Visiting Europe in September is a great idea for many tourists. You’ll be able to skip the families traveling during school holidays, you can take advantage of end-of-season discounts, and the crowds start to thin out a bit. Here are some of the best places to visit in September in Europe to enjoy the end of summer in style.
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The Best Places to Visit in September in Europe
Listed in alphabetical order, because I honestly couldn’t rank these if I tried. If you find yourself in any of these fabulous places in Europe this September, you’re sure to have a blast!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The weather in Amsterdam in September is great for sightseeing. With highs in the mid-sixties and lows in the fifties, (about 10-18°C ), you’ll find temperatures that make walking around the city easy. You can enjoy a canal cruise, rent a bicycle, shop for souvenirs, and explore the city at night, all without breaking a sweat.
Of course, you should always travel to Europe with layers, and you’ll be able to take some classy vacation photos since you won’t be boiling and underdressed.
The best reason to visit Amsterdam in September, though, is to avoid the heavy crowds of the summer. Every kid on a European backpacking trip is pretty much done by the end of August, so by September, you’ll have to deal with less trashy tourism and can enjoy more of the sophisticated side of the city.
Walking up the Acropolis to see the Parthenon is a true bucket list experience, and it’s so much nicer to do when the weather has cooled off a bit! While early September in Athens still feels like summer, by the end of the month you start to get some relief.
Whereas the average high in Athens in July and August is in the nineties (about 32°), by September the average temperature has dropped to the mid-eighties with average lows in the sixties (18-29°C). So while it’s not cool, September is a great time to come and still enjoy Athen’s beaches without seeing the Parthenon on an absolute scorcher.
Athens is also a city that gets packed during school holidays, so any time you can visit when kids are in school will make it much less crowded! While you can still enjoy a visit to the islands near Athens and even work on your tan, it’s much better to see the city when it is less crowded and slightly cooler.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
If you want to enjoy a cooler climate, Belfast is the perfect place to cool down after a long, hot, exhausting summer. With average temperatures from the high-forties to the low-sixties, bring your jacket and enjoy kicking off autumn (9-16°C).
You can enjoy hiking and coastal walks nearby at the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy Belfast’s up-and-coming food scene, learn about the Troubles on a Belfast Black Cab tour, and see the city’s amazing political street art. All without breaking a sweat!
My first visit to Belgrade was during a heatwave, but I found the city so much more fun once the weather cooled down! With average highs in the mid-seventies (lows in the mid-fifties), you can enjoy exploring the city on foot (12-23°C). But if you do want to enjoy some of the city’s famous river sports, you can still catch them in early September.
There are tons of great things to do in Belgrade, and the best stuff is all still in season in September. You can also enjoy the city’s famous nightlife, so Belgrade is a great place to go in September if you’re looking to let loose.
I adore Germany’s capital for its amazing street art, it’s great shopping, and its poignant day trips. Berlin is a fun city to explore at night, and there are lots of fabulous tours to help you dive into the city.
If you want to enjoy the fading end of summer so you can appreciate Berlin’s riverfront, come in early September. And while traditional Oktoberfest is actually in September and is centered in Bavaria, Berlin has its own version during the first part of the month.
Average temperatures range from the high forties to the mid-sixties, but you’ll find it closer to the seventies in early September (9-18°C). Perfect sightseeing weather, but bring a jacket in case it cools down early.
September is a great time to see Bordeaux. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy eating (and drinking!) outdoors, which is the perfect way to experience a city famous for its wine.
The average temperatures in Bordeaux in September range from the mid-seventies to the mid-fifties (12-23°C). If you do end up in Bordeaux during a heatwave, you can head inside the Cite du Vin, Bordeaux’s decanter-shaped wine museum. They even hold wine tastings and have a fabulous restaurant at the top to maximize your indoor-experience.
Wine enthusiasts will love Bordeaux’s day trip options, including to towns like St. Emilion where you can go wine tasting at a chateau.
Another great city to go to if you want to enjoy some cool weather after a sweltering summer since the average temperatures in September in Brussels range from fifty degrees to the mid-sixties (10-18°C). Bring a jacket and enjoy walking around the city, seeing the Grand Place, and taking in Brussels’s wonderful Magritte Museum.
And of course, drink a few authentic Belgian beers. They’ll warm you right up! Since Brussels is a great food and drink destination (hello, waffles!), if you do find yourself a bit cold you can head inside a enjoy some traditional Moules-Frites, Belgian mussels, and the official national dish.
Budapest is slammed with tourists in the summer, so its another destination that is a great place to visit during the shoulder-season and beyond. A highlight of any trip to Budapest, a river cruise through the city, will still be enjoyable in September when average temperatures are between the low-fifties and mid-sixties (10-18°C).
Another great must-see in Budapest at night, the city’s Ruin Bars, are also great to visit in September since they have an indoor/outdoor quality (hence being ruins…).
Hungarian cuisine is also fabulous when the weather is a bit colder since its made for surviving hardy winters. Worried about visiting the baths when the temperatures are a little lower? Don’t worry! They’re fabulous to visit in the autumn and winter.
My first day in Europe in September was a trip to Copenhagen, and I realized I had not packed for the chill! We ended up having to go buy a pair of sweaters, and I doubled up on layers. But seeing Denmark in September was amazing, and I would suggest it!
With temperatures ranging from the low fifties to low sixties (11-17°C), Copenhagen tends to feel chillier because of its location right on the water. Plan your days to be outside at lunch and enjoy the city’s fabulous views, but bring layers so you can enjoy it!
A few Copenhagen must-dos: a canal tour, Tivoli Gardens, and Christiania (if you dare)!
Another city that’s great to visit when high season is over, Dublin’s literary pubs and parks are more fun when you have a little room for yourself. However, Dublin never feels empty, so if you want some solitude plan you trip to see the city’s quieter corners.
Some of my favorite activities in Dublin include walking tours, pub crawls, and smaller museums, which are also great ways to enjoy the city when it’s not quite at the summer peak.
Like Copenhagen, Dublin can be a bit more chilly than you might expect in September, so pack layers! Temperatures range from the low fifties to low sixties (11-17°C).
Slightly cooler than Dublin and Copenhagen (temperature-wise, I mean) Edinburgh has average September temperatures ranging from the high forties to low sixties (9-16°C). But without the hordes of American tourists, September is much more enjoyable than July and August.
Of course, Edinburgh (and Scotland) are the place to be if you want to live out some of your Harry Potter fantasies. If you want to get your geek on, time your visit to be there during Edinburgh Comic-Con as well, typically held in early September.
The second-largest island in the country of Malta, Gozo is fabulous during the shoulder season, when things are still open but the quiet solitude that is the island’s best feature starts to take hold. It’s also still fabulous beach weather, so you can enjoy the great swimming in Ramla Bay, one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean.
The island is also famous for its trails, birding, and ancient ruins. Gozo is one of my favorite places for late summer sun in Europe with temperatures ranging from the high sixties to low eighties (20-28°C).
To be fair, there’s never a bad time to go to Istanbul. The city is packed with fabulous things to do, amazing nightlife, gorgeous architecture, and beautiful bazaars. I even love visiting in the middle of winter!
However, there’s a reason locals avoid being in the city during July and August if they can. In the summer, highs in the eighties in a city that traps heat make it feel even more stifling, but by September things have started to cool off with temperatures ranging from the low sixties to mid-seventies (16-23°C).
Krakow is such a charming city with a fabulous historic core, a castle on a hill, and a delicious amount of hearty cuisine. With temperatures ranging from the high forties to the mid-sixties (9-18°C), September is a great time to visit since you can get out and explore the entire city on foot during the day and fill up on warming pierogies at night.
You will also want to visit Auschwitz from Krakow, and this is a long, emotional day with lots of walking involved. Seeing it in September when it’s a little less crowded and the weather makes it easier to focus on the information will make for a more powerful experience than trying to see it in the high summer.
Kyiv (Kiev) is another city where it is more enjoyable to walk around when the temperatures aren’t at their max. Since there are so many important sites to see on foot, like the UNESCO World Heritage St. Sophia’s Cathedral and the beautiful St. Andrew’s Church.
You’ll also want to take the opportunity to go on a tour of Chernobyl, which is a long but rewarding and educational day. All in all, you will spend a lot of your time in Kyiv exploring outside, and you’ll be happy to be there when it’s not as hot as it gets in July and August.
In September, Kyiv temperatures range from the low fifties to the mid-sixties (10-19°C), so bring a jacket in case the cooler temps prevail.
Another city that’s much more enjoyable when tourism isn’t at its peak, London in September has temperatures ranging from the mid-fifties to the low seventies (13-23°C). Since that’s quite a range, make sure you pack layers!
However, in September you can enjoy the best London historic sites, from Westminster Abbey to the Tower of London, without quite so many tourists. Of course, there are tourists in London year-round, so avoiding the high season is important.
If you want to see Milan Fashion week, one of the city’s best festivals and a world-famous event, then you need to be in Milan toward the end of September. No matter when you come in, you can enjoy the best of the city during the day and Milan’s nightlife after the sun goes down.
Milan in August is hot, but by September temperatures have dipped down to the low sixties to the mid-seventies (16-24°C). This means you can still enjoy your gelato, but you can also feel comfortable trying traditional Milanese cuisine which is heavier than Italian food found in the south.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t click with Paphos at first, and I enjoyed seeing Nicosia and Limassol more. However, if I was looking for a fly-and-flop to enjoy the beaches of Cyprus, I would choose Paphos, which is set up as a perfect resort town.
You can spend your days on the beach, but you can also see the local UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paphos, so even a quick European September getaway can balance sun, fun, and culture.
In September in Cyprus, it doesn’t even feel like summer is close to over, and you can swim comfortably until the end of the month (and even into October). September temperatures here range from the mid-sixties to mid-eighties (19-29°C).
I’ve traveled to Paris in both August and September, and the nice thing about being here in early September is there are slightly fewer crowds but the weather is still lovely, with temperatures ranging from the mid-fifties to the low seventies (13-22°C).
You can still hit the best sites in Paris, from its beautiful churches to its fabulous shopping to gorgeous Eiffel Tower views. And of course, you can indulge in its amazing cuisine and world-class wine.
One of Europe’s most underrated cities, Porto is fabulous any time of year, but in September you’ll find great weather with temperatures ranging from the high fifties to mid-seventies (14-24°C). You can enjoy Portuguese cuisine, go Port tasting, and marvel at the beauty of the colorful skyline.
If you have time, you can take a day trip to the Duoro Valley or one of the country’s important monasteries like the Convent of Christ Tomar. While Porto makes a great September city break in Europe, there is enough to do here to spend a week (or even more).
The coldest city on this list, Reykjavik in September has temperatures ranging from the low forties to the low fifties (6-11°C). However, it’s the end of the season so it’s your last chance to enjoy some of what Reykjavik has to offer. While I think Iceland is great into October, September is a more traditional time to visit.
If you can only spend a weekend in Reykjavik, make sure to enjoy the city’s nightlife, great museums, and beautiful whale watching. And since the temperatures will still be lower than in most of Europe, make sure to pack appropriately!
With temperatures ranging from the high fifties to low eighties (15-27°C), Rome in September is still hot, but not as hot as in August. It’s also much livelier, with locals back in the swing of things after their August trips, but there are fewer tourist families running around at the city’s most popular spots. This means you can enjoy a full day sightseeing and then tuck in for a delicious meal of traditional Italian food at the end of a glorious day!
If you love ancient history, make sure to stop by the Roman Forum and plan a day trip to Ostia Antica. If you do end up in the city on an especially hot day, retreat to some of the city’s fabulous (and air-conditioned) museums.
One of the gastronomic capitals of Europe, Sibiu’s lovely square and picture-perfect architecture are the perfect place to soak up a bit of the tail end of summer as it turns into fall. Get out and enjoy the nearby towns as wells as the best things to do in Transylvania.
In September, the temperatures in Sibiu range from the high forties to low seventies (9-22°C), so think layers when packing for your Romanian adventure.
With temperatures ranging from the low fifties to low sixties (10-17°C), planning a visit to Stockholm in September is a great way to enjoy a bit of Sweden but still avoid seeing Stockholm in winter. However, make sure you are realistic about what the weather will feel like, especially in a city located right on the water.
In September, you can still see the city’s most important sites, like the Royal Palace and the National Museum, and luckily these are both indoor activities to get you out of the wind!
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
If you want to enjoy an end-of-summer beach getaway, Sunny Beach is one of the least expensive resort towns in Europe. We love visiting Sunny Beach in September, especially during the first week, since the weather still feels like August but the crowds are down slightly and there are opportunities for great deals.
Here’s exactly what I spent in Sunny Beach in September, and we had amazing summer weather the entire time. I have also visited this part of the country in mid-September and still had great beach weather.
Officially here the temperatures ranging from the mid-fifties to the high seventies (13-25°C), but I would be confident planning a beach vacation here throughout the first half of the month.
Valencia is a beach town with great modern architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and fabulous street art. With temperatures ranging from the mid-sixties to low eighties (18-28°C), you can plan an early September beach getaway here or come towards the end of the month and spend your time enjoying the city’s nightlife and cuisine.
Vienna in September is just lovely, with temperatures ranging from the high fifties to low seventies (14-21°C). You can explore the city’s beautiful palaces, world-class museums, and great performing art scenes. Even if you can’t see an opera in Vienna, try to at least come and see the opera house, which is one of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe.
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Europe
A Lonely Planet guidebook for your trip. It can be hard to find big, international guidebooks once you land (or they’ll be way overpriced). Get yours ahead of time, either a hard copy or on a Kindle.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use local sim cards while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road.
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for cities because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More European Travel Resources
If you’re headed to Europe, check out my podcast, Rick Steves Over Brunch. We review episodes of the Rick Steves’ Europe tv show and throw in our travel tips. We’ve covered quite a bit of Europe!
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Europe make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging enjoying time in big cities where travelers can attract pickpockets.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.