Where to go on holiday in September 2011
Explore Dubrovnik during a trip to Dalmatia
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As the summer hordes gradually dissolve but the temperatures remain relatively comfortable in many regions, September is the perfect time to seek a last-minute getaway, whether it’s catching the last of the summer sun on a pristine beach or a city visit without the crowds.
Best September holidays for… beaches
Short haul: Dalmatia, Croatia
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September is the ideal time for a Croatian getaway as the tide of summer tourism ebbs yet the water and the weather remains warm and inviting. Famous for its beaches in small, secluded coves, the diverse topography of the Dalmatian coast tempts visitors with exceptional opportunities for diving, yachting, kayaking and sightseeing.
The main cities along the Dalmatian coast - Zadar in the north, Split in the center, and Dubrovnik to the south – provide a unique array of stunning architecture and cultural attractions. Zadar houses a pleasant mix of architectural styles and, according to the famed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Split is Croatia’s second largest city and features a range of spectacular sights from Diocletian's Palace to the sweeping views from Marjan hill. Picturesque Dubrovnik is positively drenched in historical significance, and exhibits various attractions from naturist beaches to botanical gardens.
Engulfed as fully in history as it is in beauty, this Croatian region offers many activities to attract history buffs. Dalmatia is dotted with ruins from ancient Roman villas and towns and evidence suggests that the area has been inhabited as far back as the Neolithic period.
Long haul: Bali, Indonesia
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Brimming with sunshine, culture and golden coastline, Bali is the ultimate destination for a September beach getaway. Ideal for both adventure-seekers and those in need of a spot of relaxation, Bali is teeming with exotic plant life and abundant hiking trails begging for exploration. But arguably its biggest draw is the alluring sandy beaches that extend as far as the eye can see.
Whether it’s the lava-black sand of the eastern coast or the white stretch of coast to the south, Bali’s beaches appeal to wide-ranging tastes. Relieve any lingering tension by sipping a frozen cocktail in the sun or swimming in the warm, crystal-clear waters of this peaceful island in Indonesia.
If you’re hankering for an adventure away from the shore, explore Bali Barat National Park, a mountainous area of natural rainforest, mangrove forest, savannah and coral islands that provides refuge for a plethora of wildlife. Alternatively, hike the rugged path to the summit of Mount Batur where you’ll find spectacular views and bubbling hot springs.
Bali is also rich in culture with diverse art forms, from silversmiths and wood-carving to painting, lively events and traditional dancing. Bali is unquestionably the beach destination with everything to offer.
Best September holidays for… cities
Short haul: Edinburgh, Scotland
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September brings a slight lull in the tourist season in Scotland's capital after the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival in August, but mild late-summer temperatures, lower prices and less-crowded sights make it a fantastic time to visit this charming city.
An almost entirely walkable city, Edinburgh is rife with intriguing alleys crammed full of cultural delights and quirky shops. Take a walk up to Arthur’s Seat – one of seven hills surrounding the city – and experience breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the North Sea. The alluring Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s Edinburgh residence) is also certainly worth a visit and be sure not to miss the imposing Edinburgh Castle.
If you’re feeling peckish, stroll down the Royal Mile and stop for a spot of tea and a delectable pastry at The Elephant House Café, where you can be enthused by the surroundings that inspired J.K. Rowling in the writing of her epic Harry Potter saga. Top off your evening at a local pub and savour a tumbler or two of Scotch whisky after filling up on local specialities such as haggis, neeps and tatties (haggis with mashed potato and swede), Aberdeen Angus beef or venison.
Long haul: Montreal, Canada
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September in Montreal is positively ideal. As the temperatures cool off and prices drop considerably, many summer festivals, concerts and cultural events continue throughout the month.
The largest city in Quebec and the second most populous in Canada, Montreal is a beautiful town that offers an eclectic blend of historic and modern architecture as well as a mix of cultures and languages. In terms of attractions and activities, Montreal has offerings to suit all tastes, from spectator sports to museum tours and boutique shopping.
Get into the true Canadian spirit by brushing up on your skating skills at the Atrium le 1000 ice rink, housed in the city’s tallest building; or alternatively head to the Bell Centre, where you’ll be able to watch the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team in action in a preseason game.
If you’re looking for something more serene, visit the colourful Magic of Lanterns display at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, on show from early September to late October. Afterwards, head to the Montreal Biodome, a fascinating climate-controlled enclosure that houses five distinct ecosystems under one roof – from tropical rainforest to the Antarctic.
Best September holidays for… the outdoors
Short haul: Iceland
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As temperatures remain above the freezing point and the Northern Lights of the Aurora Borealis become more frequently visible, September is ideal for an outdoors getaway in Iceland. The rugged terrain may warrant a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but the country also offers bus services making the top attractions easily accessible. And for truly adventurous holidaymakers, hiking along the magnificent mountainsides of Landmannalaugar is a must.
Consider renting a cabin outside of the capital city, Reykjavik, in order to enjoy the expansive countryside yet to also remain within reach of civilisation. Be sure to visit at least one of the many geothermal heated pools that populate the country; the spas’ natural mineral content is said to be extremely beneficial and healing for the skin.
Make sure also to embark on a trip to Dettifoss, claimed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. This gushing fall is located in Vatnajökull National Park, another ideal location for outdoor exploration, complete with hiking trails and ice walks up the massive Vatnajökull glacier.
Explore the south shore of Iceland for magnificent ocean views and the snow-dusted Hekla, the country’s largest volcano. While there, you can also take in the ethereal black-sand beaches and view the volcanic remains that protrude like gigantic stalagmites out of the surging Icelandic sea.
Long haul: Kenya
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September is a good time to visit Kenya as the region is in the midst of its drier season, the temperatures hover around a comfortable mid-20°s C (60-70° F) and the wildlife activity is at its peak.
A spectacular sanctuary for majestic wildlife such as the black and white rhino, lion, leopard, elephant, and endangered Grevy’s zebra among others, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is the perfect option for the adventurous holidaymaker looking for an action-filled safari. National Parks such as Chyulu Hills, Laikipia and Meru also offer brilliant opportunities to view awe-inspiring flora and fauna. Wildlife viewing is at its peak in September due to the sparseness of vegetation and the animals’ greater dependence on watering holes. What’s more, the famous wildebeest migration also takes place in Kenya during August and September – so don’t forget your camera and look out for a thrilling stampede.