The following places are ideal to visit in November. At the top of the list you’ll find spots that are currently welcoming U.S. travelers. If you’re hesitant to travel abroad right now, read these reviews to see how happy the travelers are who are doing just that. For more pandemic travel solutions, see our Covid-19 travel advice. Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.
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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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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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
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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The Galapagos Islands
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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Grand Canyon, Arizona
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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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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. After 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 light in Provence in winter is why so many famous artists moved there, and the sunshine makes al fresco lunches possible well into November. Provencal markets bustle in the fall, and truffle hunting starts in November. Hike amid the glorious autumn landscapes and hilltop villages of the Luberon, and cycle through the wine country around Gigondas and Vacqueyras, where there are few cars and great eateries.
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One highlight of this magical part of Spain is the culture—an aspect that can be very hard to experience during the summer high season, when the numbers of tourists and residents are 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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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 starting in mid-November, with holiday lights on all the shopping streets, a plethora of Christmas markets, high tea at gorgeous hotels, and holiday cheer everywhere. If you can’t wait until then, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on November 5.
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In November head to Piedmont for truffle season (the White Truffle Fair in Alba runs until December 5). Try truffle hunting, taste the local Barolo wines, watch artisanal cheese makers, cycle among the vineyards (electric bikes are available!), hike the rolling hills beneath the crisp blue skies…or do it all with your family in a villa for Thanksgiving. This is also harvest time for olives and wine. Learn to cook al fresco in an olive grove, on a goat-cheese farm, or in a vineyard. Remember, November is when Billie took her dream Italian cooking vacation.
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If your goal is to combine culture and outdoor beauty, fall is this island’s best season. Autumn brings the olive, almond, and wine harvests, and sunny, mild weather. Outdoor activities include exploring Sicily’s Greek and Roman ruins, hiking Mt. Etna, and cycling though nature reserves and wine country.
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Temperatures remain in the 60s well into November, when it’s still warm enough for dinner outdoors at the many restaurants that now have significant sidewalk seating; heat lamps aren’t needed till late in the month. Private river boats—which are much better for sightseeing than your typical river cruises—sail the Douro through the end of the month too. And the weather is even more mild on the subtropical islands of Madeira—known for outstanding hiking opportunities—and the Azores, where you can also hike, bike, and off-road around the postcard-perfect lagoons.
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Greece: Crete, Corfu, or Rhodes
Many Greek islands shut down in late October or early November, but Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes operate year-round, offering traditional cultural and culinary experiences and festivities in the winter months. November is a great time for sheep farms, olive orchards, and the wine harvest.
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The weather is perfect at this time of year: 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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Buenos Aires, Argentina
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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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. (Read about Billie’s October 2021 trip to Egypt.)
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The Brazilian Amazon
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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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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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 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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Northern Chile and Argentina
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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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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Chiang Rai, Thailand
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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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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Still Closed to U.S. Travelers as of November 2, 2021
Click to The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers to find out whether these places have reopened.
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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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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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
Colombia: Cartagena and Bogota
Australia and Pacific
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