Want to vacation away from the crowds while still enjoying sunny weather? September beckons great weather, and maybe best of all... the crowds have thinned. Here, we share some ideas for alluring destinations for a vacation or a weekend getaway.
1. The Luberon, France
The Luberon, located between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Vaucluse, is a must see region in the South of France. You’ll be blown away by its lavender fields as far as the eye can see, its ocher-colored cliffs, and small hilltop villages. Each of these authentic villages is more charming than the next. Consider visiting Lourmarin, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees; or Roussillon, characterized by colorful trees in shades of orange, yellow, and red… perfect for a weekend excursion.
2. Basilicata, Italy
Not far from Puglia, this region, little known to tourists, is a secret paradise steeped in history. What makes Basilicata so beautiful, is its diversity and landscapes alternating between mountains, creeks, deserts, and forests. The small town of Matera, one of the oldest cities in the world, is the region’s gem. Overlooking a canyon, it is known for its Sassi where streets, churches, and monasteries carved out of the rock, often run on top of other dwellings.
Our favorite: discovering the region, you can also go to Maratea, a town with magnificent coves and beaches of turquoise waters. Make sure you also visit Pietrapertosa, a pretty town built on the mountainside, and the Tavole Palatine, a Greek temple in the city of Metaponto.
3. Lavaux, Switzerland
Lavaux, one of the most beautiful regions in Switzerland, is renowned for its terraced vineyards which overlook Lake Geneva. It is a perfect place for nature lovers, but of course also for wine lovers. There, you can go on superb nature walks or bike rides through the vineyards and to the old villages in the surrounding area. And at the end of the day, don't forget to stop for a glass of wine while admiring the sunset.
4. Kornati Islands, Croatia
The Kornati are no less than 147 islands located near Zadar in Croatia. If you go to Croatia, you absolutely must visit these paradise islands. They are the wildest in the country, and give one a peaceful experience away from the madding crowd. You will also find many vines, olive and fig trees, herds of sheep, and even small fishermen's houses. What makes the beauty of this place are its cliffs, caves, and its small isolated coves with crystal clear waters.
Our favorite: If you're lucky, you might even see dolphins leaping in the middle of the clear sea. This destination is also ideal for diving enthusiasts. These islands have very diverse seabeds where you can observe underwater turtles, octopi, red coral and many other sea creatures.
5. Scandola Nature Reserve, Corsica
The Scandola Reserve, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a little corner of paradise in the middle of the Mediterranean. This reserve in the northwest of Corsica offers absolutely exceptional landscapes. Its cliffs carved out of rocks and pink granite contrast with the turquoise water of the ocean. Its preservation has allowed many species to develop. You will no doubt see ospreys, hawks, and thousands of fish. You may even have the chance to swim in the company of dolphins.
6. Symi Island, Greece
Much less visited than the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, Symi is equally as charming. Arrive on the island by boat and immediately admire the beauty of the beautiful purple, turquoise, salmon, sky blue, indigo, and apple green houses. The small port, lined with colorful houses, as well as monasteries, taverns and mosaics, make it one of the most picturesque and authentic Greek islands. It is a haven of peace for a day or multi-day getaway. The perfect time to visit this island is at the end of summer, when the heat is less stifling.
7. Fårö, Sweden
This small wild island is located north of Gotland Island in Sweden. These strange rocks, sculpted by the sea and the wind over the years, are simply breathtaking. You will be amazed by the beauty of this island, its landscapes, its white sandy beaches, and its bluish waters. You can cycle around the island to discover small fishing villages, stone lighthouses, sheep, and the lakes there.
8. Azores Islands, Portugal
These nine breathtaking islands located off the coast of Portugal, are all very different from each other. They are the ideal destination for a vacation for nature lovers. Natural waterfalls, volcanic lakes, thermal springs, and lush vegetation make the landscapes of these volcanic islands idyllic. On the island of São Miguel, discover black sand beaches, and hot springs, and don’t miss the magnificent capital, Ponta Delgada or the volcano of Sete Cidades and its crater lake.
Our favorite: The whale watching on Faial Island! You’ll also be blown away by the island of Terceira, famous for its vineyards and the hospitality of its residents.
9. Limburg Provences, Pays Bas
Located in the south of the Netherlands, the province of Limburg has many churches, caves, watermills, farms, and medieval monuments. You’ll also find picturesque villages such as Thorn with its whitewashed houses or Valkenburg aan de Geul, the Christmas town of the Netherlands. You can also discover the famous city of Maastricht and its historical monuments such as the Basilica of Saint Servatius.
Our favorite: The many castles to explore add to the region’s beauty, such as the 17th century Alden Biesen castle or the Eijsden castle. Finally, Limburg is famous for its many vineyards, so be sure to stop by to taste some typical Dutch wine.
10. Styria, Austria
Styria, is a great region to visit if you are going to Austria. The mountains, lakes and forests are splendid. On your way to Graz, the region’s capital, you’ll pass through the high perched vineyards. In Graz, you’ll discover beautiful alleys with colorful houses and facades decorated with sculptures.
Our favorite: about 1 hour 15 minutes from Graz, you’ll find the emerald green Grüner See lake. This is actually very surprising, because this lake only appears but once a year in May, as the snow melts from the glacier. This is an unusual phenomenon, because under the water, there is greenery, trees, flowers, and even a bench at the bottom of the lake. This place is absolutely perfect for a quiet and magical little excursion. There are also several castles to visit in the province such as Eijsden or Hoensbroek.
Enjoy an end of summer vacation with HomeExchange
To explore these superb destinations, the ideal solution is to exchange your apartment or house with a member of the HomeExchange community. Thanks to HomeExchange, you will be able to benefit from your host’s advice and tips. Being in a fully equipped home will give you the opportunity to live like a local and to spend unique and authentic holidays off the beaten track.
So, if you are wondering where to go in September or October, do not hesitate to discover these little corners of paradise in Europe.