July and August is monsoon season in the Maldives, but the rains start to clear in September. There may still be some rainfall but it will be patchy, and temperatures will be balmy (in the high twenties).
Because the weather is less predictable, now is the chance to bag a bargain in the Maldives – a couple of weeks in a luxurious over-water villa, perhaps? Shop around: there are some great savings to be made, so you can bag a high-end resort holiday for a fraction of the usual cost.
September is the perfect time to visit Croatia. Temperatures are still in the mid-twenties, but the high season crowds will have dispersed and accommodation will be slightly cheaper.
Take a cruise around the beautiful islands in the Adriatic, where you’ll find breathtaking beaches, pretty ports, Venetian architecture and more… Or visit the annual Giostra Festival in Poreč, which recreates a historical knight tournament held in 1745.
3. Corfu, Greece
Corfu is perfect for September holidays: the extreme heat of the summer has subsided, and the crowds have long departed. It’s the ideal time to visit historic Corfu Town, which boasts numerous museums, 39 churches and twin peaks each capped with a huge fortress.
Then take inspiration from Lee Durrell – famous naturalist and wife of the late Gerald Durrell – and book a tour of the village of Danilia on the east coast. Modelled on a 1930s Corfiot village, it was the setting for much of the second season of ‘The Durrells’ and also featured in the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’. And don’t forget to take a boat trip to the Greek port of Parga and the tiny, unspoilt island of Paxos.
4. Scilly Isles, UK
Thanks to the warm winds of the Gulf Stream, the Isles of Scilly – just off the tip of Cornwall – stay warm and dry well into September. And with the summer crowds gone, September is the perfect time to hit the white sand beaches, cycle the bike trails around the islands, or get active on the coast with kayaking, SUP, and even snorkelling with seals.
The five inhabited islands feel wonderfully far-flung, but of course you don’t even have to worry about airport immigration queues or visas. Getting around is all part of the adventure: it’s easy to explore by ferry, and the islands look even more spectacular from the sea.
Top tip: The island of St Mary’s is the gateway to the rest of the archipelago: it’s a quick hop by plane from mainland UK – Cornwall, Newquay and Exeter.
5. Pompeii, Italy
This month is perfect for exploring Pompeii, the perfectly-preserved slice of Ancient Italy which was engulfed by the cataclysmic eruption of Vesuvius in AD79. With September’s cooler, crowd-free days, Pompeii is yours to explore. Naples makes a great base to start from – it’s only a 30 minute drive or 40 minute bus ride from Pompeii.
As well as visiting Pompeii itself, save some time to tour the galleries of the wonderful Naples Museum, walk the streets of Herculaneum and explore the opulent villas and saltwater baths of the seaside resort of Baiae to see for yourself how Rome’s senators, gladiators, slaves and citizens lived 2,000 years ago.
After the heat of the summer, September is the best time to visit China. Temperatures are still mild – perfect for exploring Beijing, meeting Chengdu’s pandas, or walking the Great Wall – and your views won’t be obscured by cloud.
If you’re cruising the Yangtze River, you’ll be rewarded with long days, cool nights, and clear views of the beautiful countryside. Its ancient water towns make a perfect day trip if you’re based in Shanghai.
7. South Africa
South Africa’s dry season falls from May to September, and generally offers some top-notch safari conditions. The animals congregate around watering holes, temperatures are mild (with no rainfall), and the malaria risk is low. In September, you won’t have to do battle with the school summer holiday crowds – so you won’t have to jostle to get great views of the Big Five.
Meanwhile, the coast of Hermanus – a small town in South Africa – is busy with southern right whales, who migrate from Antarctica to these warmer waters to give birth. Stand on the cliffs for the best aerial views, or sign up for an exhilarating sea kayaking trip to get really up-close.
Top tip: September is also the best time to see the colourful wild flower carpets of Namaqualand, in the far west of South Africa.