Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2017 and updated in February 2023
You’ve decided you want to travel more this year (good on you), but you’re struggling to choose your next destination. Surely there’s an easier way than trawling through endless travel mags and guidebooks for the answers, right? That’s where our ultimate month-by-month travel guide comes in: your easily digestible list of places to visit, things to experience, and amazing weather to chase around the world.
Today we’re looking at November, typically seen as a funny month for travel given the impending holiday silly season in December. But here’s a secret: while everyone else is busy counting down the days until the festive break, you could be off hiking in Patagonia, watching the northern lights in Iceland, or spotting wildlife in Uganda without the crowds. Sound too good to be true? Read on to discover where to go for your perfect November getaway.
If you’ve dreamt of standing on the shoulders of giants for a while now, November is the perfect time to finally tick that Nepal trek off your list. Post-monsoon days in the Annapurna and Everest regions are warm and sunny, while evenings are crisp and cold – so be sure to pack a good sleeping bag and down jacket! The rice-harvesting season is in full swing by November, so expect fields buzzing with activity, lush vegetation, clean air, and excellent views of the snow-capped peaks. The teahouses and trails normally heaving with eager hikers are quieter during this time too, as the approaching winter freeze drives tourist numbers down.
Bonus: for a true cultural experience, time your trek to pass through Tengboche in early November when the sacred Mani Rimdu festival takes place. It’s a time of prayer and celebration, so expect elaborate masks and costumes, lots of dancing, and dramatisations of the triumph of Buddhism.
Patagonia is one of nature’s last frontiers. For trekking enthusiasts, adventure seekers and nature lovers alike, this remarkable landscape of snow-capped mountain peaks, imposing glaciers, gushing waterfalls, and beautiful national parks is the very definition of ‘epic’. It’s also one of the most isolated territories in the world, with roughly two people per square kilometre.
Here, at the end of the world, our planet is at its most wild and spectacular. By early November the winter winds have died down somewhat, wildflowers are blossoming (a sight not to be missed!), and by late November summer temperatures may creep up to a balmy 11°C. While this is the start of tourist season, with the right planning it’s still possible to venture off the beaten track and avoid the crowds.
Once the scorching temperatures and monsoon rains of summer have subsided, November is the perfect time for exploring this kaleidoscope of colour and culture. Due to India’s size and terrain, you can still expect some variation across the country, but travel through Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle will be mostly dry, clear and balmy with a maximum of 30°C (86°F). It’s the perfect time for tiger-spotting in Ranthambhore, camel rides in Pushkar, and admiring the shimmering Taj Mahal.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cultural experience, Diwali, the magical Hindu festival of lights, will be celebrated across India in early November, while the Pushkar Camel Fair between 19-25 November is a spectacle not to be missed.
RELATED: 6 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF DIWALI
Picking a good time to visit Morocco that suits its two climate zones, the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains, and the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean is never an easy task. The weather varies wildly according to the season and where you’re planning to explore, but to experience Morocco’s highlights, the cooler months from October through to April are popular among most visitors.
If you’re from the Northern hemisphere and are in need of decent a blast of winter sun, the picturesque coastal town of Essaouira is the perfect place to put your feet up and relax. Fresh-caught fish sizzles on beachside grills, whitewashed houses with blue shutters lend a Mediterranean vibe, and you can lose hours wandering through the dozens of art galleries, workshops and souks – that’s Christmas presents sorted!
The idea of holidaying in a country where the depths of winter are approaching may seem a little counterintuitive (unless you love winter, that is), but even for sun worshippers, Iceland is a delight in November. The aurora borealis, or northern lights, is the best light show on Earth, and November is one of the best months to see them. Explore thermal geysers, stunning waterfalls, and epic glaciers by day, then stay up late and watch the skies dance with green lights by night. Just make sure you pack your thermals, as the average daytime temperature only reaches highs of 4°C (40°F)!
September is also a great time to visit Iceland, but if the northern lights are at the top of your bucket list, you have a better chance in November.
Australia is so large and varied that one cannot simply say ‘go to Australia in November’ and expect the weather to be fine and dandy. That said, November is probably as close as it gets to being great weather country-wide. The tropical rainy season in the north hasn’t properly settled into humid downpours yet, while the cooler southern states of Victoria and Tasmania are shaking off the winter frost and basking in warmer days. Vino and meals are taken al fresco, outdoor music and food festivals pop up everywhere, and beaches across the country begin to buzz.
- Queensland Daintree Explorer – 5 days
- Brisbane to Cairns Adventure – 8 days
- Trek the Cradle Mountain Overland Track – 6 days
Cambodia’s rainy season usually runs from June through October, so November is a great time to visit before the peak season gets into full swing. You might still experience the odd downpour, but incredible sites like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in Siem Reap should be fairly quiet.
November is also a fantastic time to immerse yourself in Cambodian culture at the Bon Om Touk water festival, which draws millions of Cambodians to the banks of Phnom Penh’s Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers to watch boat races, dance to traditional music, and eat delicious food. After the festivities, head to the pretty riverside city of Battambang to while away the days in quaint cafes, explore the hilltop Wat Banan temple, or take part in yoga and dance classes with the locals along the riverfront.
November marks the beginning of the Antarctica expedition season. The sun shines down again, temperatures rise above freezing and winter pack ice starts to melt. Antarctica’s wildlife residents also come out of hiding, and you’re likely to see colonies of penguins as they perform impressive courting rituals and build nests, or noisy elephant and fur seals marking their breeding territories ashore. November is also the best month to get up close to jaw-dropping icebergs and giant ice floes.
- Best of Antarctica (Ocean Endeavour) – 11 days
- Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour) – 11 days
November is a shoulder season in Uganda due to the short rains in the south, but this might appeal to some travellers. Thanks to heavy rainfall in October, the dry plains and savannah reserves turn lush shades of green, and flocks of colourful migratory birds arrive – so have your camera ready! Large game can be a little trickier to spot with all the thick vegetation, but you’re in with a good chance of seeing gorgeous newborn animals as food is plentiful. Gorilla trekking can be more challenging (or adventurous, depending on how you look at it!) in the muddier, wetter conditions, but the treks are often shorter as the gorillas stay at lower altitudes where it’s warmer and easier to find food.
Not looking to travel in November? No worries. Check out our full list of monthly destination guides: