Ah, October in Europe. It's simply the best—festivals, pumpkin flavored everything, and a crisp feeling in the air. After living in Europe for three years, I've discovered the best places to visit Europe in October. So put on your favorite chunky sweater and let's go!
October is one of the best times of the year to travel Europe. You have fewer crowds, it's not too hot or too cold just yet, and you can even score great deals on flights, hotels, and transportation. I also have a guide, right here, for all the best places for Europe in the Fall!
Coronavirus caution: Please check with each country you plan to visit to ensure it is safe to visit. I also recommend practicing healthy and safety by social distancing. Remember that some events (such as Oktoberfest in Munich) will be canceled for 2020.
I’ve scoured Europe to not only find the best Autumn destinations, but also found the best Fall foliage, the best place to celebrate Halloween, cheap places, and locations where the weather is still warm!
Why Visit Europe in October?
Since Autumn is shoulder season, you’ll have the benefit of a much calmer and quieter experience in Europe. Temperatures are generally more mild no matter where you go. Of course, there’s beautiful Fall foliage and still plenty of things to see and do. I believe October is the best time to visit Europe. I might also be partial to Fall, but here are my favorite places.
Best Country to Visit for October in Europe
If you can only visit one country, my suggestion is Germany. There are so many Fall events and happenings, especially in October. And no, not just Oktoberfest! You can see a whole list of festivals that happen in the Fall here. But more than festivals, Germany has such lovely weather in October. You’ll get a glimpse of the changing leaves and also enjoy the great outdoors. Germany has some beautiful forests that are perfect for hiking in October. Not to mention, there’s the perfectly charming cobblestone streets. Of course, many will think to head to Munich for Oktoberfest, but there’s so much more to explore.
Where to go: Mosel Valley, Germany. The Mosel Valley is quite literally one of the cutest places you can visit. I suggest renting a car and following the Rhine River and stop off at all the cute towns like Bacharach, Trier, Koblenz, and the castle Burg Eltz, to name a few. This whole region is romantic and filled with well preserved medieval towns and castles. What more could you ask for? Runner up: Ludwigsburg for the annual pumpkin festival, the largest in the world! Plus plenty of fall leaves.
Best Country to Visit in Europe for Halloween
Romania, of course! You can’t deny Romania has some pretty fascinating history in Transylvania. Dracula’s castle is located here and will easily send chills up your spine and get in the spooky spirit of Halloween. You might also be pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous fall foliage here!
Where to go: If you want to avoid the crowds and get a wonderful Halloween experience, head to Bucharest and spend a few days admiring the lovely architecture. Then get out to the impeccable countryside in Bran (home of Dracula’s Castle), then on to Sighișoara, this is the home of Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. Lastly, go to the absolutely beautiful Sibiu.
Best Beach Destination for October
The Amalfi Coast is always busy. But in October you can avoid the throngs of tourists and escape the heat.
Where to go: From the historic town of Sorrento, the picturesque town of Capri, a boat ride through Amalfi, and the hillside village of Positano, you really can't go wrong.
Best Fall Foliage in Europe
Slovenia takes the cake for fall colors. October is the perfect time to experience the changing of the leaves in brilliant red, yellow, and orange. There’s even a Festival of Light that comes at the end of Autumn, just before winter. Art installations of light are throughout Ljubljana.
Where to go: Here, you can head to the capital, Ljubljana to stroll the cobblestone streets and enjoy a wine festival. But don’t forget to make it to the countryside. Of course, you can go to Lake Bled, but don’t forget to hike around the Julian Alps for some really spectacular colors.
Cheap Places to Visit Europe in October
There’s seems to always be a crush of tourists in Croatia, but come October, they seem to disperse and you’re left with empty streets. The mild autumn weather in Croatia this time of year is ideal.
Where to go: Of course, you can head to the beaches and islands near Dubrovnik, but my personal pick is Plitvice Lakes National Park. This park is full of natural wonders and the impressive lakes, there's also waterfalls that are all easily accessible on boardwalk path that goes throughout the park. Plitvice Lakes is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe since there’s plenty of fall foliage.
Best Autumn Destinations in Europe
Here are even more places in Europe that are perfect for October.
Oh I’m already jealous of you dining on thinly cut meats and savory olive oil and fresh seafood. If you want a brilliant coastal vibe, then head to Southern Spain for a mix of beaches, culture, and Andalusian charm.
Where to go: Start in Malaga and make your way through many of the cute white washed towns and beach cities. Nerja and Tarifa are great beach towns. Cordoba, Seville, and Granada are not to be missed on your route for food, nightlife, and beauty. Here’s my one week itinerary in Southern Spain so you don’t miss any of the best spots.
A city that feels like a fairy tale is the perfect way to feel romantic in the Fall. While this is a popular city in Belgium, come October it’s not quite as busy. You’ll find beauty and history and, of course, waffles on nearly ever corner. Take a walking tour, head to a brewery, and spend the evening strolling over the various bridges.
Portugal has become more and more popular over the years, and for good reason. It’s inexpensive yet on the cutting edge. You can find great hotels, food, and wine. But no wine is better than in the Douro valley. I felt like I stepped right into Tuscany when I saw the never-ending rolling hills of grapes. The vineyards are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a tour and enjoy some of the best wine in a perfect setting.
It’s a tiny country (only 15 miles or 25 kilometers long!) near Switzerland and Austria but it’s full of alpine forests, medieval castles, and Vaduz, the capital, is easy to stroll. I suggest going on a hike, exploring the small city of Vaduz, and checking out Castle Vaduz.
The Venice of the North is dressed in it’s finest come October. The bitter winter wind hasn’t hit just yet and you can enjoy a leisurely time by the canals with the gorgeous fall leaves cascading over the water. Amsterdam is lovely year-round but particularly pretty during October.
Read more! See the best places for Fall in Europe. 10 MUST SEE destinations.
The rain seems to stay away in October. With an average high of 59 degrees (Fahrenheit, 15 Celsius) it’s just a lovely time of year to visit. Like it or not, this is one of the world’s greatest cities. You won’t have to wait in line long to get on the London Eye or in to any museums. To me, London is always a spectacular choice and October is especially great for Instagram photos. Don't forget to visit the Harry Potter studio while you're there!
P.S. If you want a storybook setting come to life, look no further than the Cotswolds. And while this area has inspired many authors over the years, October is a great time to visit for peace, quiet, and countryside charm.
I know, I know, it’s almost too easy, right? But Paris in autumn is truly exceptional. Those rich sunsets, the chill in the air, just imagine yourself in a beret with a cup of coffee in a cafe! It almost is too cute to think about. But it can be real, because somehow, Paris exists. Le sigh.
So there you have it! The best destinations for Europe in October! Don’t forget to check out my full list of the best of Fall in Europe!
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