September is a lovely month to be on the Med. The August crowds have gone home but it's still hot enough for sunbathing and swimming and there's great hiking in the region's many national parks.

Bienal de Flamenco, Spain

Give yourself up to the passion of Spain's largest flamenco festival, held in Seville every even-numbered year. The world's top flamenco stars strut their stuff before passionate fans in venues across the city.

Festes de la Mercè, Spain

Barcelona's great annual bash is a bombastic affair, held over four days around 24 September. Highlights include eight-storey human towers and a procession of dragons which parades through the streets accompanied by deafening fireworks and bangers. See www.bcn.cat/merce.

Hiking, Regionwide

Autumn, along with spring, is the ideal period for hiking. At higher altitudes, peaks are usually free of snow between June and September, making for great trekking in the Italian Dolomites, Slovenia's Julian Alps and the Spanish Pyrenees.