15 of the Best Places to Visit in Europe in September

travel europe in september

As the peak of summer starts to fade away, Europe transforms into a mesmerizing landscape with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. While everyone dreams of experiencing the quintessential “European summer,” the overwhelming masses and higher prices can make it less appealing. Fortunately, September offers a much more enjoyable time to visit, allowing you to escape the heat waves while still reveling in stellar weather.

Let’s explore some of the best destinations in Europe during this golden month:

1. Santorini, Greece

In September, Santorini radiates tranquility. The summer frenzy subsides, but the island still basks in warm sunshine, beautifully contrasting against its iconic blue domes. With mild temperatures averaging around 75 degrees, it provides the perfect backdrop to explore the winding alleys of Oia or witness the captivating sunset. While you won’t be completely alone, the tourist crowds significantly diminish, offering a more intimate experience. Start planning your dreamy Santorini getaway now.

2. Rome, Italy

Rome’s eternal charm becomes even more pronounced in September. As the scorching summer heat gradually gives way, pleasant temperatures in the mid-70s provide an ideal climate to wander through historic ruins, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, or savor a gelato near the Colosseum. Though the city is never devoid of visitors, it’s comparatively less crowded in September, allowing for a more personal rendezvous with history.

3. Munich, Germany

September in Munich is synonymous with Oktoberfest, which actually starts mid-September, contrary to popular belief. Even if beer tents aren’t your scene, the city exudes a festive air that’s worth immersing yourself in. With temperatures around 65 degrees, it’s cool enough to enjoy the lush Englischer Garten or take a leisurely stroll around Marienplatz. While Munich remains fairly bustling during this time, thanks to Oktoberfest, the jubilant energy is contagious and well worth experiencing.

4. Paris, France

“The City of Love” becomes even more enchanting in September. As the searing summer heat fades, temperatures settle around a comfortable 70 degrees. This is the month to leisurely walk alongside the Seine, visit Montmartre’s art studios, or simply enjoy a croissant in a cozy café. While Paris still retains some of its summer throngs, there’s a noticeable thinning, making popular spots like the Louvre or Eiffel Tower slightly more accessible. Despite not being a massive fan of enormous cities like Paris, I’m tempted to visit in September to see if the mild weather and fewer crowds can sway me.

5. Barcelona, Spain

September in Barcelona feels like a beautiful blend of summer and fall. The Mediterranean sun still shines, but it’s not as intense, with average temperatures around 75 degrees. This is an excellent time to visit Gaudí’s masterpieces, sunbathe at Barceloneta Beach, or explore the lively La Rambla. The city is not overcrowded, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in its architectural marvels and beautiful beaches.

6. Reykjavík, Iceland

In Iceland, September marks the beginning of the northern lights season, and Reykjavík offers the perfect vantage point. The city’s temperatures may be a bit nippy, averaging around 50 degrees, but the spectacle of nature more than compensates for it. This is also the month when you can indulge in the annual Reykjavik International Film Festival. While tourism starts to pick up with aurora hunters, the city still maintains a sense of tranquility. The mild temperatures make it an excellent time for an epic road trip, whether it’s along the Ring Road or the Golden Circle.

7. Edinburgh, Scotland

After the summer festivals, Edinburgh regains its calm yet remains vibrant in September. With temperatures around the low 60s, it’s the ideal time to explore the Royal Mile, visit the historic castle, or hike Arthur’s Seat. The cobbled streets and alleyways see fewer tourists, allowing for a serene Scottish experience. For the more adventurous souls, Edinburgh offers fantastic day trips, including a visit to the famous Loch Ness and the serene highlands.

8. Henne Strand, Denmark

Henne Strand, with its undulating dunes and vast stretches of sandy beaches, is a serene escape in September. The coastal winds carry the subtle hint of autumn, as temperatures pleasantly settle around 60 degrees. This hidden gem is less about bustling attractions and more about a soulful connection with nature. You can walk along the pristine shores, explore nearby forests, and immerse yourself in local art and pottery. The magical sunsets that paint the sky in hues of oranges and purples are not to be missed. With few tourists around, Henne Strand offers a peaceful retreat for solo travelers, couples, or even mother-daughter duos.

9. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest in September is a treat for the senses. With temperatures in the high 60s, the city invites you to take a dip in its famed thermal baths or cruise the Danube for a panoramic view of Buda and Pest. While the summer rush is dissipating, Budapest still retains a lively buzz, offering a balanced blend of relaxation and excitement. Don’t miss out on a dazzling one-hour evening cruise along the famous river to kick off your visit.

10. Vienna, Austria

Vienna exudes regal charm, and in September, it’s adorned with autumnal hues. Temperatures linger around 70 degrees, creating the perfect ambiance for palace visits, attending evening operas, or simply sipping coffee in traditional cafés. While the city remains moderately busy, navigating its architectural wonders becomes significantly more pleasant. If it’s your first time in Vienna, a walking tour of the highlights on your first day will help you get acquainted with the city before embarking on further adventures.

11. Porto, Portugal

Porto, with its vintage charm, shines in September. The Douro River reflects the azure skies of a city blessed with mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Immerse yourself in the history of port wine, stroll through Ribeira’s cobbled streets, or watch the sunset from Dom Luís I Bridge. Though not as packed as the peak summer season, Porto hums with a lively energy that’s contagiously joyful.

12. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, known as “the pearl of the Adriatic,” is a sight to behold in the early embrace of autumn in September. With average temperatures of around 70 degrees, it invites you to explore its ancient walls, bask in the Mediterranean sun, and delve into its rich history. The summer crowds will have thinned, allowing for a more immersive experience in this UNESCO World Heritage Site and the rest of Croatia. Be careful, though, as falling in love with Dubrovnik is a real possibility – it has even made our list of the best places to live in Europe!

13. Bruges, Belgium

Often referred to as “the Venice of the North,” Bruges exudes fairytale magic with its canals and medieval architecture. Indulge in Belgian chocolates, take a canal tour, or simply get lost in its winding streets. The city is busy but not overwhelmingly so, maintaining its romantic allure, especially in September when temperatures become milder.

14. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, with its iconic canals and rich history, is delightful in September. The temperatures hover around a pleasant 65 degrees, perfect for canal cruises, visiting the Anne Frank House, or cycling through Vondelpark. While the summer busy season subsides, the city retains its vibrant atmosphere, making it ideal for solo explorations. I’ve visited Amsterdam in the spring during peak tulip season, and I imagine that September is just as delightful, albeit without the tulips.

15. Riga, Latvia

Riga, a captivating blend of Gothic spires and Art Nouveau brilliance, shines particularly bright in September. Explore the charming Old Town, visit the House of Blackheads, and savor local delicacies in the Central Market. With sunny days in the low 60s, the weather is perfect for discovering the city on foot. Tourism is moderate, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in Riga’s unique Baltic charm.

Embarking on a journey to one of these best places to visit in Europe in September is like reading a favorite book by a cozy fireplace – every destination is a chapter filled with stories, mysteries, and delights.

Which one will you choose?

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