September is a great time to book a last-minute holiday. Kids are back at school, it’s generally that little bit quieter and you still have a few weeks of summer left to make the most of the sunnier weather!
If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, we’ve put together some of our favourite European city break destinations.
Top 12 European city breaks and what to do in September
These popular destinations are amongst the top European cities to visit. Plus, the slightly cooler September weather could make some of the typically warmer tourist spots a little bit more enjoyable for those who just can’t get used to the heat!
In September, Barcelona hosts the annual La Mercè festival, featuring parades, fireworks, street theatre, and more. For music lovers, Barcelona Acció Musical is also held in September with performances from a wide range of musicians and bands happening across different stages around the city.
Whether you’re a theatre fanatic or want to take in the city’s architecture, September is a great time to visit Amsterdam. Open Monumentendag happens on the second weekend of September in Amsterdam, where historical buildings open their doors free of charge. What better way to explore the city? You can combine your sightseeing with a trip to the theatre during the Nederlands Theatre Festival, which happens every September too. The city comes alive with fabulous performances hosted by venues across Amsterdam.
Paris Fashion Week usually kicks off in September. While the main shows are usually invitation-only, there are plenty of related events happening in the city. If music’s more your thing, the Jazz à la Villette festival celebrates all-things jazz with an eclectic programme of music events. The iconic Paris-Versailles Race also takes place every year on the last Sunday morning of September every year.
In September, Oktoberfest celebrations are in full swing across Germany, so don’t miss out on your chance to join in when you visit Berlin. Swap steins for stories when the Berlin International Literature Festival comes to town, attracting hundreds of authors as part of a varied program of events. For music enthusiasts, the Berlin Lollapalooza brings together iconic musicians and bands for a weekend of unforgettable performances too.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague hosts the Dvořák International Prague Music Festival in September, the city’s second largest classical music festival. So, if classical music is your thing, then you’ll no doubt find plenty of performances to enjoy. St Wenceslas’ Day is also celebrated at the end of the month, with celebrations taking place all over Prague – expect a procession, concerts and markets.
Notte Bianca is held across a full weekend in September, allowing you to explore the city's iconic destinations throughout the night. It’s a great chance to see a different side to the city, including libraries, museums and art galleries. You’ll likely find plenty of special events happening, too. The Romaeuropa festival also typically kicks off in September. The festival brings together traditional and contemporary dance, theatre, art and much more.
Golden Days happens each September. The culture festival appeals to everyone, bringing visitors together to learn about Danish history and culture.
Wine lovers can rejoice as the Budapest International Wine Festival occurs annually every September, held in the grounds of the stunning Buda Castle. For a slightly less boozy experience, the Sweet Days Chocolate Festival might tickle your tastebuds instead. Tuck into a variety of chocolates and sweet treats.
Arts lovers should add Dublin to their bucket list. Both the Dublin Fringe Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival happen annually during September with hundreds of events happening across the city. For history buffs, there’s also the Dublin Festival of History starting in September which provides a programme of insightful talks and debates.
For film lovers, a September visit to Reykjavík is a must. That’s when the Reykjavík International Film Festival comes to town. If experiencing local culture is more important to you, then don’t miss the Rettir horse and sheep round-up. It’s an annual tradition where local farmers gather their animals from their summer grazing location up in the mountains and valleys.
Vienna hosts several large-scale events each September. Start your trip off with a caffeine fix from the Vienna Coffee Festival, where you can try coffee from around the world. Looking for entertainment? The Buskers Festival showcases the power of street performance, with a variety of musicians, actors, dancers and even magicians taking to the streets. Even Austria's agriculture is celebrated in September with the city's Harvest Festival, where you can taste some of the region's specialties.
Food Zurich brings together thousands of foodies for a celebration of all things tasty in September. Once you’ve fuelled up on fantastic food, you’ll also find plenty of artsy events to visit throughout the month too. For example, the Zurich Film Festival starts at the end of September, screening over 100 films from all over the world. If you’re visiting at the start of the month, catch fascinating talks or workshops as part of the Zurich Design Week.
Tell us about your next trip
Whether you're interested in culture, music, food, or history, there's something for everyone to enjoy during a European city break.