Indian-summer colors, pleasant temperatures, the sea and sky still blue, and the water warmer than ever—everything is quieter and much better value. As the wine harvest begins and the wildlife awakes there are plenty of reasons for a late-summer holiday!
The Canary Islands are Europe’s most reliable options for equable weather conditions, rarely dipping much below 20ºC thanks to the warm wind that flows from the Sahara, and around nine hours of sunshine in September and October. The fourth biggest and eastern-most member of the group, Lanzarote, offers inexpensive, relaxed holidays at the beach, dramatic scenery in the volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National Park, as well as good local atmosphere in the capital, Arrecife, with its nice bars and restaurants. Other highlights are the houses and sculptures by famous artist and architect César Manrique, who not only banned high-rise buildings from the island, but converted empty volcanic bubbles into stylish mid-century rooms and lagoons for a touch of James Bond class.
Recently proclaimed as the new Tuscany, Puglia in the heel of Italy offers far better weather conditions in late summer and early fall. Beyond the hotspots such as beautiful Bari, Brindisi Lecce, Gallipoli, or newly trendy Salento, there are nature reserves, olive groves and vineyards, dramatic caves, medieval hilltop quarters, and several hundred miles of coastline to enjoy, not to mention the region’s star attraction: fantastic food. Restaurant menus are stuffed with local specialities, thanks to local people living much as their grandparents did—a bit of farming and fishing in the morning, a siesta in the afternoon, a swim in the evening, a gentle stroll through town, and then a hearty rustic meal made from local ingredients.
Grand canyons, ancient castles, untouched coastlines, rolling sand dunes, and lush desert oases—all in one! To enjoy Oman’s beautifully diverse landscape and get a thrilling taste of Arabia you should consider a round trip through the country, starting in Muscat. The capital is lively and modern but retains a traditional look and feel. Omanis are very welcoming to tourists, making their country an excellent option for a classy escape, with a number of luxurious hotels to choose from, as well as individual tours that include camping in the desert. Highlights are the Fort Jabrin, the Arabian castle built in the 1600s made famous in the Scheherazade stories; the valley leading up to Jebel Shams in the Jebel Akhdar range that Omanis call their Grand Canyon; and Misfat al Abriyeen, a fantastic ancient terraced village that hasn’t changed in centuries.
Often described as weird and wonderful, there’s no place in the USA better known as a bastion of good living, leisure, and a happy vibe than Oregon‘s largest little city, Portland. Bisected by a river and surrounded by peaks, the city is famous for its natural environment, food and fun. Go hiking in the mountains or head to the farmers markets for fruits, mushrooms, pastries, and the amazing food carts. There’s plenty of salmon swimming in the Columbia River and butternut squash and heirloom tomatoes falling off the vines—late summer and fall is harvest time. The city also offers a cool blend of shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries, for example, Southeast Hawthorn Boulevard and the North Mississippi Avenue and Alberta Street. And don‘t forget to drop by a bar to try a famous freshly brewed beer.
The shoulder seasons of April–May and September–October tend to be the most pleasant time to visit Greece and the Greek Islands, as they are still hot and sunny, but not overcrowded. Situated in the southeastern Aegean Sea, Kos is the third largest of Greece‘s Dodecanese islands and boasts no less than 300km of sandy shores, coves and heavenly beaches. With its five-star resorts, whitewashed villages, party towns such as Kardamena, and amazing ancient ruins (don’t miss the 14th-century fortress at the entrance of Kos' main harbor), the island offers a wealth of variety that’s not just for beach lovers.
Witnessing the wildlife Great Migration, climbing Kilimanjaro, and lazing on a sugar-white beach on the island of Zanzibar are just three of the many excellent reasons why Tanzania occupies a place on many of our bucket lists. In September, travelers will not only avoid the blistering heat of the dry season, they’ll also miss the downpours of the wet season. Besides, it’s a great month for viewing game on safari. As one of the best safari destinations in the world, the Serengeti boasts the highest density of wildlife anywhere in Africa, with great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, lions, leopards and thousands of impala, Grant’s gazelle, and more. For hikers, tours around Kilimanjaro are also available at lower levels of the mountain, where travelers can explore the Shira Plateau, craters and wildlife while admiring the scenic views. The ideal place for post-safari relaxation is Zanzibar, with its sandy beaches fringed by coconut palms and coral reefs for diving or snorkeling.
From Seville’s glorious cathedral to the magnificent Alhambra palaces in Granada and the Great Mosque of Córdoba, Andalusia has some of the most thrilling monuments in the world. But that‘s not all: Andalusia is a place of contrasts, boasting snowcapped mountains and lush green valleys, as well as a stunning coastline with beaches such as Almeria’s Cabo de Gata—great for sunbathing in September and even October. Enjoy fresh seafood and tapas in the local restaurants and visit romantic, dazzling Seville, the quintessential Andalusian city. A village not to be missed is Ronda, an ancient town split in two by a vast gorge that offers impressive vistas.
In many ways, Hong Kong feels like its own separate country, ideal for visiting in late summer and fall when the humidity drops and the temperature cools. This autonomous territory on China’s south coast is a place where ancient and modern meet, and is among Asia’s most bustling, frenetic cities—although it’s not without its tranquil temples and laidback afternoon tea breaks, too. During your stay you'll probably eat some of the best food you’ve ever tasted (try a traditional dim sum feast) and you'll feel energized by the combination of urban, rural, and maritime. Take a cruise along Victoria Harbor in a red-sail junk boat and watch the sun set over the city skyline and the twinkling high-rise buildings glow against the evening sky. Everyone knows that Hong Kong is possibly the ultimate shopping destination, so take time to enjoy browsing and wandering its vibrant streets. Do explore Hong Kong’s religious culture, too, exemplified by Tian Tan Buddha, the bronze statue on Lantau Island—at 34 meters high, you can’t miss it.
Thanks to Malta’s subtropical zone, the island has a Mediterranean climate of around 25ºC—in October! Sparkling blue water invites you to surf and snorkel around the smaller islands of Comino and Gozo, and also provides super-fresh seafood. Despite its size, Malta has a greater density of historical sites than any other country. Starting with the unique prehistoric Megalithic temples (some of the oldest stone buildings in the world), it also has Roman catacombs, medieval towns, and the extraordinary architectural and artistic legacy of the Knights of Malta, many of which are used as film locations for entertainment such as the Game of Thrones series.
Forget about overcrowded New England for your Indian-summer getaway—the Okanagan Valley in Canada can offer just as much. Considered to be a “young Napa,” the wine harvest will be in full swing (the region offers a highly recommended Pinot Noir, thanks to Canada's sunniest weather). Besides funky new wineries and excellent farm-to-plate food, the region is dominated by the spectacularly beautiful, 135km-long Okanagan Lake, which runs from Vernon in the north down to the semi-desert region of Osoyoos and offers activities such as swimming, sailing, boating, kayaking.