Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, and it is not difficult to understand why - romantic canals, stunning piazzas, old Basilicas, and picturesque streets are all on offer in this beautiful city. Unfortunately, this means that Venice very rarely has an 'off season' and there are almost always crowds of tourists filling the streets. Here is an outline of the best times to visit Venice:
For the best weather in Venice - May
In terms of weather, your best bet is probably to come during the month of May. The cold has lifted, summer months are just around the corner, and flowers are still blooming all over Italy. If you come during this time the summer crowds have not quite started to arrive, and the crowds that pack the city over Easter have all gone. Be aware that there will be tourists no matter what time of year you choose to visit, but May is probably the most temperate.
Avoid crowded months - July and August
High season in Venice is in the summer months of July and August. It can become very hot (and sometimes smelly) in these months, and just as families and tourists are coming in to the city for their summer vacations, many of the locals from Venice are leaving for several weeks during August.
For the best deals in Venice - November onwards, but it’s often wet!
If you want to save money in this notoriously expensive city, you will want to plan your Venice trip for the colder winter months, from November to March. Accommodation prices plummet in the low seasons, so if you can put up with the cold and the sometimes frustrating floods, then this would be the best time of year to grab a bargain. Food prices in restaurants usually goes down around these months as well. The biggest issue at this time is the flooding and high waters in the streets which happens several times a year in the colder months
November is generally a lot less bitterly cold than December and January, and it is a wonderful time of year when the locals start to bring out the hot chocolate and the city starts to feel a little less touristy. This is also a good time of year to visit if you want to enjoy some of the cultural shows that the city puts on as the temperatures start to drop.
The best time for younger couples in Venice - May and September
If you are a younger couple visiting Venice, you will probably want to come on the 'shoulder' seasons like May and September. During the months just either side of the high season, you will still have relatively good weather for long walks through the city, drinking wine at one of the many bàcari, and watching sunsets over the canals.
There will also be slightly less people so you can focus more on each other than pushing through crowds to get to where you want to go. Finally, accommodation will be cheaper if you are not visiting in the summer months, so you can book slightly more luxurious and boutique hotels without breaking the bank.
The best time to visit for local culture - early Spring onwards
As well as beautiful canals and architecture, the city of Venice has many well-known cultural events throughout the year that you should take advantage of (if you don't mind the crowds).
Probably the most well-known festival is Carnevale, the carnival characterized by Venetian masks that marks the end of winter. If you are willing to brave the crowds to experience this spectacular event, plan your trip for February or early March (you will need to check the Carnival website for exact dates).
Festa del Redentore
If you are there in summer, you might get to experience the Festa del Redentore which happens in the third week of July each year. This is a religious festival that takes place on Giudecca island and is characterized by the annual regatta race, fireworks and building a pontoon bridge across the canal, as well as eating a lot of food.
From June to November, you can see the Biennale for art. This festival is held every other year on the odd-numbered years, and it is a world-renowned, international art showcase. This is not to be missed if you are visiting during this time, but it also means that accommodation can be hard to find so make sure you book in advance if you are visiting in these months.
The best time to visit Venice is, as far as the climate is concerned, certainly the spring one. Venice is in fact a very humid city and it is therefore easy to run into fog banks or rainy days, in winter and autumn and suffocating heat in summer. It is better to visit it in the period between Carnival and Easter, to avoid the hordes of tourists, which can turn our visit to Venice into an unpleasant experience.