September is one of the best times of year to travel around Europe. Many of the most ancient and fascinating cities are fiercely hot in the middle of summer and bursting at the seams with crowds. By September, not only has the weather massively cooled down, but there are fewer visitors, too, meaning you can snap up some great deals on flights and accommodation.
At the beginning of the month, you can expect lush green fields, colorful wildflowers, long days filled with sunshine, and hardly a single drop of rain. The weather slightly changes as the weeks progress. Visit toward the end of the month, and in some places, the leaves will start to turn golden, there’ll be a slight chill in the air, evenings will draw in a little earlier, and you may encounter a few showers.
But as long as you plan your trip accordingly, you’ll have a great time in Europe – whatever happens! Whether your perfect September getaway involves relaxing on golden beaches, exploring historic cities, celebrating at larger-than-life festivals, or simply being somewhere new, we’ve got you covered. To help you plan the best September vacation ever, take some inspiration from our list of the top 15 places to visit in Europe in September!
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The 15 Best Places to Travel in Europe in September
1. Party All Week Long in Naples, Italy
A foodie’s dream come true, Naples is a wonderful place to visit in the fall. At this time of year, the weather is still warm enough so you can spend the day dozing on sandy beaches and cooling off in the Mediterranean Sea. But it’s not so hot that you’re put off exploring the must-see sites such as Pompeii, Via San Gregorio Armeno (Christmas Street), and the Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Another reason this is one of the best places to go in Europe in September is that there are loads of colorful festivals happening at this time of year, one of which definitely stands out from the crowd. The feast of San Gennaro (Naples’ patron saint) is celebrated each year on September 19 and begins with a solemn ceremony held at the Duomo.
Shortly after, the Piazza del Duomo is flooded with locals and visitors, all keen to witness the miracle that takes place every year. A vial of the patron saint’s blood is brought out of the chapel. If it turns to liquid (which it reliably does), it’s said to be a blessing for Naples, and everyone celebrates with a city-wide party that lasts for the full following week.
2. Lounge on the Beaches of Formentera, Spain
Mainland Spain often still holds onto the intense summer heat in September, making it a place to avoid. Thankfully, the Spanish islands enjoy a refreshing sea breeze and are much cooler during this month. If you’re looking for relaxing places to visit in Europe in September, Formentera, the smallest Balearic Island, is 40 minutes away from Ibiza via a boat trip but worlds away when it comes to vibe.
The opposite of the energetic party destination, Formentera gives you a good idea of what the Balearic Islands were like before tourism took over. Here you’ll find secluded bays made of the softest white sand you’ve ever touched, lapped by warm, gentle waters that are so blue you’ll struggle to believe they’re real. They’re so outstanding that these beaches regularly feature in lists of the most beautiful in the world.
A nature lover’s paradise, Formentera invites you to explore by cycling over its flat terrain, hiking to weathered lighthouses, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, and browsing local markets filled with all kinds of handmade treasures.
3. Explore Ancient Streets Without the Crowds in Brno, Czech Republic
Prague is usually the first place that comes to mind when someone thinks of traveling to the Czech Republic, and because of that, it’s often the busiest city in the country. Avoid the crowds and the hassle that comes with them by visiting Brno this September.
The second-largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno is like Prague’s slightly smaller sibling, with many similar attractions. Its Old Town is just as stunning as Prague’s, with labyrinthine streets that twist and turn all over the place. Here you can find fascinating landmarks, such as the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, the Špilberk Castle, and the Brno City Museum.
If the weather ever gets to be too hot for you, move away from the city center and check out the Moravian Karst and Caves. This underground natural wonder is made up of more than 1,000 ancient caves. You can explore them as part of a guided tour or, if you’re feeling adventurous, go spelunking and venture into rarely-visited parts of the rocky network.
4. Unleash Your Foodie Side in the Loire Valley, France
Every inch of the Loire Valley exudes elegance, sophistication, and luxury. From the aristocratic castles that go back centuries and the colorful vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see to the charming towns speckled with independent boutiques and manicured gardens that look like they’ve been pulled from a magazine, the Loire Valley is absolutely stunning.
This region’s fascinating history earned it the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site status. And while the historic buildings are mesmerizing places to visit, that’s not why we think this is one of the best places to visit in Europe in September. At this time of year, the beautiful region hosts loads of gourmet festivals guaranteed to tempt your taste buds!
The Festival of Tomatoes and Flavours takes place at Chateau de la Bourdaisière. Here you can join in with culinary workshops and find out how to make the most of the tasty ingredients, as well as shop from stalls run by local producers.
Tours-sur-Loire is another delicious treat to check out. It starts in May and carries on until the end of September with enchanting open-air dining experiences, outdoor movie showings, drawing classes, and giant board games the whole family can get involved with.
5. Tour the Douro Valley in Porto, Portugal
September is the beginning of the wine season in Porto, which means it’s time to hit the Douro Valley! Just a 1.5-hour drive away from the center of the city, the Douro Valley is Portugal’s wine region which is in full harvest from mid-September. If you can time your trip right, you’ll have the opportunity to see sprawling vineyards at their best.
At the beginning of fall, the vineyards change from dark, verdant greens into an autumn tapestry. Look carefully and you’ll be able to spot everything from vibrant purples and deep reds to fiery oranges and bright yellows. If you’ve got your own transport, you can drive there yourself. Or if you’d prefer someone else to organize everything, there are some excellent guided tours available.
This tour picks you up from your accommodation in Porto and whisks you away to the Douro Valley, where you’ll visit two wine estates. You’ll get to savor delicious wines that have been made at the vineyards for years before enjoying a fabulous lunch followed by a relaxing river cruise.
6. Discover Pristine National Parks in the Albanian Riviera
If you’re desperate to visit Europe, but you haven’t got much of a budget, consider traveling to Albania. This hidden gem has yet to make its mark, and because of that, you can get some fantastic deals on flights and accommodation. Not only that, but when you’re there, you’ll also find things like bars, restaurants, grocery shopping, attractions, and public transport are incredibly well-priced.
This hidden gem boasts sensational golden beaches, glistening aquamarine waters, ancient Greek remains, and charming villages just waiting to be explored. You’ll likely bump into a few locals making the most of the warm, sunny weather, but you’ll hardly come across any other tourists.
If you can tear yourself away from the blissful beaches, you’ve absolutely got to check out the Llogara National Park. This little piece of paradise is tucked away in the Ceraunian Mountains and rewards visitors with spectacular views of the Albanian Riviera. Here you’ll find forest-clad mountains, alpine meadows, and steep rocky cliffs covered in walking, hiking, and cycling trails.
7. Say “Prost!” in Munich, Germany
If you’ve only got time to visit one European city in September, it’s got to be Munich. Despite what the name may suggest, Oktoberfest is held each year in the German capital from the middle of September. Its name comes from the fact that the festival ends each year on the first Sunday in October.
This world-famous beer-drinking folk festival is like a giant party that got out of hand. It’s celebrated inside the Theresienwiese fairgrounds in the city, where you’ll find gigantic tents packed with communal-style tables and benches. Servers dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing make sure the beer is constantly flowing, while live bands playing traditional Bavarian music ensure that there’s always a lively, happy vibe.
To soak up the giant steins of beer, there are loads of food kiosks that sell all kinds of tempting Bavarian delights. Not a fan of beer? No worries. You’ll find plenty of stalls selling cocktails, mixed drinks, wine, and soft drinks, plus more family-friendly areas with carnival rides and games.
8. Be Ahead of the Trends with the Milan Fashion Week in Italy
In September, Milan transforms into a dazzling hub of creativity and becomes one of the best places to visit in Europe in September. During this month, fashion aficionados, designers, and celebrities come together to witness the unveiling of cutting-edge collections as part of Milan Fashion Week. Grab seats for one of the catwalk shows, and you’ll be rewarded with an exclusive glimpse into the latest trends and designs from renowned fashion houses.
When the retail therapy bug bites, hit Quadrilatero della Moda. This upscale shopping area in the Centro Storico district is teeming with luxury boutiques selling high-end fashion and opulent accessories guaranteed to make you look your best. With all kinds of posh cafes, it’s a great place to grab a coffee and people-watch, too.
Even if fashion isn’t really your thing, Milan is still definitely worth visiting in September. Beyond the runway, this enigmatic city is a treasure trove of history, art, and culinary delights. Get ready to explore iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Duomo di Milano and see unique works of art like Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
9. Brush Up on Your Greek Mythology in Paphos, Cyprus
Cyprus is a dazzling island that’s said to be the home of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love. If you head to Paphos, you can see Petra tou Romiou (also known as Aphrodite’s Rock), where Greek mythology says she was born! It’s located just offshore from one of the most gorgeous beaches in the area.
At this time of year, Paphos enjoys balmy temperatures of up to 84°F (29°C), making it one of the best places to go in Europe in September if you want to soak up the sun. Here you’ll find endless stretches of golden sand lined by the wonderfully warm Mediterranean Sea. Because the water is so staggeringly clear, the coast around Paphos is an excellent place to go scuba diving or snorkeling.
If you ever get tired of the beach, you’ll find plenty of other things to do in Paphos. There’s an ancient harbor that dates back to the 3rd century BC that’s now lined with bustling cafes and restaurants, the ruins of Paphos Castle, which was originally built in 1592, and intricate ancient mosaics at the Paphos Archaeological Park.
10. Indulge Your Cultural Side in Kefalonia, Greece
Most vacation destinations are beginning to calm down in September after a buzzing summer, but Kefalonia keeps the party going with tons of lively festivals that cover all sorts of themes and topics. The busy season on this Greek island peaks in August, making September a top time to go for fewer crowds, slightly cooler weather, and intriguing festivals that encourage you to gain a better understanding of the local culture.
If you’re interested in traditional festivals, time your trip to coincide with the Festival of Choral Singing or the Feast of Theotokos. These ancient events include everything from formal processions and music concerts to religious ceremonies and snake displays. You can never be quite sure what’s going to happen!
You’ve got plenty of options if you’re looking for something a bit more modern, too. From classic car shows and live music concerts to theatrical performances and sports championships, there’s loads going on in Kefalonia in September.
11. Go Hiking in the Soča Valley in Slovenia
Close your eyes and picture paradise. Do you see aquamarine rivers tumbling over jagged rocks? Towering trees kissed by dappling sunlight? Giant mountains that soar into the sky? If so, then you’re almost certainly picturing the Soča Valley in Slovenia.
This breathtakingly beautiful destination is at its best in September. Visit at the start of the month if you want to see the natural hotspot wearing its lush summer coat. Or plan your trip for later in the month if you want to see it speckled with crisp leaves in all kinds of mesmerizing orange, gold, and red hues.
Whichever time of year you decide to visit, the Soča Valley is always an amazing place for hiking. Here you’ll find a never-ending number of trails that work their way around the valley and reward you with phenomenal views you can’t see any other way.
Looking for something a little more challenging? This part of the country is one of the top whitewater rafting sites. Sign up for an excursion and get ready to feel your adrenaline pumping!
12. Fall in Love with Classical Music in Ghent, Belgium
If you’re a fan of classical music, you’ve absolutely got to make plans to visit Ghent in Belgium this September. The fairytale city hosts the incredible Flanders Ghent Festival at this time of year, which is brimming with events you certainly won’t want to miss.
The music extravaganza begins with OdeGand, featuring over 50 indoor and outdoor concerts that cover everything from classical music to jazz. The indoor events take place at important historical buildings throughout the city, but it’s the open-air concerts that people really love. These take place along the waterside and conclude with dancing and fireworks.
Not really into classical music? Ghent is still worth visiting this fall. One of the most charming cities in Europe, Ghent is like a picture of a medieval city that’s come to life. Its 16th-century houses, rippling canals, and cute bridges share the same space as independent cafes, cool street art, and progressive art galleries. A romantic canal boat trip as the September sun sets is something that you’ll recall time and time again!
13. Go Cycling for Free in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands
In the very center of the Netherlands lies the magnificent De Hoge Veluwe National Park. This huge natural space covers a significant portion of the Veluwe with dense forests, sandy bays, rugged heathlands, and grass plains.
What makes it stand out from other national parks in the country is that it uniquely combines art with nature. Take a look around and you’ll spot eye-catching sculptures hidden among the trees and plants.
There are three entrances to the park, each of which has a bike pick-up and drop-off area. These bikes are completely free for everyone to use, so make the most of it! There are 1,800 bikes available for adults and kids, so no matter how busy the park is, you shouldn’t have trouble borrowing one.
Inside the park, you’ll find a huge number of cycling trails that lead you to all kinds of interesting points. While you’re riding, be on the lookout for wildlife. Here you can spot the big four – deer, red deer, wild boar, and mouflon.
14. Shop ‘Til You Drop in Zagreb, Croatia
The weather is sunny and mild in Zagreb at this time of year, with highs of around 72°F (22°C), making the Croatian capital one of the best places to visit in September in Europe. Plus, this is the perfect weather for outdoor shopping! Ilica, one of the longest streets in the Croatian capital, is an epic place for retail therapy.
Here you can pick up everything from artisan coffee, hand-baked goods, and local snacks to hand-painted bags, clothes made by local designers, and music created by up-and-coming Croatian artists. You’ll find all kinds of unique trinkets here. The open-air Dolac Market is another place worth visiting. It’s been the best spot in the city to pick up fresh, seasonal ingredients since the 1930s.
The top-notch shopping isn’t the only reason to visit Zagreb in September. At this time of year, the city is alive with all kinds of weird and wonderful festivals. From the World Theater Festival and the drool-worthy RujanFest to the ZeGeVege Festival of Sustainable Living and the International Puppet Festival, you’ll be spoiled for choice with things to do here.
15. Be Amazed by the Museum Gardens in York, UK
There’s a reason many people consider fall to be the most beautiful season of the year. From September onwards, the world seems to turn into a golden paradise – when the air has a wonderful crispness to it and fluffy sweaters feel a little cozier than normal. One of the best places to experience the wonderful sensation of fall is in Museum Gardens in York.
Established way back in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, Museum Gardens are almost too beautiful to believe in September. At this time of year, the leaves start to drop from the bushy shrubs, and the flowers start to lose their vibrancy, but the trees really come into their own.
This is the only season when you can walk below a canopy of red and golden leaves, with more crunchy leaves beneath your feet. It’s about as close to walking through a leaf corridor as you’ll ever get in real life! With the impressive medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, you’ll take some amazing pictures here, too.
There you have it! The 15 best places to visit in Europe in September. What’s your favorite European destination to travel to in September?
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