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

Germany, Bavaria, Munich, View of Oktoberfest fair at dusk

 Westend61 / Getty Images 

September is recommended time and time again as an ideal time to visit Europe. The weather has cooled but remains warm enough to enjoy outdoor cafes and festivals, you'll find fewer crowds, and prices drop some for transportation, hotels, and activities.

Europe Weather in September

In the Mediterranean countries like Italy, early September might be as warm as in summer but things cool down toward the end of the month. Mainland Italy and Greece remain hot—Athens, for example, has daytime temperatures averaging in the above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius)., while islands like Sicily, cooled by ocean breezes, have average temperatures well above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

In most of central Europe, September is an ideal time to enjoy outdoor festivals before fall rains arrive in October. Temperatures can reach up to the mid-70s F or down into the low 50s F—the 60s F are the norm. Watch for rain showers, especially in late September.

To the extreme north, in countries like Lapland, Norway, and Finland, September brings the first of winter weather. While it may not snow until October, temperatures average from the 40s to 50s F at night.

  • Barcelona, Spain: 78 F (25 C) / 62 F (17 C)
  • Munich, Germany: 61 F (16 C) / 51 F (10 C)
  • Oslo, Norway: 60 dF (15 C) / 45 F (7 C)
  • Paris, France: 69 F (20 C) / 52 F (11 C)
  • Rome, Italy: 79 F (26 C) / 60 F (15 C)
  • Venice, Italy: 74 F (23 C) / 57 F (14 C)

What to Pack

Even if you are going to be enjoying warm weather in southern Italy or Greece, you'll appreciate having a warmer layer for the evening, like a sweater or wrap. Layering is the best way to go with lightweight slacks and shirts, light sweaters, and a hat to ward off the sun and potential raindrops. Rain is a possibility, so make your outer jacket layer a waterproof one.

You'll always appreciate having comfortable walking shoes or in warmer climates, walking sandals. Avoid the common American white sneakers and find a classy leather walking shoe that can double as a dress shoe in the evening. Women will probably want to save high-heeled dress shoes for the evening.

September Events in Europe

September is the start of the arts and festivals season, and harvest events such as the Rioja Grape Harvest Festival in Spain and Oktoberfest in Germany draw crowds of revelers.

  • Venice Historic Regata: On the first weekend in September, the Grand Canal is flooded with rowers racing in the colorful, Regata StoricaThis yearly event is held to commemorate the 1489 Act of Caterina Cornaro, when, as the wife of the King of Cyprus, she renounced her throne in favor of Venice. You'll see an impressive display of boats, along with crew members dressed in period costume.
  • Venice Film Festival: Film buffs will certainly know of the Venice Film Festival, which also draws large crowds each September. The festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the trifecta of film festivals, along with the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival.
  • Arezzo Medieval Festival: Also during the first Sunday in September in Italy is the Medieval Jousting Festival. See the 12th century re-enacted with games and costumes from the days of knights and maidens.
  • Oktoberfest in Munich: Though the name is misleading, the world's most famous beer festival, Oktoberfest, starts in September, and it truly a must-do experience for beer lovers.
  • San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain: The San Sebastian Film Festival held annually in September in the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastián in the Basque Country.
  • Rioja Grape Harvest Festival in Spain: Lovers of Spanish Rioja wines will enjoy this festival located in Logroño. The celebrations include bull-running, parades, music, and wine and food events.
  • Jazz in Beaune, France: For excellent music blended with amazing wines, don't miss Jazz a Beaune and the St. Emilion Festival that kicks off the French harvest season.
  • Musical Waters at Versailles: The Musical Waters at the Chateau de Versailles and the Autumn Festival are must-do events at this elegant site.
  • Antwerp Laundry Day: Belgium celebrates Laundry Day in towns like Antwerp where you'll find pulsing music in a lively environment on seven separate stages.

September Travel Tips

  • Although there are fewer tourists in Europe in September, many visitors are fully aware of this prime time to visit. Make your reservations early, especially in places where there are festivals and events.
  • September and October are considered shoulder season months in most countries in Europe but for shoulder-season prices keep both your arrival and departure dates within the season.
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