October is a good month to travel to Eastern Europe. The summer travelers are long gone, the chilliest weather has yet to descend upon the region, and autumn food and drink begins appearing on restaurant and bar menus. Get in-depth information on weather, events, and more as you plan your trip.
Eastern Europe Weather in October
The Eastern European countries enjoy mild weather in October so you'll find outdoor music festivals, great shopping in the outdoor markets, and a show of autumn colors in the parks and along the rivers. October, especially the beginning of the month, can be ideal for touring and wine tasting.
Temperature averages trend toward the cooler side as the month continues on.
- Prague: 56 F (13 C) / 39 F (4 C)
- Budapest: 60 F (16 C) / 42 F (6 C)
- Bratislava: 59 F(15 C) / 42 F (6 C)
- Warsaw: 55 F(13 C) / 39 F (4 C)
- Krakow: 50 F (10 C) / 39 F (4 C)
October can be rainy. In Prague, the average rainfall is 1 inch (25 mm) over 16 days with an average humidity of 81 percent. In Bratislava, expect a chance of showers during your October stay. In other eastern European countries the rainy days range from 5 to 8 on average during the month.
Some notice the shorter days in October and miss the sunlight. In Poland, for example, the sun rises around 6:30 a.m. and sets about 12 hours later. As the month goes on, the daylight hours decrease and Daylight Savings Time makes the days feel even shorter. When the clocks go back, Poland is on standard time—Central European Time.
What to Pack
As you tour the Eastern European countries, you'll want to carry an umbrella or have a waterproof jacket as your outer layer. Since the weather cools as night falls, layers, with light shirts or T-shirts under sweaters, is ideal. Wear walking shoes for touring the cobblestone streets and enjoying outdoor events. For evening consider nicer shirts, slacks and a dress for women with boots or dress shoes in the cities.
October Events in Eastern Europe
October events include festivals celebrating the best of regional and international music, dancing the tango, and local foods like sausage and Hungarian fruit brandy.
- Prague's International Jazz Festival begins in the latter half of October. Prague's concert calendar is always packed, however, and popular venues around the city regularly host musicians who specialize in all types of music.
- Strings of Autumn Music Festival offers music ranging from classical to jazz in Prague.
- Designblok, Prague's international design festival is the place to see contemporary design and network with designers and vendors.
- Signal Festival is a light festival with light installations and video mapping all across Prague highlighting historical buildings and monuments as well as little-known corners of the city.
- Bratislava hosts Jazz Days in October.
- The Bratislava Tango Festival brings top dancers and the fun of Tango dancing to the city. There's even a free beginner's class.
- Festival Bratislava Cantat II is a festival for choirs from all around the world who come to compete.
- The Budapest Autumn Festival is a major cultural event and highlights contemporary music, theater, and dance.
- At the Palinka and Sausage Festival, delight your taste buds with palinka, Hungarian fruit brandy, and sausage—two Hungarian favorites that are celebrated every October in Budapest.
- The Warsaw International Film Festival brings over 130 films to theaters across Warsaw from countries as far away as Chile, Taiwan, and Iceland.
- The Free Form Festival, a contemporary appreciation of all types of performing and visual arts including concerts, live acts, short films, audiovisual presentations, documentaries, and design expositions, takes place in Warsaw.
- The Cracovia Music Festival (choir and orchestra festival) takes place in October in Krakow.
October Travel Tips
- For most areas, October is the shoulder season but compare prices and double-check because some popular destinations, especially if there are large festivals going on, do not lower their prices.
- It's usually cheaper to travel by bus or train once you have arrived in Eastern Europe. Buy international train tickets in the country you are departing from—some trains are slow, so request the high-speed or through trains.
- Shop the outdoor markets in places like Krakow in the mild October weather. A great place to go on a Sunday in October is the outdoor flea market Plac Targowy (Market Square) Unitarg at the local Hala Targowa (Market Hall) where you'll find some fantastic old world antiques and vintage clothing.