Best Time to Visit Venice?

Its palaces are heartstopping; the soft waves in the canals dreamy. This city that seems to float on water should not even exist, like a myth. And still it's here for the world to enjoy.

So, when is the best time to visit Venice? Well, it depends.

If you're a romantic and crave quiet

Mysterious Venice at night with gondolasFor travelers who dream of a mysterious Venice, a centuries-old place where the mist envelopes the city making if feel magical, then winter is for you.

By late November, the crush of tourists has eased giving you space to leisurely take in the city's treasures. Admire the statues and paintings adorning the churches at your leisure or stand in awe of the architecture throughout the city. Wander through the Doge's Palace at a slow pace imagining the march of history that occurred inside.

Without crowds to dodge and elbows to avoid, you can meander unbothered through the labyrinth of streets, many of which will be deserted. Winter reveals why Venice is called La Serenissima, "the most serene". Often the only sounds you hear will be those of your own footsteps. If you leave your cellphone tucked away, you'll learn first-hand what it means to get lost in Venice.

Reasonably priced hotels abound in winter. What's more, the cold outside is balanced by the warm candle light of restaurants becokning you inside for dinner and a drink.

With the exception of Carnival in February, New Year's Eve festivities, and Festival of La Salute in November, all of which bring the celebrating masses into the city, Venice is at its most enchanting and quiet self in winter.

How's the weather? The daytime temps in the low 40s feel colder because of the chilling winds from the water. You may have to contend with rain and aqua alta or high water, when the city floods forcing pedstrians onto elevated catwalks.

Bottom line: Quiet streets and unhurried sightseeing, in winter, Venice is magic.

If you love excitement and feel energized by crowds

If you love being in the middle of all of the action, then summer in Venice is for you. During the summer, especially August, daytrippers, cruise ship passengers, and tourists descend on the city, squeezing through the narrow streets at all hours. Gondolas jam the canals.

Piazza San Marco with its outdoor cafes is the center of activity. Here, you'll witness the dueling orchestras, which sometime play pop music to stir up the crowds.

The summer sun brings out the colors of the buildings, not to mention nearby islands of Burano and Murano where every building is a brilliant, primary color.

Major festivals in Venice happen in the summer, such as the Historic Regatta in early September, the Venice Film Festival held in August, or the Festa Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) in July.

How's the weather: The humidity and heat can be unforgiving for some people.

Bottom line: The sheer numbers of people who visit during the summer means that hotels will be the priciest of any other time of the year. But people, energy, and festivals are in ample supply. If you crave excitement, this is the time to go.

If you like a little of both

Springtime in VeniceIn spring and autumn, there are still many tourists, but you avoid the huge crowds of the summer. There's a nip in the air, but not the chilly stillness of winter. You will often have the benefits of crisp, clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures during this time - ideal for sightseeing and walking.

You will also find some favorable hotel rates, as the spring and autumn months are what the travel industry calls the shoulder seasons. The month of March is great to beat the crowds before Easter or to arrive in October after the tail end of the high season.

For theater buffs, the opera season at La Fenice will already be underway and concerts will be held in churches throughout the city.

How's the weather? Perfect, usually. Still rain and acqua alta may be a threat.

Bottom line: For those seeking a nice balance of people and quiet with comfortable temperatures, spring and fall can't be beat.

See also:
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