Scandinavia in October: Weather and Attractions

Weather Is Pleasant, Attractions Are Many

Snowy mountains and frozen sea.
••• Roberto Moiola / Sysaworld/Getty Images

The weather in Copenhagen and across Scandinavia in October is cool and pleasant. Summer is high season for travel to Scandinavia, so traveling to this region in the fall lets you take advantage of lower prices on flights and accommodations that are common at this time of year. 

Scandinavian Weather in October

Winters in Scandinavia are cold, but in October, the average high temperature during the daytime in Copenhagen is 54 degrees Fahrenheit, with the temperature dropping to 45 degrees at night.

A bit further north, in Stockholm, afternoon highs average 50 degrees, with lows of 41 degrees. Afternoon highs in Helsinki in October average 46 degrees, with lows around 37 degrees. In Oslo, afternoon highs top out at 50 degrees on average, with nighttime lows falling to 39 degrees. Average afternoon highs in Reykjavik are 43 degrees, with nighttime lows at 36 degrees. Throughout the region, it is cool but not cold, with some variation north to south. Bear in mind that as the month progresses, the temperatures head downward.

What to Pack

When packing for a trip to Scandinavia in October, it's best to plan layered outfits; it can be relatively mild during the day and chilly at night. Light long-sleeved shirts layered with a warm fleece or wool sweater on top are good options. Take along a pashmina, easy-to-pack cashmere wrap, or long scarf to wrap around your neck when you need a bit more warmth.

A leather jacket or blazer is a good top layer over a shirt and a sweater. Pack with an eye to multiple uses and stick to one color scheme so you can switch off layers as needed. Take comfortable low-heeled or flat ankle boots for all the walking you'll do. They look chic with everything and make your feet happy.

October Attractions

In addition to glorious fall foliage, there is much to do and see in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland in October. Here are a few attractions to put on your itinerary if you plan to visit the Scandinavian countries in mid-autumn.

Best Times to See Aurora Borealis: The aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights, is mainly associated with dark winter nights. But this natural phenomenon is visible year-round. The ideal times for viewing the Northern Lights are from September through April from 11 p.m. to 2 am. The further south in Scandinavia you go, the shorter the aurora borealis season is.

Baltic Herring Market, Helsinki: This is the oldest traditional festival in Helsinki; it dates back to 1743. It celebrates the return home of fishermen from the Baltic Sea. Salted herring is a featured delicacy at the Baltic Herring Market, and woolen clothing made from island sheep is sold along with other traditional foods and items. The market is held in early October. 

Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik:     This annual festival celebrating Icelandic and international new music debuted in 1999 in an airplane hanger at Reykjavik Airport. Celebrated over five days in October or November, Iceland Airwaves has grown to become one of the biggest new music festivals in the world.

If it's in early November when you plan to go to Scandinavia, it might be worth extending your trip.

MIX Copenhagen LGBT Film Festival: ​One of the oldest LGBT film festivals in the world, the MIX Copenhagen festival screens dozens of features, documentaries, and short films every year, drawing crowds of 10,000 people. It's traditionally held during the last week of October. 

Bergen International Film Festival, Norway: The Bergen International Film Festival has been held annually in Bergen, Norway, since 2000. It is Norway's biggest film festival, with more than 100 films shown at theaters around Bergen. This festival draws upwards of 50,000 visitors to Bergen. 

Stockholm Open Tennis Tournament: ​ Founded by Swedish tennis star Sven Davidson in 1969, the Stockholm Open attracts premier professional and amateur male tennis players from around the globe.

It's held in the Kungliga Tennishallen and draws more than 40,000 visitors annually.