There isn't a true low season in Venice. Not really.

The Serenissima is so unique and so famous that the desire to see it with one’s own eyes knows no seasonal limit. Every time of the year has its pros and cons – as well as different activities and events to enjoy up and down the canals – but there isn’t really a bad time to visit.

From festivals like Carnevale to the quieter winter months, we pick through the best times to visit Venice.

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

May to October hosts the best Venetian festivals

This is when Venice is at its best: with nice weather and sun lasting long past 8pm. The closer to summer it gets, the more tourist numbers and prices rise but the best free things to do in Venice can help you keep within your budget. 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 on foot.  The crowds arrive for Carnevale (held on Shrove Tuesday) in spring too.

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. June is the start of high season and tourists begin to pour in, especially once schools officially close down for summer break around the middle of the month. If the main tourist spots get too much, consider seeking out one of Venice's less-trafficked neighborhoods.

Even though the weather will begin to feel stifling in July, Venice is still bustling – get yourself a good spot among the other visitors for the Festa del Redentore (third Sunday of July) fireworks. If the crowds really get too much, consider a day trip outside the city. A good way to deal with the sun beating down on your head is to make the most of it while lying down at one of the many beaches of the Lagoon, both in and around Venice

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. Then, come October, fall has arrived. There are some good days, but it’s also when the possibility of acqua alta looms on the horizon. Pack rain boots just in case.

A woman walks through the arcade leading to St Mark's Square, with St Mark's cathedral in the background. Venice, Veneto region, Italy.
March and April can mean fewer crowds in Venice - plus decent weather if you're lucky © Francesco Vaninetti Photo / Getty Images

Go in March to April for cooler weather

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

April is the true start of the spring season. Centuries-old celebrations like St Mark’s Day make for quite the photogenic stay. 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 there might be a lot of tourists coming in for a weekend trip.

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 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.

A lack of travelers doesn’t mean the city is less lively. The Festa della Madonna della Salute brings the lagoon alive in late November, where stalls line the canals and a candlelit procession crosses a bridge of boats to reach the Salute.

Over Christmas the area around the Rialto Bridge glimmers with lights and markets, but it is in January for the Regata delle Befane – the boat race where participants dress as witches – that visitors will want to find a viewing spot on the infamous Ponte di Rialto.

The costumes continue at the world-famous Carnevale, a riot of color and concealment, the February coming together is the final throes of winter before the mask slips and spring in the city begins to unfurl.

This article was first published Oct 4, 2021 and updated May 15, 2023.

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