Autumn in Europe: 23 Stunning Destinations for Fall

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we earn an income.

The Best Autumn Destinations in Europe

Autumn in Europe is the perfect time and place for a holiday or short break. The kids are back in school, the crowds have gone and the weather has yet to turn wintry.

The colors will be glorious, attractions and cities will be quieter, and beaches deserted. With so many reasons to experience the colors, gastronomy, festivals, and traditions of autumn in Europe, what are you waiting for?

In our Europe in fall travel guide, we share travel tips and highlights for our top places for autumn color and adventure. Whether you’re a city lover or road tripper, or want to visit some of Europe’s national parks and glorious landscapes, you’re in the right place!

The Best Destinations for Autumn Europe

Six Reasons to Visit Europe in the Autumn

Is autumn a good time to visit Europe? We think it’s one of the best times, and here’s why;

  • The fall season in Europe is simply stunning, with vibrant autumn colors across cities and landscapes, and the low sun and early morning mists shrouding the countryside and architecture, making every vista Instagram-worthy!
  • What is the weather like in Europe in autumn? The weather will still have a bit of summer warmth, and an Indian summer in September is a real possibility.
  • Fewer tourists travel during the autumn months, they’re all hunkering down for the winter to come or recovering from their summer holidays, so attractions and tours are quieter.
  • Flights, car rental, hotels, and accommodation prices will be cheaper during the shoulder season months between summer and winter, making Europe in the fall a budget friendly option.
  • Seasonal food is at its best in autumn, with the harvest in and many specialties available. Think delicious woody mushrooms, slowly caramelized pumpkins, delicious roasted chestnuts, and newly pressed wine and you have the flavors of autumn.
  • Autumn festivals are common across Europe, as the continent celebrates a successful summer and gets ready for the cold of winter. From the Andalucia Jamon festival, and wine festival in Castelvetro in Italy, to the Paris Nuit Blanche art festival, and of course, Halloween, there’s a lot going on!

Weather in Europe in Autumn

When is autumn in Europe? Autumn Europe dates are 1st September to 30th November every year.

Early autumn is usually warm and if you’re lucky you might get an Indian summer in September. However, if you’re traveling for those autumn colors, you’re unlikely to see much of a change during September, as it’s the cold that causes trees to become dormant and the leaf color to change.

In the south of Spain and Portugal, you can expect temperatures to be around 20 to 22° Celsius (68 to 72° fahrenheit) during the day, with mild evenings and nights throughout the season. The further north or east, and the deeper into autumn you go, the more unpredictable the weather becomes.

Wherever you are in the autumn season in Europe, you can expect some stormy weather. This is the season of high winds and rain, so always pack a waterproof coat and shoes or boots.

Beautiful autumn background

Autumn in Europe Destinations Map

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • It’s a mild start to autumn in Amsterdam, with temperatures of 19° Celsius (66° fahrenheit) in September, which drop steadily each month. October averages 15° Celsius (59° fahrenheit), before a sharp drop to 10° Celsius (50° fahrenheit) in November.

Amsterdam is a city packed with eclectic culture and life. There is a little bit of everything, be it architecture, cuisine, history, or nature. So much is squeezed into this small city, it’s perfect for an adventure-filled autumn trip, whilst you dip into fun museums, munch on stroopwafel and soak up the lively, yet laid-back, atmosphere of the Dutch capital.

In autumn Amsterdam sees the leaves turn fiery on the 400,000 trees which line the city’s famous canals, and candles are lit in the windows of its townhouses from mid-afternoon every day.

Alongside this distinctively autumnal atmosphere, the city comes alive when the Amsterdam Dance Event takes over venues with electro, house, and techno club nights. In November it’s the turn of Museumnacht when 55 of Amsterdam’s top museums open after hours late into the night.

Highlights

  • Enjoying a slice of apple pie topped with whipped cream, and a glass of piping hot Chocomel, an addictive Dutch milk drink, in a traditional brown bar.
  • Capturing images as the beautiful autumn sun illuminates the clouds, reminiscent of a 17th century Dutch masterpiece.
  • Watching the Amsterdam Marathon as runners race past windmills, stately homes, and the Amstel River, and through a tunnel under the Rijksmuseum, into the heart of the city.
  • Stay at Hotel Estheréa for its superb city center location, incredibly stylish decor, and canal views.
Canal view to the Zuiderkerk in Amsterdam

Bruges, Belgium

  • It will be mild in Bruges, with temperatures of 18° Celsius (64° fahrenheit) in September and dropping steadily each month towards winter. November will be a chilly 10° Celsius (50° fahrenheit), so wrap up warm. 

The gorgeous medieval city of Bruges packs a punch in autumn, with spectacular canalside colors, the atmospheric old town, and just the sort of food that’s right in October and November! Just two of the must-try Belgian foods are decadent waffles smothered in cream and fruity autumn berries, or Frites with mayonnaise, the traditional Belgian accompaniment.  

Easily accessible from London or Paris via the Eurostar, Bruges is perfect for an autumn weekend break for Brits and northern Europeans, ideal for strolling and relaxing. The Minneswater (Lake of Love) will be surrounded by autumn colors as the trees turn and is a great place to meander.

Follow the windmill path for fabulous views of the oldest windmills in the city, highlighted on the landscape against the low autumn sun.

RELATED POST: Best Things to Do in Bruges: 23 Amazing Highlights

Highlights

  • Enjoy the delicious local craft beers and gins in front of a roaring log fire.
  • Visit the atmospheric Beguinage, a convent of Benedictine sisters. Surrounded by white-washed cottages and fields of autumn grasses, take a deep breath and enjoy the tranquillity.
  • Head to Chez Vincent on Sint Salvatorskerkhof for superb Belgian Frites, served with dollops of creamy mayonnaise or curry sauce. You can’t visit Bruges without enjoying this quintessential Belgian experience!
  • Stay at the Hotel De Orangerie for its authentic 15th century building, cozy lounges with open fires, and sumptuous bedrooms.
The Grand Canal in Bruges

Cairngorms, Scotland

  • It will be cold in the Cairngorms, with temperatures of just 10° Celsius (50° fahrenheit) in September and dropping steadily each month towards winter. November will be close to freezing at 4° Celsius (39° fahrenheit), and proper cold-weather clothing is required.

Scotland is renowned for its stunning autumn foliage, and during the autumn season, the trees come ablaze in a myriad of warm tones. One place in particular where these are at their best is the Cairngorms National Park, situated in the eastern Scottish Highlands. 

Covering 1,748 square miles, the Cairngorms is the largest national park in the British Isles, larger than both the Lake District and the Peak District combined. It covers a diverse landscape including mountains, heather moorlands, forest, wetlands, and even a sandy beach at Loch Morlich! 

The spectacular autumn colors can be seen throughout the park and can be enjoyed by taking a walk or bike ride along one of the many routes.

Munro bagging is another popular activity – summiting one of the mountains over 3000ft – there are 282 Munros in Scotland and over 50 of them are located in Cairngorms National Park, including the second highest peak in the UK – Ben Macdui. 

Bagging a Munro while hiking through colorful foliage is definitely one of the best ways to enjoy the autumn season!

RELATED POST – Eight Incredible Scotland Road Trips

Highlights

  • Enjoying a tour and tasting at one of the six whisky distilleries in the national park.
  • Visiting the eight castles in the Cairngorms, which cover Scottish history from royal feuds to bloody Jacobite battles.
  • Taking a day trip to Aberdeen or Edinburgh, both lively and historic Scottish cities.
  • Stay at Muckrach Country Manor Hotel in Grantown On Spey, for its Scottish hospitality and style, five-star reviews, and excellent estate activities and adventures. 
Golden Aspens in the Cairngorms

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • September may still be pleasant with temperatures around 15° Celsius(59° fahrenheit) during the day. Late October and November weather will be significantly cooler, dropping to 9° Celsius (48° fahrenheit) and 5° Celsius (41° fahrenheit) respectively, with the nights getting properly cold. Bring thick socks and a scarf!

The colorful and vibrant capital city of Denmark has so much interest but is incredibly busy during the summer months. Of course, people want to visit Copenhagen in the summer when there is a chance of sunshine and some heat!

But we think Copenhagen is one of the best places to visit in Europe in October – the late summer crowds will have gone and it’s too early to be truly cold.

You’ll have the opportunity to see this historic and beautiful Danish city in all its glory, without thousands of other people spoiling your photo opportunity.

You can also fully embrace the Danish feeling of hygge, a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality and contentment, which for me means being warm and snuggly!  

RELATED POST – One Day Copenhagen Itinerary – Map, Tips & Guide

Highlights

  • Celebrating Halloween in the Tivoli Gardens is a high point of Copenhagen’s calendar when the theme park is transformed into a spooky wonderland.
  • Take in the colorful and lively 17th century waterfront of Nyhavn, without the huge crowds of summer.
  • Visiting Torvehallerne market, for seasonal local produce, mulled wine, and hot chocolate!
  • Stay at the 71 Nyhavn Hotel for its canalside location, cool Scandi decor, and amazing breakfast.
Copenhagen, one of the best places in Europe to visit in October
Nyhavn in Copenhagen

Cotswolds, England

  • The English weather in October averages temperatures of around 14° Celsius (57° fahrenheit), with November dropping to a maximum of 10° Celsius (50° fahrenheit). Be prepared for some rainy days – make sure to pack a waterproof jacket and sturdy boots if you’re planning on walking.

Probably the best place in the whole of the United Kingdom for autumn color, the Cotswolds are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and deservedly so.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is a Forestry England park tucked away in the South Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. Just 30 minutes from Bristol, 1.5 hours from Bath, and an easy day trip from London, Westonbirt Arboretum is a wonderful place to enjoy the ever-changing autumn colors.

With over 600 acres and 2,500 species of trees, you could spend hours exploring, but to find the best autumn colors head to the Colour Circle and Acer Glade area or walk around the Loop Trail.

Nearby, the city of Gloucester, famous for its 11th century cathedral and the restored Victorian Glocester Docks, packed with cool bars and restaurants is worth exploring too.

Elsewhere in the Cotswolds, you’ll see a riot of colour in the hedgerows along the country lanes, and the trees dazzle in shades of gold, orange, and red from early October until mid-November. Make sure to visit the most beautiful villages of the area, in particular Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Broadway, Bibury, and Lower Slaughter.

RELATED POST – Road Trip England – 10 of the Best Routes

Highlights

  • The endless different foliage colors in Westonbirt, and walking amongst the beautiful red Maple trees and vivid yellow Acers.
  • The beautiful photogenic nature of the area, with cute thatched cottages, narrow lanes, and autumn colors on display in every direction.
  • Visiting Highgrove Gardens, home of HRH the Prince of Wales, for a stroll in the crisp autumnal air.
  • Stay at the Hare and Hounds Hotel, for its location on the doorstep of the Arboretum, bar, and restaurant with cozy decor and log fires and English country house style.
Japanese Maple at Westonbirt Arboretum

Douro Valley, Portugal

  • The weather is likely to be kind, with balmy temperatures of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) in September, but the later in autumn you visit, the more unpredictable it becomes, with November reaching a maximum of 12° Celsius (54° Fahrenheit).

An autumn road trip to the Douro Valley of Portugal is a must – the light is soft, the air warm and the colors of the vines spectacular. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comes alive in the autumn with the wine harvest and you can stop at some of the best Douro wineries for a tour and tasting – most offer port and table wines for you to enjoy.

There is no fixed date for the Douro harvest season to start but it usually happens in the second half of September, although much depends on how the vines have reacted to the weather conditions throughout the year.

One of the best wineries in the Douro region, Quinta do Popa offers harvest experiences to visitors. The Quinta (country estate) is situated on the southern slopes of the Douro, about halfway between Porto and the Spanish border.  

It would be possible to drive from the lively city of Porto and complete the whole of the Douro Valley in a day, but you would miss so much. We recommend stopping at least twice along the valley. Take a short detour south to Lamego and climb the famous baroque staircase of 686 steps to the shrine and rococo church of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios.  

If you have a week to spend in autumn in Europe, why not consider flying to Porto and taking an organized Douro Valley guided tour or hiring a car, then taking the road all the way to Madrid?

This makes a fantastic road trip, with two iconic cities to visit, and a whole load of gorgeousness and autumn color in between!

RELATED POST – Europe Road Trip – 24 Incredible Routes

Highlights

  • The stunning colors of the vines, which line the valley like a tapestry, as they glow ochre and burnt orange in the autumn sun.
  • Port tasting and bodega tours along the valley at some of the best known Quintas in the world.
  • Driving the snaking N222 road from Peso da Régua to Pinhão, with incredibly scenic views of the landscape.
  • Stay at The Vintage House Pinhao for its location in the center of port-making country, 18th century buildings and panoramic river views.
Portugal, one of the best European countries to visit in October
The Rio Douro (known as the River of Gold)

Dublin, Ireland

  • In September the average temperature will be a pleasant 17° celsius (63° fahrenheit). Take a few degrees off that in October, and then a few more in November, when it will be a chilly 10° celsius (50° fahrenheit), meaning you’ll need to wrap up warm, and take a waterproof, as it has been known to rain!

The capital city of Ireland has a huge reputation and has managed to retain the quaint and lively charm that you will find throughout the country. Dublin has a complex history full of Vikings, famines, and wars, and much of the city still has a historic feel, with streets of cobblestone, castles, and ancient churches.

Known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, Ireland is just as beautiful in autumn, with rich colors and crisp blue skies. Head for St Stephen’s Green, take a meander along the Grand Canal, or go for a cycle in Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest city-center park, to admire the gorgeous foliage.

After you’ve explored, find a cozy pub with a real fire and warm up with a drop of the good stuff – a pint of Guinness or an Irish whiskey!

Ireland is one of the only countries in the world to have a public holiday for Halloween, or Samhain, its original Gaelic name. The holiday on 31st October is celebrated with music, dance, and spooky fancy dress parades and parties in Dublin’s many pubs and bars.

RELATED POST – One Day in Dublin – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

Highlights

  • The typical Irish craic when you find a hidden away pub with an impromptu live music session.
  • Sampling a genuine pint of Guinness with a glorious sunset at the Gravity Bar, on the top floor of the Guinness Storehouse.
  • Dressing up and hitting the town for Halloween – from haunted tours to Halloween drag shows and comedy nights, and parties in every bar, you’ll have a lot of fun.
  • Stay at The Wilder Townhouse for its central location, beautiful decor, and unique Irish character.
The River Liffey in the evening sun

Dubrovnik, Croatia

  • In September the average temperature will be a beautifully balmy 26° celsius (79° fahrenheit). Take a few degrees off that in October, and then a few more in November, when it will be a chilly 17° celsius (63° fahrenheit), meaning you’ll need to wrap up warm in the evenings, although luckily it doesn’t rain too much!

The remarkable city of Dubrovnik in Croatia is best visited in autumn as this is when the narrow streets and walls of the old town will be quietest, as the summer cruise trippers and visitors head home and leave the city to recover from summer’s overtourism.

Dubrovnik, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, is a stunning city located on the southern coast of Croatia. The city has a vibrant history, dating back to the 7th century when it was founded by the Byzantine Empire. Over the centuries, Dubrovnik has been ruled by various empires, including the Venetians and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The city was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s, but has since been restored to its former glory and Dubrovnik is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that receives 1.5 million visitors a year.

The singular most striking feature of Dubrovnik is its architecture. The city is surrounded by medieval walls that stretch for over 1.5 miles and are up to 82 feet high in some places. Within the walls, visitors can explore the Old Town, which is filled with stunning Gothic and Renaissance architecture including the 15th century Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Sponza Palace.

There are plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik, such as taking a walk along the city walls for breathtaking views of the city and the Adriatic Sea, or taking the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the top of Mount Srd for even more stunning views. You can even bungee jump off Dr. Franjo Tuđman Bridge over the harbour!

For history buffs, there are numerous museums and historical sites to explore, including the War Photo Limited gallery, which showcases powerful images from the Croatian War of Independence.

Highlights

  • Visiting the local islands for seafood and beaches without the crowds.
  • Game of Thrones fans will love finding all the iconic filming spots in the Old Town.
  • Taking a day trip to beautiful Montenegro or dleightful Bosnia and Herzegovina, meaning you can see more of the Balkans in less time!
  • Stay at The Pucic Palace for its Baroque palace central location, exclusive beach access and very confortable beds.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik

Florence, Italy

  • In September the average temperature will be a beautiful 27° celsius (81° fahrenheit). Take a few degrees off that in October and then a few more in November, when it will be a pleasant 15° celsius (59° fahrenheit), perfect for sightseeing and city mooching.

Birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the most cultured and artistic cities in Italy and very possibly, the world. Enchanting and captivating, this is a place to revel in history, art, and cuisine, and in autumn it will be relatively, and blessedly, quiet.

I say “relatively” because Florence is never tourist-free, and there will always be a certain amount of visitors around, but autumn is quieter than both spring and summer.

Packed with remarkable art and architecture, Florence has a wonderful tangle of narrow streets to explore, lined with elegant and historic palazzi, medieval churches, and world-class art museums.

As well as the changing colors of the leaves on the trees in the parks, avenues, and streets of the town, and the glistening reflections in the River Arno, autumn is also the wine season, with grape harvesting taking place in the northern Italy region, and a great opportunity for a wine tour to a local vineyard, where you can take learn about winemaking and sample local wines.

RELATED POST – One Day in Florence – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

Highlights

  • Getting up close to the artwork and architecture of the world’s biggest dome when you climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s masterpiece.
  • Crossing the river Arno, using one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Ponte Vecchio. 
  • Enjoying delicious local and seasonal Italian food in the restaurants of the city.
  • Stay at Hotel Spadai, literally a minute’s walk to the Duomo and known for generous upgrades when they’re not full.
one day Florence Italy
The Florence skyline

French Riviera, France

  • In September the average temperature will be a beautiful 25° celsius (77° fahrenheit). October can be unpredictable with heavy rains and flash floods in some years. By November, it will be a pleasant 17° celsius (63° fahrenheit), but you will need to cover up in the evenings.

If ever there was a place to go in the autumn, after the madness of summer has abated, it’s the gorgeous French Riviera, an eight hour drive south of Paris.

Also known as the Cote d’Azur, this stretch of Mediterranean coastline runs from Menton on the Italian border to pretty Cassis and includes the glamorous and glitzy towns of Cannes, Nice, and St Tropez, as well as the tiny Principality of Monaco.

Uncomfortably crowded in the height of summer, this beautiful coastline of France will be much quieter in autumn, with late September and October the optimum months for visiting. Base yourself in one of the central towns and you’ll be able to day trip to everywhere else you want to see.

RELATED POST – France Road Trip – 13 Amazing Itineraries

Highlights

  • Take in the Calanques from Cassis, huge gashes from the sea into the land with incredible beaches only accessible by boat or kayak, which you can hire in Cassis.
  • Enjoy the golden tranquillity and glowing landscapes, as the hinterland of Provence reaches the sea.
  • Early evening cocktails at the beach club, with warm sand beneath your feet!
The French Riviera, one of the best places to travel in late October early November
The Old Town of Antibes

Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • The weather will be a warm 22° celsius (72° fahrenheit) in September, dropping sharply to a chilly 9° celsius (48° fahrenheit) in November. It can be wet in October with very cool evenings, so make sure you take waterproof and warm layers.

Slovenia has the most spectacular colors in autumn with clear crisp days which are good for the soul. Ljubljana, with its medieval old town, is as atmospheric as they come with early morning mist, glistening cobbles, and vivid colors. The city makes a great base to explore and hike the surrounding countryside and fairy tale landscapes, where the autumn colors will be even more pronounced.

One of the best day trips from Ljubljana is to Lake Bled, around a 40 minute drive from the city. Go early in the morning and enjoy the mirror surface of the lake and iconic images of the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, sited on the small island in the center of the lake. From here, hiking in Triglav National Park is awesome at this time of year, not too hot and fairly quiet, all the time surrounded by those amazing autumn colors.

Just three hours south of Ljubljana in Croatia is the UNESCO Plitvice Lakes National Park. This lake district is stunning at any time of year, but in autumn, with the copper and russet leaves contrasting against the turquoise waters, the lakes really come alive. To get the best from your visit take a tour and boat trip with an expert guide, and discover the lakes and waterfalls of the park.

To fully appreciate the awe-inspiring landscapes of Croatia, consider heading west and taking a cruise that offers the opportunity to discover remarkable destinations along the Adriatic coast. You can look for Croatia cruises here to find options for a unique and captivating voyage, allowing you to witness the natural wonders of the country in a truly mesmerizing manner.

Highlights

  • The autumn foliage in Slovenia really is pretty special and offers some of the best fall colours in Europe.
  • The incredible waterfalls in Slovenia’s Soca Valley, as they swell in autumn with more rainfall and less evaporation.
  • Visit a Slovenian gostilna (traditional restaurant) for local and seasonal produce cooked in the Slovenian style – food and wine are abundant at this time of year.
  • Stay at the Hotel Cubo for its unrivaled central location, supremely stylish rooms, and very warm welcome.
Slovenia, one of the best places to visit in October in Europe
Spodnja Sorica in Slovenia

Loire Valley, France

  • Loire Valley weather in October is a surprisingly mild 17° celsius (63° fahrenheit), although it will be cool in the evenings. In November, it becomes much colder with temperatures around 11° celsius (52° fahrenheit).

In the Centre-Val de Loire, located to the southwest of the French capital Paris, the Loire Valley is a wonderful place to spend fall in Europe. As the name suggests this region is all about the magnificent river Loire, but it’s also home to 185,000 acres of grapevines which are aflame in autumn, creating a fantastic visual spectacle along the valley.

Coupled with the many fine historical French cities and towns that offer superb Renaissance religious buildings and architecture and of course, the fabulous and extravagant chateaux the region is best known for, the Loire Valley is perfect for an autumn road trip.

You’ll visit the many chateaux on the route, including the famous Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Villandry, and explore the Loire’s historic towns, learning about French history, architecture and culture and you go.

Discover Joan of Arc’s legacy in Orleans, admire historic Blois and Tours, and take a ride on a giant machine elephant in Nantes as you take in the beautiful Loire landscape.

Highlights

  • Take a vineyard tour and make sure to enjoy the whites this region is famous for – think Touraine, Vouvray, Pouilly-Fume, Sancerre, and Valencay.
  • Exploring the gorgoues chateaux without hordes of other visitors!
  • La Brenne Natural Park is the hidden gem of Centre-Val de Loire. To the south of the region, this huge park containing over a thousand lakes is a wetland paradise for birders. 
Fine French chateau with turretssurrounded by lush grass and foliage
Chateau of Chombard

Lugano, Switzerland

  • Thanks to the southern exposure, the weather in October is a surprisingly mild 17° celsius (63° fahrenheit), although it will be cool in the evenings. In November, it becomes much colder with temperatures around 12° celsius (54° fahrenheit).

The perfect destination for a Swiss road trip, Lugano is breathtakingly beautiful during any season, but during fall, the soft sunlight illuminates the alleys and piazzas of this pretty town at the foot of Monte Brè, and the weather is perfect for eating alfresco.

For three days in early October, Lugano takes the best of local and seasonal ingredients including red cabbage, chestnuts, squashes, truffles, and apples, and creates Ticino specialties, such as polenta and stew, beans and mortadella, braised meat, risotto, minestrone, gnocchi, and many other delicacies, to be served with a glass of local wine at Festa d’Autunno, Lugano’s annual autumn festival.

Make sure to visit the market where you can buy local food products and handicrafts. Think Alpine cheese, chutneys and wild honey, beautiful fabrics, and hand-carved wooden items. They make perfect souvenirs to take home, and even better Christmas gifts!

RELATED POST: Most Beautiful Places In Switzerland That You Must Visit!

Highlights

  • Munching your way around the grottini, different food stalls run by locals.
  • The fairy lights which adorn the lakefront reflected in the beautiful Lago di Lugano at dusk.
  • Listening to live folk music played every evening as you sip a glass of delicious local Merlot wine.
Pumpkins reads for sale

Munich, Germany

  • The weather in Munich in October can be hard to predict. Some years it will be warm and beautiful and others it will be cold and raining. The average temperature is 19° celsius (66° fahrenheit) in September, dropping to just 8° celsius (46° fahrenheit) in November. Pack with layers and drink more beer or gluhwein to keep warm….

No autumn trip list would be complete without Munich making an appearance. The capital of Bavaria, the start point for the Deutsche Alpenstrasse road trip and a quintessential German city, Munich is a fantastic year-round destination and is famous for its historic buildings, the glockenspiel, and of course, the Oktoberfest.

The Oktoberfest, a bucket list destination for artisan and craft beer lovers, is normally held across the last week of September and the first week of October and celebrates everything Bavarian. This is a huge festival with a fairground and 38 beer tents, it has to be one of the best places to party in Europe in October!

Munich also holds the daddy of all German Christmas markets. Starting in the last week of November, Marienplatz is turned into a traditional Bavarian wonderland, with wooden huts, gluhwein being served on every corner and chestnuts roasting on open braziers.

With twinkling fairy lights and huge decorated festive trees, Munich is one of the best places to visit in November in Europe if you love Christmas markets, with an added option of a side trip along the Romantic Road route, for even more Christmas markets and festive events.

RELATED POST – 18 Magical Castles in Germany to Add to Your Bucket List

Highlights

  • The Oktoberfest funfair! Adrenalin junkies will love the rides, from a classic toboggan to a high-tech rollercoaster. 
  • Eating traditional German food to give you energy and keep you warm. Try suckling pig or bratwurst, or my favorite, creamy mushrooms straight from the pan.
  • The beer, of course! Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten are the ‘true’ Oktoberfest beers, as they are brewed in Munich itself.
Munich, one of the best European cities to visit in October for the Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest in the Theresienwiese area of Munich

New Forest, England

  • It will be mild during the day and warm if the sun is out, with September temperatures averaging a lovely 19° celsius (66° fahrenheit), but expect it to be quite a bit cooler in the evenings, especially if you’re by the New Forest coast. November sees a drop to 1° celsius (52° fahrenheit) with the potential for rain and storms.

The New Forest will be a riot of autumn color and the purple heather will be out in force, which along with early morning low-lying mists makes the forest a wonderful place for photographers. If you haven’t visited this tranquil haven for wildlife and nature, September is the perfect time for an autumn trip. 

The forest is a 200-square-mile mix of ancient woods, heathland, and a gorgeous coastline, and offers lots of things to see and do. Hiking, cycling, and horse riding are very popular, with designated routes crisscrossing the whole area.

You’ll also find lots of other outdoor activities, great for when the weather is just a little cooler, making this one of the best places to visit in September in Europe.

RELATED POST – UK Road Trip – 18 Unmissable Routes

Highlights

  • The spectacular colours of the abundant trees and heather spread across the whole forest.
  • Spotting deer on a date! The rutting season begins in September and peaks in late October, if you are quiet and listen carefully, the sounds of amorous male fallow deer can often be heard across the forest.
  • Traditional afternoon tea in one of the many cafes and teashops of Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, and Lymington. There’s nothing better than a warm scone and clotted cream after a bracing walk!
  • Stay at the Forest Park Hotel for its central forest location, wildlife in the garden, and fantastic local and seasonal menu. 
New Forest activities
Early morning mist and a grazing New Forest pony

Prague, The Czech Republic

  • The Eastern Europe weather is likely to be surprisingly warm in September at 20° celsius (68° fahrenheit), but gets much chillier as the season progresses with temperatures of 9° celsius (48° fahrenheit) in mid-November.

Prague in October is beautiful. The leaves are turning and the panorama from the castle across the rooftops reveals the best views. The gorgeous architecture of the old town glows in the soft autumn light and the glamorous cafés serving gloopy hot chocolate with pastries are warm and welcoming. 

The streets will be quieter and you’ll be in Prague in the festival season if you visit in October, with the classical Strings of Autumn International Music Festival topping the bill of cultural events. With so much to offer, Prague has to be one of Europe’s best city breaks in October in Europe.  

Highlights

  • Alfresco dining under a blanket, on typical hearty Czech food such as goulash or game and mushrooms, both at their seasonal best in autumn.
  • The views along the river, with the statues on the famous Charles Bridge rising up through the early morning mist.
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens to sample Burcak, a partially fermented wine that is only available from September to November.
  • Stay at The Emblem Hotel for its old town location, rooftop spa and gym, and a great steakhouse restaurant. 
Prague, one of the best places to travel in Europe in October
The Charles Bridge and Prague cityscape

Pyrenees National Park, France

  • September and early October are too early for snow below 2,000 meters, but you may see a smattering above this from mid to late October. The sky will be clear and the days warm enough to hike in a t-shirt at 14° celsius (57° fahrenheit) in September. Once the sun drops behind the nearest mountain it will get cold and you’ll need proper cold-weather clothing for the evenings.

An early autumn road trip is the best way to visit the magnificent Pyrenees, one of Europe’s most spectacular national parks. It’s too early for snow or ski resorts, the sky will still be blue and the trails will be deserted, making the Pyrenees one of the best places to visit for hikers and walkers in Europe in September. 

Follow our Pyrenees hiking tour to tackle four awesome and moderately easy Pyrenees hikes. From the Valle de Gaube to Gavarnie and east over the magnificent Col de Tourmalet to Mont Né, you’ll see some of the most spectacular landscapes Europe has to offer.

Hop across to Spain and a further stunning hike at Circo de Soaso in the Monte y Perdido National Park if you have a few days to spare.

RELATED POST – A Seven Day Pyrenees Hiking Tour

Highlights

  • The magnificent drive up to the Col de Tourmalet and the incredible views from the top.
  • The fascinating Cirque de Gavarnie, with its waterfalls and wildflowers.
  • Spending a day in the thermal baths in the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon on the French Spanish border, well deserved after all that hiking!
Cirque de Gavarnie

Seville, Spain

  • The weather will be a positively hot 32° celsius (90° fahrenheit) in September, dropping to a balmy 20° celsius (68° fahrenheit) in November. Tourists will still be wearing shorts and t-shirts, although the locals will be bundled up for winter!

If you’re looking for an October city break, then Seville, with Cordoba as a side trip, might just fit the bill. One of the most beautiful cities in Spain, if not Europe, Seville will be quieter and cooler than the busy and fiercely hot months of summer but is lively enough to provide atmosphere and Spanish charm by the bucket load.  

Cordoba will captivate you with its ancient Moorish architecture and hidden squares, perfect for spending an afternoon with delicious tapas as you watch the Spanish world go by. If you have a week or so, you could make Seville and Cordoba stops on an Andalucian road trip.

RELATED POST – The Perfect Andalucia Road Trip

Highlights

  • Enjoying tapas and a beer al fresco and listening to live music as you watch the world go by.
  • Visiting the Royal Alcázar of Seville, with the stunning gardens still in bloom.
  • The simply breathtaking Mezquita mosque-cathedral of Cordoba which its iconic architecture and centuries of history.
  • stay at Casa del Poeta for its Santa Cruz location, regular live music and a rooftop view to die for. 
autumn in Europe
Retiro Park in Seville

Other low season holiday ideas…

Sorrento, Italy

  • The weather will be kind in this protected southern Italian spot, with September temperatures still being around 24° Celsius (75° fahrenheit), and November’s average being a beautifully balmy 18° Celsius (64° fahrenheit).

Perched atop cliffs and with a panoramic view of the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is a coastal town that makes a perfect base for visiting the three Italian behemoths of the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeii. Sorrento itself is a lovely place to spend a few days, with its busy marinas, and historic center full of narrow alleys, café lined squares, and historic churches.

The Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy is a fabulous place to visit at any time of the year, but in September and October, it will be cooler and quieter, allowing you time to linger and enjoy at your own pace, without the frenetic traffic of the summer months. If you’re nervous about driving, book an Amalfi Coast tour with guided commentary.

Explore the picture-perfect villages of the coast and enjoy the liberal sprinkling of religious and food festivals at this time of year, celebrating various saints, local chestnuts, and delicious Italian wine.  

It’s just an hour from Sorrento to visit historic Pompeii and the live volcano of Mount Vesuvius, a trip you can do in a day if you’re renting a car. These are two of the top tourist attractions in the whole of Italy, and an October or November visit will find both much quieter, and all the more enjoyable for it.

If you’re not driving yourself, check out this highly rated full day Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius tour with a guide to show you the highlights of Italy’s famous live volcano and the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

RELATED POST – A Bucket List Amalfi Coast Road Trip

Highlights

  • The incredible views and sunsets across the Bay of Naples, uninterrupted and with as much time as you like to take photos.
  • Still being able to wear flip-flops in the autumn, perfect for digging your toes into the warm sand of Positano’s beaches!
  • Hiking the Path of the Gods, high above the sparking Tyrrhenian Sea, when it’s still warm enough for a t-shirt and shorts. You’ll be amongst the changing colors too, and get the best views from high above the coast road.
  • Stay at the Casa Sorrentina for its perfect central location, simple and stylish decor, and friendly hosts.
Iconic Positano on the Amalfi Coast

Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park, Portugal

  • In autumn, you will still have the weather but not the crowds. The days will be a warm 26° celsius (79° fahrenheit) in September and mild in the evening, before dropping to a still-warm 18° celsius (64° fahrenheit) in November, making this one of the best European destinations in autumn.

If you love deserted beaches, wide-open spaces, and coastal hiking then you will be in heaven here, this is a perfect place for the October holidays and one of Portugal’s hidden gems. A wonderful autumn destination, you will fall in love with the natural beauty of this region of Portugal.

The park straddles the Alentejo and Algarve regions and is a haven for wildlife, birdlife, and nature, and the mighty Atlantic rolls in here with drama and spectacle. Hike all or parts of the 224km Rota Vicentina (also known as the Fisherman’s Trail) and watch the waves with awe. 

Head south to the busier beaches of the southern Algarve coast and be wowed by the rock formations, pretty coves, and charming towns. Make for Lagos, where you’ll find an old town packed with fish restaurants, interesting independent shops, and some of those amazing beaches.

RELATED POST – Road Trip Portugal – Two Incredible Itineraries

Highlights

  • Hiking the fantastic Portuguese coastal paths with dramatic scenery, vast sandy beaches and huge waves.
  • Sampling the delicious and freshly caught seafood at small village family-run restaurants.
  • Enjoying the warm autumn sun on Portugal’s incredible beaches, without the crowds.
Vila Nova de Milfontes

Tenerife, Canary Islands

  • The weather will still be hot, with temperatures in September around 27° celsius (81° fahrenheit), before dropping to a still-hot 26° celsius (79° fahrenheit) in October. In November, it cools to be 23° celsius 73° fahrenheit), so still hot!

A large archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, the Canaries are rugged volcanic isles. Tenerife is the largest and best-known island, followed by Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa.

The Canary Island seas are temperate enough to swim in all year round and the autumn sunshine hours longer than anywhere else on the continent. The islands see very little rainfall during the autumn months, making them one of the best places to visit in October in Europe. The islands can be windy due to their Atlantic location, but if you enjoy sailing, windsurfing, and kiting, then so much the better!

Visit Tenerife in autumn for a lively atmosphere and great nightlife. The beaches will be quieter than in the summer and the bars and clubs are a bit more relaxed. Gran Canaria is best for hiking, national parks, and huge beaches, whilst Lanzarote is ideal for a family holiday, with unique volcanic landscapes and natural wonders, typified in the imposing and dramatic Timanfaya National Park.

Head for Fuerterventura if you’re looking for the best wind and water sports and La Palma for fabulous snorkeling and local wildlife. La Gomera is a hidden gem and the most authentic of the larger islands and perfect for getting away from it all.

Highlights

  • Being able to swim, sail and surf in your swimmers or bikini – no need for a wet suit here!
  • Stargazing in the clear night sky – October and November are best for spotting the stunning Andromeda galaxy.
  • Watching Las Tablas de San Andrés, when locals slide down some of the steepest streets in Icod de los Vinos on wooden boards, in celebration of the wood milling traditions of the town.
Las Teresitas Beach in Tenerife

Umbria, Italy

  • The weather will still feel summer-like, with temperatures in September around 24° celsius (75° fahrenheit), before dropping to a balmy 18° celsius (64° fahrenheit) in October, when it will start to feel chilly in the evenings. In November, day time temperatures drop to 12° celsius (53° fahrenheit), so pack layers to keep warm.

In Umbria, autumn is the season of the grape harvest, or vendemmia, when whole communities turn out to support and pick. The gorgeous Umbrian landscape is vibrant as the vines turn orange and red in their final swansong of summer, and the whole area is immersed in the food of the season.

The countryside comes alive as the wine, oil, and saffron harvests get going, truffle hunting steps up a gear, and crops like mushrooms and beans are abundant and ready for picking.

Restaurants and rustic trattorias enrich their menus with all the new offerings and locals celebrate the bounty with sagre, Italian food festivals dedicated to a local delicacy or ingredient. These hyper-local festivities welcome visitors, and it feels like every small town and village has a sagre during harvest.

RELATED POST – The Ultimate Bucket List Italy Road Trip

Highlights

  • Enjoying an early autumn swim in the warm waters of Lake Bolsena, in the bowl of an extinct volcano.
  • Taking a vineyard tour and tasting a glass of mosto – the first pressing of grapes and stalks from the harvest.
  • Sitting down to an entirely local and seasonal meal, cooked with love and passion.
  • Stay at Agriturismo Cioccoleta for its countryside location close to historic Orvieto, the extensive vineyards surrounding the farm and the excellent host.
Vineyards near Montefalco

Zillertal, Austria

  • The weather will be gorgeous here in the day, with the warmth of summer keeping temperatures in September around 21° celsius (70° fahrenheit). It will be chilly in the evenings and at night though, so make sure you take some cold weather gear, especially in late October and November, when daytime temperatures drop to 9° celsius (48° fahrenheit).

50km east of Innsbruck, Zillertal is an unassuming town in the Tirol. In a truly breathtaking Alpine valley, the town comes alive in autumn every year when the Almabtrieb (cattle drive) takes place.

Almabtrieb is the homecoming of the cows, festooned with flowers and head-dress, from the high pastures where the herds have spent the summer. It is a much-loved tradition and an important part of the Alpine farming calendar.

There are a number of cattle drives across the Tirol (sometimes called Tyrol) in fall, and the local towns all have festivals taking place with local artisan food, live music, and handicrafts. You could easily combine an Almabtrieb festival with an Austrian road trip or a stay in the Austrian city of Innsbruck, where there is lots to see and do in autumn before the winter ski season kicks in. 

RELATED POST: Austria Road Trip: The Best Itinerary, Map & Tips

Highlights

  • Watching the cows parade through small towns and villages, greeted with music and applause.
  • Shopping and sampling at the farmer’s markets, rich with local and seasonal produce to be eaten at the market stall with a beer or schnapps.
  • The clear mountain air and lush pastures and tranquil forests which are good for the soul!
  • Stay at Das Posthotel Zell am Ziller for its gorgeous contemporary Tyrolean design, the sheer luxury of the experience and magnificent views.
Cow Festival Zillertal Tirol Austria
Almabtrieb, Zillertal

Europe Travel Resources

Here are the websites and services we personally use and recommend for traveling in Europe.

  • Search for affordable flights to Italy with Skyscanner
  • Search for availability and book hotels and accommodation in Europe with Booking.com
  • Book the cheapest and most reliable car rentals in Europe with Rentalcars.com
  • Find and hire your perfect motorhome or campervan with Motorhome Republic
  • Get highly rated, reliable, and trustworthy travel insurance in Europe with True Traveller
  • Check if you need a visa and arrange your documents with Visagov

Are you looking for more travel guides? Check out these top posts…

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass: The Best Mountain Road in Italy?

A truly iconic Italian road, the Stelvio Pass is a bucket list drive. High in the Ortler Alps, the pass is the stuff of legends, with hairpin bends, tunnels and of course spectacular views, along the 47 kilometer route. In our Stelvio Pass guide we’ll share all you need to know about driving this incredible mountain route between Bormio and Stilfs. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the Stelvio Pass, one of…
Read More Stelvio Pass: The Best Mountain Road in Italy?
Tarifa

Tarifa Guide: Best Things to Do + Top Visitor Tips

Tarifa has to be one of our favorite spots in Spain. With hiking, water sports and plenty of other activities, plus a laid back vibe, lively nightlife and year-round mild climate, Tarifa is a perfect spot to adventure and activity lovers. In this guide, we’ll be sharing tips, recommendations, and lots of ideas for things to do in Tarifa and the surrounding area. We hope you love Tarifa as much as we do!
Read More Tarifa Guide: Best Things to Do + Top Visitor Tips
Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino: How to Visit the Abbey & War Graves

Monte Cassino Abbey, perched on a hill in Italy’s Lazio region, is not just a historic monastery; it’s a site deeply intertwined with the brutal realities of World War II. In this Monte Cassino guide we explore the history and significance of this site and share everything you need to know about visiting including getting there, the best organized tour options, and recommendations for places to stay plus a few insider tips for your visit.
Read More Monte Cassino: How to Visit the Abbey & War Graves
Albania blue eye

Blue Eye Albania: Visit Sarandë & Theth Natural Pools

The blue eyes of Albania are two of the country’s best-known natural phenomenon, and rightly so! With the clearest water in every shade of blue and green that we have ever seen, a visit to one or both of Albania’s blue eyes will be a highlight of your trip. We spent three months exploring Albania, road tripping from north to south. Both blue eyes offer different experiences, and in this guide, we’re going to share…
Read More Blue Eye Albania: Visit Sarandë & Theth Natural Pools

Love it? Pin it!

Europe October Travel Guide
Autumn Europe Travel Guide
Scroll to Top