July 22, 2024

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Best holiday destinations for September sun in 2024

After the peak summer months of July and August, September arrives – and with it comes another opportunity to book a holiday.

As the beginning of shoulder season in many countries, and while some turn their attention to the new school year, the month still contains great weather for those looking for some sun without the searing heat of record-breaking heatwaves. Wherever you end up, it’s likely you’ll find the location without the crowds that flood destinations during peak season.

Some great deals can usually be found, too, making it a time worth considering when planning a getaway.

The Independent has brought together some of the best places to visit during September for those seeking sunshine and warmth, from European hotspots such as Ibiza and Lisbon through to California, on the US west coast, Peru’s Lima, and Tanzania in east Africa.

Ibiza, Spain

Looking back over Ibiza Town and the Dalt Vila
Looking back over Ibiza Town and the Dalt Vila (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 24C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9

September marks the end of the high season in the popular Balearic island but it still offers average highs of 27C and very little rainfall. In fact, this month marks one of the best times to visit, whether you want relaxation, partying or both. Partygoers can catch closing events at venues such as Pacha and Amnesia (which start from the middle of the month).

Those who’d rather stay on the coast can make the most of quieter beaches, such as Playa d’en Bossa, Cala Comte or Talamanca (the nearest beach to Ibiza town). There’s also Ses Salines Natural Park: while it also has a lovely beach, this park is home to salt lakes and a variety of wildlife, including flamingos.

Read more on Europe travel:

Athens, Greece

Athens’ skyline, with the Acropolis up high
Athens’ skyline, with the Acropolis up high (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 24C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9

With average highs of 29C throughout the month, Athens is the perfect place for anyone wanting a little bit more heat during long days of sunshine. September in the Greek capital offers much more pleasant weather than at the height of summer, making those various walks to and from monuments a little bit more bearable. Those looking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history can explore the Acropolis, Parthenon and Ancient Agora with less crowds, which also means it’s easier to get a table and tuck into incredible Greek cuisine in any number of al fresco restaurants.

For a trip to the beach from Athens, Glyfada is just over 30 minutes away by car and Vouliagmeni is a 40-minute drive. Other attractions in the city include the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gardens and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.

Marrakech, Morocco

A view of Koutoubia Mosque in the morning
A view of Koutoubia Mosque in the morning (Getty Images)
  • Average temperature in September: 26C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9

One of the warmest destinations on this list, September provides an excellent chance to visit Marrakech but escape what are often sweltering temperatures (though daily average highs still reach 32C in the city). Within the Medina (the original walled city), you can find the Koutoubia Mosque, the Djemaa El Fna Square (and its market) and plenty of other examples of stunning Islamic, Moorish and even Andalusian architecture.

Take a walk around the neighbourhoods, such as Gueliz or Kasbah to see the Bahia Palace and Jardin Majorelle, or if you prefer more exercise, head out to trek up parts of the Atlas Mountains. To make the most of your trip, stay in a riad: traditional Moroccan houses that often come with rooftop terraces and, if you’re lucky, pools.

Lisbon, Portugal

A view of Lisbon’s skyline
A view of Lisbon’s skyline (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 22C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9

Portugal’s hilly capital city is as grandiose as any in Europe. From the Belem Tower to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, there are dozens of galleries, monasteries, basilicas and other historical buildings for visitors to see. The milder weather – with average highs of 26C – means you can easily hike up to one of the city’s various view points, such as the Panoramico do Monsanto or the Portas do Sol. For those that prefer a nicer stroll, head to LX Factory or the city’s Time Out Market (located next to the riverside).

Those with more time may want to venture out to the beach towns of Estoril or Cascais, while others may prefer Sintra, a picturesque nearby town which contains the Pena Palace, a former summer home for Portuguese royalty. If it’s nightlife you’re after, head to the Bairro Alto in the evening to see the city in a different light, and if you like your wine, visit one of the many vineyards surrounding the city.

California, United States

San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge
San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 22C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 10

California offers dozens of potential locations and hundreds of things to do in its various cities and towns. Best of all, the weather in much of the state is mild with very little to no rain – on average, LA and Santa Barbara see just three days of rain between April and November, none of which tends to fall in September. From San Francisco to San Diego, each town and city contains enough activities to keep you busy while visiting some of the countries most famous landmarks and neighbourhoods, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Beverly Hills.

Amazing beaches can be found all over the state, from Malibu to Pfeiffer Beach, while National Parks such as Yosemite and Sequoia provide opportunities for hiking, trekking and discovering diverse landscapes. Those with more time on their hands might want to take a spin on some of the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the USA’s most famous driving trips.

Lima, Peru

Panoramic aerial view of the Miraflores district in Lima, Peru
Panoramic aerial view of the Miraflores district in Lima, Peru (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 18C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 7

Although September is the beginning of spring in much of South America, this month falls in Lima’s dry season. Average highs tend to only reach 20C, but with little (or no) rain this is the perfect month to enjoy what the city has to offer. The centre is a Unesco site and contains the main square and cathedral, while other notable attractions include the Huaca Pucclana (a pre-Incan pyramid), the Miraflores Malecon (an esplanade that stretches through over two miles of the city’s coast) and the Surquillo market – along with dozens of Pacific beaches. The Mistura Food Festival also takes place in the city in the first half of the month and showcases the country’s diverse culinary traditions.

Just over an hour away by flight, the city of Cusco is also worth a visit, especially for anyone interested in seeing Machu Picchu. The weather is similarly dry but a little cooler during the evenings – with average lows around 6C – although it’s a perfect time to see the Incan ruins without the threat of rain.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sunset view of the Dubai Marina and JBR area
Sunset view of the Dubai Marina and JBR area (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 32C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 10

Dubai is a popular destination for Britons, with over one million tourists visiting in 2022. September is the city’s low season, giving visitors a chance to explore the Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah or The Dubai Fountain without as many other tourists. Temperatures can still go into the late thirties, making indoor activities such as the Dubai Mall (one of the world’s largest shopping centres), VR Park or Underwater Zoo an attractive proposition.

The more adventurous will want to make the most of the city’s location to experience desert safaris, dune bashing, camel riding or traditional Bedouin-style dinners.

Tanzania

A beach in the village of Paje, Zanzibar, Tanzania
A beach in the village of Paje, Zanzibar, Tanzania (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Average temperature in September: 25C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 8

With average highs of around 27C and lows of around 22C, September in Tanzania means a great chance to engage in the country’s three best activities: game viewing, mountain climbing and beach relaxation.

September is a popular time to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, when conditions are drier and cooler. For anyone wanting to hit the beach, those on Zanzibar provide pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters and coral reefs aplenty – visit for incredible snorkelling and diving.

The Serengeti is one of the most famous in the world, with the chance for visitors to see all of the Big Five animals as well as parts of the “Great Migration” of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle (among others) from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. The Ngorongoro crater, a Unesco heritage site, also acts as a wildlife preserve and offers great opportunities for game viewing.

Rome, Italy

  • Average temperature in September: 21C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 8
A view of Rome from the River Tiber
A view of Rome from the River Tiber (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Eternal City has been aptly named due to its plethora of preserved Roman architecture, but the capital is also one of the best places to visit to experience modern Italian culture and cuisine. September’s average highs are around 26C, making it a great time to explore the sights. The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon are the highlights of Roman history, while the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are their 18th-century counterparts. There’s also Vatican City, to see the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica too.

The capital is also home to exceptional dining options and nightlife, such as the neighbourhoods of Monti, Trastevere and Parione. Explore each area to get a real sense of contemporary Roman life alongside the abundance of history.

Seville, Spain

  • Average temperature in September: 25C
  • Hours of sunshine per day: 9
A view of Seville with the spires of the Cathedral in the foreground
A view of Seville with the spires of the Cathedral in the foreground (Getty Images)

Continental Europe’s warmest city is almost too hot to visit during most of the summer months, so September offers a welcome respite. It still gets hot – with average highs around 31C – but this is a great month to spend time in the Andalusian capital. Seville is one of the most picturesque cities in Spain, with Moorish and Gothic influences mixing to make it stylistically different to others in the country. Examples of the former can be seen in the Casa de Pilatos, Alcazar and Torre del Oro, while the Cathedral, Giralda Tower and winding cobbled streets provide examples of Gothic architecture.

The Maria Luisa park contains the Plaza de Espana, a landmark of Regionalism architecture, while the Guadalquivir River is a scenic setting for walks, drinks and dinners. The city is also famed for its bullring (the largest in the world), although some may prefer the city’s world-famous flamenco dancing shows.

Read more: Best budget European city break destinations – value hot spots for your bucket list

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