Summer's nearly over in the northern hemisphere, but that doesn't mean you have to bid farewell to your merino shorts and temperature regulating t-shirts just yet. While North America and large swaths of Europe battle through the first signs of cold, rain and sleet, there is a whole world of travel destinations still basking in the sunshine.
We say, let’s keep the summer going. Let’s squeeze as much mileage as possible from those breathable merino clothes, and soak in the last doses of vitamin D before we hunker down for the winter.
Below, we’ve curated our top picks for warm fall destinations. Our criteria were simple. We chose destinations with daily highs above 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. We went for places rich in culture, nature and urban energy that we’ve enjoyed visiting in the past. And finally, we opted to highlight less mainstream places than your average travel blog (i.e., no south of France, no Playa del Carmen and no Miami on this list – all apologies to those fine destinations).
Starting in Europe and working our way eastward around the globe until we hit North Africa, we’ve included a mix of cities, islands and jumping-off points. Here are 14 destinations that keep summer going throughout the fall.
Sicily’s big city stays a balmy mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit) throughout the spring, and witnesses a steep drop-off of summer tourists. But everything fantastic about the Sicilian city remains: its sun-bleached architecture, swaggering attitude, crowded markets and delicious food.
In truth, Palermo is really just a jumping-off point for the entire island. The city is a terrific way to spend a few days, but you'd be remiss if you made it all the way to the bottom of the Italian boot without seeing the rest of Sicily. Head to Syracuse, Taormina and Cefalu -- each ancient city moulded by Greek, Byzantine and Roman influences, and each of them doorways to some majestic Mediterranean beaches.
Credit: wirestock Via Freepik
Istanbul grabs the lion’s share of tourist attention in Turkey, but that’s probably because few people even consider Izmir – Turkey’s third-largest city, nestled on the Aegean Sea across from Athens. Like Palermo, Izmir is the heir to several historical empires (Lydian, Persian, Roman, Ottoman…), a lineage reflected in its diverse cityscape.
The city and surrounding province also feature stunning Mediterranean beaches and seaside villages, like Cesme, Foca and Pirlanta. There are several beachside cafes in Izmir that specialize in “Nargile,” the Turkish form of Hookah; proprietors wedge your nargile in the sand, light the embers and serve you a steaming Turkish coffee to accompany it.
Lebanon’s capital rounds out our tour of warm, culturally-rich cities in the greater Mediterranean area. As far as middle eastern destinations go, it’s a winning combination of agreeable weather, time-worn temples and modern metropolitan buzz.
Having recently suffered a devastating port explosion – and ensuing confusion and dysfunction -- Beirut direly needs its tourist revenue. Admittedly, the city is still reeling from the catastrophe, and most travel advisories recommend exercising a high degree of caution. But if you can look past its problems, Beirut has a lot to offer by way of sights, activities and some of the best Levantine food on the planet.
We namechecked Goa when we wrote our list of the warmest travel destinations in the world a while back. The city and its surrounding province routinely reach a sweltering 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in the summer, but temperatures taper off by a few degrees when fall hits.
The real reason Goa is here is that – unbelievably – we haven't written much otherwise about it on this blog. That’s an oversight. Goa is an intoxicating mixture of yellow beaches, dense palms, colonial Portuguese architecture, thrumming vendor markets and fiery curry stalls. It’s also one of India’s premier party destinations, hosting beachside raves, thumping bars and more than a couple of trance clubs.
Full disclosure: Goa can get stormy in the fall months. You can generally find refuge from the quick, powerful rainstorms, but you may want to pack some fast drying merino polos just in case.
On the Venn diagram of “cheap for travellers” and “exceedingly gorgeous,” few destinations fall as smack dab in the middle as Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands. Located just off the country’s east coast, the Perhentian Islands (Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil) are relatively easy to reach. You simply hop on a 40-minute boat from Kuala Besut that costs around $8.
Once on the island, you may wonder how something seemingly so sleepy can be so filled with choices. You can find beachside huts for a few dollars or full-amenity hotels for a little more. There are several beachside bars, BBQ restaurants and cafes. You can join a snorkelling expedition to the nearby reefs or surf the raucous waves. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of island that’s (at least for the time being) relatively untouched by the tourist trail.
As you pack for the island, check out our article on beach vacation clothing items to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Head north to Hanoi or south to Ho Chi Minh City? That’s the big question among Vietnam travellers, with die-hard factions willing to go to bat for their preferred city.
For our money, both major Vietnamese metropolises are fantastic. Here, we’re highlighting Hanoi because it represents a convenient base for seeing other popular Vietnamese destinations like Ha Long Bay and Haiphong. It’s also a self-contained trip in its own right – with a frenetic Old Quarter, classy French Quarter, serene temples, and world-class night markets.
Once again, this destination can get rainy in the fall (the price you sometimes pay for travelling in the off-season). But as always, it’s nothing that Unbound’s travel clothing for men and women can’t handle.
Credit: wirestock Via Freepik
Here, we leap-frog from Southeast Asia across the Pacific expanse of Oceania, skipping over worthy destinations like Australia and New Zealand, to land at Suva.
Fiji’s capital city isn’t like other Oceanian capitals; it’s more than a dull, sparse administrative city. Suva is bristling with life. Thriving independent businesses vie for space with lush palm trees. Locals rub elbows with tourists. And everything is crisply encircled by the clear-blue Pacific waters.
Best of all, Suva temperatures hover around 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) throughout September and October. If you like unspoilt beaches and relaxed city-dwelling, Suva can be your autumn getaway – provided you accept the 12+ hour flight.
An easy hour from Los Angeles, Palm Springs is an oasis in the middle of the California desert. It was never meant to be inhabitable. But generations of movie stars, westward snowbirds and an embracing LGBTQ community made it liveable all the same.
The result is magnificent: part old Americana, part Hollywood glam, and part ranchero-style sensibility. All packaged with a knowing wink toward kitsch.
Fall is a peak travel time in Palm Springs, having cooled down slightly from its scorching summer highs. But that means you can easily find a party, a hiking group, a festival or whatever else you desire in the fall months.
If you’re planning on hitting the apps in Palm Springs – or you just want to look your best in photos – revisit our guide on how to stay fresh while travelling.
Yes, Mexico has world-class beaches. But it also has some of the coolest metropolises in the world. Case in point: Mexico City, which, despite remaining warm throughout the fall, still oozes cool.
By day, neighbourhoods like La Condesa, Roma, Polanco, San Rafael and Zona Rosa are vibrant, artistic showcases for modern Mexico. And at night, they transform into swinging party atmospheres with mezcalerias, cocktail bars, pulque pubs and late-night taco stands, leaving the lights on until the early hours.
Elsewhere, you’ll find heritage sites and museums that nod toward Mexico’s long Mesoamerican history and colonial past. Neighbourhoods like Centro Historico offer a widescale, deeply-rooted and humbling counterpoint to the country’s all-inclusive resort towns.
The Big Easy gets its influx of tourists in February as college kids and revellers flock to Mardi Gras. But New Orleans is equally as vibrant (and about half as frustrating) in the fall when the weather's still warm, but the beads aren’t on sale yet.
If it's your first time visiting, of course, head to Bourbon Street – it's famous for a reason, and everyone should experience it once. But once you’re done sipping from a plastic cup in the French Quarter, check out the rest of New Orleans, like Marigny, Uptown and Magazine Street. Take in one of the legendary jazz shows. Eat an oyster po'boy and bananas foster. And join one of the impromptu, second-line parades that weave through the city streets.
Credit: f11photo Via Freepik
Just above South America sits Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean nation famed for its fiery cuisine, lavish Carnival celebrations, and unique mix of Creole, Indian and African cultural influences. Of the two islands that make up the nation, Trinidad is by far the bigger, more populous and more visited island. But don’t count Tobago out – it has considerable charm.
Mountains, tropical rainforests, pristine white-sand beaches and a relatively sleepy conglomeration of towns dot the island of Tobago. Its weather regularly hits 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in October. And you can find some breathtaking snorkelling around the island’s Buccoo coral reef.
Heading back across the Atlantic, we reach the Azores, an autonomous Portuguese archipelago with scores of sleepy fishing villages, brightly coloured white stucco buildings and beaches.
Once you have your fill of beaches and seafood, we recommend trekking to Lagoa do Fogo, a volcanic crater lake on São Miguel. There are several great hiking trails skirting the lake that offer stunning views of the rugged landscape.
The hikes can be sweaty, even in autumn. Before you fly across the Atlantic, check out our breathable socks for men, odor resistant tank tops for women, and the rest of our antibacterial merino line. They can save you from wasting time in a lavandaria in Ponta Delgada.
Some people refer to Ghana as “Africa for beginners.” At best, the moniker is meant to indicate the country’s welcoming attitude towards foreigners, its serene beaches and amazing food. At worst, it’s a way for macho travellers to sneer down at so-called leisure travellers.
Let’s stick with the first interpretation. Ghana is a gorgeous country. And its capital city, Accra, is a stellar representation of what makes the country great. The artistic scene is bold, bright and Afrocentric. The food scene is a joyous expression of local seafood, cassava, plantains and rice. And the beaches, like Labadi, are lively and fun. From Accra, head to Kakum National Park, a tropical rainforest reserve with canopy walks.
You can’t beat the Saharan desert when it comes to heat. Marrakesh, Morocco’s fourth largest city, stays warm well into the fall and winter, but drops to a breezy sweater temperature at night. If you go late enough in the fall, you might even witness snow capping the surrounding Atlas Mountains.
When in Marrakesh, do as the Marrakshi do and head to a nearby souk – the Moroccan version of a bazaar, filled with spice vendors, olive purveyors, fabrics, hand-woven baskets, teas, tees and more. Visit the otherworldly Majorelle botanical gardens – part cubist villa, part cacti garden. And pay a (respectful) visit to the towering Kutubiyya Mosque, which dates back to the 1100s.
When the sun goes down, follow the locals to the famous Marrakesh Night Market for a late dinner of grilled meats, sweet pastries and tea. And forget all about the rain and chill back home.
If you’re refusing to believe that summer is already over, don’t let it be over. Book that last-minute trip to Vietnam or board the first flight out to New Orleans. Bask in the natural beauty of Suva or the historical riches of Izmir. Pack your breathable merino clothing – complete with an insulating Unbound hoodie in case the evening temperatures drop – and keep the summer going.