Venice in Winter: Enjoying The Floating City in the Off Season

June 22, 2023

Visiting Venice in winter, outside of the main tourist season, can be wonderful! There are fewer crowds, the lines are shorter, and the more “authentic” side of Venice (read: the one not overwhelmed by millions of tourists) tends to be much easier to find.

Before you book, though, there are some things you should know about visiting Venice in the off season!

A fog often rolls in during Venice in winter, making the romantic city even more atmospheric.

When is the off season in Venice?

November to Easter, excluding Christmas, New Year’s, and (of course!) Carnevale.

Photo op in Venice, Italy

Even on a sunny day, Venice’s Grand Canal in February is relatively peaceful.

What to expect during Venice in winter

Make no mistake—there are thousands of visitors to Venice, year-round. And even if you come in the coldest days of January or February, you won’t be the only English speaker on the island. That said, February’s crowds and lines simply don’t compare to those you see in June, July, or even early October. Come out of season, and you’ll benefit from shorter lines, fewer crowds, and the ability to spot the “authentic” Venice that so many high-season visitors miss… the Venice made up of real Venetians!

Average temperature

Venice can be downright beautiful in the winter. Don’t miss our gorgeous video of Venice in the snow.

Weather-wise, Venice in winter can be a love-or-hate experience. There can be a lot of rain, and the city (thanks to its position both on the sea and in the north) can be bone-chillingly cold.

Most importantly, there’s a high chance of flooding during Venice in winter. The island tends to flood several times every winter; when it does, water (called the “acqua alta,” or “high water,” by residents) can be several feet high in St. Mark’s Square, for example. Visitors sometimes have to use elevated walkways to get from Point A to Point B. Depending on your perspective, this can be a unique way to experience Venice as the locals do… or it can be a cold, wet frustration.

person in black jacket and black pants standing on water near beige concrete building during daytime

Flooding in St. Mark’s Square. Photo credit: Egor Gordeev

Insider’s tip: Don’t miss our survival guide to Venice’s acqua alta!

Another part of visiting Venice in the winter is the thick mist that often settles on the canals. This makes for surprisingly lovely, atmospheric pictures. Still, you might not get that view from the top of St. Mark’s Basilica that you were hoping for.


Venice in winter tends to be chilly and foggy, but there can also be sunny days.

Transportation considerations

Meanwhile, Venice is a year-round destination, so you don’t have to worry about hotels, restaurants and sights closing in the winter (unless they’re flooded). The traghetti, or water buses, also run year-round, although some summer-only lines, like to the Lido, are, of course, not functioning in the winter. And yes, you can take a gondola year-round (the gondoliers provide you with blankets)… just make sure to dress warmly!

A Venetian gondola in winter, waiting for passengers.

Top winter activities

If a cold gondola ride doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, we recommend taking refuge inside of one of Venice’s many amazing museums or historic buildings. You can warm up as you enjoy an indoor stroll around a world-class museum such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell’Accademia, or the Doge’s Palace.

What to pack for your trip

Pack your warm clothes and layers, keeping in mind that Venice is a city where you get around either by boat or by walking (both of which are cold options in the winter!). In case it floods while you’re there, don’t forget your rain boots and—most importantly!—your sense of humor. The Venetians have to deal with this every year… so consider the experience a glimpse into how the locals really live!


Want to visit the Doge’s Palace after dark to learn about about Venice’s fascinating history with a local guide? Join our Exclusive Alone in St. Mark’s & Doge’s Palace Tour!

by Walks of Italy

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