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

Arch Bridge Over River Amidst Buildings Against Sky

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While many Americans choose to visit Europe during the warmer summer months, the cool days of autumn provide a great opportunity for a crisper European getaway, especially in October. As crowds in most of the region die down in tourism's shoulder season, prices on airfare and accommodations drop, making October the perfect month to plan your visit. Even as locals have begun to relax into their normal lives after the busy tourist season, they still take a few breaks to enjoy the crisp weather and celebrate the fall with international festivals and community events all month long.

However, fall also brings shorter days, an increased chance of rain, and chilly evenings, especially in northern Europe, so you'll have to remember to pack extra layers to accommodate for October's sporadic weather fluctuations no matter where you go. You should also be aware that some restaurants and resorts in southern Europe may close up shop at the end of September and won't be open when you arrive.

Europe Weather in October

The weather varies drastically across northern, southern, coastal, and inland Europe, but the entire continent usually experiences average high temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 21 degrees Celsius) and average low temperatures between 30 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 and 15 degrees Celsius). Southern countries like Italy and Greece still enjoy warm weather most of the month while northern countries like Finland and Ireland may already be experiencing freezing temperatures and even snowfall.

Europe Weather in October
City and Country Average High Average Low Days With Rainfall
Amsterdam, Netherlands 58 F (14 C) 46 F (13 C) 9
Athens, Greece 71 F (22 C) 60 F (16 C) 7
Barcelona, Spain 71 F (22 C) 51 F (11 C) 6
Budapest, Hungary 62 F (17 C) 46 F (13 C) 12
Dublin, Ireland 56 F (13 C) 45 F (7 C) 24
Helsinki, Finland 47 F (8 C) 37 F (3 C) 20
Istanbul, Turkey 69 F (21 C) 56 F (13 C) 10
Lisbon, Portugal 72 F (22 C) 58 F (14 C) 11
London, United Kingdom 60 F (16 C) 48 F (9 C) 15
Monaco, Monaco 70 F (21 C) 57 F (14 C) 9
Munich, Germany 56 F (13 C) 40 F (4 C) 17
Oslo, Norway 49 F (9 C) 39 F (4 C) 16
Paris, France 61 F (16 C) 49 F (10 C) 13
Reykjavik, Iceland 44 F (7 C) 36 F (2 C) 21
Rome, Italy 72 F (22 C) 51 (11 C) 8
Stockholm, Sweden 50 F (10 C) 42 F (6 C) 14
Vienna, Austria 58 F (14 C) 45 F (7 C) 13
Warsaw, Poland 55 F (13 C) 40 F (4 C) 15
Zurich, Switzerland 58 F (14 C) 42 F (6 C) 21

What to Pack

Except for destinations along the southern coast of Europe, most of the continent is especially wet in October, experiencing anywhere from 11 to 21 days of rain on average this month, so you don't want to visit without bringing along a raincoat and umbrella. You'll also want to pack clothing you can layer to accommodate for temperate days and chilly nights, including a light jacket that's preferably waterproof.

October Events in Europe

From Oktoberfest in Germany to a city-wide marathon in Amsterdam, Europeans are actively celebrating fall, Halloween, and the annual harvest in October. While much of the region experiences a lull in tourism for most of the month, October happens to Rome's high season when the cool weather makes walking around the city enjoyable again after a hot and humid summer. If you haven't decided on which regions you want to visit, you can check the dates for special exhibits, performances, and events to help you determine which one best suits your interest.

In 2020, many events may be canceled, postponed, or are taking place virtually, so be sure to check the official website for the latest details.

October Travel Tips

  • Driving through the beautiful fall foliage is one of the highlights of visiting Europe in October, much like it is in the United States. Remember to get an International Driving Permit if you plan to rent a car abroad.
  • Autumn rains allow forests throughout much of central Europe to sprout some fine mushrooms for foraging. Guided mushroom hunts can make for a great daytime activity on your trip.
  • If you hope to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in October, you'll have to travel to Scandinavian countries like Iceland, Greenland, and parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.