblenz, Rüdesheim, Eltville, and Frankfurt, with a variety of excursion options along the way. Passengers can hike through vineyards, go wine-tasting, visit Reichsburg Castle, take a walking tour of Koblenz, learn how beer gets made at Bitburger Erlebniswelt, and visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, to name a few.

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Santiago, Chile

Bright blue exterior of La Chascona Museum, Santiago, Chile
Bright blue exterior of La Chascona Museum, Santiago, Chile
Image: diegograndi/Getty Images

Since Santiago is located in the Southern Hemisphere, September marks the beginning of spring in Chile’s capital city. During this shoulder-season month, you’ll enjoy more affordable accommodations and smaller crowds, plus blooming wildflowers and temperatures in the 60s. Chile also celebrates its Independence Day—known as Fiestas Patrias—on September 18, so if you time your visit just right, you’ll be able to join in the festivities, which include fireworks, parades, and plenty of delicious food.

Situated in a valley and surrounded by mountains, Santiago offers great views at nearly every turn, so lace up your walking shoes. Head to Metropolitan Park and hike to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal in the morning, when half the hill is shaded (or, if you’re feeling jet-lagged, take the funicular instead). Then, wander through the colorful Barrio Bellavista to check out the street art and graffiti with a compulsory stop at La Chascona, where an audio guide will tell you all about its famous former resident: Chilean poet Pablo Nerudo. (If you want to pick-up a poetry collection from the Nobel Laureate, head to Feria Chilena del Libro or hunt for a used copy at the Galeria Veneto.)

Travelers say: “Budget about two hours for a casual 30–45-minute hike up [Cerro San Cristóbal] (lots of shady places to rest [in the morning] along the way if you need), an hour to enjoy the panoramic views of Santiago and the surrounding mountains, and a 15–30 minute return hike. The lines to visit the statue of the Immaculate Conception can get rather long, but there's a special (shorter) line for those who buy a candle from the vendor at the entrance.”—@OMFnK

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Kruger National Park, South Africa

Safari truck with passengers watching lions resting in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Safari truck with passengers watching lions resting in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Image: Jackal Pan/Getty Images

Travelers from all over the world flock to South Africa’s Kruger National Park, located some 250 miles from Johannesburg, for an opportunity to see both “The Big Five”—elephants, leopards, lions, rhinos, and African buffalos—and “The Little Five”—buffalo weavers, leopard tortoises, antlions, rhino beetles, and elephant shrews—not to mention the sweeping savannah landscapes. And, thanks to the weather conditions, September is an ideal time to visit: Since it’s toward the end of the region’s dry season, there’s less grass and vegetation to block your view of the animals and you won’t have to worry about getting drenched like you would at other times of year.

Though you could rent a car and drive yourself through the park’s 9,600 square miles of terrain, many prefer a guided experience, like the private full-day safari offered by Safaria or a five-day trek with Viva Safari that includes airport transfers, lodging, meals, and more. Since early mornings and evenings offer the best chances of spotting wildlife, the park itself offers game drives at those times, as well as night drives for glimpsing nocturnal creatures and stargazing.

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Giverny, France

Water lily pond and bridge in autumn at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France
Water lily pond and bridge in autumn at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France
Image: Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

Head northwest from Paris roughly 45 miles and you’ll eventually find yourself in Giverny, a tiny, charming town in Normandy. But don’t let Giverny’s small size fool you: This community packs a big punch, as it’s home to renowned impressionist painter Claude Monet’s longtime home and gardens, now run as a museum, the Fondation Claude Monet. The gardens, which are open to visitors from April 1 to November 1, are abloom with various flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors at different times of year—and, in September, you can expect to see bright red and yellow nasturtiums, as well as vibrant purple dahlias.

After wandering the gardens and Monet’s pink house, head across the lane to Les Nymphéas for a cup of coffee and an apple tart made with calvados (Normandy is known for its apples—and the beverages, both alcoholic and zero-proof, made from them). Before you leave town, visit Restaurant Baudy—which was one of Monet’s favorite hangouts—as well as his gravesite next to the town’s tiny Romanesque church.

Tip: if you’re looking to make a day trip of it from Paris, know that Giverny doesn’t have a direct train route, so you can either take the hour-long train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon and then hop in a 20-minute cab ride to the Fondation Claude Monet or join a group tour like this half-day trip with Blue Fox Travel, which will handle transport to and from the artist’s estate.

Travelers say: “Right outside the [Vernon] train station we hired bikes (10 euros per day per person) and biked the picturesque four-kilometer path to Giverny. Yes [the Fondation Claude Monet] was crowded and you will have other people in your pics .... but I would still say it is definitely worth it. After we finished, we biked back to Vernon, picked up picnic supplies and then had a lovely meal on the banks of the Seine [and] took the 5 p.m. train back [to Paris].”—@Sujlovestravel

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Banff, Alberta

Couple hiking on trail in autumn at Banff Na tional Park
Couple hiking on trail in autumn at Banff Na tional Park
Image: Cavan Images/Getty Images

High in the Canadian Rockies, the aspen leaves and evergreen-esque larch needles start to turn colors in September. Make Banff your homebase for taking in the annual fall spectacle in Alberta’s Bow Valley, as it’s centrally located within the bounds of Banff National Park.

Hit the trails to be fully immersed in the golden-yellow foliage—for the most up-to-date leaf peeping intel, we recommend booking a guided hike with companies like White Mountain Adventures and Banff Hiking Company. Since their guides are out and about all the time, they know exactly which trails to hit for optimal fall color on any given day.

Another great way to see the leaves is from the air, via the Lake Louise summer gondola, which runs through early October. As you take in the dazzling natural landscape, be sure to keep an eye out for black bears, grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats, and other wildlife that call this beautiful place home.

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Mexico City

Colorful exterior and entrance of Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City
Colorful exterior and entrance of Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City
Image: Uwe Duerr/Getty Images

If you don’t mind getting a little wet, September is a festive month in Mexico City. Though smack in the middle of the capital city’s rainy season, showers typically don’t last long—and, since temperatures are in the 70s, they often feel refreshing.

All month long, Mexico City residents and travelers alike celebrate El Mes de la Patria, with most celebrations centered around Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16. The already colorful city is even brighter than usual, with decorations, festivals, concerts, fireworks, and parades. One of the best places to take in all the action is Centro Historico—especially the Zócalo, where crowds start gathering on Independence Day Eve in front of the National Palace. From the balcony, the president traditionally makes a short speech to celebrate el grito, or the cry for independence.

Even if you can’t make these specific dates work, you can still celebrate this region’s culture and history by visiting landmarks like Museo Frida Kahlo, a bright blue building dedicated to the life and work of the famed Mexican artist, and Chapultepec Castle, home to the national history museum.

Travelers say: “[At the Museo Frida Kahlo,] do not forget to check out Frida’s dresses! Although often overlooked, this is almost a second museum. Many panels explaining the relationship between Frida’s challenges and dressing style—as well as her determined attitude.” —@642jais

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Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta is a writer and editor based in Colorado who specializes in travel, food and drink, science, history, and more. Her work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Food & Wine, NBC News, Lonely Planet, Smithsonian Magazine, the Denver Post, 5280 Magazine, the Toronto Star, and many other publications. When she's not writing, she's probably skiing, birdwatching, road tripping in her converted camper van, hiking with her dog Daisy, mountain biking, or checking out craft breweries.