Europe in October- 15 incredible places to visit
Why visit Europe in October?
I’ll be honest, October is one of our favourite times to explore Europe. The crowds have mostly gone, yet the weather is still pleasant in many places and the autumn colours of the leaves as they turn is just breathtaking.
We spend a lot of time touring Europe in our Motorhome and we often do our ‘big trips’ in September, October or November. When our daughter was younger, we’d often use October Half Term break to do some awesome adventures- and that hasn’t really stopped even though she’s now left school.
Of course, if you can avoid the holiday period completely, even better- you’ll find some amazing places across Europe which are wonderful at this time of year.
We created a post about the best places to visit in Autumn in Europe (if you’re visiting Europe in September or November) but below are some of the best places which we specifically love in Europe in October.
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Europe in October weather
Most places in Europe in October have pretty good weather. Of course, this can never be guaranteed, but even England and Norway are still great to travel to- there’s just enough daylight to make it worthwhile and the scenery is fantastic.
The further south in Europe you go, the better the weather and temperatures become. Spain is still around 20c, whereas Croatia and Greece can be 25c+!
What is there to do in Europe in October?
So many things.
Nearly every attraction in Europe is still open up until October half-term school break (around the middle of October). There are also plenty of festivals/ events on for harvest, music, dance, arts and much more.
Once you decide on a city or country to visit, have a look online at their tourist board for events taking place during that time. Of course, if you want to visit Oktoberfest or any other German beer festival, you’ll need to book WAY in advance!
Ok, ready? Let’s discover some the best things to do and places to visit in Europe in October. If you’d like some help, here’s how we plan a road trip to Europe.
The UK- one of the best European countries to visit in October
The United Kingdom in October is magic. Fewer crowds, pleasant temperatures and easy access to all of the incredible places you’ve heard about. Heck, even London is pleasant at this time of year.
Where should you see in the UK in October?
Other places in England we recommend in October include the Isle of Wight, the Cotswolds, the Lake District and the Northumberland Coast. You can see more details of all our favourite England Road trip ideas here.
We also loved visiting the Brecon Beacons and South Wales on our Wales Road Trip– we can’t wait to go back for more.
Lastly, Scotland is spectacular at this time of year. The changing autumn colours, the festivals and the sheer beauty of the landscape- this should definitely be on your European bucket list. Here are some of the best scenic drives in Scotland to whet your appetite.
If you’d like help planning your Scotland trip, here’s our favourite 7-10 day Scotland road trip itinerary– with all the highlights you need to see.
What is the weather like in the UK in October?
The weather in most of the UK is pretty pleasant. Obviously, northern Scotland has more chance of cold than southern England, but you’re unlikely to find snow anywhere.
As always when you’re travelling to England, bring a waterproof jacket, thick socks, a hat, an umbrella, a swimsuit, shorts, sunglasses and suncream. Coz you just never know!
Dolomites- one of the best places to visit in October in Europe
We explored the Dolomites last October and it was AMAZING. Seriously, it’s impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t been how incredible this area is- and the colours in October were fantastic.
Where are the best places to visit in October?
We visited the Dolomites in our motorhome and it’s the perfect way to explore the area, but if you’re travelling by car there are plenty of hotels and B & B’s available. We stayed in the Dolomites for 3 days- here’s our perfect 3-day Dolomites itinerary which you can totally steal. 🙂
We spent 2 nights camping in our van at the top of Tre Cime di Lavaredo– which was an experience. The view of the sunrise coming over the peaks was incredible but the coolest part was being totally swamped by the mist, before the clouds moved away.
What’s the weather like in October?
It was very pleasant in the Dolomites in October. We wore jeans and t-shirts- so it wasn’t really hot but also wasn’t freezing. It was the perfect time for hiking and exploring the area on foot. If you want more cities, here are some of the best places to go campervanning in Italy and enjoy some culture.
Switzerland- Europe’s hidden gem in October
We love Switzerland. We’ve visited the country many times, at all times of the year but October is one of our favourites- again, because of the fewer crowds and the spectacular scenery.
Where are the best places in Switzerland to visit in October?
There are many places we could recommend, but a couple of the places we KNOW are amazing in October include the Rhine Falls– one of Europe’s largest waterfalls and also the Gelmerbahn Funicular and the Gelmersee Lake- one of the most spectacular places we have ever visited!
What is the weather like in Switzerland in October?
Up in the Alps, it can get chilly, even on sunny days, so if you visit Gelmersee be sure to wrap up warmly. At lower altitudes, temperatures are still mid-teens (c), so very pleasant.
Oktoberfest- one of the best things to do in Europe in October
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What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival! In my opinion, it’s an absolute must, once in a lifetime, bucket list worthy event!
It takes place in Munich, Germany, at the beginning of October, and lasts 16-18 days.
There are 14 large beer tents set up in a massive fairground, with smaller tents and carnival type events all around. Each tent has a slightly different culture and atmosphere, but they all include traditional Bavarian food, lots of music and singing, and of course many steins of beer!
What do you do at Oktoberfest?
When you first arrive in Munich, you need to get a traditional Bavarian outfit: lederhosen for men and dirndls for women. Everybody wears these, it’s not just a German or just a tourist thing, and it really heightens the celebratory vibes.
My advice for visiting Oktoberfest on a budget is to get there on a weekday in the early afternoon, and plant your butt at a free table in a beer tent. (If you want to reserve a table, do this at least 6 months in advance). Then stay at your table all day, eat traditional food, and make some friends.
In the evening is when the party really starts, and you find yourself right in the middle of it with a nice table! Don’t be shy to make friends, have lots of German beer, and sing lots of songs! I still think of Oktoberfest when I hear ‘Country Road,’ which is for some reason an Oktoberfest classic. Honestly, one day at Oktoberfest was enough for me: I couldn’t imagine going back the next day!
You can stay anywhere in Munich to attend Oktoberfest: public transportation takes you straight to the festival. Be sure to book lodging early, however: places book out six months to a year in advance!
Norway- possible the best European country to visit in October
Ever wanted to see the Aurora Borealis/ Northern Lights? We have been lucky enough to see them a few times as we’ve travelled Europe.
One of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Europe is Norway. This incredible country is still perfectly visitable in October and you have a great chance of seeing the lights in the evening (although, of course, nothing in nature is guaranteed!)
Where should you visit in Norway in October?
Anywhere. Everywhere. You can’t go wrong. Some of our favourite places include the awe-inspiring Trollstigen road, riding the Flamsbana railway, seeing Sverd y fjell, the Swords in the Rock and walking behind the waterfall at Steinsdalsfossen
It is possible to travel Norway on a budget, but you do need to keep eating/ drinking out to a minimum.
What’s the weather like in Norway in October?
Starting to get chilly, but still with a possibility of sunny days. The further north you go, the cooler it will start to get- especially at night. You might even get some snow. This is another time to bring a wide range of clothing, including coats, sunglasses, shorts and sturdy walking boots!
Vienna- one of the best cities in Europe in October
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After spending 2 days in Vienna in October, we highly recommend travelling to this beautiful city during this time of year. It’s simply magical.
What are the highlights of Vienna in October?
The best things about visiting Vienna in the fall is that the crowds will not be around. Most of the famous tourist sights like the Schönbrunn Palace, the Gloriette, the Hofburg Palace, the Prater, and any museum you want to visit in the MuseumsQuartier will have shorter wait times and fewer people around, making it all the more enjoyable to visit and take in the sights.
Of course, if you can visit Vienna in November, the famous Viennese Christmas markets (some of the best and biggest Christmas Markets in Europe) will be open from mid-November. This makes exploring the city during this time even more magical. Just be aware that a few of the attractions may close while they set up the markets.
What is the weather like in Vienna in October?
The weather cools down just enough to make it comfortable to walk around all day. If it gets too cool for your liking, you can always pop into a cute café and enjoy some sachertorte and a coffee to warm up!
Strasbourg, France- perfect in October
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Strasbourg is located directly east of Paris and is on French side of the border with Germany, just minutes from the Rhine River.
What is there to do in Strasbourg in October?
The list of things to do in Strasbourg is endless. Wander through cute pedestrianised streets and meander along the canals through La Petite France.
Enjoy dining at the various bars, cafes and restaurants or get a coffee to go with a patisserie from a local boulangerie.
Visit the Cathedrale Notre Dame and marvel at the Astronomical Clock, climb the tower and enjoy the views of this picture-perfect French village. Visit the many museums or visit France’s biggest mosque.
While you are there, be sure to hire a car or go on a tour of the Alsace Region. Stop in local villages and explore all they have to offer. Enjoy the cobbled stone streets in Euguisheim and visit the walled village in Riquewihr. Be sure to make time to also visit the 12th-century fortress of High Koenigsbourg as well.
Strasbourg and the Alsace region is known for their fabulous vineyards, for the wine of course, as well as their outlook and countryside. Take a walk through the vines and enjoy some of the local wines, with their speciality being white wines and a Riesling.
What is the weather like in Strasbourg France in October?
The weather is perfect for getting out and about on foot or by bike and Strasbourg and the Alsace region is the best place to do exactly this. It’s around mid-late teens (celsius) so perfect for exploring.
Where else is good in France in October?
There are many other places in France to visit in October. Here are 11 French road trip ideas you have to experience. You are need to see these top 10 cities in France and if you like history, here are 7 of the best historical places in France.
Prague- another great city to enjoy October in Europe
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Prague belongs to one of Europe’s most fascinating places and October is the perfect month to visit the city of a hundred spires.
Why visit Prague in October?
Prague is less crowded at this time and, as well as enjoying the beautiful Autumn colours, you can also enjoy the festival of lights – Signal Festival.
The Signal Festival is held annually in October and you can see the lighting installations in streets and public spaces across the city, including famous historical landmarks.
What are the highlights of Prague?
Be sure to visit Prague Castle, the largest historical Castle complex in Europe. There, you will also find the St. Vitus Cathedral, one of the most richly decorated cathedrals in central Europe.
Another symbol of Prague is the Charles Bridge – a historical stone bridge decorated with 30 Baroque statues. On the other side of the river, there is the Old Town, where you can see the famous Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square.
Other popular sites are also the Jewish Quarter with Spanish Synagogue and Old Jewish cemetery, the dominant of the Old Town Square – the Church of our Lady before Týn (Týnský charm), Wenceslas Square, and National Museum.
How long should you spend in Prague?
If you are a fan of historical cities, plan at least 2-3 days. Prague is full of the romantic cobblestone streets with Gothic and Renaissance buildings where you can find lovely cafes or pubs with world-famous beer. Czech beer isn’t just great, it’s also very cheap (less than 2 Euros for half a litre of draft beer or less than 1 Euro for a beer in a supermarket).
Prague is not the only beautiful place worth visiting in October. Get some inspiration and check also other amazing places to visit in the Czech Republic.
Stuttgart, Germany- a European city with lots to do in October
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Oh, go on then. Let’s do another German beer festival. After all- it’s one of the highlights of Europe in October!
Did you know the world’s second-largest beer festival, and a much less crowded one, is in Stuttgart.
What is the Cannstatter Volksfest?
The Cannstatter Volksfest is a three-week festival which runs every September and October. Situated alongside the Neckar River in Stuttgart, the Volksfest spreads out over dozens of hectares of land.
There are hundreds of vendors, including local, regional and national artisans, amusement park rides, food stands, both local and international, and dozens of beer tents. Beer tent reservation is typically done online and reservations are usually done several weeks to several months in advance.
What is the Cannstatter Volksfest like?
The beer festival is family-friendly and typically sees families attending during the day when there is a more casual atmosphere. The beer tents usually have German foods or snacks that go well with beer. Some of these foods include potatoes, chicken, sauerkraut, and bratwurst.
As with other beer festivals in Germany, there is specific attire to wear. Dirndls are traditional German dresses worn by women, while lederhosen is a man’s outfit. These can be purchased at many German stores beforehand or in Stuttgart whilst visiting.
Fun fact: the festival has an official mascot called the Wasenhasi, a rabbit that you may see walking around the festival.
If you will be attending the festival, it is best to stay near the centre, as this will give you a true German experience and you can easily take the tram in. A great place to stay at is the Le Meridien in Stuttgart or the more budget-friendly Hilton Garden Inn, which is also closer to the festival grounds.
Where is hot in Europe in October? Spain is!
Spain is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe as it’s still warm. Like, swim in the sea warm.
We love visiting Spain in October, especially with our motorhome so we can park near the beach. If you want some ideas, here are some fabulous places to visit in Mainland Spain for sunshine.
We recommend taking the time to explore some places inland as well as on the coast- the weather is nice in all areas and you’ll find many beautiful hidden gems up in the Spanish mountains.
Don’t forget to try some authentic Spanish cuisine- it’s one of the best foodie locations in Europe!
Crete- a perfect place to visit in Europe in October
Crete is the largest Greek island and has plenty to offer. From stunning beaches, fascinating historical sites and excellent hiking routes, there is something for every taste and budget.
Why is Crete the perfect destination in Europe in October?
The temperatures drop from the unbearable heat of the summer to pleasant mid-20s degree Celsius and the sky is still blue. It’s also the end of the season in the Greek islands which means fewer crowds and cheaper room rates.
What is there to do on Crete?
Explore Crete’s most gorgeous beaches, such as Balos beach with perfect turquoise water and soft white sand contrasting with a volcanic, rusty and rocky backdrop. Other amazing must-see beaches in Crete include Elafonisi and Falasarna beach.
If you’re more adventurous, there is Samaria Gorge to be conquered situated in the National Park. Hiking the gorge is a genuinely gratifying experience with some incredible scenery. At the end of the hike, there is a beautiful beach to reward your hard work.
For history fans, there are various archaeological sites to explore. The most famous one is Knossos, which is believed to be the oldest city in Europe dating from the Bronze Age and it was the political centre of the Minoan Civilization.
Don’t forget to indulge in mouth-watering Greek cuisine. Sample Pasticcio, Souvlaki, fresh feta cheese and Tzatziki and wash it down with the finest Greek wine. Head to Chania – a charming harbour city with many great restaurants overlooking old, Venetian port.
Athens, Greece- one of the best European cities in October
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Why is Athens great in October?
Travelling to Athens in Autumn will help you find cheaper flights and accommodation. And because it’s the off-season, there will be fewer tourists. However, the weather will still be better than in many other European cities- mid 20s on average.
Some things are actually better at this time of year. For example, it’s less tiring to climb up the Acropolis when the temperatures are lower. The same goes for Lykavittos Hill, the highest point in Athens which is perfect for sunset watching.
What is there to Do?
There are, of course, several ancient sites in Athens aside from the Acropolis, such as the Roman and Ancient Agora, the Kerameikos cemetery, or the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
At the Acropolis Museum, you’ll learn all about the history of the Acropolis and ancient Athens. And if you’re an archaeology buff you must visit the National Archaeological Museum which is home to some of the most significant Greek archaeological artifacts.
In Plaka and Anafiotika you will find colorful neoclassical buildings as well as white houses that give you a taste of the Greek islands.
Food is always a good idea, no matter the season! You’ve probably tried Greek food before, but it will be much more authentic in Greece. If you’re vegan or vegetarian there are also several vegan restaurants in Athens to visit.
Lastly, the changing of the guards every hour is one of the main things to do in Athens that you really shouldn’t miss.
So, have you decided where you’re going to visit in Europe in October? Whether you go this year or next, you’ll definitely have an incredible time.