The Best September Festival in the World - Oktoberfest

11 Popular September Festivals and Events Around the World 2023-2024

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Everyone enjoys celebrating, so here are 11 of the best September festivals around the world to add to your bucket list!

September is a great time to travel and there are many wonderful major festivals around the world held at this time of year. There is no better way to really experience and try to understand a culture than to participate in a local festival. The memories of the music, food, ceremonies and traditions will stay with you forever.

There are so many amazing international festivals in September around the world to experience, so here is our bucket list pick of the 11 best September festivals that offer something for everyone.

N.B. We will updating this list regularly, so if you have any celebrations in September around the world you think should make the list, please let us know in the comments section.

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Did You Know?

  • September gets its name from the Latin septem, meaning seven, because it used to be the seventh month of the year under the Roman calendar.
  • September begins on the same day of the week of just one other month, December.
  • This September “Harvest Moon” is the fullest moon of the year.
    When you gaze at it, it looks very large and gives a lot of light throughout the entire night. No other lunar spectacle is as awesome as the Harvest Moon.
  • September is the month to celebrate Eat and Extra Dessert Day (4th), International Literacy Day (8th), International Talk Like a Pirate Day (19th), International Day of Peace (21st) and World Car-Free Day (22nd).

“Don’t count your beers and don’t look at your watch as Oktoberfest is here. This is the time to just enjoy and forget everything else.”

– Anonymous –

September Festivals Around the World

Here are the best September festivals and celebrations to add to your bucket list travel calendar.

1. Autumn Equinox Festival – Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Pyramid of Kukulcán - Chichén Itzá
Pyramid of Kukulcán – Chichén Itzá
  • Where: Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico
  • When: Annually around the 21 September: 23 September, 2023 | 22 September, 2024
  • Duration: 1 day

The ancient Mayan’s in Mexico are well known for keeping detailed records of astronomical phenomena, paying special attention to solstices and equinoxes. The pyramid of Kukulcán, which dominates the centre of the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, was dedicated to the serpent deity, was built to align with the light and shadows of the equinox. 

During the spring and autumn equinox, people from around the world visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and gather at the great pyramid of Kukulcán.

Starting in the late afternoon, the light and shadow creates the illusion of a snake slithering down the pyramid’s staircase until it reaches the snake-head sculpture at the bottom. The Mayans believed that this indicated Kukulcán’s return to earth and they asked for an abundant upcoming harvest season. 

To visit Chichén Itzá, we recommend basing yourself in Valladolid, a short 20 minute drive away. This unique colonial town has lots of things to do in the town itself such as visiting the largest Mexican Folk Art Museum in Mexico and nearby attractions such as the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam.

Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Valladolid HERE!

2. Berlin Festival of Lights– Berlin, Germany

love hearts projected on monument at berlin light festival
Berlin Festival of Lights: Image by Julian Schiemann at Unsplash
  • Where: Berlin, Germany
  • When: Annually in September / October: 6 – 15 October, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
  • Duration: 10 days

Berlin is a city that is always changing. It’s a place where you can go from the old to the new in just a few minutes. The Berlin Festival of Lights is a unique and spectacular event that brings together both old and new, and it’s a great way to experience this ever-changing city.

The Festival of Lights usually takes place in either September or October and lasts for about 10 days. This annual festival showcases light installations made by artists from all over the world. Light is projected onto iconic landmarks, monuments, buildings, streets, neighbourhoods and places all over the city.

It is an extremely popular festival in September for visitors from all over the world so it is best to visit the festival during the weekdays as weekends are very crowded. The best viewing spot for this light show is at Alexanderplatz, where you can see many light installations. You can also try other spots like Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, or Gendarmenmarkt to find your favourite spot.

Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in Berlin

3. Brisbane Festival – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  • Where: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • When: Annually in September: 1 – 23 December, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
  • Duration: 3 weeks

The Brisbane Festival is held annually in September in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It’s known to be one of Australia’s largest culture and arts festivals.

For three weeks, the Brisbane Festival takes over the city.  The program combines exciting performances of various styles (music, theatre, dance, comedy, circus…) and fascinating art installations. Even better: more than half of the events during the Brisbane Festival are free!  As you walk around town, you bump into interesting art creations, captivating lightings and uplifting live performers. It’s a smart way to get a wider audience interested in the arts.

But what bring the crowds to the city is the Riverfire, held at the end of the Brisbane Festival. Hundreds of thousands come down to the riverbanks in the city to watch two tonnes of fireworks erupt from multiple bridges, barges and rooftops for 20 minutes. Just before, aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force perform a fly over the city. Whilst spectators can only be impressed by the precision of the helicopter manoeuvres, the gigantic plane flying low near the buildings gives different kinds of sensations!

The Brisbane Festival is easy to access, but you’ll have to book tickets to see the most popular shows. However, if you wish to come to the city for the Riverfire, you’ll have to organise your visit well in advance to find the best viewing spot and a place where to stay in Brisbane.

Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Brisbane HERE!

4. Fashion Week – New York, London, Milan and Paris

models walking down a catwalk at a september festival
Fashion Week: Image by Michael Lee at Unsplash
  • Where: New York, London, Milan and Paris
  • When: Annually in February and September
  • New York: 11 – 15 February, 2023 and 9 – 11 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
    London: 18 – 21 February, 2023 and 15 – 19 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
    Milan: 21 – 27 February, 2023 and 19 – 25 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC         
         Paris: 1 – 8 March, 2023 and 25 September – 3 October, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
  • Duration: 6 days

New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks are clothing trade shows that take place twice a year – in February and September and are the most exciting times of the year in the fashion calendar. Showcasing over 250 designers to a global audience of fashion lovers, influential media and buyers, these are the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks in the world.

The shows bring new collections and trend inspiration for the coming season, whereby the February show displays the coming Autumn / Winter fashions, whilst the September show displays the coming Spring / Summer fashions.

The fashion shows are exclusive and ticket only, but there are parts of the events which are open to the public and you may even catch a glimpse of one of your favourite models. For example, in London Somerset House is open to the public and you can freely walk around taking photos.

Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in New York, London, Milan and Paris HERE!

5. Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival – China

mooncakes in a plate and a pot of tea and mugs
Mooncakes which are given as gifts at the September Festival of Mid-Autumn Festival in China
  • Where: China
  • When: Annually on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar – September or early October: 29 September, 2023 | 29 September, 2024
  • Duration: 1 day

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival or Moon Festival, is the second most important traditional festival in China after the Chinese New Year. In China, it is a day spent with and about family, similar to Thanksgiving.

Heavily steeped in tradition, it is a festival that goes back around 3,000 years. It always takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. During this festival, the moon is celebrated as a symbol of peaceful times and is best revered under the light of the full moon.

There are many traditional and new celebrations. The Mid-Autumn Festival presents a good opportunity gift-giving. Many Chinese people make their own home-made mooncakes or purchase them as gifts several days in advance. These are then sent to their family members, friends, colleagues, or leaders during the festival.

The Chinese people also celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by having family dinners together either at home or at a restaurant. Participating in this event means you’ll have plenty of opportunities for appreciating and worshipping the moon (a symbol of family reunion), stargazing, making colourful lanterns and lighting them, and enjoying the local cuisine!

Check availability AND RATES oF accommodation options in China

an altar decorated with 2 lions with lots of lights above
Navratri Festival in India
  • Where: India
  • When: Annually in September and/or October: 15 – 24 October, 2023 | 3 – 12 October, 2024
  • Duration: 10 days

Navratri is a festival of nine nights celebrated all over India. Though the festival’s name is the same, each state has its own ceremonies, and the way they celebrate is different. In Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with the worship of Goddess Ma Ambe (name of God), and all devotees play Garba till late at night to pay respect to God.

Navratri is a festival of 9 nights and 10 days. The festival’s name is derived from two words, “nav,” which means nine, and “Ratri,” which means night hence the ‘festival of nine nights’. All Hindu festivals follow the Hindu calendar, and that’s why festivals don’t fall on the same date every year. 

The history behind the Navratri festival is associated with the battle between the goddess “Ambe (one form of Ma Parvati)” and the powerful demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura was a great devotee of Lord Brahma and was blessed with immortality by him. But on one condition that he could be defeated only by a woman. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to different avatars of Goddess Durga (reincarnation of Goddess Parvati). After 9 nights, the 10th day is “Vijayadashmi”. “Vijay” means the victory of good over evil. On that day the whole community got together and burn the statue of “Ravan”.

Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in India HERE!

7. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany

beer hall in munich with lots of tables of people and decorated in red, green, yellow and black
The September Festival of Oktoberfest (yes, it is confusing…): Image by Pixabay
  • Where: Munich, Germany
  • When: Annually from the third weekend in September to the first Sunday in October: 16 September – 3 October, 2023 | 21 September – 6 October, 2024
  • Duration: 17 days

If chasing festivals through the world is top of your travel bucket list, then celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich Germany has to be on your list. This truly is one of the best festivals in September around the world which should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Munich is a beautiful city to visit in any season, and at any time of the year, but Oktoberfest brings a whole new atmosphere to this already buzzing city. Families making their way to the festival in traditional Bavarian Drindl and Lederhosen are a common sight in the streets and they all look amazing. 

Getting to Oktoberfest is easy from anywhere in the city. Held on the Theresienwiese fairgrounds, or The Weisn as the locals call it, you can’t miss the stream of people heading to one of the most popular festivals in the world. Public transport makes getting there easy, but when the festival was first held to celebrate the marriage of two royals, it is hard to imagine it was well out of the city centre!

As you arrive you can hear the sounds of pure joy from people visiting Weisn. From laughter to screams as they ride some of the newest rides in Europe. Rides you say…yes. Oktoberfest is not just about beer-drinking as many who have not attended think it is. Oktoberfest is also a large outdoor carnival as well. Here many of the newest thrill rides are released with many taking up the opportunity to be one of the first to have a go. There are rides for small children as well so you will find in the earlier hours of the day, families will be there having a wonderful time.

For beer lovers, Oktoberfest is nothing short of a dream come true. All the top Munich breweries have a large tent set up there where they sell all of the top Munich beers. Getting a table in the tents can be hard later on in the day and the true die-hard Oktoberfest fans get there early in the morning to secure a seat in their favourite tent. Hofbrau, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Augustiner all have large tents with an Ompa band to really get you in the spirit.

BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION EARLY SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT! Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Munich NOW!

8. Regatta Storica – Venice, Italy

gondolas in the water with buildings in the background
Venice: Image by Dylan Freedom at Unsplash
  • Where: Venice, Italy
  • When: Annually on the first Sunday in September: 3 September, 2023 | 1 September, 2024
  • Duration: 1 day

The Regatta Storica is an annual event that takes place in Venice, Italy. This event is a historic Venetian rowing race that dates back to the 10th Century, and has been taking place for over 500 years. It is now considered to be one of the most prestigious rowing races in the world and the race typically attracts teams of some of the best rowers from around the world. This festival is seen as one of the best September world events and also makes it onto the ‘must experience’ list of festivals in the world!

The event is open to anyone who wants to compete, and the boats range in size from small single-person canoes to large 12-person gondolas. The race begins at the mouth of the Grand Canal and ends at the Piazza San Marco, and the course takes about an hour to complete.

This event is a popular tourist attraction and attracts thousands of spectators each year. It not only features the oldest sporting event in the world, the rowing race, but also a variety of other activities including colourful parades with people wearing historical costumes and Venetian masks.

The water pageant commemorates the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, the wife of the King of Cyprus, who renounced her throne in favour of Venice. It features typically 16th Century-style boats, with gondoliers in period costume perform a reconstruction of the carrying of the Doge, the Doge’s wife and all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal.

This September international event is also held at the same time as the Venice International Film Festival so why not plan to enjoy them both!

DON’T MISS OUT… Check availability on accommodation options in Venice NOW!

9. Rock in Rio– Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

the band iron maiden on stage performing
Iron Maiden, one of the many artists that have performed at at Rock in Rio, Brazil
  • Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • When: Every year in September / October: 2- 10 September, 2023 | 6 – 15 September, 2024
  • Duration: 7 days

Rock in Rio is a Brazilian rock festival that has been held annually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The first festival took place in 1985, and it has been held every year since then, except for in 2001. It is considered to be one of the best rock festivals of the world.

The festival is held over a couple of weekends in September and / or October and takes place in a large area called “City of Rock” which is filled with stages, tents, and other attractions. The event has been held in other locations around the world such as Lisbon, Madrid and Las Vegas, but the original and most popular location is in Brazil.

The festival features a variety of music genres including rock, pop, electronic, metal, jazz, and samba. Expect to see high calibre international performers from around the world including Coldplay, Drake, Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, and Iron Maiden. 

The venue is split into various themed zones with a Route 85 street (in honour of the first ever Rock in Rio), retro 1985 street, a hi-tech dance area and an Asian-styled ‘Rock Street’ with a full programme of artists from the Asian continent. Other activities for festival goers to enjoy are multiple daily firework displays, art exhibitions, an amusement park and a circus.

Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Rio de Janeiro HERE!

10. San Mateo Festival – Oviedo, Spain

musicians performing on the street in traditional dress
The September Festival of San Mateo, Oviedo
  • Where: Oviedo, Spain
  • When: Held annually in September:16 – 23 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
  • Duration: approx. 10 days

In the north of Spain, the region of Asturias attracts many travellers because of the great cities and nature that can be found in this region. However, in September there are many celebrations in this province for ten days because of the Festival of San Mateo. You can admire events throughout the region but Oviedo the provincial capital of Asturias is the place to be.

There are a lot of fun things to do in Oviedo, but the festival of San Mateo in mid-September is the absolute highlight. The town hosts many concerts, performances, and fireworks, but the highlight is the Parade of the Americas which pays homage to the many people from Asturias who migrated to America and their adopted countries. The big benefit is that almost all sights are free to visit. You can see great Spanish artists perform and enjoy delicious food.  Many of the town squares have been transformed into music squares where you can enjoy listening to old traditional music. It is awesome to hear the traditional music of Asturias through the city.

The origin of the festival dates back to the 15th Century when Pope Eugene IV proclaimed the Jubilee of the Holy Cross. Pilgrims could visit the cathedral in Oviedo until September 21 to receive forgiveness for their sins. This was the last moment of the year in honour of patron saint San Mateo. Historically, this used to be an important day, and today it is the most important holiday in this region where the entire population can have fun in a non-religious way.

Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in Oviedo HERE!

11. Venice International Film Festival – Venice, Italy

the outside of a building with flags along the roof
Palazzo del Cinema at Venice International Film Festival: Image by Riccardo lo Re at Unsplash
  • Where: Venice, Italy
  • When: Annually at the end of August and beginning of September: 30 August – 9 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
  • Duration: 10 days

Venice International Film Festival is the world’s oldest film festival and one of the three best film festivals in Europe, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.

In 2022 this amazing festival, founded in 1932, will host its 79th edition. It usually takes place at the end of August and the beginning of September in the amazing city of Venice, Italy.

The Venice Film Festival presents every year a selection of high artistic value, world-class films. For ten days the city can observe, photograph, and interact with some of the most successful directors and actors of our time.  For example, in 2021 the festival had guests like Penélope Cruz, Benedict Cumberbatch, Isabelle Huppert, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Dakota Johnson, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.

Furthermore, during the Festival there are many events and parties every night, all night, held in many of Venice’s venues. If you take part in any of them you will be able to participate in interviews and meetings with filmmakers and actors.

The event is super popular and attracts visitors from all around the world. I would suggest anyone who wants to participate to book their ticket in advance, the price is 25€ per person for each night of the Venice Film Festival.

Venice during this time of the year is the ideal destination for those who love cinema and nightlife. Everything is so glamourous and sparkling you will fall in love with the atmosphere and its amazing canals.

BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN ADVANCE SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT! Check availability on accommodation options in Venice NOW!

September Festivals Around the World FAQs

September Festivals Europe

Some of the best September festivals in Europe are the following:
* Oktoberfest – Much, Germany
* Venice International Film Festival – Venice, Italy
* Berlin Festival of Lights – Berlin, Germany
* Regatta Storica – Venice, Italy
* Festes de la Merce – Barcelona, Spain

The Best Festivals in September in Italy

Some of the best September festivals in Italy are the following:
* Regatta Storica – Venice
* Venice International Film Festival – Lido Island, Venice
* Corsa Degli Asini in Fagagna – Fagagna
* Feast of Rificolona – Florence
* Palio do Asti – Asti, Torino

The Best September UK Festivals

Some of the best UK festivals in September are the following:
* Fields of Gold Festival – Manchester, England
* Braemar Gathering | The Scottish Highland Games – Braemar, Scotland
* Electric Picnic – Stradbally, County Laois, Ireland
* Galway International Oyster Festival – Galway, Republic of Ireland
* Colchester Anti Loo Roll Festival – Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England

The Best Spanish Festivals in September

Some of the best festivals in Spain in September are the following:
* Festes de la Merce – Barcelona
* San Sebastian Film Festival – Donostia, San Sebastian
* Rioja Wine Harvest Festival – Logrono
* Santa Tecla Festival – Tarrogona
* Dia de Catalonia – Catalonia

The Best Beer Festivals in the World

Some of the best beer festivals in the world are the following:
* Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
* Czech Beer Festival – Prague, Czech Republic
* Great British Beer Festival – London, England
* Great American Beer Festival – Colorado, USA
* Belgian Beer Weekend – Brussels, Belgium

Why is Oktoberfest Celebrated in September?

Many people ask ‘why is Oktoberfest always in September’? Here is the reason:
* * Oktoberfest is celebrated in September because it is the time when the world’s largest breweries release their new, limited-quantity beers.
The days are longer and the weather is warmer in September so festival goers could stay out later to enjoy the festivities without getting too cold.

The Best September Festivals in the Philippines

Some of the best beer festivals in the world are the following:
* Penafrancia Festival – Naga City
* Diyandi Festival – Iligan City
* Tuna Festival – General Santos City
* Bonok-Bonk Festival – Surigao City
* Dalit Festival – Tangub City

In Summary – The Best September Festivals Around the World

You can find many September celebrations around the world which are held throughout every month of the year. You will be spoilt for choice if you choose to celebrate at one of the many festivals in September as there are lots of both smaller and larger festivals out there for you to pick from and enjoy. Find the festival you love in the country you love, and dive on in to the celebrations.

What is your favourite September festival around the world and why? Have you been to any of our list of the best festivals in September around the world listed above? Have we missed any September celebrations around the world you think we should add? Post your tips, comments and questions below.

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