October is a month of changing weather in Madrid, heading into winter, so if you are planning to travel there in October, the closer to the beginning of the month, the better.
October Weather in Madrid
The days start out nearly perfect in October, with highs around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and lows around 52 degrees. It's also typically sunny most of the time with many days without rain. These warm and sunny days make sightseeing a pleasure, are splendid for dining alfresco, and make packing a breeze since you don't need much for warmth or to stay dry.
All in all, pretty perfect.
But as the month goes on, the temperatures drop, the clouds increase, and there is a higher chance of rain. By the end of October, average afternoon highs are 64 degrees, with the temperature dropping into the mid-40s at night. Typically it is cloudy about half the time, and the chance of rain has increased to 23 percent. The end of the month 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.
What to Pack
If you are planning your trip for the first part of 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 alfresco. 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 shoes/sandals, you'll need a pair of closed-toe shoes for nighttime, when the temps drop into the low 50s on average.
A long scarf is a great warm-up piece for the evening that adds some pizzazz to your outfit in the bargain. Don't worry about rain gear since the chances are slim during this period.
If your trip falls toward the end of October, you'll need to change up your wardrobe a bit. Closed shoes only, and ankle or knee-high boots would be a great addition.
They won't be too warm during the day and will be cozy at night when the temperature falls into the 40s. Ankle boots that are flat or low-heeled make great walking shoes and look chic, too, so they can easily go from checking out museums in the daytime to upscale dinners or stops for tapas and Spanish wine late-night in the capital city. 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 two other layers as needed, day or night. Since the chance of rain increases by the end of the month, having an umbrella is a good idea -- or just wear a fedora to keep your hair (mostly) dry.
What to Do
The Mercado San Miguel, a market just off the Plaza Major, is a No. 1 stop for tourists. You can get tapas, wine, cocktails, and coffee at this must-do Madrid stop. The Plaza Mayor is a square in central Madrid that's great for people-watching. It is surrounded by bars and restaurants and frequented by street performers. The Plaza de Cibeles is one of the most photographed places in Madrid, and its iconic architecture makes it a top-of-the-list attraction.
If you're an art lover, don't miss the Prado Museum, which houses 8,600 paintings and 700 sculptures, mostly by Spanish, Italian and Flemish artists. The Palacio Real was the opulent home of the kings and queens of Spain from the mid-1700s to the 1900s and is the largest royal residence in Western Europe; while you're there, check out the Campo del Moro Gardens on the street behind the palace.