Explore rural Umbria

After the summer rush, September is the perfect time for a quiet getaway. From adrenaline-fuelled adventures amid quaint Devonian villages to Fijian beach breaks, we round up what’s hot this month.

For beach bums…

Short haul: Crete, Greece

Greece’s largest island is renowned for a landscape that’s peppered with undulating mountain ranges and beaches hugged by hidden coves. In its southwest, the popular Elafonisi beach is teeming with sun worshipers due to its massive span; but you can always find a quiet expanse. Near the peninsula, the water doesn’t exceed 1m (3ft) in depth, making this beach ideal for swimming.

Crete collageGo for a dip in one of Crete's opalescent bays
iStockphoto / Thinkstock

For a quieter spot, head down to the picturesque coastal village of Bali. Built on the site of the ancient city of Astali, Bali's four beaches have formed in deserted inlets, where you can paddle in the deep-blue Mediterranean Sea and explore the craggy caves.

Plan your trip to coincide with the festival of St Stavros (13-14 September) in the village of Aptera. Join hundreds of locals as they gather to celebrate the holy cross on the first day, while 24 hours later the village is filled with stands offering food and free drinks; including tsikoudia, a fragrant grape-based pomace brandy.

Long haul: Fiji Islands

Famed for its remote islands, where movies The Blue Lagoon and Cast Away were filmed, Fiji is known for its welcoming stress-free atmosphere coupled with stunning natural beauty and tropical climate. The Fiji archipelago consists of over 332 islands, of which 110 are inhibited, and over 50 are privately owned.

fiji where to goExperience the delights of Fiji's palm-fringed shores
iStockphoto / Thinkstock

Located on the main island, Viti Levu, Natadola beach offers the perfect waves for bodysurfing, as well as a colourful soft coral garden for snorkelling or diving. Locals wander the beach offering horseback riding, jewellery and green coconuts for a refreshing drink.

Between 21 and 28 September, sugarcane decorations are sprinkled throughout the city of Lautoka for the Sugar Festival held in Churchill Park. Locals gather to celebrate and give thanks to this local industry with lively music, traditional dancing and plenty of traditional food – each year there’s a different theme based around community outreach, with profits going to charity.

For culture vultures…

Short haul: Umbria, Italy

‘The green heart of Italy’, rural Umbria has retained most of its old-world traditions and features untouched landscapes full of hills, mountains, hollows and plains. It’s also home to the charming hilltop city of Perugia and the historic settlement of Assisi, where Italy’s patron saint St Francis lays in the crypt of the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Basilica of San Francesco.

San FrancescoPay your respects to St Francis in the Basilica of San Francesco
Creative Commons / Mr G's Travels

As befits a predominantly rural area, local food and drink features heavily in region’s traditions. The only landlocked region of Italy is famous for its white Orvieto and red Torgiano tipples that can be sampled during wine trails and exclusive guided visits to family-owned wine cellars.

September signals the arrival of area’s largest classical musical event of the year, the Sacred Musical Festival (15 and 25 September), where composers and performers from around the world combine in concerts at atmospheric venues in towns and cities throughout the region.

Long haul: Singapore

Singapore’s tropical climate, accessible city landscape and eco-friendly reputation brings in visitors from around the world. The city is an ethnic brew of Chinese, Indian, Arabian and Malaysian culture, and the vibrant district of Little India offers a mix of spice stores, authentic restaurants, 24-hour shopping centres and sacred temples. Be sure to stop by the Temple of 1,000 Lights to see the 15m-high (49ft) statue of Buddha stylised by gleaming lights representing its aura.

Singapore festivalJoin the celebrations in Singapore's Chinatown
Creative Commons / Conray Chooyutshing

Hop over to Singapore’s largest historic district, Chinatown, where you can gorge on delights from the 100-or-so stalls at the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, and then head over to the night market for traditional souvenirs like dragon candles, street opera masks and Chinese calligraphy.

From 7 September to 4 October, Chinatown hosts the Mid-Autumn Festival, where Chinese culture is celebrated through multicultural performances, fireworks, and traditional treats such as mooncakes and fine tea. Before leaving Chinatown be sure to go to the free Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, where the relics of Buddha are stored in a 320kg (705lb) gold stupa.

For adventure seekers…

Short haul: Devon, United Kingdom

Located in pretty southwest England, Devon’s cliff-lined coast and undulating limestone landscape make it the perfect escape for adventure seekers. Coasteering and hangliding are just two activities for adrenaline junkies; but the thrilling new trend here is power kiting, where you harness the power of the wind, jump into the air, and let the jet stream glide you above the coast.

Devon kitingSoar above Devon's cliff-lined coast
Creative Commons / Orangejon

A short distance inland, dive into the River Dart near the quaint village of Staverton. This stretch features some perfect spots for exhilarating wild swimming in the dark peaty waters; or alternatively, jump in a kayak and float down the peaceful river.

In North Devon, discover Lynton and Lynmouth, nicknamed ‘England’s little Switzerland’ due to their quaint charm. Here you’ll find stunning cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and babbling streams. Take a break with a trip on the water-powered funicular for a chance to see spectacular views.

Long haul: Livingstone, Zambia

This historic British colonial city in southern Africa boasts one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. Follow in steps of adventure icon, Bear Grylls, and bungee 111m (364ft) off the famous Victoria Falls Bridge opened by Charles Darwin’s son in 1905. Once a month, a full-moon jump is offered, where thrill-seekers can plunge into darkness whilst plummeting towards the Zambezi River.

Zambia activityRide the rapids along the turbulent Zambezi River
iStockphoto / Thinkstock and Creative Commons / On The Go Tours and Martjin Munneke

If you’d prefer being on – rather than dangling above – the river, take Shearwater’s Low Water Run where you will get an adrenaline-filled experience that will leave you breathless when whitewater rafting through 19 of the river’s surging rapids.

In September, Livingstone is in its dry season, which is the prime time for safari. Join in conservation efforts where you can feed, play with and ride the African elephants, and track the highly endangered black rhino around the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.