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22 Best Places to Visit in Europe in October (Stunning!)

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22 Best Places to Visit in Europe in October (Stunning!)

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Europe in October is a spectacle to behold. As summer fades, the continent transforms into a picturesque canvas dotted with hues of red, orange, and gold. The weather cools down, making it a perfect time for those who wish to escape the summer crowds and enjoy a more relaxed, authentic experience and stunning autumn foliage. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, here are the best places to visit in Europe in October. 

Villandry castle at fall day, France. Best places to visit in Europe in October
Villandry Castle in the Loire Valley at fall day, France: Best places to visit in Europe in October

In this guide, we’ll unveil some of the best destinations to explore with practical tips and sightseeing and seasonal events to check out during this magical month. 

So pack your bags and ready your spirit of adventure as we embark on this autumnal journey across Europe.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in October: Travel Tips

Best places to visit in Europe in October

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Traveling to Europe in October can be a rewarding experience with fewer crowds, mild weather, and a range of cultural events. 

October is an autumn month which is a shoulder season between the summer rush and winter chill, making it an ideal time to explore Europe. 

Note: Typically, autumn months in Europe are September, October and November 

There are many European destinations throughout the continent that would be perfect for a short break or longer holiday in October. 

Old town Basel Switzerland in the fall
Fall weather in Europe: Europe in October

From the white-washed cliffside towns of Santorini or other Greek Islands, national parks, and hidden gems in the Balkans to the golden sand beaches of the Canary Islands, there is something for everyone in Europe during this month. 

However, to make the most of your European getaway, here are some tips to consider:

  1. Pack for the weather: October is a transitional month in Europe, with weather varying greatly between countries and regions. It’s best to pack layers, including a waterproof jacket and comfortable footwear for walking.
  2. Book in advance: While there are fewer tourists in October, popular tourist destinations and attractions can still be busy. Booking tickets in advance can save time and sometimes money.
  3. Explore local festivals: October is a month of wine harvest festivals and cultural events in many European countries. Don’t miss out on these local experiences.
  4. Try seasonal foods: Autumn is a great time to sample seasonal European cuisine, like fresh mushrooms in France or truffles in Italy.
  5. Consider a city pass: Many European cities offer tourist passes that include free public transportation and admission to major attractions.
  6. Stay flexible: Autumn weather can be unpredictable. Be ready to change your plans if necessary, perhaps swapping an outdoor activity for a museum visit on a rainy day.

Remember, each European destination has its unique charm and offerings, so research and plan according to your interests. 

Here are our top favorites,

1. Munich, Germany | Oktoberfest, fall events and sightseeing

  • Average temperatures: 5 to 14 degrees Celsius (42 to 57 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Oktoberfest 
  • Where to stay: Hotel München City Center

Munich, Germany – home of the world-renowned Oktoberfest. This annual beer festival, which runs from late September into the first weekend in October, is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. But there’s more to Munich than just beer.

MUNICH - OCTOBER 16: Oktoberfest October Europe Autumn destinations
Munich, Germany

The crisp autumn air in Munich is perfect for immersing oneself in the city’s rich history. Explore the grandeur of Nymphenburg Palace, a magnificent Baroque palace that once served as the summer residence of Bavarian rulers.

Marvel at the opulence of the Munich Residenz, the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach dynasty, showcasing stunning architecture and artistic treasures. 

Don’t miss the iconic Marienplatz, the vibrant central square with its famous glockenspiel and charming medieval buildings.

Foodies can also delight in traditional Bavarian cuisine, such as pretzels, sausages, and apple strudel.

Moreover, Munich’s English Garden, one of the world’s largest urban parks, transforms into a breathtaking spectacle during the fall season. As the leaves change color, the garden bursts into a riot of vibrant hues, providing a picturesque and serene retreat right in the heart of the bustling city.

Take a leisurely stroll along the meandering paths, discover hidden corners, and soak in the tranquil beauty of this verdant oasis.

Munich in October is truly a feast for all senses.

Read: Bavaria itinerary | Best places to visit in Germany in winter

2. Basel, Switzerland | Museums, Autumn Fest and glory

  • Average temperatures: 8 to 16 degrees Celsius (46 to 60 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Basel Autumn Fair
  • Where to stay: MOTEL One

Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland. This is a beautiful city where the Swiss, French, and German cultures intertwine – unveiling an exclusive charm in October. 

Basel, one of the Best places to visit in Europe in October
Basel: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Nestled on the Rhine River, Basel is often referred to as the cultural capital of Switzerland, home to an impressive array of museums, galleries, and historic buildings.

If you’re an art enthusiast, Basel is your paradise. Visit the Fondation Beyeler, a world-class modern art museum that houses works from renowned artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Kunstmuseum is another must visit institution!

Basel old town: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Dive into Basel’s history with a visit to the Old Town, a well-preserved medieval city center with narrow cobbled streets, colorful houses, and stunning architecture. 

Be sure to stop by Basel Minster, a striking red sandstone cathedral offering panoramic views of the Rhine and the city.

Imbibe the essence of autumn by walking along the river Rhine. The trees lining the banks burst into vivid autumnal colors, reflecting on the shimmering waters and creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Autumn is also the season for hearty Swiss cuisine. Enjoy a cozy dinner in one of Basel’s traditional restaurants, sampling dishes like cheese fondue and rösti, accompanied by a glass of local wine.

Finally, don’t miss the Basel Autumn Fair in late October. This historic funfair, dating back to the 15th century, spreads across several plazas in the historic city center and is a joyous celebration of food, games, and rides.

With its cultural richness, beautiful scenery, and warm hospitality, Basel in October is a captivating destination that leaves every visitor spellbound.

Resources: Switzerland in the fall | Switzerland itinerary 7 days

3. Paris, France | Art, food and autumnal wonders

Paris, France – the city of lights, revered for its rich history, vibrant culture, and iconic landmarks, unveils a unique charm in October. 

Paris France
Paris: Best places to visit in Europe in October

As autumn takes hold, Paris transforms into a kaleidoscope of warm colors, with golden leaves carpeting the city’s picturesque boulevards and parks.

Start your journey with a visit to the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum, and a historic monument in Paris. This renowned museum houses an extensive collection of artworks and historical artifacts, including the iconic Mona Lisa.

Next, ascend the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris, for an unforgettable view of the city painted in autumn hues. 

A boat tour along the Seine River offers a different perspective on Paris’s architectural marvels, including the Notre Dame Cathedral (just ensure you carry a light cardigan and scarf on the ride). 

Seine River
Seine River cruise

For food lovers, Paris in October is a gastronomic delight. Autumn is the season for game and mushrooms, which feature heavily in traditional French dishes. Savor the flavors of autumn in quintessential French restaurants or indulge in a cup of hot chocolate in a cozy café, watching the world go by.

Paris’s parks, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Bois de Boulogne, are a sight to behold in October. These beautiful green spaces are cloaked in vibrant autumn colors, offering perfect spots for leisurely strolls and picnics. 

A beautiful alley with yellow trees in Luxembourg Palace gardens during the autumn season, Paris, France

Immerse yourself in the city’s thriving art and music scene by attending the AFROPUNK Paris (2 day music event), and FIAC – International Contemporary Art Fair, which takes place in October.

It does rain in Paris 8 days of the month – so we recommend preparing for quick splashes!

With its splendid sights, delectable cuisine, and rich culture, Paris in October is an unforgettable travel experience.

Resources: Paris in the fall | Best time to visit Paris

4. Rome, Italy | History, Archaeological Sites, Food, and Autumn Serenity

  • Average temperatures: 12 to 22 degrees Celsius (53 to 72 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Meditrinalia festival (wine and longevity), Fontinalia festival (October 13th)
  • Where to stay: Prassede Palace Hotel

Rome – the Eternal City, a captivating blend of ancient history, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine, is particularly enchanting in October. 

Girl in Colosseum Rome
Rome: Best places to visit in Europe in October

As the heat of the summer recedes, Rome unveils a softer side with mild temperatures and fewer crowds, making it the best time to explore this timeless city. (Here is an amazing 4-day Rome itinerary to check off all the highlights)

Embark on a journey through history by visiting the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, and an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. Just a short walk away, you’ll find the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where the city’s most ancient and significant buildings are located.

No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican City. Explore the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at the masterpieces of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. 

Sistine Chapel
The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel

Art lovers can indulge in gallery hopping, with places like the Borghese Gallery exhibiting an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, and antiquities.

Autumn in Rome is a culinary delight. October sees the arrival of artichoke season, a popular ingredient in Roman dishes. Enjoy a hearty plate of ‘carciofi alla romana’ (Roman-style artichokes) or ‘pasta alla gricia’ (pasta with guanciale and pecorino cheese).

Top it off with a glass of ‘vino novello’, the new wine released in October.

Lastly, the city’s parks, such as Villa Borghese and Villa Doria Pamphili, offer beautiful autumnal landscapes. 

The trails are blanketed with crunchy, colorful leaves, and the air is crisp, providing a perfect backdrop for walks, picnics, or simply unwinding after a day of sightseeing.

From its timeless monuments and vibrant street life to its culinary delights, Rome in October offers an unforgettable, quintessentially Italian experience.

Read: Rome and Amalfi Coast itinerary | Best piazzas in Rome

5. Split, Croatia | History, Nature, and Mediterranean Autumn

  • Average temperatures: 14 to 20 degrees Celsius (58 to 68 F) 
  • Where to stay: Hotel Split

Split, a stunning city on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, is a hidden gem in October. As the peak summer crowds depart, the city reveals a more serene, yet equally vibrant, side that is truly enchanting.

Split: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Start your exploration at the Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient palace, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, today forms about half of the old town of Split. 

Wander through its labyrinthine streets, taking in the historic buildings, lively cafés, and bustling marketplaces.

Visit the Ivan Meštrović Gallery to immerse yourself in the work of Croatia’s most famous sculptor. The gallery is housed in a beautiful villa designed by Meštrović himself and overlooks the sea.

Split’s Riva Promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll, offering beautiful sea views and lined with palm trees and charming cafés. 

Riva promenade

Nearby, you’ll find Marjan Hill, a huge nature park offering panoramic views of the city, the sea, and the surrounding islands. The park, with its pine forest, walking paths, and ancient chapels, is especially beautiful in October as it embraces the Mediterranean autumn.

Croatian cuisine, with its fresh seafood, local meats, and seasonal vegetables, is a gastronomic delight. Try ‘peka’, a traditional Dalmatian dish where meat or fish and vegetables are baked under a bell-like dome, or sample the local wines and olive oils.

Peka

For a bit of adventure, take a boat trip to the nearby islands like Hvar or Brač. The weather in October is ideal for exploring these beautiful islands, with their crystal-clear waters, quaint villages, and serene beaches.

Or head to Plitvice Lakes National Park on a day tour. With its breathtaking lakes, valleys, and waterfall cascades, this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit in October for nature lovers.

In Split, the Mediterranean autumn brings with it a unique blend of history, culture, and nature that will take your breath away. 

Read: Croatia itinerary 10 days | Split or Dubrovnik: Which one to visit

6. Barcelona, Spain | Art, Gastronomy, and Mediterranean Autumn

  • Average temperatures: 17 to 23 degrees Celsius (62 to 73 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Sitges Film Festival, Barcelona’s Oktoberfest, Halloween parties, BAUM Fest
  • Where to stay: Garbi Millenni

Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia in Spain, is a delightful destination for an October visit. 

Views from Bunkers in Barcelona in September
Views from Bunkers in Barcelona in the fall

As summer crowds recede, the city exudes a more relaxed yet lively atmosphere, with warm days and cool evenings painting a perfect picture of the Mediterranean autumn.

Begin your journey with a visit to the iconic Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of the city’s beloved architect, Antoni Gaudí. Make sure to also explore other Gaudí’s wonders like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà, each showcasing his unique architectural style.

Stroll down the famous Las Ramblas, a bustling street lined with shops, cafes, and street performers. Here you’ll find the colorful Mercat de la Boqueria, where you can savor authentic Catalan cuisine, from tapas to fresh seafood. 

La Ramblas: Best places to visit in Europe in October

October is also the season for wild mushrooms in Catalonia, so don’t miss a chance to try dishes featuring this local delicacy.

For art lovers, Barcelona’s museums offer a feast for the eyes. Visit the Picasso Museum to appreciate the works of Pablo Picasso, or head to the Joan Miró Foundation to delve into the surreal world of Joan Miró.

Barcelona’s parks and beaches take on a different charm in the autumn. The Park de la Ciutadella, with its beautiful lake and monuments, or the sandy beaches like Barceloneta, are perfect for enjoying the autumn sun. It will be slightly chilly for a swim but perfect for a stroll!

Barcelona basks in festivities in October – top events include the Sitges Film Festival, Barcelona’s Oktoberfest, Halloween parties, and BAUM Fest. 

Barcelona in October blends artistic charm, gastronomic delights, and infectious energy, rendering it an alluring stop on your European autumn journey.

Resources: 3 days in Barcelona itinerary | How many days in Barcelona is enough

7. Reykjavik and south coast, Iceland | Northern lights, and the best of crossover month

  • Average temperatures: 2 to 7 degrees Celsius (36 to 45 F) with 13 rainy days
  • October festivals/events: Film festival
  • Where to stay: Center Hotels Plaza

Reykjavik, in Iceland, is a unique destination for October. The country’s capital, Reykjavik, offers a distinct atmosphere during this time of year. 

Get the 20+ free things to do in Reykjavik, perfect for a stopover for one day in Reykjavik Itinerary or more. A budget friendly way to see more of Iceland.
The Pond in Reykjavik in October: Cute houses, boutique hotel, views and more

With its colorful buildings and winding streets against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, you will love to warm up to a plethora of activities that you can embark on, this month.

Although not winter, you can still enjoy ice caving and glacier hiking at this time. All of the popular day tour routes such as the Golden Circle and South Coast are open for you to explore Iceland’s natural wonders – geysers, waterfalls, and lava fields. 

Iceland: Best places to visit in Europe in October

At this time of year, the skies of Reykjavik and the South Coast offer a chance to witness one of nature’s most spectacular shows – the Northern Lights. Take a night tour boat or join an Aurora hunt for the ultimate experience.

Plan to visit and soak in the warm waters of Blue or Sky Lagoon geothermal spas. 

Best Reykjavik Food Tours to take
Food tours in Reykjavik

When you are not adventuring outside of Reykjavik, relish traditional Icelandic cuisines like Lamb Soup and Smoked Arctic Char Fish. Or try the delicacy of fermented shark – an acquired taste, but a must-try for brave foodies!

Resources: What to wear in Iceland in October | Iceland itinerary 5 days

8. Brussels, Belgium | Architecture, Chocolate, and Fall Foliage

October in Brussels – the capital city of Belgium, brings out an exceptional charm, unveiling a city that is a crossroads of cultures, languages, and traditions. 

Galeries Royales Saint Hubert - One day in Brussels Itinerary
Galeries Royales Saint Hubert in Brussels Itinerary

As the leaves change color, its grand architectural buildings, parks, and avenues take on a distinct autumnal vibe that’s nothing short of mesmerizing. Brussels does experience rainy days in October, so pack your waterproof jackets and boots. 

Start your tour of Brussels with the Grand Place, the city’s central square, renowned for its ornate buildings and vibrant atmosphere. 

Brussels Grand Place
Brussels Grand Place: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Surrounded by the stunning Guild houses, the City Hall, and the King’s House, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit.

Belgium is synonymous with chocolate, and Brussels is its chocolate capital. Don’t miss a visit to some of the city’s top chocolatiers, like Neuhaus or Pierre Marcolini, and take part in a chocolate-making workshop to truly appreciate the Belgian chocolate-making tradition. (Read: An epic 3 day Belgium itinerary)

Belgian cuisine is another highlight of your visit. Autumn is the perfect season to indulge in dishes like ‘carbonade flamande’, a hearty beef and beer stew, or ‘chicons au gratin’, a gratin of chicory wrapped in ham.

Brussels is home to some fantastic parks that are especially beautiful in October. The Cinquantenaire Park, with its impressive triumphal arch, and the Bois de la Cambre, a large urban park filled with lakes and woods, is ideal for an autumnal stroll amidst vibrant colors.

In terms of culture, visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, which houses an extensive collection of Flemish art, including works by the likes of Rubens and Bruegel. 

Brussels in October is a delightful blend of cultural richness, gastronomical delights, and stunning autumn scenery, making it a fascinating stop on your European autumn tour.

Read: Brussels in 2 days | One day in Brussels itinerary

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands | Canals, Museums, and Golden Autumn

  • Average temperatures: 7 to 15 degrees Celsius (45 to 58 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Amsterdam Dance Event, Cinekid Festival (films), Marathon 
  • Where to stay: Ambassade Hotel

Amsterdam – famous for its picturesque canals, world-class museums, and vibrant nightlife, takes on a golden glow in October. This enchanting city, with its historic houses and myriad bridges, is a delight to explore during the fall season.

Amsterdam Canal
Amsterdam Canal: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Amsterdam’s canal district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is particularly beautiful during autumn. 

Take a canal cruise or simply stroll along the waterways, soaking in the sight of golden leaves adorning the cityscape.

For museum buffs, Amsterdam offers a wealth of options. Visit the Van Gogh Museum to discover the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, or explore the Anne Frank House, a poignant reminder of the city’s WWII history (remember to book your entry tickets ahead of time). 

The Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces from artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer, is another must-visit. Museums are your best bet during rainy days in Amsterdam (about 11 days of the month). 

Fries in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Netherlands

Food lovers will be in for a treat in Amsterdam in October. From hearty stamppot (mashed potato dish) to fresh herring, Dutch cuisine offers a unique gastronomic experience. 

Don’t forget to try a slice of Dutch apple pie, a perfect treat for the chilly autumn days.

Amsterdam’s parks, such as the Vondelpark and Amsterdamse Bos, are splendidly colorful in October, offering tranquil spots for leisurely walks or cycling.

If you’re looking to experience a bit of Dutch culture, attend the Amsterdam Dance Event in mid-October. This world’s biggest club festival, spread over almost 200 venues across the city, is a celebration of electronic music.

Resources: Amsterdam Paris and Brussels itinerary

10. Porto, Portugal | History, Wine tastings, and Atlantic Autumn

  • Average temperatures: 12 to 21 degrees Celsius (54 to 69 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Republic Day in Portugal (October 4th)
  • Where to stay: Hotel NH Porto Jardim

Porto, Portugal‘s charming second city, offers a captivating experience for those visiting in October. As the Atlantic autumn sets in, the city radiates a distinctive charm with milder temperatures, vibrant fall colors, and fewer tourists.

6 Bridges Tour in Porto
Porto: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Explore Ribeira – the city’s historic heart and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lined with colorful, traditional houses, the district is perfect for strolling along the Douro River, exploring the narrow alleyways, and sampling delicious Portuguese pastries at local cafés.

No visit to Porto would be complete without experiencing its namesake: Port wine. Visit the famous wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, situated across the river from the Ribeira. Here you can learn about the port-making process and indulge in tastings of this rich, sweet wine.

You can also take a day trip to the Douro Valley from Porto for port wine tasting!

October is also a great time to explore the city’s architectural treasures. Visit the stunning Livraria Lello, considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and the São Bento Railway Station, renowned for its intricate blue-and-white tiled murals. 

Also, don’t miss the impressive Porto Cathedral and the Church of São Francisco, both excellent examples of the city’s historical architectural diversity.

For art enthusiasts, Serralves, a contemporary art museum set within a beautiful park, is a must-visit. And foodies will enjoy Porto’s thriving culinary scene, with its fresh seafood, famous Francesinha sandwich, and, of course, the delectable pastel de nata.

Read: Day trips from Porto Portugal | 3 days in Porto itinerary

11. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina | Historic Charm & Autumn Foliage

  • Average temperatures: 12 to 22 degrees Celsius (53 to 71 F) 
  • Where to stay: Shangri La Mansion

Mostar, a gem tucked away in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a delight to visit in October. Its rich history and culture, coupled with picturesque natural landscapes, make Mostar an enticing autumn destination.

View of Old Bridge in Mostar (one day itinerary)
Old Bridge in Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the month of October, the warm temperatures have retreated to a chilly and a cooler breeze which makes outdoor sightseeing and hiking nearby more pleasant. 

Mostar is best recognized by its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), a stunning 16th-century Ottoman bridge that links the city’s two sides over the Neretva River. 

During autumn, the view of the bridge with its background of trees draped in fall hues, reflecting in the emerald waters of the river, is truly picturesque.

Mostar’s quaint old town, with its cobbled streets and Ottoman-style houses, is perfect for leisurely strolls. Visit the Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque for a glimpse into the city’s culture and history. 

For a unique dining experience, head to one of Mostar’s traditional restaurants and savor local delicacies such as cevapi (grilled minced meat) and burek (stuffed pastry), paired with a cup of Bosnian coffee.

Cevapi

To explore more of Herzegovina, plan to take a day trip to the nearby Blagaj Tekke, a Dervish monastery nestled by the Buna River at the base of a cliff. Its tranquil ambiance and stunning natural surroundings make it a perfect spot for contemplation and relaxation.

October in Mostar offers a delightful blend of historic charm, local culture, and stunning autumnal landscapes, making it a must-visit on any European autumn tour. Soak in the city’s unique ambiance and find your own piece of Bosnian charm this fall!

12. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg | Castles, Forests, and Autumn Festivals

October is a marvelous time to visit Luxembourg City, the capital of the small and scenic country of Luxembourg. 

Luxembourg Day Trip Ideas

Nestled among rolling hills and deep forests, the city is known for its well-preserved medieval fortifications, and the autumn season only adds to its enchanting beauty.

Begin your visit at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Quarter, and its Fortress. The ancient walls and towers, cloaked in the radiant colors of the fall, offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. 

The Bock Casemates, a network of underground tunnels and galleries, are another must-visit historical attraction.

One of the city’s most beautiful green spaces, Pétrusse Valley, is a sight to behold in October. Its lush foliage takes on spectacular shades of red, orange, and yellow, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing stroll or a picnic.

Parking place and glass roof of Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg City

If you’re a fan of art, you’re in for a treat. The city boasts several noteworthy museums, including the Museum of Modern Art Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM) and the National Museum of History and Art.

Luxembourg’s food scene is also quite fascinating. Connoisseurs of fine dining can look forward to sampling traditional dishes like judd mat gaardebounen, (smoked pork neck with broad beans), or delicious plum tarts, perfect for the autumn season.

To sum it up, Luxembourg City in October is a dazzling blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, accentuated by the allure of autumn. This pocket-sized city packs a punch, promising an autumnal European experience like no other.

Resources: One day in Luxembourg itinerary

13. Dublin, Ireland | History, Literature, and Harvest Festivals

  • Average temperatures: 7 to 14 degrees Celsius (44 to 57 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Dublin Theatre Festival
  • Where to stay: Hendrick Smithfield

October is a fantastic time to visit Dublin, the vibrant capital of Ireland. This city, steeped in history and literature, radiates a unique charm in the autumn season.

Dublin: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Dublin‘s rich history can be explored through its impressive architecture. Start with a visit to Dublin Castle, a historic fortress at the heart of the city, where you can discover centuries of Irish history. 

The Trinity College, home to the famous Book of Kells, is another must-see. Stroll around its historic campus and marvel at the Long Room, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.

Literature enthusiasts will find plenty to love in Dublin. This city, the birthplace of famous writers like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, celebrates its literary heritage in October with the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Dublin: Europe October Guide

Engage with writers, poets, and artists from around the world during this week-long literary celebration.

Dublin’s food scene is not one to be missed. Local and seasonal produce take center stage in the city’s restaurants during the autumn. 

Try a traditional Irish stew or savor fresh seafood in Dublin’s coastal restaurants. To accompany your meal, enjoy a pint of Guinness, a staple of Irish culture.

Irish stew and Guinness
Irish stew

Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty of Phoenix Park and St. Stephen’s Green during the autumn, where leaves turn into a breathtaking palette of oranges and yellows. And don’t forget to join in the fun at the Halloween celebrations, for which Ireland is famous.

Fall also marks the harvest season in Ireland, and Dublin celebrates it with the annual Orchard Harvest Festival (in September), a delightful experience featuring local produce, live music, and traditional Irish dancing. Early October can still present lovely harvest events to partake in. 

In October, you can attend the Dublin Theatre Festival, one of the oldest theatre festivals in Europe. 

Resources: 2 days in Dublin itinerary | Ireland itinerary 4 days

14. Athens, Greece | Ancient History, Mediterranean Cuisine, and Autumn Festivities

  • Average temperatures: 15 to 23 degrees Celsius (60 to 74 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Athens International Film Festival,  Baroque Festival, International Halloween Festival
  • Where to stay: Arion Athens Hotel

October is a pleasing time to visit Athens, the capital of Greece, steeped in ancient history and vibrant culture. As the city transitions into autumn, the weather softens, making it an ideal time for sightseeing and exploring. 

Athens Greece Best European cities to visit in November
Athens: Best places to visit in Europe in October

The temperatures are bearable for outdoor sightseeing and the city experiences about 4 rainy days. 

Your historical exploration of Athens should start with a visit to the Acropolis, an ancient citadel situated on a rocky outcrop above the city. 

Home to historical ruins such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike, the Acropolis offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s ancient past. 

Don’t miss the Acropolis Museum, which houses a wealth of artifacts from the archaeological site.

The National Archaeological Museum, housing one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of artifacts from Greek antiquity, is another must-visit. 

For those interested in the city’s more recent history, a visit to the National Historical Museum is recommended.

When it comes to food, Athens presents a delightful culinary experience. Sample traditional Greek dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki. October is also the season for wine harvests in Greece, so don’t miss out on tasting some exceptional local wines.

Nature in Athens takes a turn for the picturesque in October. The National Garden, a beautiful green retreat in the heart of the city, is a pleasure to walk around, with its diverse flora taking on a medley of autumn colors.

Last but not least, October brings with it amazing festivals in Athens from the International Film Festival, and Baroque Festival to the Halloween Festival. 

15. Venice, Italy | Art, Architecture, and Autumn Serenity

  • Average temperatures: 10 to 18 degrees Celsius (50 to 65 F) 
  • January events/festivals: Venice Marathon (end of October)
  • Where to stay: The St. Regis Venice

October is an inviting time to explore Venice, the enchanting city of canals in Italy. This time of year sees fewer tourists, allowing you to experience the city with a sense of tranquility that’s hard to find during the bustling summer months.

Canals of Venice: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Venture into the city that’s an art and architecture lover’s dream. The iconic St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge are must-see landmarks. 

Take your time to appreciate the intricate details of Venetian Gothic architecture, a characteristic feature of this magical city.

Rialto Bridge: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Art aficionados can delve into the city’s rich artistic heritage at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which houses pre-19th century art, or the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, known for its modern art pieces. 

Venetian cuisine is another highlight of your October visit. Savor traditional dishes like “risotto al nero di seppia” (cuttlefish risotto) or “fegato alla veneziana” (Venetian-style liver). Don’t forget to sample the fresh seafood that Venice is famous for.

October is the time to witness the transition of the city’s waterways and canals, and without a lot of crowds, you can easily book and enjoy a gondola ride!

Gondola ride in Venice

The cooler weather and the misty atmosphere add a unique charm to the city’s picturesque landscapes.

Finally, participate in the Venice Marathon held annually in October. Whether you’re an athlete or a spectator, the marathon offers a unique way to discover the city, as it winds through historical sites, along the canals, and into the heart of Venice.

Resources: Best Italy souvenirs | 2 days in Venice itinerary

16. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | Medieval Halloween Celebrations

  • Average temperatures: 6 to 13 degrees Celsius (43 to 55 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Halloween Festival at the Botanic Gardens (Halloween Trail)
  • Where to stay: Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge

Edinburgh, Scotland’s enchanting capital, is another great autumn destination. October brings with it the spooky atmosphere of Halloween, and Edinburgh is the perfect place to celebrate this unique festival.

Edinburgh: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Visit the old town’s medieval quarter for a truly special experience – cobbled lanes lined with haunted houses and mysterious alleys add to the historic atmosphere. Take part in a haunted tour of the city, and explore mysterious dungeons and dark catacombs.

Visit the eerie underground vaults or take part in a ghost hunt at Edinburgh Castle. You can also head to Samhain Cemetery Tours for some spine-chilling fun! 

Edinburgh: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Don’t miss the annual Halloween Festival at the Botanic Gardens, with its spectacular fireworks display (they are open from 14 to 31 October).

Edinburgh is filled with lovely cafés and pubs, perfect for an autumnal treat. Enjoy a hearty ‘haggis’ or try some traditional Scottish fare like ‘Cullen Skink’, a creamy smoked haddock soup. 

Don’t forget to sample some whisky – this city is Scotland’s whiskey capital!

For beautiful views of the city, take a tour of Edinburgh Castle or the Royal Mile. Or visit Calton Hill for stunning views across the city and out to sea.

Read: United Kingdom itinerary 10 days

17. Valletta, Malta | History, Sea, and the Mediterranean Sun

  • Average temperatures: 18 to 25 degrees Celsius (64 to 74 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Notte Bianca
  • Where to stay:  La Falconeria Hotel

Visit the sun-kissed capital of Malta, Valletta in October. The city, located on a peninsula between two beautiful harbors, is rich in history and culture, and October’s mild climate is perfect for exploring its many wonders.

Valletta, Malta: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Start your journey at the city’s heart, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a gem of Baroque art and architecture. Be sure not to miss the Grand Master’s Palace, which houses an impressive armory and tapestry collection. 

The city’s unique history is also reflected in its robust fortifications, such as Fort St. Elmo and the Saluting Battery (which takes place every day), which offer spectacular views of the surrounding sea.

Art aficionados will appreciate the city’s thriving art scene, with the National Museum of Fine Arts and the contemporary art space, Spazju Kreattiv, being notable mentions.

The city also hosts the Notte Bianca in October (the first Saturday of the month), a night-long celebration of people, culture, and arts. The streets light up with life, music, and dance, making it a fantastic time to experience the local culture.

Valletta’s culinary delights are as diverse as its history. From traditional Maltese rabbit stew to fresh seafood, the city’s gastronomy mirrors its Mediterranean locale. As the sun sets, enjoy a glass of local Maltese wine in one of the city’s many wine bars.

Nature lovers can enjoy serene walks along the city’s fortified walls, offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. A boat trip across the stunning Grand Harbor is also a must-do.

In essence, Valletta in October is a Mediterranean dream, steeped in history, flavored with delightful cuisine, and wrapped in a vibrant culture. This charming city, bathed in the golden autumn sun, promises an unforgettable experience.

18. Bruges, Belgium | Medieval Charm, Best Views, Chocolate, and Autumnal Splendor

  • Average temperatures: 3 to 8 degrees Celsius (49 to 58 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Saint-Gilles for Halloween night
  • Where to stay: Bryghia Hotel

October is an enchanting time to visit Bruges, often referred to as the “Venice of the North”. This medieval city in Belgium, with its charming brick buildings and winding canals, is especially picturesque in the autumn.

The Burg Square. Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
The Burg Square

Bruges in October is not super crowded and it can be a refreshing change from the busy summer or winter/ Christmas market season.

Your journey in Bruges should start with a visit to the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cobblestone streets, lined with medieval buildings, take on a special charm under the vibrant colors of the autumn leaves. 

Journey to the top of the Belfry, a towering medieval bell tower, for panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Bruges: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Bruges is also a paradise for art lovers. Visit the Groeningemuseum, home to an extensive collection of Flemish and Belgian paintings. The Church of Our Lady, featuring Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, is another must-see.

No visit to Bruges would be complete without indulging in Belgian chocolate. Delight your taste buds with a variety of chocolates from the city’s numerous chocolatiers. Pair it with a tasting tour of the local Belgian beers, another hallmark of the region.

House of Waffles. Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
House of Waffles in Bruges: October Places Europe

For nature enthusiasts, a boat ride along the canals (with last sailings at 5:30 pm) or a leisurely walk in Minnewater Park, also known as “Lake of Love”, is a wonderful way to soak in the autumnal beauty of Bruges.

The park, with its tranquil lake and beautiful swans, is particularly stunning in October as the leaves change color.

Lastly, add a trip to Saint-Gilles for a scary Halloween night on October 31st.

19. Zermatt, Switzerland | Alpine Beauty, Small Town vibes, Adventure, and Relaxation

  • Average temperatures: 2 to 12 degrees Celsius (36 to 53 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Zermatt Unplugged Kaufleuten (music festival)
  • Where to stay: Hotel Bella Vista Zermatt

October presents a unique opportunity to experience Zermatt, a captivating alpine village in Switzerland. 

Zermatt: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn, one of the world’s most famous mountains, Zermatt combines breathtaking natural scenery, rich outdoor activities, and the serenity of a car-free village.

A visit to Zermatt isn’t complete without marveling at the majesty of the Matterhorn. While the mountain’s peak is visible from almost anywhere in the village, a cable car trip to the Mount Gornergrat offers panoramic views of the Matterhorn and surrounding Alps.

Zermatt is also the gateway to a plethora of outdoor activities. Even in October, you can ski on the glacier, hike one of the many trails, or mountain bike through the picturesque landscape. 

The Klein Matterhorn glacier is accessible all year round, providing an extensive network of slopes spanning up to 20 km (12.4 miles).

For those who enjoy the quieter things, Zermatt offers a wealth of relaxation opportunities. Enjoy a wellness day in one of the many spa hotels, taking advantage of their thermal baths, saunas, and treatments. 

Or stroll through the car-free village, exploring its charming chalet-style buildings, quaint shops, and excellent dining options. Swiss cuisine, from hearty raclette and fondue to delectable chocolate, is a highlight not to be missed.

In October, Zermatt also hosts the Zermatt Unplugged Kaufleuten, a music festival featuring acoustic performances by international and local artists. It’s a celebration of music in one of the world’s most beautiful settings.

20. The Algarve, Portugal | Sun, Sea, and Scenic Beauty

  • Average temperatures: 18 to 24 degrees Celsius (64.4 to 75.2 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Tango Beach Festival, Atman Festival Portugal, Classic Festival, Republic Day in Portugal (October 4th)
  • Where to stay: Marina Club Lagos Resort (Lagos)

October is the perfect time to explore the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region renowned for its sun-soaked beaches, charming fishing villages, and world-class golf courses. 

Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave: Best places to visit in Europe in October

As the summer crowds recede, visitors can enjoy the region’s beauty at a much relaxed pace.

In October, the weather in Algarve is delightful and temperate, with daytime temperatures averaging up to 23ºC (73.4 F).

A trip to the Algarve in October should definitely include a visit to the region’s stunning coastline. 

The beaches of Praia da Marinha or Praia de Benagil, with their turquoise waters and dramatic cliff formations, are truly breathtaking. Take a boat tour to experience the full grandeur of the region’s sea caves and grottos.

Explore the region’s charming towns and villages. Lagos, with its historic walled town and bustling marina, offers a mix of culture and entertainment. 

Lagos town centre
View to church Igreja de Santo Antonio in the old town of the historic centre of Lagos: Best places to visit in Europe in October

Tavira, known for its traditional architecture and Roman bridge, is a charming escape where you can experience the quieter side of the Algarve.

Golf enthusiasts can take advantage of the pleasant October weather and enjoy a round of golf at one of the Algarve’s many world-class golf courses. 

Foodies will delight in the Algarve’s culinary offerings. Fresh seafood, particularly the region’s sardines and oysters, are a must-try. Pair this with a glass of Vinho Verde, a young Portuguese wine, for an authentic Algarvian dining experience.

Nature lovers can visit the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a series of lagoons and marshlands that host a variety of bird species, making it a wonderful spot for bird-watching.

Read: Portugal in 8 days | Best things to buy in Portugal

21. Santorini, Greece | Sunsets, Sea, and Spectacular Vistas

  • Average temperatures: 17 to 22 degrees Celsius (63 to 72 F) 
  • October events/festivals: Ifestia Festival (22nd October), Feast of St. Demetrius (Ayios Dimitrios)
  • Where to stay: Villa Dima or La Perla Villas

October is a great month to visit Santorini, a picturesque island in Greece’s Aegean Sea, well-known for its stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches, and enchanting towns. As the high tourist season winds down, visitors are left with more room to explore the island’s unique beauty.

Traditional architecture of Oia village at Santorini island in Greece

Santorini’s sunsets are legendary, and the village of Oia provides an unrivaled view of this breathtaking spectacle. The sun setting over the Aegean Sea, painting the sky in hues of pink and gold, is an experience to behold.

The island’s volcanic history has led to the formation of unique beaches. Visit the Red Beach, named after its red volcanic sand, or the White Beach, accessible only by boat and a treasure for seekers of tranquility.

Walking through the charming towns of Fira and Oia, with their narrow, winding streets, whitewashed buildings, and blue-domed churches, feels like stepping into a postcard. The towns are situated on a cliff, providing panoramic views of the surrounding sea and the island’s volcanic caldera.

Santorini’s local cuisine is a feast for the senses. Savor local dishes like Fava, a yellow split pea puree, or a Greek salad made with local cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Don’t forget to try a glass of Santorini’s famous Assyrtiko wine.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan city preserved under volcanic ash, is highly recommended.

In October, Santorini hosts the Ifestia Festival, a celebration of the island’s volcanic history where the night sky is lit up with fireworks, reenacting the volcanic eruption that shaped the island.

22. Canary Islands, Spain | Sun, Surf, and Spectacular Landscapes

  • Average temperatures: 21 to 27 degrees Celsius (69.8 to 80.6 F) only 2 days of rain
  • October events/festivals: Fiestas de la Nava
  • Where to stay: Santa Catalina Queen

October is a delightful time to visit the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa. The islands, known for their pleasant climate, vibrant beaches, and diverse landscapes, offer an unforgettable holiday experience.

Lanzarote - Canary Islands Warmest places in Europe in December
Lanzarote – Canary Islands

We recommend packing lightweight and breathable clothing as the days are typically hot with pleasant evenings. The average daily maximum temperature hovers around 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 F), while the average daily minimum temperature drops to 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 F).

At this time of the year, the weather is just right for beach activities. The Canary Islands boast some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. 

The golden sands of Corralejo Dunes in Fuerteventura, the black volcanic sands of Playa Jardin in Tenerife, or the turquoise waters of Playa de Papagayo in Lanzarote, all offer unique seaside experiences.

For surf enthusiasts, October is the start of the surf season, with good swells and warm water. El Cotillo in Fuerteventura, Playa de Las Americas in Tenerife, and Famara in Lanzarote are popular surfing spots.

The Canary Islands also offer some remarkable hiking opportunities. The volcanic landscapes of Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, the ancient forests of Garajonay National Park in La Gomera, or the majestic peak of Mount Teide in Tenerife are awe-inspiring.

Canarian cuisine is a delightful blend of Spanish, African, and Latin American influences. Don’t miss tasting Papas Arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) served with Mojo sauce, or Gofio, a traditional Canarian flour used in a variety of dishes.

Every October, in La Isleta, vibrant celebrations take place to pay homage to Our Lady of La Luz, the patron saint of the Port and the protector of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 

These festivities, known as Fiestas de la Naval, commemorate the island’s victorious defense against the ill-fated assault led by the British pirates Francis Drake and John Hawkins in October 1595.

Should you visit Europe in October?

Yes, it is worth visiting Europe in October!

A trip to Europe in October offers an enriching experience. Whether it’s the breathtaking sunsets of Santorini, the sun-soaked beaches of the Canary Islands, or the historic sites of Athens, there’s  with plenty of things to do and see, to engage in and discover amazing places without the crowds. 

October’s milder climate and cooler temperatures make sightseeing a pleasure, and the array of cultural events and festivals brings each destination to life. So, if you’re contemplating a European getaway, October is an excellent time to immerse yourself in the continent’s diverse culture, history, and natural beauty. 

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