City of festivals: when is the best time to visit Venice?

Venice doesn’t know a true low season. The Serenissima is so unique and so famous that the desire to see it with one’s own eyes knows no seasonal limit. Each time of the year has its pros and cons, as well as different activities and events to enjoy up and down the canals.

Decide what time works best for your visit to Venice with this guide to seasons and events.

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November to February is the best time for budget travelers

With the exceptions of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the colder months are as empty as they can be in a city like Venice – with school and work in full swing, tourist numbers are much lower than they are in June and July.

The downside is autumn being acqua alta season – it’s not a guarantee, of course, but from late October to December it’s better to carry some rain boots and be prepared for the possibility of walking St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) through calf-height water.

Boats at the Venetian RegattaIt’s no surprise that many major events in Venice center on the water © Kendal Based Freelance Photography / Getty Images

May to October hosts the best Venetian experiences

Venice is always stunning, but it definitely shines best with nice weather and sun that last long past eight in the evening. Of course, the closer to summer it gets the more tourist numbers and prices rise; the best free things to do in Venice will help keep your budget reasonable. One also has to consider that at the height of summer the weather crosses the threshold from nice to stiflingly hot – something to be aware of if you’re planning to explore the city by foot. 

Also considered as high season are the days of the world-famous Carnevale in spring and the spectacle of New Year’s Eve (or Capodanno in Italian) in Piazza San Marco.

Go in March to April for cooler weather

The spring months are the best choice if you want to do plenty of exploration on foot without too much sun beating down on your head (and don’t mind getting caught in the occasional rain shower).

A trip around Easter time will also ensure you see your fair share of the best Venice has to offer, as the days of the Holy Week are always dotted with celebrations and ceremonies – but keep in mind that schools close in Italy for Easter and so you might get some more tourists coming in for a weekend trip.

January brings peace and quiet

After the excitement of New Year’s Eve and the Epiphany, Venetians go back to their day-to-day lives – leaving the city wrapped in relative winter quiet.
Key events: New Year’s Day concert at La Fenice, Regata delle Befane.

A man wearing a venetian mask in a crowd during the Venice CarnivalThe Venice Carnevale is one of those must-do experiences that you’ll be talking about for a lifetime © Tan Zi Han / Shutterstock

See the world-famous Carnevale in February

With spring comes Lent, but there’s one important stop before Easter – Venice fills with colors and masks, and it’s a great time to immerse oneself in one of the most famous moments of Lagoon life.
Key event: Carnevale.

March sees people out and about again

If you thought the city emptied out after the revelries of the Carnevale, think again. With days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, people are again out and about on the bridges and canals.
Key event: Su e zo per i ponti.

April is the true start of spring in Venice

April is the last possible month for Easter and the true start of the spring season. Centuries-old celebrations make for quite the picturesque stay.
Key event: St Mark’s Day.

Interior shot of the International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia La Biennale di Venezia celebrates visual arts including architecture © Tetiana Tuchyk / Shutterstock

The event calendar begins in full force in May

May is almost summer, and the whole city is alive with the knowledge that the warmest months are fast approaching. Events begin to pop up and gather crowds – the chief among all being the Biennale, which has been celebrating visual arts since 1895. 
Key events: Biennale di Venezia, Vogalonga, Salone Nautico.

June is the start of high season

Summer is here and so is the high season – tourists begin to pour in, especially once schools officially close down for summer break around the middle of the month. Expect people traffic, but also a constant stream of things to do and experience. If the main tourist spots get too much, consider seeking out one of Venice’s less-trafficked neighborhoods.
Key events: Festa de San Pietro de Casteo, Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare.

Don’t miss July’s fireworks

Even though the weather will begin to feel stifling, Venice will keep on bustling – get yourself a good spot among the other visitors for fireworks on the canals. If the crowds really get too much, consider a day trip outside the city.
Key event: Festa del Redentore.

View from a rooftop bar -- the restaurant Terrazza Danieli over the lagoon Venice Catch a cooling breeze from a rooftop restaurant with views over the Lagoon © Pit Stock / Shutterstock

Cool down at the beaches in August

A good way to deal with the sun beating down on your head is to make the most of it while laying down at one of the many beaches of the Lagoon, both in and around Venice. The city itself is bustling with people all over.
Key event: Ferragosto.

Enjoy the last of the warm season in September

September is one of the best months of the year – the heat dwindles but the weather is still great and it makes for an excellent set-up to enjoy the last moments of the warm season. People return from holidays and go back to their daily lives, while silver screen stars flock to the Lido.
Key events: Venice Film Festival, Regata Storica, beginning of the opera season at the Teatro La Fenice.

October can bring rain

Autumn is definitely here to stay. October can still offer up some good days, but it’s also when the possibility of acqua alta looms on the horizon. Be sure to pack some rain boots, just in case.
Key event: Venice marathon.

Snow covers Fondamenta della Sensa, the bridge that leads to the historic Jewish quarter.Fog and snow in the depths of winter give Venice a very different atmosphere © Damien Simonis / Lonely Planet

November is rainy and cold – but still has its charms

You might think that there’s not much to do in rainy, cold November – but you’d be wrong. The Lagoon has one more thing to celebrate before the start of the Christmas season.
Key event: Festa della Madonna della Salute.

December is full of festivities

December is, quite understandably, dominated by Christmas. The area around the Rialto Bridge lights up with Christmas lights and markets, and the city anticipates New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Key events: Christmas markets around the Rialto bridge, New Year’s Eve.


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