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 the perfect 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 so 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.

Europe Weather in October
City and CountryAverage HighAverage LowDays With Rainfall
Zurich, Switzerland58 F42 F21
Budapest, Hungary62 F46 F12
Lisbon, Portugal72 F58 F11
Reykjavík, Iceland44 F36 F21
Oslo, Norway49 F39 F16
Helsinki, Finland47 F37 F20
Amsterdam, Netherlands58 F46 F9
Stockholm, Sweden50 F42 F14
Paris, France61 F49 F13
Munich, Germany56 F40 F17
Barcelona, Spain71 F51 F6
Warsaw, Poland55 F40 F15
London, United Kingdom60 F48 F15
Dublin, Ireland56 F45 F24
Monaco, Monaco70 F57 F9
Rome, Italy72 F51 F8
Vienna, Austria58 F45 F13
Istanbul, Turkey69 F56 F10
Athens, Greece71 F60 F7

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 active all over the region in October to celebrate 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. Here are a few highlights of events across Europe this October:

  • 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, the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival, and the Afrovibes Festival.
  • Scandinavia: The best time to the Northern Lights, the Baltic Herring Market in Helsinki, the MIX Copenhagen LGBT 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 the city of Berlin lights up with the Festival of Lights in October.
  • Spain: ​The Barcelona Jazz Festival, the Cavatast Cava (sparkling wine) festival in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, the Gay Film Festival in Madrid, and the Horror and Fantasy Film Festival in San Sebastion all take place in October.
  • Greece: Celebrate chestnuts on Crete, Socrates, fishermen, and Occhi 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 Cork Film Festival, the Guinness Jazz Festival, the Irish Ghost Family Festival and World Ghost Convention, the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Dublin Marathon, and Hallowfest.
  • 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 elsewhere in Europe.