Where to go in September, October and November 2019

Looking for inspiration for where to go this year in September, October or November? From the romantic cities of Italy to the diverse landscapes of Vietnam and the Mayan ruins of Mexico, our local experts' recommendations can help you plan the perfect trip.
Boats among limestone crags of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Romas_Photo/Shutterstock
Boats among limestone crags of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Romas_Photo/Shutterstock

Planning a trip for September, October or November? Check out our whirlwind world tour taking in some of the best destinations to visit during these three months.

Where to go in Europe

1. Italy

For opera buffs, a visit to northern Italy in October is definitely in order. The annual Verdi Festival (26 Sep–20 Oct, 2019) hosts a dynamic performance programme in the city of Parma in celebration of the works of the great 19th-century Italian composer. 

To the west, Alba is the destination that gastronomes head to each October and November, for these are the months when the town's culinary speciality is honoured during the International Alba White Truffle Fair (5 Oct–24 Nov, 2019) with its weekend market in the town's historic centre, cooking demonstrations, food and wine tastings, and medieval re-enactments. 

To the east, Venice is known for its melancholy air in the late autumn months, as the crowds disperse and those in search of romantic long weekends can discover its unique appeal. The lagoon city becomes swathed in atmospheric mists and is far quieter than during the summer high season. From the Italian Lakes to the historic streets of Renaissance-imbued cities, Insight Guides' trips to Italy are the perfect way to discover the delights of this vibrant and culturally influential nation.

Gondola with San Giorgio di Maggiore church in the background in Venice Italy. Photo: Angelo Ferraris/Shutterstock

2. Germany

In Munich, Oktoberfest (21 Sep–6 Oct, 2019) is the world’s biggest celebration of beer and can trace its roots back to 1810 when it originated as the wedding party of Ludwig I and Princess Therese. Tradition holds sway in a cluster of huge tents, each of which has its own particular ambience and crowd, who enthusiastically drink gargantuan quantities of beer from selected Munich breweries, ferried to them by scores of energetic barmaids. The aroma of roasted oxen and sucklings pig fills the air, along with the sound of rousing German songs. Marching bands, parades and traditional fairground rides and amusements complete the carnival atmosphere.

3. Iceland

The bewitching aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, flashes, flickers and pulses across Iceland’s autumn skies, caused by streams of charged particles – ‘solar winds’ – that flare into space from our sun, and glow. In Iceland, September and October are months when the lights can be seen – as well as March and April. Choose a cold, moonless night, then gaze to the heavens and hope. The further north in Iceland you travel, the more hours of darkness there are at night – and therefore the greater the chance of glimpsing the northern lights. Insight Guides’ The Magic of Eastern Iceland trip includes visits to the far-flung Arctic Circle and the Arctic Henge – stunning destinations to visit even if the northern lights fail to make an appearance.

Northern Lights over Budir church, Iceland. Photo: Miguel Moreno/Shutterstock

Where to go in Asia

4. Vietnam

November is a great time to visit Vietnam, especially the north and south of the country, where the humidity levels are manageable and rainfall is low. You can explore the wide diversity of cityscapes and scenery squeezed into the country’s relatively compact area, from the pagodas and temples in the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the breathtaking sweep of Halong Bay’s indigo waters peppered with rocky outcrops, to the upmarket restaurants and grand colonial buildings of spirited Ho Chi Minh City. Discover these highlights and more on Insight Guides' Wonders of Vietnam trip.

Where to go in Latin America

5. Mexico

November is a prime time to visit the well-preserved Mayan complex at Chichén Itzá, on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The rainstorms of the wet season have passed, but the crowds of peak season, which starts in December, have yet to arrive – so you can better appreciate incredible structures like the iconic El Castillo step pyramid, crowned by a temple. 

On 1 November, the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico, but Oaxaca is one of the best places to experience it. This exuberant annual festival of skeletons and skulls, altars and tableaux, music, masks and costumes is celebrated by families in memory of their dead relatives. But far from being a grisly dwelling on death, the Day of the Dead is a colourful and lively fiesta that puts the celebration of life front and centre.

6. Argentina

November is the best time to visit Argentina. Spring is well under way and Buenos Aires comes alive after the long winter, as the city’s streets bloom with lilac-coloured flowers adorning jacaranda trees. Argentines are delighted to make the most of the pleasant weather and the capital’s many cultural events, such as the Buenos Aires Festival of Contemporary Dance and Buenos Aires Jazz Festival, while the Argentine Polo Open Championship attracts teams and crowds from around the globe annually in November (16 Nov–14 Dec, 2019). 

Typical houses in La Boca, Buenos Aires. Photo: Julian de Dios/Shutterstock

Where to go in Africa and the Middle East

7. Kenya

There is no truly bad time to visit Kenya, but for wildlife viewing late September and October are the best times, when the great wildebeest migration is centred on the undulating grassland and dramatic escarpments of the Maasai Mara. This national reserve is one of the most famous protected areas in all of Africa, where you will be sure to encounter lions, elephant herds and towering giraffes. 

The annual great migration sees millions of wildebeest move north from the Serengeti Plain in search of fresh grazing pasture. And the multiple crossings of the Mara River that take place between September and October are its most dramatic aspect. These crossings are not one-off events that occur as the migration enters and leaves the Mara, but take place throughout the season when herds of hundreds or thousands of wildebeest regularly cross back and forth at a number of favoured crossing points.

8. Jordan

Jordan enjoys almost year-round sunshine and blue skies, but September and October, when the hot summer has given way to pleasant milder weather are perfect months for enjoying Middle Eastern café culture in the capital Amman and travelling through the country. Experiences that are not to be missed include driving through the stunning desert landscape of cliffs, pinnacles and dunes in Wadi Rum; floating in the Dead Sea and savouring beauty treatments in one of the luxury spa hotels; and marvelling at the famous rose-red, rock-cut city of Petra, hidden away in a valley to the south. Discover the country's highlights on Insight Guides' Treasures of Jordan trip.

Roman amphitheatre in Amman, Jordan. Photo: SJ Travel Photo and Video/Shutterstock

9. Dubai

For those looking to escape the northern hemisphere's chilly autumn weather, Dubai makes a fascinating and stylish sun-drenched option. The city has two seasons: hot and scorching hot. November is the optimal time to visit when the temperature hovers just above 30ºC (86ºF). Take a break in this glamorous city and shop for jewellery in the Old City’s Gold Souk or designer goods in the enormous Dubai Mall; gaze up at the towering ultramodern skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road; and take an entertaining and informative guided tour of the the stately Jumeirah Mosque with its pair of soaring, richly decorated minarets.

Where to go in North America

10. USA

Late September is the beginning of the 'leaf peeping' season in the far north of New England. The crimsons and golds of the trees leaves spread southwards as fall rolls on into October. Note that this is high season in New England, so hotel rates will climb in popular vacation spots.

The weather is usually crisp yet pleasant at this time of year in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This makes early fall a great time to plan a visit to the national parks of western USA – beat the crowds before roads and trails close for winter at destinations including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park and Mount Rainier.

San Francisco and New York City are home to the country's most elaborate and highly animated costume parades for Halloween. And on the fourth Thursday in November (28 Nov, 2019), the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade sees Manhattan filled with gigantic helium-filled balloons shaped like cartoon characters floating above the streets, flanked by marching bands.

Fall in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. Photo: Mike Peters/Shutterstock

Fancy taking a trip in September, October or November?

Insight Guides can help you plan and book amazing trips away this autumn. Simply get in touch to share your ideas for the trip and to let us know exactly when you would like to travel. Our local experts will then create a personalised itinerary based on your specific requirements, which you can amend until it's exactly how you want it before booking.