Here on the island we don’t really get to experience autumn, but, in some countries, this is perhaps the most eagerly awaited time of the year. Ankita Mamgain presents a few options for a quick yet magical getaway.
This time of year has a shoulder season feel in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The season is particularly popular with travellers who prefer to have a location all to themselves. Most holiday destinations enjoy the lingering good weather of the previous season and, with the crowds dissipating, they offer the perfect opportunity for a quieter getaway.
So as you fret over last year’s favourite jumper being eaten away by moths, remember the seas have had all summer to warm up and cities are less sweltering, re-energised for the new term. For the romantic souls who care little about getting a perfect tan, the season brings a more reflective, painterly beauty to the Northern Hemisphere; while the vibrancy of spring blooms in the south. Embrace this brief lull before the year-end festivities by filling it with a relaxing holiday.
The Country Road
North America seems to go through a personality transplant between September and early November, when its forests turn to fierce shades of red and yellow. While leaf peeping is best done on foot, you can also take some fabulous foliage road trips throughout the US.
In Virginia, you can experience the splendour of the season by going on the spectacular Skyline Drive, which runs for 169km along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Don’t miss the chance to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail or spot whitetail deer and wild turkeys on a pony trek.
Considered the birthplace of country music, you can visit the Country Music Museum in Bristol and the music bars of Floyd and Galax, for a jig with the locals to the sound of frenetic fiddles and banjo-players.
In the northeast, New England reigns supreme for foliage viewing. States such as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York all offer picturesque, rustic settings to watch this colourful phase of the year.
Those who headed to the cooler climates this summer can still get their fix of balmy sunshine in the Mediterranean before the winter chill sets in. Timing is key here; the later you plan, the further south or southeast you must go.
The island of Malta, for instance, is ideal for the season, where temperatures average 24 degrees Celsius, the crowds have melted away and accommodation prices have started to fall. The weather is great for hiking around Dingli Cliffs. The waters are excellent for swimming, including the gently sloping Mellieha Bay and the lovely sandy Golden and Ghajn Tuffieha Bays. You might also consider the Turkish coast, where the summer season lingers well into October, the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, Sicily and Cyprus. Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, offers mega resorts, which may not suit all budgets, but they do offer plenty of sunshine, long beaches and a big choice of good-value accommodation.
Taste of the Tropics
Some would argue that there’s never a bad time to visit Bali, although late September to November enjoys a special kind of fan following. With an average rainfall of 15 per cent to 20 per cent this time of the year, the destination beckons a host of travellers who want exotic comfort on a modest budget. You can enjoy balmy average temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius, cheaper rooms and fewer crowds. Surfers can still catch the end of the big winter swells and those in festive mood can look forward to the annual anniversaries of the Bali bombings, which have now been transformed into a time for celebration. There’s also the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which has become one of the world’s most respected literary fests.
Get drenched in the perpetual touristy frenzy of Kuta and try to attend the Kuta Karnival. Check dates for the Balinale (Bali International Film Festival), held around this time of year, or simply sit by the pool with an ice-cold Bintang. If all this gets too much for you, camp at Nusa Dua, a quieter destination with a range of hotels and restaurants.