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October in Europe - Festivals and Other Things to Do in Europe

Fall is My Favorite Season, October is My Favorite Month to Visit Europe

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october, bruges, belgium in october

Fall Colors in Bruges, Belgium

James Martin

October in Europe

October is my favorite time to visit Europe. Europeans in tourist cities have begun to relax from the tourist hordes and the weather, especially in the south, is ideal. It is a time of harvest festivals and celebrations of good food and drink. The farmers work is done. It's time to hoist a few.

Thus there is Oktoberfest in Germany, of course, which actually starts at the end of September. Halloween is beginning to catch on, and wine festivals are everywhere.

Fall rains allow forests to sprout some fine mushrooms. Theater season is starting, and film festivals abound in Spain.

October is Rome's high season. Italians flock to the city because the heat has dissipated and the city is pleasant to walk in again. The average high in Athens has dropped enough to be quite comfortable for walking around the hills in October.

There is, of course, the splendor of fall foliage. You don't have to go into the countryside. The medieval villages of Belgium are awash in color and northern cities like Amsterdam are also aglow.

And yes, you'll usually find less expensive airfares starting in October.

The downside to October? Shorter days and the increasing chance of rain and chilly evenings. You'll pack more clothing and might need an umbrella, especially in the north. In the southern countries like Italy and the south of France I don't bring an umbrella, knowing I can buy a cheap one from street vendors if the need arises, which helps keep packing weights low. Also, some restaurants and hotels in places with very high summer beach traffic, like Greece and Turkey, close for the season.

What's on in Europe in October

October in Amsterdam - Fall colors, a marathon, and the Historic Museum is free the first week of October.

October in France - Chestnuts, Armagnac, and a pepper festival in the Foodie's favorite: Basque country.

October in Germany - Sure, there's Oktoberfest, but Halloween is up and coming in Germany.

October in Scandinavia - Celebrate Herring, Holloween in Tivoli, and more.

October in Ireland - The Dublin Marathon and lots of folk celebrations.

October in Spain - Film festivals (including the erotic one in Barcelona) and Feria de Octubre, where the fountains are filled with wine rather than water, and more.

October in Italy - It's mostly about the food: there's the very start of truffle season, chestnuts, wine, boat races, polenta with wild boar, film festivals and more.

October in the UK - Ghost walks, fall foliage, horses and more.

October in London - Film Festivals, National Poetry Day, a half marathon and more.

October in Greece - Celebrate chestnuts on Crete, Socrates, fishermen, and Occhi Day, when Metaxa refused to let German troops into the country.

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