Are you looking for the best places to visit in October in Europe? You have come to the right place!

Unless you are solely planning a beach holiday, there is no better time to visit Europe than October. The Old Continent, as we call it on this side of the Atlantic, will offer you an incredible variety of experiences then – minus the crazy crowds you may find during the summer, or Christmas and Easter.

But what’s Europe like in October, and where should you go? Continue reading this post for some basic information on the weather in Europe in October, as well as reasons to visit, and for all the best places to visit in October in Europe – as recommended by my travel blogger friends.

Italy in October

What’s The Weather Like In October In Europe?

Autumn in Europe starts roughly in September and goes all the way into November. October is usually considered to be the peak month – and Europe is simply fabulous then. 

What I love about October in Europe is that the difference between the North and the South of the continent is really visible then, with the northern countries showing fabulous foliage colors and getting their first snowflakes, while people in the South of Europe can still enjoy beautiful (if only shorter) beach days. That’s very much what happens here in Sardinia, where I live!

However, keep in mind that October in Europe can also be quite unpredictable – for example, a year ago we’d still be going to the beach in mid October in Sardinia, enjoying swimming in the sea. This year, with temperatures being cooler than usual, we stopped going at the end of September. Typically speaking though, the further south in Europe you are, the warmer the weather will still be in October. The further North in Europe, the wetter and colder it will be.

travel tips for Italy

Sardinian beaches empty after the busy summer, thus being among the best places to visit in October in Europe

Why You Should Consider Visiting Europe In October

As I have already said, October – and autumn in general – is a great month to visit Europe. Below are some reasons why you should consider visiting Europe in October.

Less crowds

Most Europeans take their holidays in the summer – with French, Spanish, Greeks and Italians usually traveling in August, when firms, factories and offices have enforced breaks.

Once the summer is over, kids throughout Europe go back to school and the majority of people back to work, Europe is significantly less crowded. That means you won’t have to elbow your way around a museum, or stand in line forever to visit an attraction (though I usually recommend getting tickets in advance anyways). 

It’s cheaper

Shoulder season is a better time to travel also in terms of costs. October is a much cheaper month compared to August, with hotels often offering discount rates even for their best rooms. In other words your budget will get you a longer way!

There are many things to do

Autumn in Europe means an incredible variety of things to do. Depending on where you go, you will be able to enjoy hiking and beach days; beautiful cities and villages; foliage and an incredible array of festivals celebrating the fabulous seasonal produce – from the wine harvest to mushrooms, truffle hunts, and more.

Now that you know that October is a great month to visit Europe, let’s see what are the best places to visit in October in Europe – as recommended by travel bloggers.

Sicily in October

Scilla, Sicily, is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

The Best Places To Visit In October In Europe

Italy

*Contributed by Margherita Ragg of The Crowded Planet

Most people visit Italy in the spring and summer, and from October onwards you’ll notice a sharp decline in visitor numbers. That is because around that time the weather starts getting cooler and rainy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what Italy has to offer – this is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.
 
Visiting Italy in the fall is a great idea. Lower tourist numbers mean you will have a wider choice of transport and accommodation options, and the cooler weather is better for sightseeing compared to the sweltering summer heat. It’s hard to predict the weather – depending on where in Italy you are going, you may get chilly days and sub-zero night time temperatures (in the Alps), or summer weather, in southern Italy and Sardinia. There are often violent rain storms, so it pays to keep an eye on the weather forecast, and never venture out on hikes in case of heavy rain.
 
The best places to visit in the fall are definitely cities like Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice to take advantage of good travel deals, the Alps if you want to go hiking and enjoy autumn displays, and Sicily and Sardinia if you are looking for sunshine and warm weather. It’s typically possible to swim for most of October – the water is still nice and warm, and the beaches are almost completely empty!
 
Latvia in the fall

It’s easy to see why Latvia is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Latvia

*Contributed by Margherita Ragg of The Crowded Planet
 
Latvia may very well be Europe’s best kept secret, and by all means one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. Visit early in the month, and you’ll see what I mean – the country turns burnt orange, vivid yellow, and bright red, with the best autumn display this side of New England. 
 
There’s a reason why Latvia in the fall is so spectacular. Vivid autumn display are the result of specific weather conditions, with sunny days and cold nights, often dipping below zero at night. So, be ready for some chilly weather! The days will more than likely be sunny and warm, but as soon as the sun sets, make sure you have a jacket with you. Rain is also a possibility, so don’t forget your umbrella.
 
Visiting Latvia in October, you will be rewarded with absolutely stunning autumn displays pretty much anywhere you go, even in the airport. The best places to enjoy October in Latvia are Sigulda, Aluksne and Jurmala, but even Riga‘s parks are just magical.
 
You can walk around, go on bike rides, take boat trips on Latvia’s lakes, and just play around with the leaves. The only downside is that tourists may not (yet) know about how beautiful Latvia is in the autumn, but locals are very much aware, so you’ll probably find other people – especially in Sigulda. Just try to avoid weekends, or else you may get stuck in traffic.
 
Garrotxa in October

Garrotxa, in Spain, is a fantastic destination in October

Spain

Spain is among the best places to visit in Europe in October. Much like Italy, the weather and temperature will vary greatly between the north of Spain – with places like Bilbao, in the Basque Country, or Asturias and Galicia getting a bit more rain than the rest of the country; whereas the region of Costa Brava tends to be sunny and pleasant, with just the occasional thunderstorm. 

At this time of year, most of the large crowds will be gone and prices will have fallen, making it a more convenient time to visit.

October is a great month to visit the Volcanic Region of Garrotxa, an incredible hiking destination where you will also find lovely, mid-size towns such as Olot (home to lots of Art Nouveau buildings and plenty of interesting museums); scenic villages such as Besalù and delicious food and wine. Days are still nice and long, which is great if you want to hit the trails.
 
One of the best – and most difficult – hike in Garrotxa is the Cami de Gantxos, starting in the village of Joanetes and going all the way up  to Santa Magdalena church. Make sure to get a guide and proper gear as the terrain can be muddy, and some parts are truly too challenging to take on by yourself. 
 
October is foliage season in Garrotxa, so head to La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park which is the best place to see that. 
 
Styria in October

Grapevines and more – Styria is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Austria

*Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad

Europe has many great options for beautiful fall destinations, and Austria certainly has a lot to love, from stunning scenery to numerous fall festivals. Temps are ideal this time of year, hovering around 13-20°C.

Known for producing some of Europe’s finest white wines, fall is a beloved season in Austria, when most major cities and small towns proudly host their own festival showcasing local Austrian food and wine.

In Graz, the annual Long Table event showcases all the specialty foods the Styria region is known for. October in the Wachau Valley in northern Austria brings traditional celebrations in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Spitz, Wösendorf, Weissenkirchen and other towns along the Danube see locals dressed in traditional garb carrying the harvest bounties to their churches where a special Mass is celebrated.

Pumpkins and other seasonal squash is widely grown, particularly in southern Austria, and visitors can tour the road-side food markets and factories that produce fresh-pressed pumpkinseed oil and roasted seeds that adorn many a traditional dish.

One of the most popular autumn pastimes is road tripping the local wine trails and seeking out the harvest wreath at wine taverns — a sure sign they have stürm wine, the first pressing of the season. Stürm is heady stuff, best enjoyed among friends outside around a fire with some fire-roasted chestnuts, and encourages a fun and friendly atmosphere. Local wine taverns called buschenshanks serve the most beautiful platters of cold meats and salads that could easily pass as food art.

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in October in Europe, visit Austria’s South Styria for stunning scenery, excellent wine tasting, and tasty local food!

best places to visit in October in Europe

Prague parks are at their best in October

The Czech Republic

*Contributed by Veronika Primm of Travel Geekery

The Czech Republic is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. The country boasts large forested areas all across the country, so going on an autumn road trip guarantees beautiful views along the way. The weather is still great for hiking and you’re likely to have at least a few sunny days.

Czech mountain ranges and corresponding national parks mostly copy the borders. Whichever direction you decide to go, you’re sure to find extremely beautiful fall foliage.

In the North it’s the Bohemian Switzerland NP, the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše), Jizera and Eagle (Orlické) Mountains. In the West, it’s the Ore Mountains (Krušné hory) and in the South the large Šumava National Park. In the East of the country, you can seek forests in the Jeseník Mountains, Beskid Mountains and part of the Western Carpathian Mountains. In the middle, you’ll encounter Vysočina.

But cities are lovely in autumn too. Prague is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. With its high number of parks close to the city center the city gives that beautiful fall foliage experience without having to leave the capital. Make sure to get to a higher point – e.g. to the Petřín Hill and its Petřín tower, which looks like a smaller version of the Eiffel tower. A fantastic view of the town hugged by colorful parks will open in front of you. Other wonderful viewpoints include the Letná park and its beer garden, or Riegrovy sady park in Vinohrady district.

Parks in Prague feature a variety of trees and many have also the gingko biloba tree growing within their limits. This tree turns its leaves into a vibrant yellow before shedding them, so the color array becomes even more exciting. E.g. Prague’s Havlíčkovy sady park has a few of these trees.

Autumn in Europe

Romania is a great country to visit in Autumn in Europe

Romania

*Contributed by Laura Meyers of Laure Wanders

Romania is a beautiful Eastern European country that’s famous for its Carpathian Mountains, beautiful forests and historical castles. It’s also one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.

If you decide to visit Romania during the autumn, you’ll be rewarded by some spectacular autumn leaf colors. Autumn is the ideal period for beautiful hikes in nature and tourist attractions will be less crowded compared to the summer months. Although there might be a little more rain, temperatures are pleasant and the autumn will make Romania’s forests and castles look even more as if they come straight out of a fairytale.

When it comes to tourist attractions, Romania has a lot to offer and choices are quite diverse. Some of the most famous sights are the infamous Dracula’s Castle, the stunning Peles Castle (which is said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful castles) and the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

But cities like Bucharest, Brasov and Timisoara are well worth visiting too. Bucharest for example, has a very rich history. It still has a lot of communist buildings that will make you travel back in time. On top of all that, Romania is also a true paradise for nature lovers. It’s home to the best preserved forests in Europe, some beautiful mountains and fantastic waterfalls like the Bigar Waterfall.

In short: Romania is a country that has something to offer to any kind of traveler. It has a rich culture, vibrant cities, beautiful nature and friendly locals!

Europe in Autumn

United Kindgom

*Contributed by Ucman Scher or BrownBoyTravels and Kathryn Burrington of Sussex Walks

Northern Ireland is definitely one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.

Fall is a special time in Northern Ireland. People start storing the summer clothes away and the raincoats and cosy jumpers find themselves back in the cupboards; days start to get shorter and the green on the ground is dotted with increasing brown orange leaves. The trees go on fire with such ferocity of colors that want to cuddle up with a pumpkin pie and a coffee and read a book.

It is also a great time to visit England because the peak tourist season is over and you can grab yourself a good travel deal and still enjoy the leftover summer spirit.

While you can get all the colors and flavors of autumn in London, if you venture out, you will be greatly rewarded. Cotswolds and its small villages are a great place to explore the beauty of fall in England with picturesque walks. And a road trip to the Lake District will blow your mind.

Fall in England

South Downs woodland – definitely one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Some of the best autumnal displays can be found in any of our 10 National Parks including the New Forest, the Lake District or the South Downs. The gardens of stately homes, such as those owned by the National Trust, are a good bet too.

A walk in the countryside is rewarded with fabulous fall foliage while colorful berries brighten up the hedgerows that line many of our footpaths. Sloes, rosehips, elder and rowan berries are all waiting to be turned into jams, jellies and syrups, or to flavor gin maybe. Edible sweet chestnuts, mushrooms and hazelnuts cover the woodland floor. Apples and pears drip like jewels from the trees. Pumpkins grow fat and pheasants are in season. A great many places, from small villages to big city metropolises, celebrate the season’s bounty with Harvest Festivals.

It’s easy to see why this is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe!

Another autumn tradition that is widely celebrated in England include Halloween. Did you know that Halloween’s roots stem from ancient Celtic traditions celebrating the harvest, the change of seasons and the night the dead returned to this mortal world? 

You should, however, consider packing yourself some warm clothing as the weather can vary quite a lot within a single day. A good umbrella and a hoodie are a must and the need for some sturdy water proof shoes cannot be overlooked.

Even if it rains all day, there’s plenty to see and do here. You can enjoy a great pub with some great ales and brews: England has a huge micro-brewing scene and the choices are virtually endless. It is also the time to enjoy pies and while it is no match to fish and chips in terms of publicity, the variety is great and flavors so sumptuous you will lick your plate clean. With so much to look forward to, this really is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.

Best places to visit in October in Europe

Gorgeous Scotland in October

Scotland

*Contributed by Gemma Armit of Two Scots Abroad
 

While everyone jokes about Scotland’s weather, the best time to visit is actually autumn! It really is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. Why? This is when Scotland really shows off its landscape with its leaves turning golden. There is also a delightful fresh crisp in the morning air that stings your face and reminds you that you are alive!Although Edinburgh is a popular destination, one area in Scotland is particularly spectacular come October and that region is called Perthshire. Often referred to as Big Tree Country, in autumn, Perthshire becomes the New England of Scotland!

Pitlochry is a good base with easy walks around the town and lots of cute pubs and eateries close to the River Tummel. Look out for the crawling red ivy at The Old Mill Inn.

From here, enjoy day trips to the Queen’s View and Dunkeld. Easy walks include The Hermitage where you can spot salmon trying to swim upstream at Black Linn Falls.

Thrillseekers should consider the Highland Fling bungee jump at Killiecrankie! Here you can dive or swing over the River Garry with the autumn landscape around you.

Naturally, this is Scotland so you should prepare for all four seasons. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad attire! Pack waterproof shoes or boots, the walks are relatively easy but the paths are still soggy underfoot. Remember a good quality raincoat and your camera. You’ll want to capture Perthshire’s rivers and waterfalls with the orange tones of the trees in the background.

While Perthshire is nice all year round, it really takes centre place in autumn. 

Poznan in October

Poland is a great destination in Autumn in Europe

Poland

*Contributed by Or Amir of My Path in the World  

Although it’s getting a little more attention now, Poland is still quite an underrated destination. Not only does it have to be on your travel bucket list, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Poland in the fall.

This country is known for its cold weather, but in early fall, temperatures are still pleasant enough to go on a city break or even take a road trip. Mid to late fall in Poland is colder and wetter, but you’ll have more chances to be rewarded with some stunning fall foliage colors. Trust me, they don’t call it Golden Polish autumn (Złota Polska Jesień) for nothing.

If you’re looking for cities to visit in Poland in the fall, there are plenty of options. Warsaw surely is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. Its Lazienki Park wears orange and red tones, and you’ll love the city’s colorful old town, historical landmarks, museums, and food scene.

Krakow looks more golden, and its stunning market square alone will make your jaw drop.

If you love hidden gems, head to the non-touristy Poznan, where you’ll find a gorgeous old town, colorful churches dating back to centuries ago, open-air markets, stunning botanical gardens, and the coziest cafes.

You can also explore Poland by car as there are many beautiful places that can be included in your itinerary. From charming towns like Zakopane, Zlotoryja, and Malbork (which is home to the largest castle in the World!) to scenic national parks like the Tatra National Park and Pieniny National Park (which are even more stunning in fall), Poland has it all.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a lovely place to visit in Autumn

Luxembourg

*Contributed by Bec Wyld of Wyld Family Travel

Luxembourg is a beautiful country. Blessed with amazing scenery, beautiful towns and historic castles Luxembourg is definitely one of the best places to visit in October in Europe – that’s the perfect time to see the best this country has to offer.

You can choose to stay in Luxembourg City and enjoy the autumn colors wandering the streets and visiting the historic sites. Spending 3 days in Luxembourg City is a perfect amount of time to see what the city has to offer: from museums to historic sites this UNESCO city has something for everyone. Being a green city there are so many parks and gardens where you can pack a small picnic lunch and enjoy it there. Or else, find a restaurant with gorgeous views.

October is also perfect if you wish to venture out into the amazing forests that Luxembourg is known for. Staying in a small town or even one of the brilliant campgrounds in a cute cabin will give you easy access to many of the beautiful walking tracks and even if hiking in Luxembourg is not what you want to do the colors will be all around you. After an eventful day of seeing the sites, you can come back and relax close to nature.

If you are confident enough you can hire a car (although public transport in Luxembourg is free, well run and very easy to use) and drive to some amazing places like Vandien Castle. Dotted all through the countryside in Luxembourg are castles that sit on hills overlooking the towns below and they are a great way to get amazing views of the autumn colors. Just driving to them will be an experience in itself.
Luxembourg has so much to offer visitors in October and it should be high on your list of places to visit in Europe in Autumn.

For more about Luxembourg, check out my post Why You Need To Visit Luxembourg.

Netherlands

The Netherlands are gorgeous in Autumn

The Netherlands

*Contributed by Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac of Nomadic Boys

One of the best places to visit in October in Europe is the Netherlands. Between September and early December, the country becomes a blanket of autumnal colors, particularly in the countryside, National Parks and along the iconic canals of the capital city, Amsterdam.

Most will base themselves in Amsterdam, a city with some of the best museums in the world. The nightlife is also super vibrant particularly the gay scene of Amsterdam. The highlight of any trip to Amsterdam is to take a boat ride along the city’s canal belt. In October, it’s so romantic as you pass lines of trees which are in full blossom. Beyond the capital city, you should head out into the countryside, particularly to the Dutch Moorlands which are in full bloom in the Autumn months, producing a pretty dramatic blanket of purple/lilac.

Other green spaces to head to in the Netherlands to awe at impressive Autumn foliage include forests and other wooded areas. The best ones include the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park and the De Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland. Urban parks to head to for stunning Autumn foliage include the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Scheveningse Bosje in the Hague and Museumpark in Rotterdam.

Weather conditions in the Netherlands during the Autumn months is around 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). It’s also pretty wet in the Netherlands during these months so make sure you pack your waterproofs!

Germany in Autumn

The lovely colors of Autumn in Germany

Germany 

*Contributed by Alexander Waltner of Gourmand Trotter

Germany is famous for its natural beauty and there are plenty of national parks and lake areas with vivid autumn colors. From north to south, from mid-September to late October, visitors can experience the best of German foliage season. 

Some of the most iconic places in Germany, such as Neuschwanstein Castle, Eibsee, the Black Forest, Burg Eltz, and Rakotzbrucke are just a few sites where the orange leaves take over the scenery and transform it into a living fairytale.

The Black forest is especially spectacular during this time of the year, and the stories of the Grimm brothers really come to life during autumn while hiking and walking around in this fairytale forest.

If you enjoy castles, there is an abundance of them where you can experience the autumn foliage as well. Mosel valley is yet another stunning place to visit where you can enjoy wine, visit castles, and stroll through scenic areas with orange leaves that cover the trees as well as the ground with fallen leaves.

Another great place to view the autumn colors is the scenic lake area Schönau am Königssee and nearby Berchtesgaden.

What makes autumn even better is the lack of other tourists. Most Germans will be back in their regular working hours. The only downside can be the weather, although the autumn is typically more stable than spring. But if you wear a wind- and waterproof jacket and wear layers, it will be a bliss to experience this time of the year in Germany.

Finally, with the Oktoberfest running and the beer festivals in many cities throughout the country – such as Munich or Stuttgart – it’s easy to see why  Germany is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.

Paris

With most of the crowds gone, France is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

France

*Contributed by Elisa of World in Paris

France is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. Most of the summer crowds are gone, and the temperatures are still warm enough so it is the perfect time for wandering around the country and enjoy the fall colors.

You can start with Paris, the French capital. Fall in Paris is a wonderful time to explore and you are going to love the fall foliage in the parks like the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries Garden, or – for those who prefer to go off the beaten path – Parc Buttes-Chaumont or Bois the Vincennes.

Eastern France is also a good area to visit during the fall, especially the region of Grand Est. After the harvest, there are many wine festivals in the wine-growing villages of Champagne and Alsace, and places like Colmar, or the Alsatian villages – usually jam-packed during the summer – are more pleasant to visit during the fall.

Also in Eastern France, but in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, there are wonderful lakes and waterfalls which are even more beautiful to see under the fall colors. If you visit the waterfalls after one or two days of rain, you will see them running full power and they are definitely more spectacular than in the summer.  

Fall in France also comes with some days of rain, especially from late September to mid-October. Rainy days make the perfect excuse to look for a wine bar and taste the local wines, paired with the best regional cheeses. Whether you are in Paris, in Grand Est, or in Bourgogne you will always be spoilt for choice!

Portugal

Portugal is by all means one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Portugal

*Contributed by Julie Fox of Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal

Autumn is one of the best times of year for traveling in Portugal, and this is definitely one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. The overpowering heat of summer has eased off into a gentle warmth on sunny days and there are fewer tourists around, even in cities like Lisbon. The glorious colors of autumn foliage brighten up all manner of landscapes, from forests to vineyards, avenues of plane trees and tree-lined city squares.

Perhaps the most spectacular place to enjoy the full splendor of the turning colors of vine leaves is the Douro wine region, where endless terraced slopes are covered in ribbons of gold, copper and burgundy.

Autumn rains also bring the green grasses back to the countryside and a fresh smattering of flowers. This makes it a perfect time of year for hiking, assuming you have some flexibility in your schedule to work around possible rainy days. Temperatures are conducive to a full day of walking and accommodations tend to be cheaper, especially from October onwards.

Mid-September to mid-December are perfect for exploring Portuguese cities, towns and historical villages, especially those that are inland and often suffer from intense summer heat which can make sightseeing a challenge. You’ll find places like Braga, the Douro and Côa Valleys, Coimbra, Évora and other inland locations more pleasant in the autumn.

This is a great season for foodies, too. Many of Portugal’s tastiest dishes are hearty stews that are best suited to the cooler months so an autumn evening is a good time to try chanfana, a goat and red wine casserole or javali com castanhas, i.e. wild boar and chestnuts.  

Tivoli Gardens

Denmark is one of the best places to visit in Europe in Autumn

Denmark

*Contributed by Nichola of Family Hotel Expert

Denmark is a country which embraces the fall unlike any other and one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.

With their own unique take on the autumn months and an attitude which they refer to as Hygge, you’ll find the Danes enjoying life outdoors as much as indoors throughout this season. Hygge, which means cosiness, is all about finding warmth in all situations.

Many of the attractions you’ll find in the capital Copenhagen will embrace the colder weather, including the likes of the delightful Tivoli Gardens, a Victorian era open air amusement park which still operates to this day, and transforms itself into a Halloween themed extravaganza throughout October and November. The Frilandsmuseet on the outskirts of Copenhagen is also well worth a visit in the fall. It’s one of the oldest open-air museums in the world with a collection of historic buildings brought together on one site, with some dating back to the mid-17th century.  

Half an hour outside of Copenhagen is the Viking Ship Museum Denmark in the city of Roskilde where you can get up close to Denmark’s Viking history next to the remains of five ships discovered buried in the countryside. Here as you enjoy the relative warmth of this indoor museum, you’re regularly reminded of the wilder weather outside thanks to the floor to ceiling windows connecting you to the autumn weather that the Vikings would have endured on their journeys at sea.

There are plenty of Copenhagen family hotels and hotels across Denmark that are perfect for staying warm and cosy in after a day out exploring.

Embrace the season as the Danes do by wrapping up for chilly autumn walks and make time for hot chocolate and the Danish speciality of pebernødder or ‘pepper nuts’ which are round pea-sized cookies and flavored with cinnamon. Perfect to round off your Danish visit.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a fantastic place to visit in Europe in Autumn

Bulgaria

*Contributed by Allison Green of California Crossroads
 
If you’re looking for not your average place to spend autumn in Europe, look to Bulgaria! There is a multitude of places to go enjoy some beautiful fall foliage in Bulgaria, and this is definitely one of the best places to visit in October in Europe.
 
The easiest place to see the leaves changing color is right in the capital city of Sofia, where you can go to the local mountain, Vitosha, and enjoy some autumn colors there on the 2,300-meter-high mountain. You can also take a ski lift at Dragalevski (there is also a beautiful monastery there worth a visit) or from Simeonovo to see the colors from above.
 
Other great places for fall foliage in Bulgaria are the area around Rila Mountain, the Pirin National Park which is home to some of Bulgaria’s most stunning forest and foliage, and the Rhodope Mountains are home to some of the best fall foliage in the county. Base yourself in the pretty ski town of Pamporovo or nearby Smolyan and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
 
Other ways to spend autumn in Bulgaria include tasting the harvests from local winemakers, particularly on the Melnik wine trail, attending the pumpkin festival in Sevlievo, or catching some local festivals in Sofia like the annual Sofia International Film Festival. It’s also a great time to explore the Black Sea coast without the crowds, as long as you don’t mind the cooler temperatures.
 
A few other destinations in Bulgaria worth a visit in October: Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, and Koprivshtitsa, which are all beautiful year-round, as well as Buzludzha, the former communist headquarters which looks extra desolate in the fall.
 
Autumn in Finnish Lapland

With beautiful foliage, Finland is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Finland

*Contributed by Beata and Ela of Stunning Outdoors

Autumn has many faces, but autumn in Finland will win your heart with its amazing colors – this is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. The season starts already in August (especially up north) and last about 3 months. Within those 3 months you can appreciate amazing spectacle of changing colors – in the south or central Finland, the deciduous trees turn yellow & orange and far north Lapland’s tundra turns into carpets of weaved reds and oranges and copper like wetlands.

To appreciate what Finland has to offer in October visit a couple of national parks and go for a hike. Some of national parks are Koli, Oulanka or Pallas-Yllästunturi. Each park has many options for day hikes or even multi-day hikes such as: Hetta to Pallas or Karhunkierros Trail, just to mention two.

For a truly spectacular experience head to Lapland, where you can spot many reindeers on the trail during the day and watch northern lights during long evenings.

Your autumn visit wouldn’t be completed without a visit in a sauna. Ensure to have your first experience in a wood burn sauna and for a truly Finnish experience cool down in a lake.

Another very popular autumn activity in Finland is mushrooms and berries foraging.

To sum up, despite Finland having a reputation of winter wonderland, you will experience its magic in autumn as well. For truly authentic experience, head to the middle of nowhere, with many walking options; stay in a cosy cabin with an open space, so you can admire aurora borealis in the comfort of a cabin where you can warm up in a hot sauna.  

Iceland in October

October is the best time to visit Iceland

Iceland

*Contributed by Theresa of Fueled By Wanderlust

Iceland is a wonderful country, and one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. Not only can you witness beautiful changing foliage against a volcanic landscape, but fall is also when the marvelous Northern Lights begin to show themselves. Additionally, Iceland’s October weather is still mild enough for planning lots of outdoor sightseeing.

Fall is an underrated time to visit Iceland, as this is when the crowds of summer begin to disperse and flight and lodging prices begin to decrease. This can actually make an October trip to Iceland ideal, as you won’t be battling hoards of people at popular attractions, like the Blue Lagoon or Hallgrimskirkja Church.

This time of the year is also when the highly sought-after northern lights come out to play. As you go deeper into fall, there are more and more hours of darkness with each passing day. Darkness is critical for having as many chances for viewing the elusive northern lights as possible. You never know when they may appear!

While fall in Iceland brings its share of rain, wind, and chilly weather, temperatures typically remain above freezing. This ensures road conditions are good enough for driving – a must for doing Iceland’s famous day trips, such as the Golden Circle or South Coast. The earlier in fall you travel, the less likely you are to face frustrating road closures that could alter your sight-seeing plans.

Some awesome things to do during October l in Iceland are warming up with a high-quality cup of coffee in Reykjavik, such as Reykjavik Roasters, or relaxing in a hot spring. Additionally, there is a growing craft beer scene in Iceland, and fall is when many heavy, yet delicious stouts appear on tap. With such a diverse range of things to do, there is no shortage of ways to stay entertained during a trip to Iceland in October!

Ireland

Ireland is beautiful in Autumn

Ireland

*Contributed by Nadine of Le Long Weekend
 
The emerald isle excels in Autumn, and it’s one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. It’s a time when the landscapes become golden, the summer crowds have faded, and the cobbled houses are covered with crimson colored ivy. The naturally rugged and rural feel of the countryside becomes even more enchanting, and the morning mist adds to its magical feel.
 
While the cities are alive with festivals and events throughout Autumn, it’s the bucolic towns that really come into their own at this time of the year. Head to Killarney for incredible displays of Autumn foliage in the National Park. Explore Muckross House and gardens, and have a ramble around Ross Castle.
 
For a scenic drive in Autumn, drive the southern leg of the Wild Atlantic Way, which will take you from Cork to the colorful Kinsale with its star-shaped Charles Fort, past the Old Head of Kinsale, to the charming town of Timoleague. A little further south, you’ll find the Dromberg Stone Circle and the Altar Wedge Tomb.
 
Be sure to travel to the island’s most Southwesterly point where you’ll find Mizen Head, and a climax of dramatic scenery where the land meets the ocean. And finally, make your way up to Gougane Barra where the scenery will leave you spellbound and a cosy pub will warm you up after a day of sightseeing. While the weather can be crisp at this time of year, it makes the perfect excuse to rug up in your winter boots and go for a walk in the leafy parks.
 
Autumn in Europe

The Greek islands are among the best places to visit in October in Europe

Greece

*Contributed by Dean & Laynni of Routinely Nomadic

Beautiful, historic Greece is an immensely popular summer destination, with people flocking to enjoy the heat and pretty (if rocky) Mediterranean beaches. Unfortunately, this means big crowds, busy attractions and occasionally uncomfortable heat. Which is why visiting in autumn is actually a much better choice.
 

With its relatively southern location and mild sea climate, the weather in much of Greece stays pleasant well into October, making it one of the best places to visit in October in Europe, and even November on the more southern islands.

Athens is a must for any first-time visitor to Greece, with its extraordinary historical monuments and fascinating cultural attractions. The Parthenon, for example, is a stunning example of classic architecture, yet it can be difficult to enjoy among thousands of fellow tourists on a 38C day in July. Visiting on a relatively quiet Tuesday in October with temperatures in the low 20’s will make for a much more enjoyable experience.

Autumn is also much quieter on the islands. While the most popular spots, such as Santorini and Mykonos, stay somewhat busy all year round, going even slightly off the beaten path in September or October allows you to almost completely avoid the crowds while still enjoying pleasant weather perfect for sightseeing and exploring.

 
Relatively hidden gems like Folegandros and the magnificent hiking island of Sifnos are outstanding choices in the shoulder season, giving you a feeling of solitude and isolation very rare in Greece. If your schedule allows, planning your Greek vacation for the fall is highly recommended.
 
Liechtenstein in October

Liechtenstein is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe

Liechtenstein

*Contributed by Paulina Rubia of Paulina on the Road

Fall in Liechtenstein comes in September, and this small country definitely is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. During this time of the year, the temperature in the morning stays near about 16 degrees celsius. Still, as the sun goes down, the weather starts to dip below freezing point and averaging around 4 degrees celsius. 
 
The temperature begins to decrease, but it is not a rapid decrease. In addition to this, when you are visiting the place in the fall, you can expect bright sunny days in September. Liechtenstein is more of a principality than a country, and it operates like that while being sandwiched in between Austria and Switzerland. 
 
The entire region of the state is only about 160 square kilometers, with 35,000 residents. As a result, it’s a place for nature lovers as most of the land lacks human presence, making it untouched, clean, and natural.
 
On your visit to the state, make sure you visit Gutenburg castle, which is located on the top of the hill overlooking the small village of Balzers. From a distance, the whole place looks straight from a fairy tale land. This castle represents the true spirit of the traditional architecture of Liechtenstein. When it comes to hiking in Liechtenstein, you will be amazed to see how many different options you have. 
 
You can choose to hike along the historical Eschnerberg trail or enjoy the lush green meadows during the autumn, you can hike on Princes’s Way that takes you through the mountains, and where you get to see some of the best Alpine scenery available in Europe.
 
Russia in Fall

Russia is one of the most underrated places to visit in October in Europe

Russia

*Contributed by Meenakshi J. of PolkaJunction

There’s no better country to experience the autumn colors than Russia, which unlike its European counterparts is truly underrated when it comes to experiencing the fall foliage – this truly is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe!

Saint Petersburg is an ideal city to catch a glimpse of the very first leaves turning golden orange in Russia. With the famed White Nights of St.Petersburg giving way to autumn colors, the historic city brims with people out on the streets donning the hat of leaf peepers.

The gardens of Peterhof dubbed ‘The Versailles of the East’ should be your must-visit destination nearby Saint Petersburg, to revel in the fall foliage. Carpets of golden yellow leaves blanket the grounds of Peterhof while the brightly colored orange leaves don the old trees around the ponds and lakes.

You may want to plan a day trip from Saint Petersburg to Veliky Novgorod and catch one of the oldest towns in Russia in all its glory during the fall. A walk inside the Novgorod Kremlin, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and, along the River Volkhov is perfect for soaking in the warmth of autumn.

While on a Russian trip, you cannot miss Moscow, the capital city. The candy-colored onion domes of the churches and the somber-looking soviet buildings would seem to jostle for space and attention during the fall. Moscow truly comes alive during the autumn, offering perfect weather for outings and a ferry-ride along the River Volga.

Also, make sure to spend your Moscow weekend at Suzdal, a picturesque town nearby, that’s dotted with umpteen wooden cottages, ponds, blue-domed churches, and of course spectacular fall foliage.

Kyiv

Kiev is one of the nicest cities to experience Autumn in Europe

Ukraine

*Contributed by Inessa and Natalie of Through a Travel Lens

If there is one season perfect for exploring Ukraine, it is definitely autumn. Winters are cold and windy, spring comes to the country around May and lasts for a couple of weeks. Summers are too hot to check out the cities, but September and October are pure joy.

The warm weather lasts all through September, with up to 25º C during the daytime, and it is even warmer out in the south. So, if you’ve ever intended to check how black the water of the Black Sea is, the beginning of fall is a perfect time. You will surely get to swim and sunbathe, too. While exploring the south, be sure to also stop by Odessa for a couple of days.

The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, is particularly lovely in October- indeed, it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe in October. Numerous parks and trees in this city paint it all shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown during the fall foliage. Walking around old downtown, taking a cruise down the Dnypto River, and sipping on coffee in cozy cafes is what the locals love doing this time of year.

Fall also makes the Carpathian mountains in the west of the country an absolutely magical place. For this region, have a light jacket and an umbrella always ready when you are off exploring the cobbled streets of Lviv and the national parks and waterfalls, of which there are plenty not far from the city.

Brussels in Autumn

Brussels is one of the nicest places to visit in October in Europe

Belgium

*Contributed by Dymphe of Dymabroad

Belgium is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe; there are so many things you can do and see! Belgium has a lot to offer, there are many cities and lots of places with nature. Expect to find average temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius.

One of the best cities in the country for autumn is Bruges. This is a town in Flanders. Bruges is always beautiful to see with its picturesque canals and medieval houses. But in autumn the place becomes even more magical with the trees turning orange and red.

Another great city you should visit is the capital of the country, Brussels. There are many parks and gardens in the city that give you the feeling of autumn. These are great places for a relaxing stroll. You should consider going to Park Royale!

If you want to go to a place with more nature, then definitely go to La Roche-en-Ardenne! This town is located in the southern part of the country in the Ardennes region. This town is surrounded by large forests that create the ultimate autumn experience. You can do many hikes here.

Antwerp is amazing in October. This is one of the larger cities of the country and you can find it in the northern part of Belgium. There are red and orange leaves everywhere. Furthermore, this is a great place for autumn shopping. Also, if you are going to the city of Ghent, make sure to visit the Flanders Festival Ghent! This is a very good festival for all types of music and it takes places at the beginning of autumn. 

Croatia

Croatia is a lovely destination in October

Croatia

*Contributed by Baia Dzagnidze of Red Fedora Diary

Croatia, a charming country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, is one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. The main reason to plan your visit to Croatia in fall is to avoid crowds in popular cities such as Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, and islands of Hvar, Korcula, and Brac. Moreover, accommodation fees decrease during the shoulder season, making Croatia a budget-friendly destination.

The weather conditions in fall here depend on the destination. It’s relatively warmer on the Dalmatian coast, while it gets a bit breezy as you move towards the capital, Zagreb. You don’t need to pack very warm clothes; a light cardigan and one pair of jeans are enough during cloudy days no matter the location.

October is still a good month to do a bit of island hopping in Dalmatia even though the ferries have reduced their schedules. You can enjoy your time exploring ancient towns, relax at its beaches, and even take a dip in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea during these months.

Nature and hiking lovers will absolutely enjoy their visits to the country’s gorgeous national parks. The world-famous Plitvice Lakes National Park is especially beautiful in fall. Its breathtaking waterfalls are even more attractive with an autumn color palette. Similar to Croatia’s popular cities, Plitvice sees fewer tourists during the autumn months, enabling you to enjoy the scenery without bumping into each other. Besides, the entrance fee to the park is also lower.

Zurich

Zurich is among the best places to visit in October in Europe

Switzerland

*Contributed by Christina Pfeiffer of Travel2next

When looking for the best places to visit in October in Europe, you can’t go wrong with Switzerland. The historic cobblestone streets of the cities like Zurich, Lucerne and Bern are straight out of a fairy tale and especially so in autumn when the leaves turn orange. And this is the best time of year if you plan on doing lots of exploring on foot.

Switzerland is famous for its stunning landscape of soaring mountains and autumn is one of the best times of year to take a scenic train journey on the Glacier Express, Bernina Express, the Golden Pass Line or the Jungfrau Railways. The mountains are a stunning sight of gold, yellow and orange. You’ll also find that October in Switzerland brings perfect weather for visiting: it is a magical time of year. It’s not too cold to be outdoors and not too warm to be uncomfortable while hiking either.

Another great reason to visit Switzerland in October is to visit during the grape harvesting season, and Switzerland produces excellent wine. You won’t find a lot of Swiss wine outside of Switzerland, so doing a tour of the vineyards is a good reason to pick this season. Picturesque wine regions include Valais, the slopes of the Rhone River near Geneva, the UNESCO-listed Lavaux terraces in Canton Vaux, and there are several excellent wine routes in Ticino

TIP: Buy a Swiss Travel Pass to explore the country by train and enjoy the scenery of autumn leaves.

Further readings

Make sure to check out my other seasonal travel posts:

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Discover where to go in October in Europe - via @clautavani

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