Taktshang Goemba, Bhutan (Shutterstock)
Article Words : Eliot McFarlane | 03 November 2019

The 16 best places to visit in November

Looking to escape the cold and gloom of November? We reveal the top destinations to visit, from short breaks and cultural hot spots, to the best November sun, snow and wildlife on the planet...

As it's getting cold and dark in the northern hemisphere, we're all dreaming of jetting off somewhere exotic. This year we're interested in candlelit celebrations, high altitude capers and anywhere south of the equator.

If you want to see the full list, keep scrolling. If you know your travel style, click to your chosen section using one of these handy links:

The best November destinations for culture and heritage...

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

A krathong (Shutterstock)

A krathong (Shutterstock)

Celebrated across Thailand (but particularly stunning in Chiang Mai), Loi Krathong is one of Thailand’s most beautiful celebrations. Pronounced loy kra-tong, Loi translates to ‘float’ while a krathong is a kind of basket woven from banana leaves, traditionally decorated with flowers, incense and candles. 

On the full moon in November, krathongs are floated on rivers and canals as offerings to Pra Mae Khongkha, a Goddess in Southeast Asian Buddhist mythology closely associated with water. The offerings represent a request for forgiveness for using the region’s rivers and deltas. Historically, Thailand is an agricultural society and has relied heavily on its waterways. 

If you float a krathong this November, make sure that it is made from banana leaf or, as is increasingly common, bread, rather than polystyrene. Thai authorities have pulled tens of thousands of non-biodegradable krathongs from the water in recent years. There’s no point in apologising for using rivers by polluting them.

2. Riga, Latvia

The torchlit procession on Proclamation Day, Riga, Latvia (Shutterstock)

The torchlit procession on Proclamation Day, Riga, Latvia (Shutterstock)

Head to this Baltic beauty for another illuminated celebration. November 18th marks Latvia’s Independence Day. Observed as Proclamation Day, the 18th is a national holiday in Latvia, celebrated with concerts, exhibitions, a military parade and a torchlit march through the streets. 

The parade is a touching display of solidarity and brings Latvians together across the country. The night ends with fireworks and gatherings in public squares. If you’re willing to brave the cold, November is a great time to visit Riga as there is plenty to do. 

3. Varanasi, India

The Dev Deepawali Celebrations in Varanasi, India (Shutterstock)

The Dev Deepawali Celebrations in Varanasi, India (Shutterstock)

15 days after Diwali, on the full moon of Kartika, residents of Varanasi celebrate Dev Deepawali, the ‘Diwali of the Gods’. During this festival, millions of diyas (oil lamps) are placed on the steps of the ghats and floated on the Ganges to honour the river and its Gods. 

It’s said that on this night, the Gods descend to Earth and bathe in the Ganges. The banks of the rivers glow like embers and the bustling city takes on an otherworldly atmosphere. This year Dev Deepawali will be celebrated on the 12th of November. 

4. Michoacan, Mexico

The Dia De Muertos, Mexico City, Mexico (Shutterstock)

The Dia De Muertos, Mexico City, Mexico (Shutterstock)

No doubt you’ve heard of Day of the Dead, but if you’re yet to experience it in all its macabre glory, head down to Michoacan to join in the festivities. The Day of the Dead (Dia De Muertos) is a UNESCO honoured Mexican holiday in which people honour the dead by building altars, dressing up and visiting graves. The iconography of the festival has gained international recognition, known for its elaborate costumes and painted sugar skulls. 

Dia De Muertos is a celebration and it is treated exactly as that. Death is viewed positively in Mexico as a natural part of the lifecycle. On this night, the dead are said to return to life to celebrate with loved ones. 

While Mexico’s major urban centres see massive parades and festivities, it’s best to celebrate Dia De Muertos in the south of the country as it has longer roots down there. Scholars speculate that the festival is an amalgam of an Aztec celebration with All Saints’ Day. It was not observed in the north of the country until the 20th century, and so has a richer history in southern regions like Michoacan. Coincide the festival (November 2nd) with a trip to the beautiful coloniall city of Morelia. 

The best November hotspots for watching wildlife...

5. Valdes Peninsula, Argentina

Fur Seals on the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina (Shutterstock)

Fur Seals on the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina (Shutterstock)

When it comes to marine life, Argentina’s Valdes Peninsula in November is the Piccadilly Circus of the southern seas. This region is home to a variety of birds, penguins, sea lions, seals, whales, orcas and dolphins. While some species may gather in greater numbers in other months, November gives you the best chance of seeing them all. Don’t you just love it when things come together? 

The peninsula boasts 250 miles of UNESCO-protected coastline bustling with marine life. You'll find lagoons full of lounging fur seals, bays with orcas close enough to photograph and rookeries invaded by penguin colonies. It’s spring in Patagonia and while it won’t be too warm, it’s a lovely time of year to visit southern Argentina. 

6. Chobe, Botswana

A leopard in Chobe National Park, Botswana during the green season (Shutterstock)

A leopard in Chobe National Park, Botswana during the green season (Shutterstock)

November is green season in Chobe. Yes, that can mean a little rain, but that’s a blessing, not a curse. While Chobe is famous for its elephant population and herds of buffalo watering on the riverfront during the dry season, avoiding the green season would be a mistake. 

As well as lower fares, the green season offers an excellent chance to see large groups of zebra as they start to migrate. It’s also birthing season, so be prepared to see a lot of impala lambs and as a result, their predators. 

November in Chobe is the best time, however, for birds. Migratory birds arrive in Chobe in enormous numbers at this time of year. In addition, water-birds including herons and gulls can be found nesting on the riverbanks. 

7. Tikal, Guatemala

A spider monkey in Tikal, Guatemala (Shutterstock)

A spider monkey in Tikal, Guatemala (Shutterstock)

In November, cool winds sweep over Guatemala’s highlands, blowing away the clouds from the rainy season. That’s why the locals fly kites in central Guatemala on All Saints’ Day.  

You can’t totally discount the possibility of rain, but then a third of the country is rainforest, so what do you expect? The temperature is very reasonable in November, with cool nights in the highlands so no rolling around in stifling heat. Most importantly, the winter rush has not begun. Because of its temperate climate and close proximity to North America, Guatemala can receive a lot of visitors during the winter break. 

Head to the incredible Mayan ruin of Tikal in the north of the country. This ancient citadel was once inhabited by Mesoamerica’s most advanced civilisation, but now, as the forest encroaches, it’s home to the humble spider monkey. The ruins at Tikal are a fantastic place to see this cheeky primate, although, a heads up – they’ve been known to defecate on visitors.

8. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Albatross nesting in South Georgia (Shutterstock)

Albatross nesting in South Georgia (Shutterstock)

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a series of overseas UK territories in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. They’re incredibly remote and only accessible by boat; the nearest airport is on the Faulkland Islands. Known as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ the islands offer the highest concentration of Antarctic wildlife in the world. The islands house large king penguin populations, fur seals, whales, dolphins and are an occasional home to the wandering albatross. 

Visit in November because you can – cruises to the island resume in October after the harsh winter. The voyage takes between 2 and 3 days and as a result, South Georgia is one of the least visited places on the planet. Fewer than 10,000 people visit every year. 

Where to go in November for ideal weather...

9. Tignes, France

Aiguille Percee, Tignes, France (Shutterstock)

Aiguille Percee, Tignes, France (Shutterstock)

Itching to get to the slopes? Tignes is the highest altitude ski area in Europe and, thanks to its position atop the Grande Motte glacier, offers the longest ski season in France. The Grande Motte is open for the summer season, between June and August, and reopens in September for the winter season. The rest of the mountain opens up as the weather allows. For an early ski in November, head to Grande Motte.

10. Athens, Greece

The Acropolis and the Parthenon, Athens, Greece (Shutterstock)

The Acropolis and the Parthenon, Athens, Greece (Shutterstock)

For a warm European citybreak in November, Athens is an excellent bet. With an average daytime temperature of 16, November is a perfect month for strolling around the city, taking in the Acropolis and the Parthenon and hopping in and out of Athens amazing museums and galleries. 

Be sure to visit the National Archaeological Museum, home to some of the most important findings from the prehistorical era. It is considered one of the best museums in the world. 

With so many outdoor attractions, November is the perfect time to wander around Athens, without the blazing heat of the summer. 

11. Uruguay

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay (Shutterstock)

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay (Shutterstock)

For something a little different this November, catch a wave in Uruguay. Chances are, you'll get them pretty much to yourself. doesn’t receive as much attention as its neighbours, despite having the highest GDP on the continent, beautiful colonial towns and stunning national parks. It’s even lesser known for its surf. 

Montevideo, the cosmopolitan capital, is home to a Spanish citadel as well as Art Deco architecture. While it’s a fantastic city to visit, few travellers explore more of the country. Uruguay’s south coast is dotted with coastal towns offering great access to brilliant surfing beaches. 

Corumba, La Paloma and Punto Del Diablo are two small towns known for excellent surf. Head there in November for mild weather and perfect swells. 

As always, check up-to-date weather and safety information with local authorities before surfing. Weather can be unpredictable in this part of the world. 

12. Seville, Spain

A Taperia in Seville, Spain (Shutterstock)

A Taperia in Seville, Spain (Shutterstock)

Andalucia is famous for its mild winters. With temperatures rarely dipping below 10°C, and only a two hour flight from the UK, Seville makes for a perfect winter weekend getaway. Leave your coat at home and stroll along the Guadilquivir, sip wine in a rooftop bar and dive into one of the city’s many taperias. 

Try carrilladas, a traditional Spanish dish – pork cheeks braised in wine. A truly comforting dish in colder weather.

The best longer term trips in November...

13. Bhutan

Taktshang Goemba, Bhutan (Shutterstock)

Taktshang Goemba, Bhutan (Shutterstock)

One of the most mysterious and hard to reach countries in the world, Bhutan should be on every travellers list. Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, this spiritual, sub-alpine nation is a real life Shangri-La. Bhutan spans large subtropical plains in the south to mountainous Himalayan regions in the north and is home to the world’s highest unclimbed mountain, Gangkhar Puensum, at 7,500 metres. 

Similarly, the rest of the country has been relatively unspoiled by industrialisation, globalisation and westernisation. It is the planet’s only carbon deficit country, meaning that it absorbs more carbon than it produces. This is partly due to a rich tree planting tradition that the Bhutanese observe, keeping the country green and luscious. 

Keep in mind, Bhutan has not simply missed Westernisation, but actively avoided it. As such, visiting the country is not easy. Bhutan has only one small airport, and only a handful of pilots are qualified to fly in and out of it. There are no intercontinental flights to or from Bhutan, so you must find a connecting flight within Asia. Then there’s the fee. During peak season (when we think you should visit) the fee is $250 US per day, including a $40 charge for solo visitors. This is an all inclusive price and will cover 3-star accommodation and meals. $65 of your fee goes directly towards healthcare and education in the country. 

November is an excellent time to visit as the rainy season has just ended. A lack of precipitation is particularly important in Bhutan’s regions as clear skies make for incredible views.

14. Kerala, India

Kerala's backwaters, India (Shutterstock)

Kerala's backwaters, India (Shutterstock)

Head to India’s tropical Malabar coast this autumn. November is an excellent time to explore Kerala’s palm edged beaches and mangrove lined backwaters. Monsoon season has just ended, giving way to relatively dry conditions, reduced humidity and an average temperature of 28°C.

November also marks the very start of Kerala’s high season and, while things can get very busy around Christmas, visiting in November should allow you to avoid the worst of the crowds. 

Hide from other visitors in a wayanad (treehouse) or leave them on the shore as you drift through the backwaters on a shikara (houseboat).

15. Oman

The Wadi Ghul Canyon (Shutterstock)

The Wadi Ghul Canyon (Shutterstock)

There’s no getting around it, Oman is hot – hence the old joke ‘Oh man it’s hot.’ So best to visit in a cooler month like November. Expect highs of 31°C and nighttime lows of 21°C. For a longer trip, November is a good choice as the weather will remain cool throughout the country. Visit Muscat’s old town, explore Ramlet Jadilah, the highest sand dune in the world and marvel at Wadi Ghul, the Omani Grand Canyon. 

The canyon is located at the highest point in the Hajar mountain range and is more than one kilometre deep is some places. There is a ridgetop hiking path leading to the abandoned village of As Sab. 

​​

16. New Zealand

Taranaki Volcano, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Taranaki Volcano, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Spring is an excellent time to visit New Zealand. While things are getting cold in the northern hemisphere, head down under where everything is in bloom. The climate is lovely in November, with an average temperature of around 18°C.  

Naturalists should visit Pukekura Park in the Taranaki region, famed for its rhododendrons (as well as classic cone volcano, reminiscent of Mount Fuji). More adventurous travellers can take advantage of the melting mountain snow which makes for perfect white water rafting conditions.

Enjoyed this article? Get the best of Wanderlust delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Team Wanderlust