Avoid the summer holiday rush and get some September sun in these destinations

·10 min read
 Avoid the summer holiday rush and get some September sun in these destinations. (Getty Images)
Whether you're prepared to take a short haul, mid haul or long haul flight for your summer holiday, here's a pick of the best. (Getty Images)

The summer we once knew is back again. Travel restrictions have eased, the world has (mostly) opened up again, the sun is shining and dreams of a holiday are on everyone's minds.

But before you splash out on a trip next week, channel that excitement into making what you have go further, with a summer soiree abroad in September.

With the schools returning and the season nearing an end, the lull of holidays is your very own sweet spot to catch the last of the sun.

Plus, weather, scenery, atmosphere and money-wise, September is the best time to see some of the most beautiful destinations around the world – that's as long as your home life doesn't tie you to school term-times only.

From a quick trip to Venice, to a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Oahu, Hawaii, we look at some of the best spots waiting to be explored – after the holiday rush.

Short haul

Nice, France – around 2 hours flight time

Nice city  view from a boat. View of the Promenade des Anglais, the mountains , the beach  and its beautiful buildings. Nice is a city located in the department of Alpes maritimes on the french riviera in South east of France . 
it was a summer day in august and the beach was crowded
Nice la Bella is waiting for you. (Getty Images)

Nice is ranked among some of the hottest places to go on holiday in September, as per the Met Office. While it might not compare to the soaring temperature of no.1 (35°C in Sao Paulo), the average in this delightful French city sits at a comfortable 24.6°C. Plus, you'll be able to explore the sights while enjoying the sunshine (stretching for eight hours), without breaking into too much of a sweat.

Nice la Belle, which translates as Nice the Beautiful, is found on the south-east coast on the Mediterranean Sea. As a flocked to spot on the French Riviera, which sits on the pebbled shores of the Baie des Anges, while it won't be empty, you'll be able to soak up your surroundings without the crowds.

Walk the Promenade des Anglais, get lost in the colourful quaint streets of Vieux Nice (or Old Town), shop for local fresh delicacies in the Cours Saleya Market, and take in panoramic views of turquoise waters and burnt-orange coloured roofs from Castle Hill.

Read more: Go west: The great American travel bucket list

Venice, Italy – 2 hours flight time

Beautiful view of traditional Gondola on famous Canal Grande with Rialto Bridge at sunset in Venice, Italy with retro vintage Instagram style filter and lens flare effect.
It wouldn't be a trip to Italy without a traditional Gondola ride on famous Canal Grande by Rialto Bridge. (Getty Images)
Picturesque Burano in the Venetian lagoon is known for its brightly colored fishermen's houses and its casual eateries serving seafood from the lagoon.
Picturesque Burano in the Venetian lagoon is known for its brightly coloured fishermen's houses and seafood eateries. (Getty Images)

Venice comes alive in September. While it still offers plenty of sunshine, albeit not as much as earlier months, the real reason for visiting this Italian haven at this time is because it's festival and events season.

Go early in the month to catch Venice Film Festival – whether you attend or not, you won't be able to help but be caught up in the buzz. And for Regata Storica, one of the most important Venetian rowing competitions, make sure you're there for the first Sunday of September to see the distinctive long boats come even more to life, offering a sprinkling of history (the first regata took place in 1315).

There's also Venice Glass week from 17-25 September, celebrating the city's long-standing tradition of glassmaking, as well as the Festival of the Triumph of the Cross, Regata di Burano (another race on the nearby island of Burano) and the Venice Biennale, an international contemporary art exhibition, across the month.

When you're not hopping from one celebration to the next, it goes without saying you should sit back in a private gondola ride on Grand Canal with your loved one, friend or family. When you're not floating, explore the small alleys, winding streets and bridges of Piazza San Marco, popping into cafes and gelaterias.

Mid haul

Morocco, Marrakesh – 3 hours 40 mins flight time

Panoramic view of Marrakesh and old medina, Morocco. (Getty Images)
For heat that isn't intolerable, visit Morocco in September. (Getty Images)
Evening on Djemaa El Fna Square with Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco
The famous Jemaa el-fna square comes alive in the evening. (Getty Images)

As appealing as it may be, much of Morocco is barely enjoyable in the height of summer, known for its scorching days. While Marrakesh still remains high at an average of 31 in September, which may suit those who like the heat, this is far more manageable than earlier in the year. Plus, rainfall is often lower than in other autumn and spring months.

Make the most of the many hours of sunshine and explore the 'Red City', nicknamed for its buildings and ramparts of beaten clay. To get the full authentic experience, stay in one of the many beautiful riads, spend the day getting lost in Palmeraie, an oasis of fields of palm trees and camels, before enjoying the best sunset you'll see.

You can also venture out a little further, taking day drips to the desert, mountains and Ourika River, before returning for an evening walking through the souks, soaking up the atmosphere of the illuminated Jemaa el-fna square, and dining at Chez Ali restaurant. If you feel like it, you could even dance with the locals in Theatro, known as the best club in the region.

Read more: Dog dangers of summer: How to keep your pet safe all season

Santorini, Greece – 4 hours flight time

Santorini island, Greece. Oia town traditional white houses and churches with blue domes over the Caldera, Aegean sea.
There's more to Santorini than just blue and white (very beautiful) buildings. (Getty Images)

Santorini in September is the perfect time between the height of summer, and the drop of temperatures through October and November, with daily levels at the perfect 27.3°C. While it won't be as overcrowded as usual, it's still considered a high season for the island, so there'll still be that Greek island atmosphere.

Famous for its blue-capped dome churches on the edge of the cliffs, with the whitewashed houses of the towns Fira and Oia found above an underwater caldera (volcano). But when you're not strolling the quaint streets of the mountains (ruggedly shaped as a result of an eruption in the 16th century), make your way down to the bluest of seas, whether you want to set up camp at Red Beach, Kamari or Perissa.

If you can, take a trip on a catamaran cruise around the caldera, visit the hot springs, enjoy some wine tasting in Santorini's finest wineries and vineyards, go horse riding to Black Sandy Beach, and more.

Long haul

Vancouver Island, Canada – 9 hours 30 mins + 30 mins+ flight time

sailboat strait of georgia vancouver island british columbia canada. (Getty Images)
Adding an extra stretch to your journey is worth it to reach Vancouver Island. (Getty Images)
Seaplane taxiing in the Nanaimo harbor after landing at sunrise on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (Getty Images)
Save on the time of a ferry and opt for a seaplane for efficiency, and for the experience. (Getty Images)
Beautiful view of Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Getty Images)
The Inner Harbour of Victoria, capital of British Columbia. (Getty Images)

You may have heard of Vancouver before, but have you heard of Vancouver Island? While the mainland is already a nine-hour flight away, admittedly the extra stretch to the island is a commitment, but when you can take a short sea plane, it makes it all worth it.

The island doesn't only typically get the best sun in September, but it's also whale season, whether you want to get up close to humpbacks or killer wales, as well as dolphins, bears and eagles, all in their natural habitat. Might sound a tad alarming, but the locals are used to it.

Landing on water in Nanaimo, home of the Nanaimo chocolate bar, wander the cafes, book shops, and boutiques in the Old City Quarter, and breathe in the fresh air of the ferry port city, before heading elsewhere.

If you find yourself in British Columbia’s capital of Victoria, which looks like the pages of a picture book, hop on a bike to the colourful Fisherman’s Wharf where you can grab fresh food for lunch, tucking in next to the resident seals.

Then, take a yellow water taxi back to town, hearing about the city's history. For a stroll, wander round Beacon Hill Park, or, for some culture, muse around the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, Royal BC Museum and Chinatown.

In Campbell River, the 'salmon capital of the world', with 'pinks' in season in September, visit the river, filled with knee-deep fisherman with all the gear, before walking along the overlooking Canyon View Trial. You can also kick back for the day at Miracle or Saratoga beach, find tranquility at Lake McIvor, go on a whale watching tour from Discovery Harbour Marina or ride the chairlift at Mount Washington.

In Coombs, known as 'goats on the roof' you can, well, check out the goats on the roof of the Old Country Market shop, a spot that began as a roadside fruit and veg stand, but now has shops, galleries, and eateries to muse. Do this before a dip in the sea at Qualicum's nearby white sand beach.

Tofino is also a favourite among the locals for its waves. Whether you make the most of the surf spot, or simply appreciate the never ending shores, its beauty is mesmerising.

Burlington, Vermont – 11 hours+ flight time

It might not be what usually springs to mind, but this small but vibrant city south of the Canda-United States border comes alive in scenery and buzz in September.

If you're a fan of the art scene, and enjoy spending your days shopping for local food and dipping into galleries, evenings listening to live music [best on Church Street Marketplace], and weekends enjoying a sunset cruise [on Lake Champlain], it might be worth the schlep for its unique charm.

Plus, its colourfully painted, quirky and red-brick buildings, along with the autumnal leafy greens, oranges and yellows of its shrubbery, make the toy-town looking and free-thinking haven all the more worth visiting in the season. Plus, the sun will still be shining.

Bali, Indonesia – 17 hours flight time

Diamond beach is one of most beautiful and pristine beach in Bali Indonesia. (Getty Images)
If you haven't been to Bali before, it might be time to plan your first trip. (Getty Images)
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali, IndonesiaJatiluwih is one the famous locations in Bali for viewing the rice terraces. To the north of Jatiluwih is Mount Batukaru which surrounds the three lakes of Danau Tamblingan, Buyan and Bratan and are only accessible via the highland town of Bedugul a relatively short drive away. (Getty Images)
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in Bali. (Getty Images)

While it seems like everyone's paying Bali a visit these days, there's good reason. But at the end of summer, while skies remain blue and temperatures remain warm, prices and tourist numbers drop.

Kick the must-dos off your list including the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Tanah Lot Temple for some history and nature in one, Tegenungan Waterfall, the famous Bali Swing, and the many beaches, including Blue Point, Geger, Seminyak and more.

And for some hidden gems, Angel's Billabong, a natural infinity pool surrounded by rocks, the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Suluban Beach Cave at the bottom of a long flight of stairs are waiting to be explored.

Read more: 8 things you need to know before taking your first camping trip

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – 17 hours+ flight time

The entire coastline of Honolulu, Hawaii including the base of Diamond Head crater and state park, past the hotel lined Waikiki Beach towards downtown in the distance including the suburban neighbourhoods dotting the hills surrounding the city centre. (Getty Images)
Pack your bags for Honolulu, Hawaii this year. (Getty Images)

What could be better than finishing your summer in Hawaii? After everyone has enjoyed Labor Day in the states on the first Monday of September, the island of Oahu will quieten down, leaving the capital city and heartbeat of Honolulu yours to explore.

Dine, shop, go out with the locals, bask in the palm tree-filled beach in Waikiki (which has the volcanic formation of Diamond Head towering high as the city's backdrop), visit sites from the WW2 attack on Pearl Harbor for some history, snorkel with turtles and dolphins, ride a catamaran boat, take some surf lessons, and learn how to hula – or just watch the locals perform this storytelling dance.

Make sure you check any Covid-19 entry requirements for different countries or information about travelling abroad before your trip, as per the gov.uk website.

Watch: UK summer holiday bookings are 19% up on pre-pandemic levels