9 best European cities to visit in September
Honestly? September is my favorite month to travel to Europe. First, the children are back to school, and with them, their parents. The sun is perfect for sitting outside and swimming in the sea, but you can walk into more empty city centers without suffering from heatstroke.
I don’t think there is a European city that is not worth visiting in September: all the sunny regions are still sunny, all the northern regions not yet cold, all the less crowded cities but just as fun. Classical music season opens with opera, concert and ballet performances staged in the most iconic venues, and it looks like the month of antique fairs and flea markets, and two very fun are on my list.
When planning a fall visit to Europe, if you need a boost or two in a certain direction, read on and see which recommended city break will tickle your interest and end up on your to-do list. .
As the quote says, “Paris is always a good idea”, but September sees the back to school, back to school, and brings all Parisians back to town. More Parisians and fewer tourists is surely a positive thing. Besides all the good things Paris has to offer in September – the still sunny terraces, the European Heritage Days (book early!), And the opera and the Philharmonie which open their season – there is also the Foire de Chatou, an art and antiques market held on the Île des Impressionnistes on the banks of the Seine. The place is beautiful, the market wonderful, with many treasures to discover, and since France is there, there are plenty of good food and wine stalls.
Pro tip: To get there, take RER A at four stops from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, direction St Germain-en-Laye. At the Rueil-Malmaison stop, you will find a free regular shuttle to the market.
Still on the theme of the antique fair and the flea market, every September, the city to the north-east of Lille hosts the Grande Braderie, the largest flea / antique market in Europe, which completely invades the city. . There are printed maps with which stalls are located in which street, all the local shops and boutiques join in and have a sale, and live music events. Food stalls everywhere turn the whole weekend and the whole city into one big shopping party. Lille is a 2 hour drive from Paris so it can be done in a day, but it is best to make it a (long) weekend because there is a lot to see and do.
Pro tip: To eat and rest away from the hustle and bustle, have lunch in the charming L’Assiette du Marché, which is not only pretty inside and out, but also serves excellent seasonal cuisine.
In times of non-pandemic, it is THE place to go if you find yourself in Germany at the end of September. The Bavarian city of Munich is a city to visit for its museums, markets, river and parks, but at the end of September the Wies’n, i.e. Oktoberfest is organized for those who love beer , the inevitable cheerfulness and crowds. People flock from near and far to sit in gigantic tents, drink beer from gigantic glasses and eat gigantic pretzels. It is indeed a festival of superlatives. There are tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the event, but most of the time you just have to go with the flow. It’s a bit like Disneyland, just with beer. Put your normal life on hold while you’re at it and enjoy it, without worrying about the rest.
Pro tip: Some 7 million people attend this event in its three weeks, so book your time slot early and don’t stay until it closes as the streets are literally littered with drunk people.
From beer to wine, to the Budapest Wine Festival, every year in September, the Hungarian capital opens its doors to international wine producers who exhibit their products and, most importantly, let you taste them all over the city. Some events take place in several of its most historic buildings, such as Buda Castle. To accompany the wine festival there are dozens of cultural events, dancing to live music, and plenty of art and food stalls.
Pro tip: And, speaking of food, be sure to visit the historic Great Market Hall on an empty stomach and bring plenty of time and appetite to prepare for a wine tasting.
Brighton is a seaside town on the south coast of England, just an hour by train south of London. It is steeped in history, has an iconic promenade and pier, a pebble beach and great shops in the extraordinary alleys. Known for its relaxed and welcoming LGBTQ + vibe, it’s colorful, fun, and perfect for a visit in September. Without the crowds walking and seeing things are so much easier, and you can easily explore the world’s oldest aquarium and UK’s oldest cinema, plus the extravagance that is the Royal Pavilion.
Pro tip: Brighton has an incredible number of theaters, stages and small clubs in which to see plays, comedy, live music and all kinds of cultural events, so plan ahead which nights you are there.
The beautiful city of Venice is absolutely off-limits in summer. The crowds are amazing, and every little alley and canal is packed with visitors, making the locals pity you. But once September arrives, Venice can breathe again and start having fun. First, the Regatta Storica, a fabulous rowing event with historic gondolas and historical costumes, turning it more into an aquatic carnival rather than a race – but a race it is – and taken to the serious. And once you’re done watching this spectacular occasion, why not spot the celebrities? The Lido Film Festival, La Biennale attracts celebrities and beauties from all over the world. Maybe you will have the opportunity to spot George Clooney, who is a regular.
Pro tip: Venice is always something special, so why not make it a true movie star experience by staying at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel on the private island of San Clemente, ideally located between Venice and the Lido.
Zielona Góra, Poland
Zielona Gora, which means Green Mountain, is a town in western Poland and a historic town that was once a thriving textile center, due to the influence of the 13th century Flemish weavers. It has a medieval town center, a deep affection for all things folk, and its streets and alleys are dotted with miniature sculptures, all of which have something to do with wine. And that’s THE reason to visit, period. The Green Mountains that surround the city are covered with vineyards, and in September, the harvest is celebrated with great flair. For a whole week, the city celebrates the grape harvest with processions, cultural and sporting events, stalls lining the cobbled streets and, of course, lots of wine.
Pro tip: More wine? Head to the city’s impressive and expansive wine museum to learn about the history of wine in the region.
Villamartin, a small town in Andalusia about 80 kilometers inland from the city of Cadiz, is normally a town you would drive through, or maybe stop for a quick bite while exploring. the Andalusian countryside. You could stop for the picturesque setting on the reservoir with the mountains as a backdrop, or to look at the Roman villas that remain in the city. But you probably won’t linger. However, in the third week of September, this small town is teeming with visitors who all come to celebrate the Feria de Ganado and the Fiesta de San Mateo. The Feria de Ganado is the oldest cattle fair in Andalusia and is held in conjunction with the fiesta, which includes parades on horseback, fireworks, young people in flamenco attire on the wall of the death of the party fairground, and apparently the best tapas served area while you watch the festivities.
Pro tip: There are otters that live in the reservoir, so stick around for a picnic by the lake and see if you can spot any.
Also in Spain, about 400 miles to the northeast, is the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. Now we all know that the Spaniards know how to organize a fiesta. But the Las Fallas Fire Festival is quite another thing. Normally scheduled for March, 2021, it will be celebrated in September, so you have a chance to see it after all. Huge wooden and papier-mâché figurines parade through the city and then, at night, are burned to celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day. Additional fireworks, cheers, and plenty of food and drink are provided.
Pro tip: If the notice was too short, visit Valencia in March, when Las Fallas normally takes place between March 15 and 19.
Some European cities are better places to visit in the fall, when the crowds, temperatures and activities are ideal: