September is a wonderful time to go on a vacation. After Labor Day weekend and before fall sets in, temperatures become more pleasant in destinations such as the Mediterranean, and with kids back in school, there are fewer crowds and better deals.
Here are the seven of the best places to travel in September.
With temperatures hovering between the high 70s and mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit, Cozumel, located just off the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, is one of the best places to visit in September.
This Mexican island is one of the best diving destinations in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or a certified diver, throw on some scuba gear and head underwater to witness a kaleidoscope of coral and an abundance of marine life, including moray eels, sea turtles, and stingrays in the various reefs.
If you prefer snorkeling at your leisure, don a mask and take the plunge from El Cielo Beach in the south of the island. Otherwise, sign up for a diving tour with a certified guide to reach some of the island’s deeper reefs.
Cozumel has no shortage of pristine white-sand beaches. The stretch of sand at Punta Sur Eco Beach Park and El Cielo Beach are standout options with crystal-clear waters and palm tree-flanked shores.
Discover the oldest of Cozumel’s Mayan ruins in El Cedral, located not far from El Cielo Beach. Here you’ll find the remains of a temple dating back to 800 A.D. in the center of the village. While in Downtown Cozumel, head to a local restaurant and chow down on a fresh bowl of zingy ceviche.
Paris (Le Havre), France
Paris is always a good idea, but it’s particularly gorgeous in September when the city is comfortably warm in the middle of the day and cool in the early morning and evening. In September, Paris is also abuzz with fashion week, with glitzy shows and events taking place around the city.
One day in Paris is enough to tick off most of the city’s significant landmarks. The River Seine—an attraction in itself—snakes through the center of Paris with the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Musée d’Orsay, and Grand Palais all located nearby.
Visit what is arguably one of the most beautiful churches in the world, the Notre Dame, in the 4th arrondissement. Located on an island connected by bridges, this stunning Gothic cathedral is currently closed due to a fire that devastated the building in April 2019.
To the south of Notre Dame is the Latin Quarter, a neighborhood filled with stylish boutiques, independent stores, and sophisticated bistros. Stop by Shakespeare and Company for one-of-a-kind books, browse the art stalls on the banks of the Seine, and clink glasses in a chic restaurant such as Guy Savoy’s L’Atelier Maître Albert, where spit-roasted duck and chicken is the plat du jour.
Located roughly twelve miles southwest of central Paris, the Palace of Versailles is one of the best places to travel in September, when crowds are typically thinner than in the height of summer.
At the grandiose royal residence of the French monarchy from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, you can tour the Museum of the History of France, explore the Château de Versailles, the King’s Grand Apartments, and the extraordinary Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan
While most travelers plan to visit Japan during the country’s famed cherry blossom season, September is an equally good time to visit Tokyo. In September, summer’s humidity has fizzled away, while the temperature remains mild and colorful bursts of auburn and yellow foliage begin to appear around the city.
Journey to Lake Ashi for eye-popping views of Japan’s tallest mountain, the snow-capped Mount Fuji. Jump on the Komagatake Ropeway gondola in Hakone for some of the best views of the sacred volcano, the gorgeous lake, surrounding forest-covered mountains, hot springs, and lakeside shrines.
Tokyo is a glorious juxtaposition of fast-paced and peaceful with neon-lit skyscrapers, high-tech electronics, and funky pop culture melding with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and tranquil Zen gardens. Explore some of the city’s top attractions, including the vermillion-red Sensō-ji Buddhist temple, Meiji Shinto shrine, the Imperial Palace, and its vast public gardens.
Cross the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, Tokyo’s answer to Times Square, and explore Harajuku, the central district serving up a heady dose of colorful Japanese pop culture with an abundance of fashion boutiques and cafes.
For a fun and immersive experience, head to the city’s Toyosu fish market, which replaced the historic Tsukiji market in 2018, and observe the live tuna auction that takes place from the viewing deck. It’s the largest wholesale fish market in the world with plenty of restaurants and food outlets serving fresh-off-the-boat fish in sushi, sashimi, and delicate tempura. You’ll also find steaming bowls of thick udon noodles, tofu-topped miso soup, and umami-laden yakitori.
Top a day of sightseeing off with a visit to the almost 11,000-foot-tall Tokyo Tower, an orange and white-striped communications and observation tower in the center of the city, where you can appreciate this dizzying megalopolis.
Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the thick Alpine forests of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Park, Seattle is located in one of the most picturesque regions of North America. The Washington State capital is one of the best places to visit in September for its typically mild to warm climate, ahead of the rainy season that sweeps in later in fall.
The futuristic Space Needle has been the star of the city’s skyline ever since it was built for the World’s Fair in 1962 and is one of the landmarks that Seattle is known for. The saucer-shaped viewing platform at the top offers 360-degree views of the city, including downtown, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and beyond. Stop by for phenomenal views and tread on the rotating glass floor that was added as part of a recent renovation.
Check out famed glass sculptor Dale Chihuly’s Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition at the Seattle Center, which includes a 40-foot tall glasshouse structure featuring a playful suspended installation.
Pick up a selection of local artisan goods at Pike Place Market and set off to view the thunderous 270-foot Snoqualmie Falls, one of the best day trips from Seattle. Feel the falls’ spray from the upper and lower observation decks and enjoy a picnic in the gorgeous green two-acre park.
Squeeze in a tour of Seattle’s famous craft breweries, including the Pike Brewing Company and Reuben’s Brews The Taproom, which both offer tours and tastings. Seattle may no longer hold the title of the city with the most breweries in the U.S., but its craft beer industry continues to thrive with over 100 hop houses in Seattle and more than 400 in Washington state.
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Athens is one of the best places to visit in September. With pleasantly warm temperatures and fewer crowds, the former center of ancient Greece is packed with storied landmarks, archeological treasures, and upmarket neighborhoods ready to be explored.
Start at the Acropolis, an ancient citadel that sits atop a rocky ledge, which has watched over Athens since the 5th-century B.C. The Acropolis has long been considered an unofficial symbol of ancient Greece and one of Greece’s most iconic landmarks.
Here you’ll be able to feast your eyes on the towering columns of the Parthenon temple, the Theater of Dionysos, and the Erechtheion temple, among the remains of several other temples, statues, and fortress buildings.
Dedicate some time to the National Archaeological Museum and Acropolis Museum, one of the best museums in the world, to learn more about Greek history. You’ll find more ancient landmarks scattered around the city center, including the Temples of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora of Athens, plus the Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Located under the gaze of the Acropolis, wander the maze of streets and squares that make up the charming Old Town of Plaka. Pick up a souvenir, stop by the many museums located here and settle down for a delicious lunch of Greek mezze.
For heart-stopping panoramas, save time for one last call at the top of Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in the city at 908 feet above sea level. If you get the chance, stick around for sunset, when the Acropolis is bathed in an amber glow.
Read: Three Days in Athens
Situated between Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao forms part of the chain of ABC Islands, located off the coast of Venezuela. Although September is considered off-season in Curaçao, the month still enjoys a warm and sunny climate, and typically escapes the fury of hurricane season, making it one of the best times to visit.
Curaçao’s capital, Willemstad, is divided into two halves—Otrobanda and Punda—that are easily explored on foot. The city has a distinctly Dutch feel, which you’ll notice in street names and the gabled, waterfront architecture in Handelskade.
Admire the pretty row of colorful lime-green, burnt-orange, candyfloss-pink, and mustard-yellow buildings, and cross the 1888-built Queen Emma pontoon bridge, known as the Swinging Old Lady. You’ll find souvenir vendors, jewelry stores, restaurants, and cafes clustered around both sides of the waterfront.
One of the best things to do in Curaçao is to take a deep dive into the history of Willemstad at the 17th-century Fort Amsterdam, home to the Governor’s Palace, Fort Church, and a museum. At the nearby floating market, feast your eyes on wooden boats piled high with tropical fruits, such as fresh and juicy watermelon, papaya, pineapple, and coconuts; an array of colorful vegetables, and fresh fish.
Pack your swimsuit as Curaçao is home to glorious beaches aplenty. With palm trees draped over pure-white sand and luscious turquoise Caribbean water, Mambo Beach is as idyllic as it is lively. Just south of the center, you’ll find beach bars, watersports, and the Curaçao Sea Aquarium at one end of the strip. Snap up a sun lounger and sip on the island’s signature bitter orange-flavored liqueur, Blue Curaçao.
Bliss out on Blue Bay Beach, a pretty cove just north of Willemstad with excellent facilities, including guided diving, snorkeling, and boat tours. If your beach style is quiet and peaceful, head to the north of Curaçao and kick back on Knip Beach. This gorgeous spot is backed by lush jungle and a lagoon, and features a kiosk for refreshments and shallow water that is perfect for swimming.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
While there is never a wrong time to visit this magical Ecuadorian archipelago, the Galapagos Islands are among the best places to travel to in September when the region boasts a cool and dry climate and feverish wildlife activity.
Lying roughly 620 miles off South America in the Pacific Ocean, some of the main islands (there are 127 in total) include Baltra, Santa Cruz, Rabida, Santiago, Isabela, Bartolome, Genovesa, and Fernandina.
In Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz, look out for crab-covered volcanic rocks, sharks, and sea turtles. Visit Las Bachas, the island’s pristine chalk-white sandy beach that’s a nesting ground for Pacific green sea turtles. Kick back on the soft sand and swim in the delicious turquoise water.
Spot sea lions and a nesting colony of pelicans on the red-hued shore of Rabida Island. Pack your snorkel gear for Santiago Island and swim down to witness schools of tropical fish and sea turtles. Soak up Santiago’s awe-inspiring wildlife on land and in the air, too, including marine iguanas, Galapagos hawks, and the show-stopping Galapagos fur seals.
In Tagus Cove, soak up the spectacular scenery of Isabela—the largest island in the Galapagos—including the shimmering turquoise-tinged Darwin Lake. Isabela is not without its share of magnificent wildlife, too. There, you’ll encounter penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and nesting native flightless cormorants.
Fernandina is home to an abundance of dramatic black lava rocks and the Galapagos’ largest colony of marine iguanas. Have your camera ready for your arrival on Bartolome Island, where there’s an arresting luna-esque landscape, spectacular sea arches, and golden stretches of shoreline filled with grazing Galapagos penguins.
On Genovesa Island, take off on an exhilarating hike from Darwin Bay through tropical mangroves to find nesting red-footed boobies among the unique birdlife.
The Galapagos is one of the best places to travel in September for its unrivaled wildlife. Look out for the yellow-beaked waved albatross, which can be spotted on Espanola and Genovesa islands during this period.
If you’re considering a post-Labor Day vacation, draw from our list of the seven best places to visit in September and check out Celebrity Cruises’ itineraries, which sail to these coveted destinations all over the world.
Browse our September cruise itineraries and book your next vacation today.