October in Madrid: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Madrid at Sunset

 Sylvain Sonnet / The Image Bank / Getty Images

October is a month of changing weather in Madrid, as the month begins quite warm but quickly gets colder as November draws closer. However, all in all, the weather is relatively pleasant throughout October in Madrid, sandwiched between the sweltering heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter. Not only can you walk around comfortably during the day, but it's the low season for tourism, meaning fewer crowds and cheaper accommodation prices. With a few cultural events sprinkled throughout the month, October is one of the best times of year you can visit the Spanish capital.

Madrid Weather in October

October starts out on a nearly perfect note in Madrid, with highs around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) and lows around 52 degrees (11 degrees Celsius) early on in the month. The days are usually warm and sunny with just a small chance of rain, perfect for sightseeing, getting lost in one of Madrid's charming neighborhoods, or enjoying some tapas on an outdoor terrace. Evenings can get a little chilly, but overall the weather is quite comfortable.

As the month goes on, the temperatures drop, the clouds increase, and there is a higher chance of rain. By late October, average afternoon highs are 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), with the temperature dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) at night. Typically it is cloudy about half the time, and the chance of rain has increased to 23 percent.

Even the end of October is still relatively great travel weather, just a bit cooler and a bit less sunny. You might have to duck inside a shop when it's raining and that patio dining might be less frequent, but you're unlikely to experience the biting cold that arrives in November or December.

Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain in autumn
Westend61 / Getty Images

What to Pack

If you are planning your trip for early October, you can pack pretty light. Take jeans or lightweight pants, long-sleeved cotton tops or sweaters, and a cardigan or light jacket. A cashmere wrap is perfect for evenings al fresco.

As in every European capital, comfortable walking shoes are a must. These can be open or closed for this time of the month, but if you choose open-toed shoes or sandals, you'll need a pair of closed-toe shoes for nighttime. A long scarf is a great warm-up piece for the evening that also adds some pizzazz to your outfit. Don't worry too much about rain gear since the chances are slim during this period, but packing a light water-resistant jacket never hurts.

If your trip falls toward the end of October, you'll need to change up your wardrobe a bit. Think closed-toed shoes only, or even ankle or knee-high boots. They won't be too warm during the day and will be cozy at night when the temperature falls. Ankle boots that are flat or low-heeled make excellent walking shoes and allow you to easily go from checking out museums in the daytime to upscale dinners or stops for tapas and Spanish wine in the evening.

That cashmere wrap is equally useful later in the month, as are cotton sweaters and long-sleeved tops, which can be layered if needed. A poncho is also a good layering piece and can be slipped on over other layers as needed, day or night. Since the chance of rain increases by the end of the month, an umbrella is a good idea—or just wear a stylish hat to keep your hair (mostly) dry.

October Events in Madrid

October is part of tourism low season in Madrid, and those who plan their trips for different times of year are truly missing out—the month is packed with interesting cultural events and opportunities to really get under the skin of the Spanish capital.

  • Architecture Week: Check out a whole host of unique events, exhibits, and workshops in some of Madrid's most visually stunning buildings, with architectural epochs that span centuries and styles ranging from Gothic to Art Deco to modern. Architecture Week is canceled in Madrid in 2020.
  • World Press Photo Exhibition: The world's foremost photojournalism expo arrives in Madrid each October. Celebrated photographers from around the world show poignant images that depict social, cultural, and environmental issues from the previous year in a truly inspiring exhibition. In 2020, World Press Photo is canceled.
  • Madrid Film Festival: This film festival aims to spotlight new narratives and creators, with a focus on the most talented up-and-coming filmmakers in Spain. If you're a lover of the cinema, don't miss out on the festival from October 6–18, 2020, in a mixed format of theaters and online viewings.
  • Día de la Hispanidad: Spain's most important national holiday is commemorated each year on October 12. You can see awe-inspiring aerial displays and a military parade through the center of the city, where the king himself always makes an appearance. The parade is canceled in 2020.
  • Halloween: Halloween isn't an official holiday in Spain, but madrileños love an excuse to party and November 1 is a holiday in Spain, so you're likely to see lots of people out on the night of October 31. Dressing up isn't as common as it is in the U.S., but there should be enough people in costumes that you won't stand out should you choose to wear one.

October Travel Tips

  • Madrid is generally a safe city, but always be aware of your surroundings and watch your belongings. Petty crime such as pickpocketing is quite common.
  • On Spain's national holiday, October 12, many stores and other small businesses may be closed. Most tourist attractions remain open but are likely to be extra busy, so plan ahead and call to confirm opening hours.
  • On the last Sunday in October, Spain—along with most of Europe—sets its clocks back by an hour as daylight saving time comes to an end.
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