Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Where to go in September

 From beach holidays to city breaks, we've tracked down the top early autumn trips.

For a beach holiday: Puglia, Italy

In Italy's heel, Puglia has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past few years, thanks to a growing number of flight connections and the fact it remains excellent value for money, despite being in the Eurozone. The rolling hills are dotted with traditional whitewashed, conical-roofed trulli houses (some of which you can stay in), and there are beautiful beaches plus some of the country's best food and wine to boot.

Salento, Puglia (Andrea D'Alba/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

In the height of summer you could find yourself jostling for space on the sand. Our advice? Wait until September, the shoulder season, when the school holidays are over but – thanks to the region's southerly position – temperatures can still reach around 25°C, on land and at sea.

For a city break: Munich, Germany

Bavaria's much-underrated capital has historic architecture, top-notch museums and galleries, and some great places to eat out. It also hosts the annual Oktoberfest, which, despite the name, begins in mid-September. It's undoubtedly brash and beery, but an entertaining insight into Bavarian tradition. So raise a stein and fill up on local specialities, from sausages to wild boar.

(Xsnowdog/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0)

There's a new outpost of ultra-hip German hotel brand 25hours opening in Munich this autumn, but until then there are several other stylish places to stay, including the Louis Hotel – and there are plenty of flight options.

For a cruise: New England, USA

New England, in northeast USA, is a winning autumn destination thanks to the pretty, colourful (and photogenic) foliage at this time of year. While a road trip is the classic way to see this natural attraction, you can cover more ground on a cruise, experiencing the reds, oranges and golds of the trees in locations such as Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Portland, Maine (Corey Templeton/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

However, the season of "fall foliage" is short, voyages run for about a month, beginning in mid-September. Most start in Boston, and while some such as Norwegian Cruise Line head up to Canada, others including American Cruise Lines travel south towards New York's Hudson Valley.

For an active break: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Croatia is an active traveller's dream, with hiking, rafting and more on the menu. And once the summer crowds have gone, you'll have even more space to stretch your legs, not to mention lower prices on everything from flights to accommodation.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia's first national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to 16 lakes connected by smaller pools and waterfalls, as well as lush greenery and dramatic karsts. Here you can trek through forest trails, cross wooden bridges and even cycle. But to get your wild swimming kicks you'll need to head elsewhere, as it's not allowed in Plitvice. Try the crystal clear Korana River, just outside the national park.

(Clark & Kim Kays/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Responsible Travel runs various action-packed Croatia breaks, including one featuring Plitvice.

For a staycation: Bath, England

Bath – and the surrounding countryside – is a beautiful place at any time of year, but in September there's the added draw of four great festivals. Whether you're a foodie, a walker, a folk music fan or a Jane Austen enthusiast, you'll find an extra reason to visit this city.

(Bath Tourism Plus/Colin Hawkins)

Plus there is the year-round attraction of the Roman Baths, the Regency architecture of the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey and the Jane Austen Centre (which does an excellent afternoon tea). We'd recommend staying at the luxurious Gainsborough Bath Spa, the only hotel in town where you can take a dip in the natural thermal waters. Out of your price range? Spend a few hours soaking it up in the rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa instead.

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