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.
- Netherlands: Electronic dance music festivals like the Amsterdam Dance Event and AMF Amsterdam come to the Netherlands in October, accompanied by the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, and the Afrovibes Festival.
- Scandinavia: There's a small chance you may see the northern lights, but other October events you can look forward to in Scandinavia include the Baltic Herring Market in Helsinki, the MIX Copenhagen LGBTQ Film Festival, and the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival.
- France: The Nuit Blanche arts festival takes over cities all over the country in early October, while the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, the Amiens Rederie flea market in Amiens, and the Jazz Between Two Towers in La Rochelle are also among the month's event highlights.
- Germany: Munich celebrates Oktoberfest, Ludwigsburg hosts the annual Pumpkin Festival, and Berlin lights up with the Festival of Lights in October.
- Spain: The Barcelona Jazz Festival, Cavatast (a sparkling wine festival) in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Madrid, and the Horror and Fantasy Film Festival in San Sebastian all take place in October.
- Greece: You can celebrate Ochi Day (or Oxi Day) on October 28 all over Greece, which marks the day that Prime Minister Metaxa refused to let Italian troops into the country to stop occupation during World War II.
- Ireland: The country is bustling with autumnal events including the Guinness Jazz Festival, the Irish Ghost Family Festival, World Ghost Convention, the Dublin Theatre Festival, and the Dublin Marathon.
- United Kingdom: The Frieze London art fair, the BFI London Film Festival, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and the Nottingham Goose Fair highlight the United Kingdom's October events.
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.