Make your summer last

Travel June 27, 2013

In September and October, Europe north of the Alps is winding down for the winter. The evenings are short, summer dresses are being stowed away and the last embers of barbecues have long since turned to ash. But there are places you can go and enjoy another month of summer, followed by a truly spectacular autumn. In fact, September and October are arguably the best months to visit some of our popular destinations.

USA & Canada

If you ask someone who lives in New York (or Toronto, or Vancouver, or Boston…) about their favourite time to be in the city, the late summer is likely to be at the top of their list. The throngs of tourists have gone, the cultural calendar is in full swing and the local university students are coming back: September or early October is when the major US and Canadian universities begin.

It’s also when many of our students arrive for an academic 3, 6 or 9 month stay. There is a great atmosphere in the cities as new arrivals discover them for the first time and returning students catch up with friends and get back into the swing of university life after being stuck with their parents for months. In short, it’s a great time to be in the USA and Canada.

Kitsilano showboat
Photo: Richard Eriksson

For example, Vancouver during September is comfortably warm with plenty of sunny afternoons to enjoy on Kitsilano Beach. The mountains on the other side of the bay might have a little sprinkling of snow on the peaks, making them especially photogenic. In the city, you can enjoy such cultural highlights as the Vancouver Fringe Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. What’s more, this is one of the best times of year to fly to Canada and there are often bargain flights available with the major airlines. See 10 things to enjoy in Vancouver for under 20 dollars.

It’s not just Vancouver where you can enjoy the best of international movie making and a busy cultural calendar in September: the Toronto International Film Festival attracts major stars from around the world. The hottest summer months in Toronto can be sticky and humid, but September is usually much more pleasant: still warm enough enjoy a game of volleyball in the afternoon on The Toronto Beaches and just right for a bike ride.

Autumn Beach
Photo: Nicola

If you want heat, you will find plenty of it in the west of the USA, where you can enjoy the LA sunshine in your t-shirt long after the summer has finished in Europe. People are still out on the streets, on the beaches and in the parks until well into October at which point the peak surfing is underway:  September through November is prime time to surf in Southern California, in cities like San Diego and Los Angeles or even San Francisco.

On the East Coast, the cities have cooled down from the sweltering summer months. The average September temperature in New York City is between 16°C and 24°C. This continues into October, which is the quietest month in the New York calendar – remember this is relative, and the quietest month in NYC is still more exciting than the peak season in 99% of the world’s cities! You can comfortably walk around on foot without bumping into a throng of camera-wielding tourists. See 20 things to enjoy in New York for under 20 bucks.

fall foliage
Photo: dfbphotos

October is also the time when the foliage of the East Coast is at its most spectacular. According to native Wyandot legend, a selfish and proud bear often made trouble among the Animals of the Great Council. After a terrific and long fight with a disrespectful deer, the bear was injured. When the mighty wolf came to intervene, the deer fled along the paths of the sky, dripping blood from his horns. It fell down to the Lower World and gave the leaves their red, crimson, scarlet and brown autumn colours. When you have seen North America in autumn, you will understand why the leaves are part of native mythology.  A trip to see “the colors” is essential.

In Boston, September is when the university students return to the city. This coincides with one of the busiest months in the local cultural calendar, with the Boston Arts Festival, the Boston Film Festival and the South Boston Street Festival. So, in short, it’s a great time to enjoy the city! Like New York, the weather in Boston is at its best in September, staying warm until October, when the city changes colour with the foliage.

Southern Europe

There is a place in Europe where you can learn English with almost guaranteed excellent weather in the early autumn… and it’s not the British Isles. Malta is glorious after most of the tourists have gone home. The chances of rain are also pretty slim, although the winds from Africa can brew up spectacular storms occasionally. Even in October the average air temperature is comfortably above 20°C. The water is also fine for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

taormina beach
Taormina, Photo: gnuckx

Or how about Italy? After the national break for two weeks in August, everyone is back in action in the cities, so the seaside towns are at their best. Tropea, Taormina and Salerno are warm and much more peaceful than during the summer months. Even Rome and Venice are relatively free of tourists.

And then there is Spain, where Andalucia is probably at its best in the early autumn and temperatures still regularly reach over 30°C. Málaga, Cádiz are lively – the city beach in Cádiz is one of the nicest you will ever see –while Cordoba and Granada remain alluring. Seville’s fiery summer makes way for the autumn and the Vendimia grape harvest festival in nearby Jerez.

If you want some more late summer tips, or would like more information about any of our destinations, just ask and we would love to help you find the right location for you.

Join the conversation in the comments section below, or contact us to find out more about a language study trip.

By Alex Hammond

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