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Weather in October or favorite month to travel?

So, my dear old dad (95) has decided he can no longer travel but insists my sister and I take the river boat cruise he did years ago so we can experience what he did. What could I say except, "heck YES!". He is also hoping we can go while he is alive and he can live vicariously through us on our trip and enjoy hearing about it. Due to Covid and our schedules it looks like the soonest we could travel would be in Oct 2021 (who knows what shape dad will be in then?) We would leave out of Budapest and end in Amsterdam.

I'm hoping for feedback about your thoughts on the weather at that time. Doing some research it looks like temps for the high go from the mid 50's to mid 70's. My sister and I really hate the cold but cool weather is fine. We can travel at anytime in 2022 but dad will then be even older, if he is even still around. With such an expensive trip we hope to find the ideal time.

What is your experience with October weather in Budapest to Amsterdam (lots of Germany)? Did it feel very cold or wet?

I know the weather varies so much, but I do appreciate hearing your thoughts!

Posted by
148 posts

I spent the entire month of October last year in Europe - started in Paris, then Budapest, then Berlin, and ended in London. Weather was fantastic - typical daytime temps in the 70s, so sweaters or windbreakers are good to have on hand - only saw rain on 2 days the entire visit. We may have gotten lucky, especially on the rain, but that was the best weather I have ever experienced in Europe in 40 years of travel.

Posted by
17020 posts

In addition to asking for anecdotal reports here, I urge you to look at actual, day-by-day, historical weather statistics for the anticipated cruise ports on the website timeanddate.com. The data goes back about 10 years; I try to check the most recent five years when I'm making decisions about travel. I find the visual temperature graphs very helpful, because they show more than just the high and low for the day. I think there's a tendency to look at average high temperatures and ignore the fact that those are likely to be experienced only in the middle of the day.

For precipitation statistics I like the monthly total rainfall and monthly days of rain that are often available in a city's Wikipedia entry.

Weather varies so much from year to year, much less from week to week, that I think it's important to take a broad but detailed look at historical statistics. When using averages, take note of the time period on which they are based. Some of the Wikipedia charts cut off in 2010 or even 2000, and I think we all know that weather has gotten weirder in the last decade or two.

My anecdotal comment is that I was traveling through the Balkans in late September and early October 2015, and it was obvious before the end of September that fall was coming: It got progressively rainier. Cool temperatures were not a problem until one miserable day late in the trip (during the second week of October) in Zagreb. But you will be farther north, and I don't know what that means about temperatures.

Posted by
4029 posts

You are correct - the weather can vary tremendously. There are plenty websites showing average weather data, but you stand a significantly increased risk of rain in October vs September. Personally, this isn’t the kind of holiday that I would take after mid/late September. But you could get lucky. Daylight hours are beginning to shorten into October.

This year, many parts of Europe have seen extreme weather, such as the wettest/
driest/ hottest/ windiest month on record, so average charts may not mean much.

2022 gives more time for a vaccine to become available, as you may not want to go on a cruise in close confinement with others until you are certain of some protection.

Posted by
5126 posts

We did an October river cruise in Germany. Day times were fine; nights were cooler and being on the water means the city average city temps are a bit misleading. I'd go again. Just don't compare it to a ocean cruise experience as there much less to do on board and no pool, so night time is mostly socializing and eating & drinking time.

Posted by
1530 posts

What is your experience with October weather in Budapest
I was fortunate with the weather in Budapest in mid-October, 2018: no rain, warm sunny days throughout my (4 day) stay. I wore summery tank tops and short sleeve tops. I wore my very lightweight cardigan in the evenings, and most days - to project from the sun. I took an evening dinner cruise on the Danube to see the city lights and spectacular view of lit-up Parliament: I was glad to have the lightweight cardigan when I was out on the deck.

I was told by locals throughout my trip that it was unseasonably warm.

Posted by
1530 posts

What is your experience with October weather in .... (lots of Germany)?
I was also very fortunate last fall (2019) in October with the weather in Germany, with daytime ranges exactly as you describe: mid-50's to mid (and even high) 70's.

Dresden: My first day, the 30th of September, there were heavy showers. (It was a great museum day!) The first few days of October were misty rain one day and sunny the other; temperatures were in the 60's and very low 70's.
Nuremberg: mid-October was moderate fall weather, sunny weather with no rain, temps in the mid-50's and as high as the mid-70's.
Frankfurt: 3rd week in October was in the low to high 70's, with cloudy weather and warm showers one evening.

So, my experiences with October travel the past 2 years (Budapest and Germany) have been delightful. My idea of perfect travel weather!

Posted by
11028 posts

I have been to Budapest in October maybe 12 out of the last 20 years. mid September to mid October is my favorite time to be there.

Posted by
18 posts

My husband and I did the late October into November Viking River “Grand European” tour, Budapest to Amsterdam. We LOVED the weather, it was absolutely beautiful with all the leaves turning (We thought we would be too late for that, but the colors where gorgeous) It was cool and crisp at times, more so in the early morning and evenings, but I wouldn’t say cold, and I’m a Florida girl and get cold easily. A sweater or a pea coat was all I ever needed...it rained only once.

Posted by
688 posts

April and October are my favorite months to travel Europe. I don't mind the rain. A good jacket, decent waterproof shoes, and a hat (which is pretty much what we wear here in the PNW) and I'm going somewhere. The thing is you can actually get dry and wet and windy all in the same day. October's a little early for snow, but it's great for fall color!

Posted by
5860 posts

We prefer to travel in September and October. October especially for places that still are quite hot in Sept., like Sicily, Puglia.
We have had much more rain in May and June in Europe including a whole Danube River Cruise, Nuremberg to Budapest. We were soaked most days even with umbrellas and rain gear.

Posted by
1018 posts

Here is to wishing your Dad well and continued longevity!
If there is any way you could pull this trip into late April or May, then I would do it.

Posted by
1746 posts

Thank you for all the feedback!

Today my dad didn't mention us going at all, so maybe he is cooling on his desire for us to go ASAP which is a year from now anyway. I would love to make him happy and for us to call him from our trip, etc. BUT more than likely he won't be doing as well as he is now and I won't want to leave him. Too much can happen between now and then! So, right now I'm thinking of letting the idea go and then we'll go when he has passed....maybe?

So, maybe I need to ask a better question: If you could go any month when would it be?

Posted by
1530 posts

If you could go any month when would it be?
Last 2 weeks of September are my preference because (personal anecdotal experience follows ...) it's pleasant fall weather, less rainy than spring, usually not scorching hot and fewer crowds. And (importantly) most tourist activities are still on their high-season or shoulder-season schedules. I've noticed that some of the little city tours that I like to take are less frequent beginning in October - perhaps only running on Fri/Sat/Sun - so it can be harder to time visits to fit things in.

Posted by
2726 posts

Went on a river cruise a few years back from Budapest to Nurnberg, in late September- early October. Temperatures were fine during the day with a light jacket or sweater occasionally needed. More importantly to me would be water level on the river. Our Viking boat couldn’t make it all the way and we ended up having to portage via bus and change boats. Its passengers and ours just switched boats. Ensure you check with the cruise line what its policy is if boats can’t navigate the river due to low or high water levels. If the levels are too high, the boat may not be able to make it under some bridges.

Posted by
45 posts

October 2018 we traveled to Amsterdam, Krakow, Florence, Windsor, Bath and Oxford and not a drop of rain, sunny days, cool evenings and lovely weather. I would choose October for our next trip.

Posted by
1093 posts

May is my favorite month for European travel, given the latitude and increasing daylight hours.

But, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.

Posted by
7686 posts

We should hopefully be in Budapest in mid-October 2021. Wouldn’t it be nice to get together for dinner there and celebrate our birthdays?

Posted by
1746 posts

I would love that!! Unfortunately, looks like my sis won't be retiring after all like she expected, so now that trip idea may not happen for a few years! Ugh!

Posted by
11028 posts

Well, you know unless something changes .... or maybe I should say, doesn't change, I will be there.

Posted by
11028 posts

Chani, we still have that date ... Actually, I'm just up the road from you this morning ...

Posted by
6 posts

I would say.....go to mid September - early October (1st - 14th) . That is when the weather is perfect of couse it changes quickly but its never get suddenly cold just a big windy weather. So better go during that time and you can enjoy Europe to the fullest!

Posted by
704 posts

I would go for that, Andrea! Right now my plan looks like the first week of Oct. in Budapest, but I could probably move things a little later - and celebrate my birthday there a bit late as well!

Posted by
7686 posts

Travelmom, I have a tentative schedule worked out. My daughter just moved to Washington and we drove her car up to her today. After a 12.5 hour drive I’m tired! We fly home Monday and I’ll look at my dates then.

Posted by
1966 posts

2014: We arrived in Istanbul Oct 6. We stayed there for 4 days, went on to Bucharest, Budapest, Beograd (all the big Bs), Sarajevo, and Dubrovnik. We left Dubrovnik Nov 6. All were pleasant. A light jacket was good in most. Sarajevo is in the mountains, and was at times cold. We loved it. Crowds were nowhere to be seen. The biggest issue was getting from Mostar to Dubrovnik. We planned on taking the bus, but the bus season ended Oct 31. Today, with many new bus companies (Flixbus), I think we could have taken the bus. We engaged a private driver.

I'd go today for the same trip.

Posted by
365 posts

While never in the area you are asking about I have found that like most months the weather in Oct is variable. I have had better weather in October then in Sept... you never know.

But one thing to keep in mind is that you often have to book about a year out for some of those cruises so you are not that far off. Of course with Covid-19 who knows...

Posted by
253 posts

My first October trip to Europe was in Oct. of 2019, a few days in Poland followed by a Danube River cruise from Budapest to Regensburg, Germany. Dates were Oct. 7-20. The weather was lovely and October might now be my new favorite time to travel! I used to think the shoulder months of May and September were ideal, but on our last couple of September trips, we've had some uncomfortably hot days and experienced some huge tourist crowds. "Shoulder season" might now be April and October instead of May and September. Weather is variable of course, but in October of 2019, we enjoyed some warm days, some cool days but no cold days, and we didn't have a significant amount of rain. I loved the reduced tourist crowds and lovely colors. One disadvantage is that the sun sets earlier, so you have shortened days, and another is that you might not be able to pack as lightly, needing to be able to dress in layers, but I did love our October trip and am planning (hoping!) to travel in that month again in 2021!

Posted by
343 posts

We traveled in Europe (multiple countries) in October two years ago, and we were cold much of the time, not because of the weather outdoors, but because the hotels did not have heat in the rooms! Several of the countries we visited prohibit hotels and public buildings from providing heat prior to a certain calendar date (often November 1), irrespective of the outdoor temperature. If there was a thermostat in the room, it was disabled.

We were not prepared for that. We'd never encountered that situation anywhere in North America.

I suggest you research that for the countries you plan to visit.

If we did another road trip in Europe in October, we decided we would buy a small space heater that we could plug in in our room to warm us up. We'd carry it in the car. We saw some in stores - maybe $20. But if you plan to take a tour or travel on your own by train, that solution would not be practical.

Posted by
1746 posts

Thanks everyone! I appreciate your feedback. The bad news is that we now can not go until my sister retires in two years. But, the good news is that we will then be able to go any month we choose!

Posted by
7686 posts

I guess we can’t celebrate our birthdays in Budapest. Boo hoo. Maybe this year and closer to home? I’m still not ready to dine indoors yet. Maybe somewhere outside? La Provence has a really nice outdoor area if it isn’t raining. I don’t think we have to worry about that for awhile. Or camping? Think about it.

Posted by
11028 posts

Marcia, I love travel in Sept/Oct and haven't run into heater laws so far. I believe you will find room heat in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Ukraine as I've been to them at that time. Can't speak to the less civilized Western European countries.