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Inspiration for September holidays

September    

September
With the summer visitors largely gone and the weather still warm and settled, September is a wonderful month to travel.

 

Join the locals walking in the Alps
Austria's Leutasch Valley in autumn
Ask anyone who lives in the Alps which month they recommend for walking, and the answer will be September, thanks to the fine, settled weather, the gorgeous golden colours, and the clear views, so why not follow their lead? We have a wide range of walking holidays in Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland to choose from, ranging from moderate to challenging.
Witness the wine harvest in the Douro or Madeira
Grape harvest in the Douro Valley
September is all about grapes in the regions which produce Portugal’s two most famous exports: port and Madeira wine. As you walk through the richly coloured, panoramic hills of the Douro Valley upriver from Porto, you see hundreds of locals in the vineyards picking grapes and maybe even treading them the old-fashioned way – by foot – in granite lagares at the quintas. This bustling scene is repeated on Madeira, with colourful celebrations in Porto da Cruz on the first weekend of the month adding to the special atmosphere.
Take things slowly on an Italian island with an African feel
Egadi Apartments
Tiny Marettimo is the most westerly of the Egadi Islands, which lie off the coast of Sicily. Reminiscent of Africa thanks to its square, whitewashed houses, sun-scorched hills, warm climate and exotic plants, it is a hidden gem, and, though the boat journey takes just an hour, as you step ashore there is a feeling of leaving the hustle and bustle of modern life behind (locals commonly get about by donkey). Staying in apartments right by the sea, you can walk along the coast or inland, take to the sea in a kayak, visit Roman and Norman sites, and even go scuba diving.
Watch migrating birds in the Atlantic Pyrenees
Crete d'Iparla, Basque Pyrenees
This part of the Pyrenees is on an important migration route for thousands of raptors and other birds as they fly north in spring and south in autumn – a fantastic sight, even for non-bird-watchers. The autumn migrations start in mid-August, beginning with black kites and honey buzzards, followed by black storks, ospreys, hobbies and marsh harriers in September, then red kites and sparrowhawks in October.
Pedal through France’s wine regions
Alsace's vineyards in autumn
Autumn is probably the best time for a cycling holiday in France’s wine regions: the vines hang heavy with ripening fruit, the leaves are starting to turn gold and red, and there is a pleasant buzz as the wine producers prepare for the impending grape harvest. Choose from Alsace, with its fairy-tale villages of half-timbered houses; gastronomic southern Burgundy; the château-studded Loire Valley; or Bordeaux with its fortified hill-top villages and fascinating history.
Walk across a red carpet in Iceland
Bilberries
The 100-kilometre-long Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west encapsulates all that is Iceland: there is a glacier-topped volcano, mountains seemingly rising out of nothing, tundra and moorland, black-sand beaches, lava fields, strange rock formations, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife that includes puffins and seals. The drama of the scenery is striking at any time of year, but in September it is enhanced by the autumn colours – the bilberry bushes and other low shrubs coating the moorland create the effect of walking through a luxuriant, vivid red carpet.
Follow in Stevenson’s footsteps through the Cévennes
Cevennes
In the rugged mountain moorland of the Cévennes, the months are denoted by different colours. In May it’s the yellow of the broom that dominates the landscape, while in September it’s the purple of the heather. This is the region through which Robert Louis Stevenson famously travelled with his donkey, and the tracks, ancient stone villages and wide-open views have changed little since then. At the end of the month, the emphasis shifts from purple to orange, as the arrival of autumn is heralded by the turning leaves of the chestnut trees in the valleys below.
Cycle along the Danish Riviera
Thatched cottages in Denmark
It’s tempting to say that our cycling holiday north of Copenhagen has everything. It’s the equivalent of a mouth-watering Danish open sandwich, piled high with fresh crab, juicy gherkins and creamy mayonnaise. You’ll find picture-perfect villages of thatched houses, expanses of white sand with brightly painted beach huts, wide-open skies, cosy-yet-stylish hotels, superb seafood and highly enjoyable cycle routes. What’s more, by travelling in September you’ll find that it’s still warm, yet pleasantly quiet.
Join in festivities in South Moravia
Wine merchant's sign in Moravia
You’ll need to book well in advance if you want to time your cycling holiday to coincide with the wine festivals in the southern Czech towns of Mikulov and Znojmo, but your forward-planning will be amply rewarded. In Mikulov, for example, as well as witnessing the costumed parade that forms the centrepiece of the Pálava Wine Festival, you’ll also have the chance to watch folklore performances and sample unfermented wine from just-pressed grapes. If you can’t make it during the festivities, however, don’t worry: there are still ample opportunities for wine-tasting.