September for relaxation

Looking to kick back this September? You’re in luck. The European continent beckons with turtle watching trips in Cyprus, mellow days on the Mediterranean isle of Corsica and a gut-busting break in Puglia, Italy. Meanwhile, down in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Whitsunday Islands hold their own with the promise of crystal clear waters, serene scuba diving and pristine sand as far as the eye can see.

Beautiful landscapes, balmy days and a bounty of foodie fare await those who need a relaxing break. Here are our top chill-out spots for September.

 

Head to north Cyprus for sun, sand, turtles and time travel

Visiting the northern half of divided Cyprus is a bit like holidaying in the 1970s. It might lack a certain slickness, but there’s also a pleasing lack of development. Some of the Med’s most unspoilt sands are here, especially along the wild Karpaz Peninsula, where you’re more likely to see donkeys and turtles than other people. Indeed, turtles visit North Cyprus regularly, and from June to late September, the Society for the Protection of Turtles runs guided, eco-sensitive night tours to view them from its base at Alagadi Beach, just east of Kyrenia’s harbour.

September is a fine time to visit: the crowds have gone but weather and waters are warm. It’s ideal for hiking between ruined Crusader castles in the Kyrenia range or strolling the well-preserved ancient city of Salamis. Don’t miss Lefkoşa, the world’s only divided capital. Amble the minaret-speared streets before passing a checkpoint for a weird wander into the bullet-scarred no man’s land that separates Turkish north and Greek south.

  • Trip plan: Spend a week mixing beaches, ruins, castles and traditional villages.
  • Need to know: Fly to Ercan Airport (North Cyprus) via mainland Turkey.
  • Other months: Apr-May & Sep-Oct – warm, quieter; Jun-Aug – hottest, busy; Nov-Mar – cool, wettest.

 

Enjoy a trulli tasty break in Puglia, Italy – without the crowds

Down at heel? Yes and no. Largely agricultural Puglia, the stiletto of the Italian boot, is one of the country’s least wealthy regions; traditional Pugliese cuisine is even known as cucina povera (poor kitchen). However, it’s also a richly satisfying destination – the ‘poor’ food is delicious, and historic little towns, baroque piazzas, olive groves and sandy shores are abundant.

In September, Puglia is the place to lose the crowds, still enjoy warm sunshine and indulge in both autumnal bounty and year-round local specialities, such as Burrata cheese, orecchiette pasta, seafood, endless breads (the Salento region alone has over 100 types). Hunker down in a converted masserie (fortified farmhouse) or, better, one of Puglia’s trulli– mysterious conical limestone dwellings that pepper the peaceful countryside. Explore from your atmospheric base.

  • Trip plan: Allow one to two weeks, taking in the baroque beauty of Lecce (‘Florence of the south’), 13th-century Castel del Monte, the Grotte di Castellana cave network, the unspoilt beaches and forests of the Gargano promontory, the white city of Ostuni and the 400-odd trulli of Alberobello, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • Need to know: Bari and Brindisi both have international airports.
  • Other months: Nov-Apr – cool/cold, wettest; May & Sep-Oct – warm, quieter; Jun-Aug – hottest, busiest.