As temperatures grow milder and tourist crowds wane, September can be a wonderful time of year to travel.
Join the celestial celebrations in Shanghai, China
One of China’s most romantic holidays, Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the brightest moon of the year with swaying lanterns and lunar gazing. Falling on 27 September this year, Shanghai makes for the perfect urban autumn escape. Ascend one of the city’s ubiquitous towers – Shanghai World Financial Center has the highest observation deck on earth – for a closer peek at the moon. At ground level, a stroll along the Bund provides views of stunning colonial architecture and lunar reflections in the inky water of the Huangpu River.
The nearby village of Zhujiajiao is a splendid place to spend Mid-Autumn Night itself. Its magnificently preserved, canal-carved old town is decorated in myriad red hanging lanterns, which twinkle over stone bridges. Stop in to a canalside teahouse for the traditional festival snack: moon cakes, round pastries filled with red bean paste.
Grin and beer it in Munich, Germany
Oompah bands! Pretzels! Lederhosen! Head to Munich in September to embrace all the German clichés you can think of and more, as the Bavarian capital welcomes seven million revellers to the world’s biggest and best-known celebration of beer: Oktoberfest.
What began in 1810 as a celebratory horse race is now a 16-day-long festival of beer and cheer held annually on the Theresienwiese, beginning mid-September and running until the first weekend of October. Be prepared for long queues to gain entry to one of the gargantuan beer tents, but once you’re inside you can hoist a Mass (1L jug), or three, of beer in thirsty jubilation. Aside from the frothy stuff, there’s a fairground and a full calendar of events including parades, music and an agricultural show.
And if all the beer leaves you feeling less than fresh, head to the Englischer Garten to walk off any overindulgence as the park reaches the peak of its autumnal splendour.
Gozo – The island is part of Malta
Delightfully translated as ‘joy’ in Castilian, Gozo, is easily reached by a 25 minute ferry ride from Malta. This tiny island boasts a stunning seascape and delightful rural interior although the real beauty lies in the timeless villages where the locals, although treasuring their peace and tranquillity, are known for their friendliness and helpfulness to visitors.
Victoria, also known as Rabat, is the geographic and economic capital and both here and across the island there are delightful local traditions and customs and numerous restaurants serving local and international cuisine.
Luxurious accommodation, stunning coastal scenery and fine quality restaurants add to the attraction of an island which is often overlooked or viewed as just a day-trip, albeit a delightful one, from Malta. But that would be to neglect seriously Gozo’s considerable charms. There is an abundance of things to do in Gozo and visitors should take time to explore Victoria, the tiny capital and the Cathedral of the Assumption and ramparts at Il Kastell. The megalithic temple of Ggantija is at its most haunting in the first light of morning. There are fabulous walking and hiking opportunities afforded by the beautifully scenic coastline of Dwejra and the best snorkelling and diving of all the Maltese islands.
Hit the Beach on the Emerald Coast
There are few places more picturesque than Florida’s Emerald Coast, especially the section edged by Highway 30A, east of Destin. The 28-mile road links a series of sugar-white sand beaches and manicured towns, both of which are packed throughout the summer months. But come September the families clear out, prompting hotel prices to drop and leaving you plenty of room to enjoy the clear blue-green ocean and 80° days
Explore the various coastal towns, each with its own vibe. In Seaside, known for its pastel houses (you may recognize them from The Truman Show, which was filmed here), visit Modica Market to stock up on essentials. Then, stroll to the beach for a pleasantly sandy picnic. For a more active afternoon, hike along dune-flanked trails in deer lake State Park (entrance fee: $3), next to WaterSound Beach. Nearby Rosemary Beach is known for its New Orleans-style houses and charming shops.
Moreover, lodging prices typically dip 10% to 20% in September. For a splurge, rent a one-bedroom cottage in Seaside, where starting rates fall 17% in September to $350 a night. Or choose one of the area’s affordable inns. Rooms at the Hibiscus Coffee and Guesthouse in Santa Rosa Beach start at $125, down 15% over August rates. Plus, you’ll get a dynamite free breakfast; past visitors rave about the cinnamon-roll French toast and spinach