A spectacular sunrise at Palermo Harbour, Sicily

From beach breaks in Sicily to hiking holidays in the Rocky Mountains, we round up the best trips to take this September.

For beach bums

Short haul: Sicily, Italy

September is the perfect time to visit Sicily; the weather is scorching, the crowds have abated and there are food festivals aplenty. 

Holidaymakers can work up an appetite basking on the island’s fine sandy beaches before imbibing Sicily’s gastronomic offerings at the annual Cous Cous Festival (23-18 September), which features live music, cooking competitions and, of course, an abundance of couscous. 

Those with a sweet tooth should check out the annual Sherbeth Festival (4-8 September), a celebration of the island’s famous gelato ice cream. Look out too for local wine festivals, which are held regularly in September to celebrate the annual grape harvest.

For a bit of culture, why not watch the opera at Teatro Massimo or take a Godfather-themed tour of the island?

Long haul: Hawaii, USA

September in Hawaii is prime time for beach bums and board ridersSeptember in Hawaii is prime time for beach bums and board riders
EpicStockMedia / Thinkstock

With beautiful beaches and great weather, Hawaii is a popular holiday destination all year round. But if you’re a board rider, September is the best time to visit; the surf is good but the professional surfers have yet to arrive and hog the waves.

As well as great swell, September plays host to the annual Aloha Festivals. Taking place throughout the month, this series of shindigs showcase the island’s cultural traditions through music, food and entertainment.

The party kicks off with the annual Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race (1 September), a fiercely contested 29km (18-mile) race from Kailua Bay to Honolulu.

For thrillseekers

Short haul: Madeira, Portugal

Music and dancing fill the streets of Madeira for a week in September during the annual Columbus Festival (18-20 September), which honours Christopher Columbus and his ties to the island.

Over the course of a week, there are street performances, exhibits and music. The highlight, though, is the theatrical re-enactment of Columbus’ arrival to Porto Santo.

Those inspired by the legendary explorer can blaze their own trail across the island, choosing from a series of adventure activities such as scuba diving, canyoning and off-roading.

Long haul: Rocky Mountains, USA

A black bear wanders around the Rocky MountainsA black bear wanders around the Rocky Mountains
Lynn_Bystrom / Thinkstock

The Rocky Mountains are, arguably, at their best during September; the weather is fine, the wildlife abundant and the browning leaves make for excellent photographs.

Visitors can drive along scenic mountain passes, picnic amongst the highest peaks in North America and trek along various hiking trails. The more adventurous can set up camp in the lofty wilderness.

September in the Rockies is a great month to observe the local fauna; visitors can expect to see elk, deer, moose, birds and black bears.

For city slickers

Short haul: Edinburgh, Scotland

This September, Scotland will vote to decide whether it stays in the UK or becomes an independent country – an exciting time, then, to visit the Scottish capital, where visitors may witness history in the making.

If not, they could always see history that’s already been written in one of the city’s many museums and historical buildings, which offer free access on weekends throughout September.

The promotion is part of the brilliant Doors Open Days, an initiative offering visitors the opportunity to see sights they won’t normally get to see – many participating buildings are not normally open to the public.

Long haul: Shanghai, China

A bird's eye view of Shanghai at sunset A bird's eye view of Shanghai at sunset
Creative Commons / ビッグアップジャパン

The city of Shanghai comes alive every September with the annual Tourism Festival (13 September – 6 October). This extravagant gala kicks off with the Grand Opening Ceremony, an elaborate street parade featuring giant floats, live music and performing arts.

The revelry continues in much the same vein for three more weeks. If the party gets too much, you could slope off to Shanghai’s world-class museums, take a relaxing river cruise, eat your way around the city or treat yourself to an ancient Chinese massage.

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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.