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

Westerkerk church and canal at morning in Amsterdam, Netherlands.Beautiful autumn season in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Prasit photo / Getty Images

While many Americans choose to visit Europe during the warmer summer months, the cool days of autumn provide a great opportunity for a 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 high temperatures between the upper 40s and lower 70s F and low temperatures between the lower 30s to upper 60s F, on average. Southern cities like Sicily and Rome still enjoy warm weather most of the month while northern cities like Helsinki, Finland may already be experiencing freezing temperatures and even snowfall.

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

What to Pack

Except for destinations along the southern coast of Europe, most of the country is especially wet in October, experiencing anywhere from 11 to 21 days of rain on average this month, so you definitely 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. While much of the region experiences a lull in tourism for most of the month, October is Rome's high season now that the heat's gone and walking around the city is enjoyable again. If you haven't decided on which countries you want to visit, you might check the dates for special exhibits, performances, and events to help you determine which one best suits your interest.

  • 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: The Northern Lights, the Baltic Herring Market in Helsinki, the MIX Copenhagen LGBTQ Film Festival, and the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival all highlight the events calendar in Scandinavia.
  • 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, the Cavatast (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: Celebrate chestnuts on Crete, Socrates, fishermen, and Ochi Day, when Metaxa refused to let German 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 and World Ghost Convention, the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Dublin Marathon.
  • United Kingdom: The Birmingham Black International Film Festival, Frieze London, the BFI Film Festival, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and the Nottingham Goose Fair highlight the United Kingdom's 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.
  • Fall rain allows forests throughout much of central Europe to sprout some fine mushrooms for foraging, and guided mushroom hunts can make for a great daytime activity on your trip.
  • If you hope to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, you'll have to travel to Scandinavian countries like Iceland, Greenland, and parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
  • The cheapest and most flexible airline to get to Scandinavian countries is WOW air, which gives you the option of staying in Iceland for as long as you like on a layover to mainland Europe.
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