Autumn is a lovely time of year to visit Krakow—the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland—with plenty of festivals, events, and activities to entertain tourists and residents alike. Although October can get chilly, it's still well before the bone-chilling cold of winter arrives, making it a great time to explore the city by foot, take in the local museums, and enjoy relaxing meals on a terrace in one of Krakow's many restaurants.
October is the low season for travel in Poland, so travelers can typically find excellent deals on airfare and hotels. As an extra perk, expect fewer crowds and short lines at local must-see sites, such as St. Mary's Church or Wawel Castle.
Krakow Weather in October
Overall, Krakow experiences mild temperatures and comfortably warm days in October, though it is also a month when the weather is rapidly changing. Visit at the beginning of the month and you're likely to encounter the waning days of summer, whereas you are more likely to experience the onset of winter if you arrive near the end of the month.
- Average high: 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius)
Throughout the month of October, Krakow sees about eight days of rain, on average. Nighttime temperatures can reach freezing and snow is possible—especially at the end of the month—but it's very unlikely until later in the year. Overcast days are common in Krakow, which can make for colder walks around the city.
Daylight hours also rapidly decrease throughout the month of October, with two full more hours of darkness on October 31 compared to October 1. After the time change on the last Sunday in October, the sun sets a little after 4 p.m., so be sure to plan outdoor activities accordingly.
What to Pack
The beginning of fall in Krakow is one of the nicest times of year to visit this Polish city, but you should keep in mind that temperatures fluctuate between mildly cool to frigid with temperatures dropping over the month. As a result, you should remember to pack clothing that can be layered to adjust to the changing weather.
Versatile jackets and sweaters are essential items on every trip to Poland in October, and don't forget at least one heavy coat just for those particularly cold days (and even colder nights). Since luggage space is typically an issue with international travel, you'll want to select items that can be mixed and matched for both style and comfort against the crisp coolness of fall.
October Events in Krakow
Whether you're a fan of literature or theatre, antiques or collectibles, history or art, there's plenty of special events that you shouldn't miss when you're visiting the city of Krakow.
- Festiwal 7XGospel: For music lovers, there's the annual 7XGospel Festival, a celebration of Polish African-American inspired religious performances, which takes place from October 19–25, 2020.
- Unsound Festival: Founded in 2003, this cultural event showcases music from and around Poland and features talks, workshops, art installations, film screenings, and a closing party. Unsound 2020 takes place around Krakow from October 1–11.
- International Book Fair: The best writers from all around Poland—plus several prominent authors from around the world—head to Krakow each year in October for this massive literary festival. The 2020 International Book Fair in Krakow is canceled.
October Travel Tips
- The best place to be on a Sunday in October is the legendary Sunday outdoor flea market Plac Targowy at the local Hala Targowa (Market Hall). This sprawling open-air marketplace features some of the best antiques along with everything from vinyl records and VHS cassettes to war memorabilia and souvenir tchotchkes.
- Poles set their clocks back by one hour on the last Sunday in October—along with most of Europe—so be sure to adjust your watch.
- Fall is mushroom season, which also happens to be one of the most beloved ingredients in Polish cuisine. Try typical dishes such as placki ziemniaczane, potato pancakes with cooked mushrooms, or gołąbki, cabbage rolls filled with meat and covered in mushroom sauce.
- For those chilly nights when it's too cold to walk, ask your hotel for the number of a reputable cab company or use your cellphone to order an Uber.