Mafia Island

Summer might be drawing to a close but with the arrival of autumn and our beloved shoulder season comes the chance to walk with white Kermode bears and big friendly giants - all here in our where to go guide for September 2016.

For beach bums..

Long haul: Mafia Island, Tanzania

Long-haul beach trips can be tricky to plan thanks to super high temperatures that would send even the most ardent of sun-worshippers running for cover. You’ll skip the rainy season if you head to Tanzania in September. When you’ve finished your week-long safari adventure it would be remiss not to spend a few days lounging on the beach away from the lions. Rather than head to the coast (with everyone else on your tour), hop over to nearby Mafia Island to catch some rays away from the crowds.

Short haul: Palermo, Sicily

At the height of summer, Sicily’s heat is almost oppressive. Whether it’s down to the active volcanoes or the stifling winds off the north African coast, there’s little fun to be had clinging to the few shady corners that Palermo has to offer in July and August. In September, that changes. The heat softens and a cool breeze picks up. The sunshine is enjoyable rather than something to avoid by any means possible. Barcelona and San Sebastian are often the go-to destinations for a city/beach break, but Palermo has one of the most beautiful coasts in the Mediterranean.

Gulf of Mondello, Palermo, SicilyGulf of Mondello, Palermo, Sicily
Creative Commons / Andrea Calcagno

For city slickers..

Long haul: New York, USA

No one goes to New York in August. The city is so unbearably hot that everyone decamps to The Hamptons. It’s not until September that the city’s freshly-tanned population starts making their way home again. Lounge in Central Park in the afternoon after a stroll around the Upper West Side or head over the Brooklyn Bridge and explore the park and Sculpture Gardens. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re outside.

Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan
Creative Commons / Altug Karakoc

Short haul: Cardiff, Wales

Pack the snozzcumbers, here's a giant peach of an idea for a family getaway; a weekend in the City of the Unexpected - or Cardiff, as it's better known. The city of Roald Dahl’s birth will celebrate his 100th birthday over the weekend of 17-18th September with a cast of thousands performing on the city's streets and public spaces, in shops and in some of Cardiff's best-loved buildings. Produced by Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales, expect the unexpected as Dahl’s surreal world of fiction comes to life before your very eyes.

Cardiff BayCardiff Bay
Creative Commons / Elliott Brown

Adrenaline junkies..

Long haul: British Columbia, Canada

There’s no doubting that whatever time of year you visit Canada you’ll find something incredible to experience. So why September? Because this is the only time you’ll spot the elusive spirit bear. The incredible white Kermode bear is usually hiding in the dark forest but they venture out to streams and creeks in Autumn to feed on salmon. Then these ghostly creature vanish back into the forest for another year.

Short haul: Barcelona, Spain

Sometimes it feels like it’s always fiesta season in Barcelona but in September there's no expense spared as the city celebrates its patron saint, Mare de Déu de la Mercè, with a festival like no other. Amidst an explosion of Catalan culture and customs, you’ll be craning upwards towards the castellers, dwarfed by the 'Giants and Big-Heads' and transfixed by the correfoc (devilish fire-runs). Taking place over five nights, the party atmosphere - and streets performances - draw to a close with the city's biggest annual firework display near Plaça Espanya at the foot of Montjuïc.

La MercèLa Mercè
Creative Commons / Kevin Rodriguez Orti

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.