The best shoulder season escapes in the Balkans
Two hikers walk with the tall rocky mountains of Montenegro's Durmitor National Park behind them

Looking to book a holiday in September and not sure where to go? Look no further. Much of the western Balkans remains hot and sunny into October, which is why lots of our trips run until then.

Also known as ‘shoulder season’, the months immediately before and after peak summertime offer that sweet spot between hot weather, fewer crowds and lower prices. In fact, some of our most active holidays are best enjoyed during shoulder season when it’s slightly cooler – like our Kayaking and Bushcraft holiday in Montenegro and our walking holidays in Montenegro and Albania.

Shoulder season looks different in other parts of the world. For example, Mexico’s peak season is December to April when everybody flocks there for winter sun, so its shoulder season would be July and August. But here in Europe, think April to June and September to October/November.

Why travel to the Balkans during shoulder season?

If you’re not tied to the school holidays, travelling somewhere during quieter periods not only has its advantages for you, it’s better for the local community and environment as you don’t contribute to over-tourism. Of course, you don’t need to worry about that too much with us as we’re all about heading off the beaten track, no matter the time of year.

With all of the kids back in school, shoulder season is the best time to book if you want a more mature crowd on your trip. September is wine making season in the Balkans and we love visiting the wineries for tastings and getting involved in stirring the fermenting grapes (we may linger a little longer if there aren’t any children in the group). We’re also presented with the opportunity to make rakija and go foraging for wild pomegranates during our hikes in October.

How hot is it in the Balkans in September?

Anywhere in the Balkans is still lovely and hot in September with highs of 25-27℃ in Montenegro, Albania and Croatia on the coast. It’s slightly cooler in the mountains and further north in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Expect more moderate climes of 20℃ in September.

In October, the mercury hovers between the mid teens and low twenties in most of our destinations, again a little cooler in the mountains.

It’s also worth noting that the weather can be a bit more of a lucky dip at this time of year with rain storms likely, so our advice is to pack for all weathers.

Feeling inspired? Read on for some of our top holidays in September and October.

Albania holidays in September and October

Holiday in September in Albania - Theth


We offer four holidays in Albania, all of which run until October, including our brand new 7 Day North Albania Activity Holiday. Highlights include a homestay overlooking Theth village in the Albanian Alps, the epic high mountain pass from Theth to Valbona, wild swimming in South Europe’s largest lake and learning some of the traditional textile making techniques in the historic town of Krujë. Add to that plenty of delicious food to fuel your adventure – Tavë Kosi (baked lamb with rice) is our guide Aldo’s favourite – and you’ve got yourself the ultimate Albanian adventure.

Read more: 7 things you can only see, eat or do in Albania

Discover our Albania holidays

Croatia holidays in September and October

Holiday in September in Croatia sea kayaking

Ever been island hopping in Croatia? We bet you’ve never done it like this. Choose between two action-packed adventures in Southern Dalmatia in which you’ll kayak to some of Croatia’s best kept secrets.

Paddle to secluded beaches, hidden caves and picture postcard monasteries around the Elafiti Islands on our 10 Day Lake/Sea Kayaking Holiday in Montenegro & Croatia, in which we’ll also kayak on Montenegro’s glorious Lake Skadar (we just can’t get enough of it).

Alternatively, our 7 Day Multi-Activity Holiday in Southern Dalmatia takes place around the beautiful Peljesac Peninsula, an hour away from tourist trap Dubrovnik. You’ll discover the rich nature of the Neretva Delta, marvel at the lost Roman city of Narona, go oyster tasting, hike Europe’s answer to the Great Wall of China and cycle on Napoleonic trails.

Both trips run into October, making for the perfect Autumn sunshine escape.

Tempted? See our Croatia holidays here.

Montenegro holidays in September and October

Holiday in September in Montenegro - Lake Skadar

Between its unspoiled beaches, enthralling mountains, glacial lakes and timeless villages, there really is something for every traveller in Montenegro. Our beautiful Villa Miela home on Lake Skadar is the base for most of our Montenegro holidays which run into September and October.

Returning this September is our Painting and Wild Swimming program, the ultimate mindful retreat led by British artist Karen Pearson. You won’t be short of inspiration with reams of rolling hills, wild forests and the glorious Lake Skadar surrounding you.

Or why not unleash your inner Bear Grylls with our 7 Day Kayak & Bushcraft adventure on Lake Skadar? Curated and led by our co-founder Ben, you’ll cover a distance of 60 km over five full days of paddling and sleeping beneath the stars. During your expedition, you’ll have a two-day bushcraft course in which you’ll learn to forage for food, build a shelter and fish, among other survival skills.

Read more: Lake Skadar National Park.

Discover our Montenegro holidays

Hiking holidays in the Balkans in September and October

Walking holidays in September - Albania and Montenegro

With temperatures cooling off a bit by September, why not challenge yourself on one of our walking holidays?

We offer three hiking holidays in the Albanian and Montenegrin Alps, all of which run into October. On our 7 Day Cross-Border Hiking from Montenegro to Albania, you can discover some of Europe’s most spectacular, untouched landscapes in the southernmost part of the Via Dinarica.

We’ve also got a range of new hiking trips in the works in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia – keep your eyes peeled!

Find walking holidays in Montenegro and Albania



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