A lovely month. The weatherʼs still nice on the doorstep and resorts in popular places (Italy, Croatia, Spain, Greece) are less crowded
North Americaʼs famed fall colours show - New England is gorgeous and Québecʼs a-flame, while the fiery forests of Japan and South Korea offer exotic autumn alternatives. The southern hemisphereʼs all spring vitality (wildflowers in South Africa and Western Oz), and animals are flourishing too: turtles in Cyprus, whales off Patagonia, penguins on the Galápagos.
From wildlife to wine, mountain to beach, you could easily wile away a month in South Africa. If you do, September's a good choice: it's springtime, and nicely dry and warm (up to 20°C), ideal for hiking, cycling and canoeing. The Cape provinces are spectacular, as Namaqualand's wildflowers burst into bloom. And it's good for wildlife-lovers too: game-viewing is best September-October, and calving whales pass close by the south coast mid-June to October.
Driving the Garden Route is a great way to combine all this, with plenty of lovely lodges for overnighting. Start in Cape Town, to see Table Mountain and the penguins at Boulder Beach. Then meander along the N2 (in a plain hire car or on a Harley) as it winds east along the coast to Plettenberg Bay. Pass charming towns, jagged mountains and wave-bashed cliffs; take a malaria-free safari in Shamwari Reserve, surf Victoria Bay, take wild walks in Tsitsikamma National Park and ride an ostrich in Oudtshoorn.
The crowds have thinned, leaving Croatia's picturesque coast in relative peace. Start in ancient Split before cruising the Adriatic islands (by yacht charter or local ferries): top picks include fashionable Hvar, unspoilt Mljet, nudist Rab or party-central Pag. Finish among Dubrovnik's comely cobbled streets.
Autumn grabs hold of New England with both hands, turning it into one big orchard of reds, yellows and golds. Combine Massachusetts colours with a Boston city break, hike New Hampshire's White Mountains, or try pretty Vermont.
As Kyrenia's harbour empties of summer tourists (though remains warm and sunny), the beaches nearby are still a-scurry with creatures: between July and September the eggs of the local green and loggerhead turtles hatch - watch the babies break for the sea.
Start a circumnavigation now and you'll hit many places at their best. First, head for springtime Rio, then overland to Chile, reaching Patagonia by December. Fly to NZ and Oz for the austral summer; depart for India by March, before the monsoon hits, finishing in the Himalaya in May for the rhododendron blooms.
Tuscany with fewer tourists, tiny Umbria is known as Italy's Green Heart for its rolling hills of chestnut groves and elm forests. Drive from Florence to Rome via Perugia, Assisi and Orvieto to snuffle for truffles and picnic in olive groves.
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