September is a great time to travel. Not only have most travelers gone home to work and school, but many of the world’s favorite destinations lower their prices to reflect the shoulder season. In the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are finally cooling down from their peak summer height, while in the Southern Hemisphere the weather is cool and Spring-like. For families and solo travelers looking to avoid the crowds and stretch their dollars a bit further, these are the 20 best underrated places to travel in September.
Hailed by backpackers as the “new Croatia,” Albania combines the historical sites of Italy with the beaches of Greece and the laid-back lifestyle of neighbors like Croatia and Montenegro. Albania has something to offer just about any interest. For hiking and the purest of fresh air, head to the Albanian Alps, an unspoiled wonderland without the commercialism of Europe’s other major mountain ranges. For pristine beaches, head to the country’s southern part to the area known as the Albanian Riviera. In September, these beaches have only hints of their summertime crowds, but boast warm waters ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina has distinguished itself as one of the best alternatives to Nashville, Charleston, and other popular destinations in the American South. Asheville’s laid-back, artsy vibe appeals to those in need of some relaxation. The local Blue Ridge Mountains and impressive Biltmore Estate offer some outdoor adventure and sophistication, respectively. Spend your mornings hiking in fresh mountain air, walking the downtown, or exploring the Biltmore. Then enjoy evenings at one of the many local craft breweries for which Asheville has become famous.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Because it’s located in the Southern Hemisphere, where September is actually the tail end of winter and start of spring, Argentina is an idea place to visit this month. Head to the capital city of Buenos Aires, which all at once feels both European and Argentinian, yet manages to have its own beat, too. Visitors eager to take in all the city has to offer would do well to book their stay in the neighborhood of Palermo. This large barrio is known for its hipster vibes, and features loads of boutique hotels, quirky shops and galleries, and coffee shops galore.
Colombia has been working hard to solidify itself as a safe and enjoyable travel destination. Its star attraction is almost certainly Cartagena. The rainy season is just about over by September, and the days are pleasant. This makes exploring the fascinating historic city easy and enjoyable. Awe over the Old City’s colorful, flower-covered buildings, hit the beaches, or take a day trip to one of the stunning islands off the coast.
The Catskills, New York
If a relaxing destination amongst nature is on the agenda, consider a trip to The Catskills in New York’s beautiful mountain region. In September, the weather is pleasant enough for days spent hiking, and the streams and waterfalls are full from the winter snow melt. Various hotels are available, each offering their own unique experience and ways to enjoy the natural surroundings.
Charleston, South Carolina
The American South is full of wonderful places to visit, and September — when the weather begins to cool — is the perfect time to plan a trip. Charleston, South Carolina may just be the crown jewel of the South. September is still warm enough for a day spent on one of Charleston’s beaches, or for a stroll through the historic downtown, with its charming old houses and tree-lined cobblestoned streets.
September is an excellent time to take a trip to Europe’s Mediterranean beaches. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the beaches and water, but most of the big crowds have left for the season. Cyprus’s beaches are world class, while its idyllic villages are practically postcard perfect. In Troodos, Cyprus’s mountain region, visitors can hike to waterfalls, photograph incredible views, and even go on a safari. And since Cyprus is so small, visitors can experience it all during even the shortest trip.
Desperate to visit Bora Bora? Then do so in September, when the big crowds have hopped on their flights home and prices have come down from their extraordinary height. Of course, there are other benefits to visiting this postcard-perfect paradise in September. Namely, far more overwater bungalows available at a lower price, little to no rain, zero humidity, and the same picturesque beaches and ocean views many only dream of.
If you’re going to visit the Middle East, September is one of the best times to go and Jordan one of the best places to see. This small country is one of the most popular destinations in the region, but thankfully, September has cooler temps than most of the rest of the summer. Join a trek through Wadi Rum, known also as the Valley of the Moon, and stand in awe over the stunning natural rock formations. And of course, you cannot plan a trip to Jordan without visiting the ancient city of Petra.
Is Laos destined to become the new Asian hotspot? Quite possibly! But for now, this beautiful country remains one of September’s best underrated travel destinations. Laos is a pretty peaceful place, and feels much more laid back than its popular neighbors, Cambodia and Vietnam. Wander through any town or village, and you’re likely to find colonial European architecture within a stone’s throw from Buddhist temples. This juxtaposition lends itself to a fascinating local culture, with tons to see and experience.
September brings to Madrid comfortable temperatures in the 60s and 70s, but doesn’t quite bring the massive crowds. This makes exploring this beautiful and welcoming capital city a breeze. The Royal Palace, Retiro Park, and Mercado San Miguel are some of Madrid’s must-see sites. Take advantage of lower hotel rates and stay near the romantic Plaza Mayor. In and around it are top-notch bars and restaurants just perfect for an end-of-the-day drink and appetizer.
Mexico City, Mexico
Once plagued by horror stories and travelers’ paranoia, Mexico’s capital city has become one of the world’s “it” destinations. There’s, perhaps, no better time than September to visit Mexico City. As the rains have mostly disappeared for the summer, while temperatures remain mild enough. Visitors can spend their days wandering the city’s trendiest and most historic neighborhoods to see why Mexico City was chosen as 2018’s World Design Capital. International cafes abound, and make for comfortable places to sip and people watch. High-end boutiques are a fun place to purchase a piece of local culture, and some especially good ones can be found in the trendy Roma Norte neighborhood.
The beautiful and inviting country of Malaysia has something to offer visitors at any time of the year. Come September, head to the state of Penang. Besides myriad Buddhist temples, a wildlife-filled jungle, and welcoming towns in which modern street art complements even the most traditional of buildings, Penang is known for its food. Indeed, it’s one of the most famous destinations in the world for street foods. For the best array, head to Penang’s capital of George Town. Here, you can walk for miles through food courts, food stalls, and open-air restaurants. Don’t fill your stomach too quickly. While Chinese and Indian fares are popular, they can’t beat Malaysia’s traditional dishes with their unique flavor profiles.
Portugal remains a totally underrated travel destination compared to its much more popular neighbors, Spain and France. The capital city of Lisbon is chock-full of historical sites and charming cobblestoned streets just waiting for visitors to explore. The Algarve on Portugal’s southern coast boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. In May, visitors can expect Portugal to be warmer than Spain but not yet hot enough to make those cobblestoned streets resemble an oven.
Rome is one of the busiest European cities in the summer, but you can beat the crowds and save some money by traveling to the Italian capital in September. Airfare is certainly cheaper in September than it is just a month earlier. Hotels often offer excellent deals for travelers visiting in the off season. Best of all, the Vatican, Pantheon, and Colosseum, places that are usually bursting at the seams with people, are noticeably less crowded.
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Egypt has faced quite a few challenges in recent years. Fortunately, the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh has remained relatively untouched. In fact, this beautiful coastal destination takes its main industry of tourism extremely seriously — albeit with a bit more security. Visitors can spend their September days lazing on Sharm el-Sheikh’s white-sand beaches and experiencing world-class snorkeling and diving. You’ll be rewarded with some of the best hospitality in the world, stunning natural scenery, and five-star hotel rooms for the price of a hostel anywhere else.
Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is a charming Eastern European city on our list of underrated September travel destinations. Even after years spent behind the Iron Curtain, Tallinn looks like a place straight out of a fairy tale or a romantic medieval ballad. Much of the Old Town dates back to the 1200s. It’s lined with cobblestone streets, laid-back cafes, traditional restaurants, and museums describing Estonian culture and history.
Australia may be one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world, but those who make the extra effort to get to the underrated island of Tasmania are sure to be rewarded. Tasmania is famous for its Tasmanian Devils, aggressive and wily mammals that prove to be as entertaining as they are frightening. Other Tasmanian highlights include a world-class restaurant scene, landscapes ranging from rugged mountains to secluded beaches, Freycinet National Park with its pink granite formations, and vibrant local wildlife population.
Europe is an excellent place to travel in September due to lowering temperatures and thinning crowds. In the capital city of Istanbul, September visitors can enjoy Contemporary Istanbul, a massive art fair which sees sculptures, canvas art, and huge art installations placed all over the city to show off the country’s unique artistic culture. Visitors to Turkey will also notice the benefits of visiting in September in Cappadocia, the beautiful city carved into a mountain side. While Cappadocia is typically crowded and costly during the high season, September is the perfect time to book a swanky cave hotel and reserve a spot on a hot air balloon during the sunset.
Utah is home to a whopping five national parks that are extremely popular during the summer. In fact, both Arches and Zion National Parks have become so packed in May, June, July, and August, officials are threatening to limit access to the park by initiating a reservation system. By September, most of Utah’s visitors have headed back home and back to school. As an added bonus, temperatures have also cooled down significantly. Take this opportunity to camp under the stars, awe at the massive natural structures, hike some of America’s most rewarding trails, and wander through red rock canyons like those at Antelope Canyon.
As picture-perfect island destinations like the Maldives and the Seychelles remain extremely popular (not to mention, pricey), Zanzibar has remained surprisingly underrated. Located not too far off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is known for its soft white sand, crystal-clear blue waters, and laid-back lifestyle. Visitors have plenty of resorts to choose from, including local endeavors with thatched roofs and views some would die for, and larger chains like the Park Hyatt. When visitors aren’t lounging on the beach, they can be soaking up the local culture in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with flairs of European, Arab, Indian, and Persian. In September, Zanzibar weather is about as perfect as it gets considering November begins the rainy season.