What's the best time to visit Venice?
The overall best time to visit Venice is in the spring, with mild temperatures around 70°F and fewer tourists than summer. This season offers sunny days ideal for sightseeing and gondola rides, manageable crowds, and unique events like boat races and traditional festivities. It’s a period that combines pleasant weather with the opportunity to experience Venice’s rich culture and relaxed atmosphere.
The spectacular Italian city of Venice is a must-visit destination for lovers of beautiful architecture. There is no other city like it, perched on a network of canals instead of streets.
Venice is full of world-famous monuments, such as the Basilica and Piazza of San Marco, Doge’s Palace, and Rialto Bridge. Explore it from the water by taking a public traghetto on the Grand Canal or a gondola down one of the side canals.
The best thing to do in the city is get lost and check out the many galleries, cicchetti bars, and shops selling delicate souvenirs made of Murano glass. While there’s much to see and do in this storied city, when is the best time to visit Venice? We’ll show you this and more below.
Overall Best Time to Visit Venice
The best time to visit Venice is during the spring when the weather is beautiful but not too hot, and you can avoid the worst of the summer crowds. Two main factors affect trip planning to Venice—the weather and crowds.
During peak season, the city can receive over 100,000 tourists per day. The city’s climate calendar is also marked by extreme weather events, from hot, muggy summers to periodic flooding in the fall and winter, the notorious acqua alta.
In the spring, you can avoid both of these problems. Average high temperatures are between 17–22 degrees Celsius (62–71 degrees Fahrenheit), which is warm yet mild.
Although April is quite rainy, both March and May bring plenty of sunny days, giving you the perfect weather for walking around the city or for getting out onto the water in a gondola without feeling frozen.
The mild weather also means that this is one of the best seasons to explore the Venetian lagoon. Visit the popular islands of Murano and Burano, or head further afield to Torcello or Lazzaretto Nuovo.
Plenty of other visitors come to Venice in the spring, but the crowds are not nearly as bad as they are in the summer. Visitor numbers start to pick up following Easter (and the holiday weekend around Easter is usually packed), but the crowds are still manageable.
There are several traditional festivities that happen in Venice in the spring, such as:
- Cao de Ano, Venetian New Year (March 1st)
- Palm Sunday and Easter (March/April)
- St. Mark’s Day (April 25th, also Liberation Day, a national holiday in Italy)
This season is also a prime time for boat races. In May, there is the Vogalonga, a rowing race open to everyone that doubles as a protest against lagoon degeneration, while the famous Regatta della Sensa and “Marriage to the Sea” takes place on Ascension Day (usually in May/June).
Spring is a great time to see Venice a bit like the locals do. You won’t be fighting for space in the main tourist attractions, and waiters in restaurants likely won’t be as harried and will be more likely to want to stay and chat.
Cheapest Time to Visit Venice
The cheapest time to visit Venice is during late fall and early winter when many tourists avoid the city due to bad weather and periodic flooding.
Since the cold and acqua alta chase away many visitors, hotel prices tend to be drastically lower in Venice between October and late January than they are during the peak season. You can find discounts of 30%–40% if you book during this time as opposed to peak season.
Flight prices also decrease during this time. Flights are cheapest in November and January when you avoid the holiday rush of December.
Prices tend to rise in Venice around Christmas, but not as much as in other Italian cities. Not all of winter is equally affordable in Venice. February brings the riotous Venetian Carnival, when elaborately costumed individuals fill the streets, and the city turns into one big party.
This is the most popular—and most expensive—time to visit Venice, as everyone wants to see the unique Venetian masks and experience a costume ball.
Least Busy Time to Visit Venice
The least busy time to visit Venice is during the fall and into early winter when you’ll have many of the side streets and even main attractions to yourself.
Most tourists avoid Venice during this time because they are afraid of the periodic flooding. However, acqua alta is actually not such a damaging phenomenon. Most periods of high tide rarely last for more than an hour.
As long as you have waterproof boots and stick to elevated walkways, you should be fine. Plus, flooding is usually localized to some parts of the city, such as the low-lying Piazza San Marco.
Although the weather is not as clear or warm as during the summer, it has some benefits. The fog enveloping Venice makes it feel like the set of a noir film, truly like you are stepping back in time.
Once you brave the risk of floods, you’ll be rewarded with a Venice that is nearly empty of tourists. You can explore the Basilica San Marco without waiting in long lines and stroll leisurely through the back streets.
Many tourist-oriented businesses, such as popular museums, do close earlier during the late fall and winter, and some restaurants close altogether for the off-season. However, with fewer lines to wait in, you’ll be able to get everything done even with shorter opening hours.
The exception is every other November when the Venice Biennale comes to the city. During this time, art lovers from all over the world flood into town. However, the crowds are still more manageable than during any given July day.
Besides the Biennale, there are plenty of local festivals during this time, such as the Festa della Madonna della Salute, an annual festival in November to honor the Virgin Mary, complete with a temporary bridge made out of the boats of devotees.
Worst Time to Visit Venice
The worst time to visit Venice is during the summer when the heat and the crowds combine to make the city unbearable. When you look at the temperature, summers in Venice don’t feel as hot as some other Italian cities.
Average high temperatures are usually in the low 80s, with the lagoon and Adriatic Sea keeping temperatures mild. However, it is very humid, which makes it feel much hotter. Plus, the heat makes the canals smell even more than usual. Even worse than the heat are the crowds.
Thousands and thousands of people flock to Venice on the average summer day. Expect to wait for hours to get into popular attractions such as the Doge’s Palace or even just to get ice cream.
In popular areas, crowds are so thick that even walking is hard. If you have to visit in the summer, you can still make the most of your visit and try to beat the crowds.
Even on the busiest summer days, you can find side streets that are free of crowds since most tourists stick to the Grand Canal. Use this time to visit one of the other islands in the lagoon or head to the Lido for a beach day. Visit early in the day to get there before the cruise ships.
Things to Consider
Here are some additional tips to help you pick the best time to visit Venice:
- Book for popular periods well in advance. During the summer, hotels tend to fill up quickly. The same happens in February during Carnival.
- Summer can be miserable, but there are a lot of cultural events to attend. With events such as the Venice Film Festival (late August/early September) and the fireworks Festa del Redontore (July), this is a good time to visit for culture.
- Prepare for acqua alta if visiting in fall or winter. Make sure you bring waterproof boots or borrow some from your hotel. Stick to elevated walkways. Never, ever go swimming or wading barefoot into the flood waters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions people have asked about visiting Venice:
What is the best month to go to Venice?
The best month to go to Venice is May, which has beautiful weather but still doesn’t reach the peak crowdedness of summer.
What is the quietest time to visit Venice?
The quietest time to visit Venice is between mid-October and late January when most crowds have gone home, and you’ll have the city to yourself.
When should you avoid crowds in Venice?
The worst crowds in Venice happen around Christmas, Easter, Carnival, and in the summer, when throngs of people fill up the streets.
What months is Venice flooded?
Flooding is most common between October and January, but it only happens on a few days and usually for a period of a few hours.
What time of year does Venice smell?
Venice smells the most during summer when the combination of low tide and high heat makes the canals smell bad.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Venice?
For gorgeous weather, visit Venice in the spring, while October-January is the best time to visit if you want to beat the crowds and the sky-high prices.