Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Where to Go in November: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | October 27, 2019

What a shame that work schedules and the holidays prevent so many of us from taking a true vacation in November. (No, that Thanksgiving-week slog to the in-laws doesn’t count). Weather-wise, November is an ideal time for many parts of the globe. The clear skies make it a great month for photography too.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)

Andalusia, Spain

Puesta de sol, Alhambra, Spain

Puesta de sol, Alhambra, Spain. Photo courtesy Ignacio M. Irurita.

One highlight of this magical part of the country is the culture—an aspect that can be very hard to experience during the summer high season, when the numbers of tourists and residents is imbalanced. In November, by contrast, most of the visitors are gone, making it much easier to interact with locals (and to enjoy some breathing room in the region’s UNESCO World Heritage sites). The weather is still quite pleasant, with temperatures near 70 degrees during the day.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentine National Congress - Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Palace of the Argentine National Congress at sunset. Photo: Shutterstock

In Buenos Aires hotel rates are shoulder-season; the weather is bright, sunny, and in the 70s; and the tree-lined boulevards explode with blue jacaranda blossoms. It’s also prime time for the spectator sports that are a passion in Argentina—soccer, polo, and horse races—as well as opera and ballet season at the city’s Colón Theater. Then there’s the gaucho festival, Dia de la Tradicion, which takes place the weekend around November 10 in San Antonio de Areco, one and a half hours from the capital.

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Northern Chile and Argentina

Atacama desert, Andes, Chile

Atacama desert, Andes, Chile. Photo: Shutterstock

While both the Atacama Desert in Chile and the region around Salta, Argentina, are year-round destinations, October and November see fewer visitors than other times of year—leaving your vistas of these wide-open landscapes largely free of other travelers. (These are also excellent months to hop a flight to Easter Island, when the place is nearly empty and the weather ideal.)

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Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia landscape with mountains and lake

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia. Photo: Knowmad Adventures

Late October and November are the best times to spot Patagonia’s elusive wildlife, such as nandu, guanaco, puma, huemul, and condor, as all of the animals are more active during their breeding time. Since these weeks fall during the shoulder season, which sees fewer visitors, the lodges have a quieter, more relaxed ambiance and there is less traffic on the roads. The national parks of southern Patagonia have a reputation for changeable windy weather influenced by Antarctica and the continental ice cap, but November feels like spring, with snows melting off the high peaks and flowers beginning to bloom. Rates are sometimes also a bit lower this early in the season.

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South India

Drummers at the Kalapthy Festival in Kerala, India

Drummers at the Kalpathi Festival in Kerala, India. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

November is an ideal time to visit India, thanks to temperate weather—and those in the know leave the north to the tourists and head south, where you’ll find fewer crowds. While India has long been coveted by many outside forces, South India was largely unaffected by invasions and was able to retain its original Dravidian culture. Kerala’s grand Kalpathi Chariot Festival is an exceptional sight to behold, even in this land synonymous with pageantry. This weeklong festival, in which chariots displaying the temple’s deities join a grand procession, takes place every November.

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St. Barts

Le Guanahani, St. Barts

Le Guanahani, St. Barts. Photo: Le Guanahani

Come November, many resorts, boutiques, and restaurants that closed during the height of hurricane season have reopened, and everything feels fresh and new. The Saint Barth Gourmet Festival also takes place this month, attracting star chefs from France and elsewhere. Plus, hotel and villa rates don’t jump up until mid-December.

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Egypt

pyramids in egypt

Temperatures in Egypt are perfect in November. Photo: Jim Berkeley/Destinations & Adventures

By November the summer and fall heat has ebbed and Egypt is at the beginning of its cooler season: Temperatures average 80 to 85 degrees during the day in Cairo and 85 to 90 in Upper Egypt (the area around the Nile that is south—but also upriver—of Cairo). Rain is not a factor, and the air is clear, making it the perfect month for photography, especially in the early morning, when the sun’s rising rays highlight the rich hues of the temples and monuments, and at sunset, when the fading light always gives a lovely red glow to images.

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

three orange beach chairs and a green umbrella facing the ocean in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

The rainy season is over, the landscapes are still ultra-tropical green, and the ocean is bathtub-warm (80s), with exceptional clarity for scuba diving and snorkeling. November is also the kickoff of the humpback whale-watching season. Moreover, you avoid the peak-season rates that kick in on December 18.

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London

christmas tree by London Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge at Christmas. Photo: London Perfect

November is a great month for museum lovers, as many of the blockbuster exhibitions open in the fall; there’s also the London Jazz Festival, where world-class stars and hot emerging artists share the bill, and the Taste of London Festival, with top chefs doing live demonstrations, tons of tastings, and master cooking classes. And the Christmas spirit is already in the air, with holiday lights on all the shopping streets, a plethora of Christmas markets, high tea at gorgeous hotels, and holiday cheer everywhere.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park CR NPS

Holei Sea Arch, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo: National Park Service

November is shoulder season on the Big Island, so both crowds and prices are down. While it’s a bit rainier on the side of the island where Hilo and the national park are located, it’s typically dry and sunny on the Kona side. When you’re done exploring the park’s two active volcanoes, there’s plenty else to do: hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling with manta rays at night, zip-lining, sampling Kona coffee, and visiting one of the world’s premier astrological observatories, atop Mauna Kea.

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The Brazilian Amazon

Aerial view of Anavilhanas National Park Islands, Rio Negro, Brazilian Amazon

Aerial view of Anavilhanas National Park Islands, Rio Negro, Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Shutterstock

River levels are lowest in November, so all of the beaches are out in their full splendor. (People are often shocked by the beauty of the white-sand beaches that form here, making a trip to Brazil’s region of the Amazon unique from the experiences one can have in Ecuador or Peru’s swaths of the same river system.) An ideal trip extends over five days, so it’s easy to fit into a Thanksgiving break. And the area around the Negro River, which is acidic, is not good for mosquito reproduction, so there is little chance of malaria or zika.

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Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon Kolb studio.

Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

After Labor Day, the Grand Canyon gets much quieter, and prices fall from the highs of summer. Visitor services at the North Rim close on October 15, but the South Rim is open year-round, and the weather is pleasant into early November.

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The Galapagos Islands

underwater photo of a sea lion in the Galapagos islands

Galapagos sea lions

The Galapagos is a magnet for families with kids during summer and other school vacations; if you’re looking for a quieter time, think November (except Thanksgiving week). Blue whales, humpback whales, and whale sharks—the largest fish in the sea, growing up to 40 feet in length and weighing as much as 40,000 pounds—are most likely to be spotted in the Galapagos from June through November.

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Morocco

Earlier this year Wendy and her family traveled through the #2 country on our list: Morocco. Here they are at the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou.

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

The weather is perfect: sunny days and crisp, clear evenings that make for great star-gazing in the desert. It’s also ideal for hiking in the Atlas Mountains, as it’s starting to cool down and the peaks are often photogenically snowcapped. Plus, it’s harvest time: You can see saffron being picked, and olives turned to oil, right in front of your eyes.

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Israel

Hula Valley National Park bird migration Israel

The great bird migration through Hula Valley National Park in Israel. Photo: Oren Cohen

While November falls at the beginning of the rainy season, temperatures are still mild and there are no crowds (unlike October, which sees many Jewish and Christian travelers visiting for Sukkot). Millions of birds stop in Israel at this time of year, on their way from Eurasia to Africa; arrange a private tour of the Agamon Hula Reserve and the Hula Valley National Park to witness this great migration.

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Belize

aerial shot of Belize ocean with sailboat

Explore Belize on the water or in the jungle. Photo: Belize Sailing Vacations

Before Thanksgiving, hotel rates are at their lowest. The days are hot, but the humidity is dropping, and the evenings are cool and breezy. November 19 is Garifuna Settlement Day and is best spent in either Dangriga or Hopkins, where the Garifuna people celebrate—with drumming, dancing, and parades—the arrival of their Afro-indigenous ancestors more than 200 years ago.

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Nepal

Durbar Square in Patan village Nepal

Patan’s Durbar Square, Nepal. Photo: Shutterstock

November is the perfect time in Nepal, whether you’re a trekker or just want to explore a fascinating culture. And there’s more to tempt the latter crowd than ever before, with new roads leading to villages once accessible only on foot. In November, the air is crisp and clear, without the pre-monsoon dust, so the mountain views are best. And festivals abound: Near Everest, Manu Rimdu is an exorcism festival designed to purge evil from the area, ensure a bountiful harvest, and confer blessings on the villagers and all sentient beings with dancing, prayers, and comic relief. Then there is the very important Festival of Lights, or Tihar, honoring the gods, humans, and animals.

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Australia

Snorkeling around Lizard Island at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia

Snorkeling around Lizard Island at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Luxury Lodges of Australia

November is one of the best months for a wide-ranging trip to several different parts of Australia: The water around the Great Barrier Reef is calm, making for good visibility; and the weather is spring-time pleasant in Sydney, Kangaroo Island, and the outback’s Flinders Range. You’ll also arrive before the peak summer season, and the wildlife is more active when it’s not yet too hot.

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Ethiopia

Holy Mass of the orthodox Ethiopian church of religious churches in carve in solid rock in Lalibela - Image

Priests performing a Holy Mass of the orthodox Ethiopian church, Lalibela, Ethiopia. Photo: Shutterstock

In November, it’s dry in northern Ethiopia but the countryside is still green; the fields are active as the harvest is starting to come in. This is also when the Hidar Zion religious festival takes place, celebrating the Ark of the Covenant: People come from all over Ethiopia (and the world) to see replicas of the ark paraded through the streets.

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Chiang Rai, Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Anantara

Thailand’s northernmost province, bordering Laos and Myanmar, is at its very best in November, when the mountains are lush and green from the recently receded monsoon, the mornings are diffused with a subtle mist suspended in the valleys, and the sun is gentler as the seasons ease into cooler weather. The rivers are deep and navigable, and the waterfalls are at optimum volume. All in all, it’s an ideal window to travel, before the crowds and costs rise in December.

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Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why November is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

The Caribbean

Cuba

Florida: Disney World, Orlando

Hawaii: Maui and Oahu (for whale-watching)

Mexico: Los Cabos beach vacations and villa vacations, Riviera Maya, and Mexico City

Washington, D.C.

 

South America

Argentina: Mendoza

Colombia: Cartagena and Bogota

Chile

 

Europe

England: The Cotswolds

Greece: Athens

Italy: Amalfi Coast, Rome, and Sicily

Russia: Moscow and St. Petersburg

Scotland

Malta

 

Asia

Cambodia: Angkor Wat

China: Beijing

India: Mumbai and Rajasthan and Delhi

Indonesia: Bali

Myanmar

Southeast Asia

Thailand: Bangkok

Vietnam (southern)

 

Africa

Madagascar: whale sharks

 

Australia and Pacific

Fiji (for November deals)

New Zealand: Bay of Islands and Queenstown hiking and cycling

Papua New Guinea

 

Cruises

Africa Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

Mediterranean Luxury Cruises

Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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