The Best Places to Visit in Europe in October

The 14 Best Places to Visit in Europe in October

Lively festivals celebrating the season, fire-hued foliage lighting up the parks, and tranquil cobbled lanes free from the crowds of summer characterize the best places to visit in Europe in October. Popular destinations that are swamped during the peak seasons are much quieter and more affordable at this time of year, with lower temperatures perfect for sightseeing. 

Prefer to drive than get around on foot? October is an amazing time for a road trip in Europe. Not only will you be able to snag a great deal on a rental car, but you’ll have the chance to drive through natural blazing tunnels created by tree canopies bursting with autumn leaves. 

Whether you’re seeking a cozy weekend retreat, your lungs are calling out for some fresh mountain air, or you’re dreaming of wandering around Europe’s fairytale cities without bumping into hordes of people, October is an excellent time to travel. To help you plan the best fall European vacation ever, we’ve put together a list of the best places to go in Europe in October!

The 14 Best Places to Travel in Europe in October

1. Walk the Trails of the Lake District, UK

Best Places to Visit in Europe in October: Lake District, UK

When it comes to beautiful places in the UK, you can’t beat the Lake District in the fall. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the northwest of the UK and is blanketed in vibrant purple heather, dazzling amber forests, and a plethora of seasonal produce you can pick straight from the source.

As soon as you set foot in this gorgeous region, you’ll easily understand how many 19th-century authors and poets fell head over heels in love with the picture-perfect landscapes. Here you’ll be spoiled for choice with charming villages brimming with boutique hotels. When you’ve settled in, head outdoors and get ready to surround yourself with beauty like never before.

The best way to get around the Lake District is by walking. Follow popular routes such as the woodland trails of Orrest Head, the Tarns Walk, or the West Shore Walk, and you’ll spot stunning sites like ancient Roman ruins, water-powered mills, impressive Tudor castles, and cute pubs where you can stop for lunch. 

Enjoy a Lake District Scenic Tour


2. Run the EDP Marathon in Lisbon, Portugal

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in October: Lisbon, Portugal

Ready to put yourself to the test? Then Lisbon in Portugal is one of the best places to go in Europe in October. Each October, the city hosts a full marathon between Cascais and Praça do Comércio. 

The route follows the coast, rewarding you with spectacular views along the way. Temperatures are fairly mild in Lisbon at this time of year, with an average of 67°F. This should be warm enough so you can work up a healthy sweat without overheating.

If a full marathon is too much for you, Lisbon has another couple of cards up its sleeve. You can try the half marathon (that’s 13 miles instead of 26 miles) or the mini marathon, which is just 5 miles. If you have no intention of doing any exercise at all on your vacation (we don’t blame you!), there are plenty of other reasons to visit Lisbon.

Get lost in the city’s quaint alleys and gardens, relax on the banks of the Tagus River, or indulge in Lisbon’s thriving cafe scene with as many coffees and pastries as you can handle! 


3. See the Great Outdoors in the Costa Blanca in Spain

Best Places to Visit in Europe in October: Costa Blanca

Southern Spain boasts some of the finest weather in Europe in October. With the intense heat of summer long gone, wonderfully warm temperatures with blue skies and delicate sunshine reign supreme. The Costa Blanca is one of the top places to visit in Europe in October if you want the best of both worlds.

Here, you can relax on golden sandy beaches and work on your tan, or head inland and discover all the hidden wonders this dazzling part of Spain has to offer. The Serra Gelada Natural Park is a fantastic place for hiking, with endless coastal trails to choose from.

The Algar Waterfalls on the outskirts of Callosa d’En Sarria is another place you won’t want to miss. Here, you can cool off after you walk around the area with a refreshing dip in one of the many pools. 

Guadalest is a gorgeous village you’ve absolutely got to check out while in the Costa Blanca, too. Overlooked by the Castillo de San Jose, this charming place looks out to sea and appears as though it’s teetering on the edge of narrow pinnacles.


4. Attend the International Alba White Truffle Fair in Piedmont, Italy

Where to Vacation in Europe in October: Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is one of the best places to visit in Europe in October for foodies. Not only are the chestnut groves and pumpkin crops ready for harvest at this time of year, but the White Truffle Fair also takes place during this month. Hidden away from the rest of the world by the towering Alps, Piedmont is mostly a quiet, sleepy place – until this epicurean festival launches and the region bursts into life. 

Celebrating the precious ingredient often nicknamed “white gold,” the International Alba White Truffle Fair features a program jam-packed with events. There’s an exhibition area where you can buy the finest truffles collected from the surrounding woods and various cooking shows that show you how to make the most of the luxury ingredient. The program even includes things like music concerts, historical reenactments, and wine tastings. 

October is also the best time of year to sip Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Enjoy a glass with a bowl of glazed chestnuts to discover what heaven really feels like.


5. Enjoy an Extended Summer in Sicily, Italy

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in October: Sicily, Italy

Sicily is one place in Europe that never wants to let go of summer. Although temperatures may seem fairly mild in October (highs are around 69°F), the dazzling sunshine which gleams down onto the island makes everything feel a little warmer and brighter.

The Baroque streets are often too hot for exploring at this time of year. So instead, plan for a lazy vacation and head to the beach. San Vito Lo Capo, Isola Bella, and Mondello are three spectacular bays known for their powder-soft sand and wonderfully warm waters that are perfect for swimming in. 

Even though most visitors will be long gone by October, you’ll still be sharing the beach with a handful of locals. If you’d rather be alone, visit protected coastal parks like Vendicari or Selinunte instead. There’s a great chance you’ll have the beaches all to yourself at these spots. 

Food is a huge part of Sicilian culture, and it’s no surprise that there are many harvest festivals all over the island in October. La Vendemmia is one of the biggest and is held in celebration of the grape harvest. 


6. Experience the International Festival of Arts of Bordeaux Métropole in France

Where to Vacation in Europe in October: Bordeaux, France

The International Festival of Arts of Bordeaux Métropole is one of the most exciting events in Bordeaux’s calendar. Often shortened to FAB, this lively event encompasses all sorts of cultural activities, from circus acts, art installations, and dance troupes to theatrical performances, interactive museum displays, and mesmerizing light shows. 

Of course, you can’t visit Bordeaux without trying some wine. This fantastic tour picks you up from your accommodation in Bordeaux and whisks you away to the elegant wine region of Saint-Emilion. Here you’ll visit two châteaux and discover how they make their wines before sampling some of their most prestigious varieties.

This charming village also hosts a Hot Air Balloon Festival each year during the third week of October. There are loads of other cool things to do in Bordeaux in October, too. Rent a bike and cycle along the banks of the River Garonne, or save your legs and take a boat ride along it instead! 


7. Climb Up to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in October: Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is incredibly beautiful at any time of year – but just wait until you see it in October. In the fall, the rolling green hills, magnificent leafy trees, and thick bushes that line the paths transform into a kaleidoscope of bronze, russet, gold, and crimson. Some of the trees throughout the city are evergreen Scots pines, which provide a striking contrast against the blazing hues. 

One of the top spots to take it all in and snap some incredible pictures is from Arthur’s Seat. This is an ancient volcano with a peak that stands high above the city. From up here, you can see for miles over Edinburgh’s cobblestone streets and out across the golden countryside that surrounds it. 

Samhuinn Fire Festival is an event you absolutely can’t miss. Also known as the Fire and Acrobats show, this spectacular event takes place every year on October 31 in Calton Hill. Here, you can watch incredibly talented acrobats and performers show off their fire skills to the beat of loud drums. 


8. See the Lugano Autumn Festival in Switzerland

Best Places to Visit in Europe in October: Switzerland

There are loads of festivals held throughout Europe in October, and the Lugano Autumn Festival in Switzerland has got to be one of the best. Make sure you visit on an empty stomach because you’ll be amazed by the huge number of stalls laden with all kinds of Ticinese delights.

From polenta stew and gnocchi to minestrone soup and risotto, you’ll be surrounded by delicious comfort food that’s guaranteed to warm you up. Keep an eye out for the wine stalls, too. They sell all kinds of incredible wines made with grapes sourced from local vineyards that year.

As well as all the food and drink kiosks, Lugano’s pedestrianized streets are also brought to life with children’s activities, parades, dances, live music, and artisan boutiques throughout the event. 

If you over-indulged during the festival, there are plenty of ways to work off the extra calories. Lake Lugano is a wonderful place for boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, while the surrounding peaks of Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bre are ideal for hiking and mountain biking. 


9. Enjoy Festivals in Budapest, Hungary

Must Visit Places in Europe in October: Budapest, Hungary

If you hate being bored, Budapest is one of the coolest places to visit in Europe in October. There are so many festivals going on during this month that it’s impossible to have nothing to do! From music concerts and horse racing to wine fairs and foodie events, you won’t have a second to spare during your vacation here.

The city hosts its own version of Oktoberfest at the beginning of the month. In addition to copious beer drinking, the program is also filled with artisan markets, workshops, literary events, city tours, art exhibitions, dance shows, theatrical performances, and live music. 

The Contemporary Art Festival is another worth checking out. Held in various galleries, theaters, and movie theaters at the beginning of the month, this event incorporates two weeks of visual art and musical performances. 

Burdened with a never-satisfied sweet tooth? Then you’ll love the Chimney Cake Festival. Held in the middle of October, this foodie event gives you the chance to try loads of different kinds of the sugary desserts in City Park. There are literally dozens of variations to sink your teeth into! 


10. Have a Fairytale Time in the Bavarian Alps, Germany

What Places to Visit in Europe in October: Bavarian Alps, Germany

The Bavarian Alps are at their most stunning in October, when the romantic medieval villages, mesmerizing historic castles, and cobalt shimmering lakes are surrounded by plants, trees, and bushes in every shade of autumnal gold you can imagine. Whether you’re a professional photographer or you just snap the odd picture on your phone, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the beauty there is to capture here. 

Start by choosing a gorgeous place to stay. We recommend Füssen, known for its multicolored Old Town, brimming with eye-catching Bavarian architecture and charming boutique hotels. After you’ve settled in, head outside and start working your way through the area’s enchanting castles. 

The alluring Neuschwanstein Castle should be first on your list. This spectacular structure is regularly awarded the title of “Most Beautiful Castle in the World,” and it’s truly astounding in the fall. Don’t forget to stop by the Marienbrücke Bridge to take the iconic castle picture!

If you’ve got a car, it’s worth driving along the Romantic Road. This pretty route takes you past a number of weathered castles, sophisticated palaces, medieval towns, and Bavarian churches.


11. Eat Comfort Food in Prague, Czech Republic

Must Visit Places in Europe in October: Prague, Czech Republic

Prague can get pretty chilly in October, with temperatures dropping down to around 43°F. But as long as you wrap up warm, you’ll still have an amazing time exploring the city’s majestic attractions – especially since the streets will be practically empty. You won’t have any problem finding a good space to watch the Astronomical Clock show and will be able to stroll over Charles Bridge without bumping into other people.

If the cold does get to be too much for you, then you’re in luck – Prague has some of the heartiest Czech comfort food around. Whenever you feel like you need to warm up a little, look out for a traditional Czech restaurant and find yourself an empty table.

A plate of Svíčková Na Smetaně (beef with dumplings and a cream sauce), Kuřecí Kapsa (chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese), or Kulajda (mushroom and potato soup) will warm you up from the inside out. 

When you’re feeling warmer, you’ll be in a better position to appreciate where you are. In October, Prague is bathed in a low angle of sunlight, which illuminates the city in a glittering golden hue. 


12. Discover the Tbilisoba Festival in Tbilisi

Best Places to Visit in Europe in October: Tbilisoba

One of Europe’s best-kept secrets, Georgia is a remarkable place to visit in October. The country’s capital dazzles with bronze, gold, and cerulean colors at this time of year that will leave you wanting to spend every fall in lesser-known Tbilisi.

Nestled into a dramatic valley, this charming city perfectly combines winding narrow streets and charming old squares with trendy independent cafes and a cool cosmopolitan vibe. Here you’ll find everything from ancient sulfur baths that invite you to soak up their therapeutic minerals to the funicular ride to Mtatsminda Park, from where you can get a phenomenal bird’s-eye view of the city. 

Tbilisoba is a wonderful festival that’s held throughout October each year. Celebrating history and diversity in Tbilisi, the annual event boasts all kinds of activities, from open-air concerts featuring contemporary artists and traditional groups to sprawling food fairs where you can gorge on as much wine, cheese, and fruit as you can handle.


13. Welcome the Darker Nights in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in October: Ljubljana, Slovenia

It gets dark pretty early in Ljubljana in October, with the sun setting around 6:20 pm. But that’s not a bad thing at all. The earlier the sun sets, the more time you get to enjoy the Lighting Guerrilla! 

Toward the end of the month, this sensational light festival takes over the entire city in the form of fiery art installations that illuminate the space around them. Thought-provoking artistic videos and remarkable dramatic performances also take place throughout the streets.

Want to get involved? Visitors are encouraged to create their own illuminated lanterns and hats at pop-up workshops around the city. 

Autumn Restaurant Week also takes place throughout the country at this time of year. During this event, the best restaurants in Slovenia are chosen to create a special multi-course tasting menu exclusively for the event. It’s an excellent way of trying local ingredients and seasonal flavors prepared by expert chefs.

You can find out which restaurants are taking part each year by checking out the official website. If you’re looking for places to travel in Europe in October for foodies, Ljubljana won’t disappoint! 


14. See the Views in Killarney, Ireland

What Places to Visit in Europe in October: Ring of Kerry Drive in Killarney, Ireland

With so much natural beauty to discover in Ireland, you’ve got no chance of seeing it all on foot. The best way to take in as many dazzling autumnal landscapes as possible is to rent a car and hit the road. It’s difficult to say which part of the country is most stunning in the fall, but Killarney has got to be up there.

Nestled between sparkling lakes and rolling hills, this spellbinding part of Ireland stretches across southern County Kerry. It’s the starting point of the famous Ring of Kerry driving route, which is absolutely breathtaking in October. 

This magnificent road trip takes you through the unspoiled natural beauty of the Killarney National Park. Here, you’ll drive over forest-clad mountain slopes and past sparkling blue lakes, alongside tumbling waterfalls and close to native red deer. You’ll also drive through loads of quaint little towns where you can stop off at a cafe to recharge.

You can complete the entire road trip in just one day, so you should always be able to squeeze it into your itinerary. 

There you have it! The 14 best places to visit in Europe in October. What’s your favorite European destination to travel to in October?


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Author

  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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