Seasonal Planning for Venice Travel
Venice is one of Italy's most popular and iconic travel destinations, and for good reason. It's been a center of Southern European art and creativity for centuries, and is full of incredible art, architecture, and experiences that are only available here.
But, a serious concern for potential visitors should be when they visit, for their own sake as well as the city's. Over-tourism and over-crowding can be a serious problem in Venice, and put a strain on the local environment and resources. Plus, struggling through crowds and waiting in long lines are not most people's idea of a fun way to spend a vacation. Along with other highly popular places in Italy—particularly Florence and Rome—we recommend visiting Venice in the shoulder or off-seasons. Doing so will likely increase your own enjoyment (and reduce costs), and will make less of an impact on the city's resources.
The peak season in Venice actually lasts for about half the year, beginning around Easter (March or April) and ending in early November, when the weather cools off. May, June, and September see the best weather, so are busiest. July and August are also busy, as this is when Italians and other Europeans take their major summer vacation, but the weather can be uncomfortably hot at this time. Hotel prices are highest in the spring and summer.
Whichever season you choose to visit Venice, book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. Hotel prices tend to be higher here than in many parts of Italy, and while good deals can be found in the winter, you'll still need to book ahead.
If you absolutely must visit Venice during peak season because of your own schedule or vacation timings, don't fear—there are ways to avoid the worst of the crowds. For tips, read about Getting off the Beaten Path in Venice and 24 Hours in Venice. To learn more about visiting Italy throughout the year, see Best Time to Visit Italy: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
|Summer (June-Aug)||Pleasant weather in June, long daylight hours||Very hot weather in July and August, huge crowds||Beach time on Lido island|
|Autumn (Sept-Nov)||Warm temperatures, shoulder-season prices||Wetter weather||Both indoor and outdoor sightseeing|
|Winter (Dec-Feb)||Thin crowds, lowest prices||Heavy crowds during Carnevale, cold weather, annual flooding||Indoor museums and galleries, Carnevale|
|Spring (Mar-May)||Lots of festivals, mild weather||Wet weather||Cultural festivals|
The idea of lazy summer days in one of Italy's most romantic cities is, unfortunately, a far cry from the reality of visiting Venice in summer. Temperatures are hot, the air is sticky, and there are crowds and crowds of people. July and August are the worst, and should be avoided if you have any flexibility in your schedule whatsoever.
However, it's not all bad news. If you must come to Venice in summer, June is preferable. European and Italian schools and workplaces don't tend to go on holiday until later in the summer, so the crowds aren't at their worst. Temperatures aren't as uncomfortable as they are later in the season, and Venice experiences somewhat milder weather than other Italian cities further south. And, there are many cultural events and festivals to enjoy throughout June, July, and August. There are few things more Venetian than watching a gondola regatta or boat parade from your shady balcony.
Venice does experience some rain in summer, often in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. Average summer daytime temperatures are 75° F (24° C) in June, 82° F (28° C) in July, and 80° F (27° C) in August.
Summer Events in Venice
Vogalonga, Venice, a rowing regatta held in May or June.
Festa Della Repubblica, June 2. Italy's Republic Day is observed nationwide.
Festa del Redentore, July. Fireworks and a rowing competition celebrate the end of an epidemic in 1576.
Ferragosto, August 15. This religious holiday marks the start of the summer vacation for most Italians.
Venice International Film Festival, late August/early September.
Autumn (September - Early November)
Early autumn (late September) is a good time to visit Venice if you want a balance between good weather and crowds. Although Venice gets a significant number of visitors throughout the autumn, the thickest crowds of the summer (July and August) are receding as many Europeans and Italians go back to work. Plus, the weather is warm but not as hot as mid-summer. Average daytime temperatures in September are around 75° F (24° C), dropping in October to 59° F (15° C). There's also a moderate amount of rain in autumn, either showers or thunderstorms.
Accommodation doesn't tend to be so tight in autumn as in summer, and you may enjoy cheaper prices later in the season, but it's essential to book as far in advance as you can. Autumn may be shoulder season in Venice rather than peak, but as this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, even shoulder season sees more visitors than most global cities do at their busiest times.
Autumn Events in Venice
Venice Marathon, 4th Sunday in October.
All Saints Day, November 1. This public holiday is a time for Italians to remember the deceased.
Winter (November - February)
Winter is the low-season in Venice, although this low-season really ends with a bang, as Carnevale—one of the busiest times of the year in Venice—falls in late winter, February and/or March. Earlier in the winter is a pleasantly crowd-free time to visit Venice, because although the weather won't be great, the trade-off is a quieter overall atmosphere.
Temperatures between December and March are generally cold, and can be rainy. November is the wettest month. However, you shouldn't expect rain every day. The coldest month is January, with daytime temperatures of around 37° F (3° C). The winter can also be foggy. Bring warm layers.
Venice experiences annual flooding, usually from November to March, but sometimes as early as late September. While the flooding can be major (and doesn't look likely to get any better with the effects of climate change), in a normal year of flooding the waters usually recede after a few hours and don't significantly affect life (or tourism) in the city.
Be aware that during the winter, many attractions like art galleries and monuments operate on reduced hours, closing earlier than they do at other times of year. This shouldn't be a major inconvenience if you time your sightseeing well. Daylight hours are short in winter, though, so you may want to head back to a cozy hotel earlier anyway.
The crowds and costs either side of Carnevale are the lowest of the year, but when exactly this is depends on the date of Easter in any year.
Carnevale, as a festival with Christian roots, is celebrated all over Italy, but Venice's Carnevale is especially famous. It takes place 40 days before Easter, so to work out when it is in any given year, find out the date of Easter and work backwards. Events take place for two-three weeks before the actual day of Carnevale. Some events like the famous masked balls are private and very expensive, others are free and open to the public, such as concerts, street performances, and boat processions. It's a lovely and lively time to be in Venice, but busy, so book well in advance.
Winter Events in Venice
Christmas, December 25. While Christmas tends to be a family affair in Italy, travelers can attend Christmas Mass at churches and cathedrals in Venice. Plus, there are Christmas markets in the lead-up to December 25th.
New Year's Eve/Day, 31st December/1st January. Venetians know how to party on New Year's Eve as well as anyone else, but most attractions are closed on January 1st.
Epiphany (La Befana), January 6. Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings after baby Jesus' birth. This was traditionally when Italian children received their Christmas presents.
Carnevale is a month-long celebration in February-March
Spring (March - May)
Spring is a busy time in Venice, but less congested than summer. If warmer weather is important to you and you're seeking a comfortable balance between the weather and the crowds, late spring is a good time to visit. May is ideal, as temperatures are warm, but you'll be avoiding the European summer holiday period. Rainfall is higher in spring than in winter, though. Average daytime temperatures in April are around 61° F (16° C), and in May are around 70° F (21° C).
Spring is a buzzing time in the Venetian events calendar, with Easter and its associated celebrations earlier in the season, and a host of other cultural, religious, and local celebrations throughout April and May.
Spring Events in Venice
Easter, March or April. The date of Easter changes from year to year.
Settimana della Cultura, mid-April. During this week in mid-April (dates vary each year), many museums and other sites in Venice offer free admission.
May Day, May 1. International Workers' Day is observed throughout Italy, but only in Venice can you see the Festa della Sparesca gondola regatta on this day.
Festa Della Sensa, 40 days after Easter. This ancient festival observes Venice's connection to the sea, and you can see colorful parade boats in a procession.
The Venice Biennale d'Arte is held from May to November in odd-numbered years. The next will be held in 2021.