Visiting Venice in winter is a magical and memorable experience you won’t soon forget!
I love Venice, and it is so amazing in winter with fewer crowds and better prices. Most of the popular things to do in Venice can still be enjoyed in winter!
The weather during winter in Venice will be a bit cold. The average temperature is 38°F in January and 41°F in February. But you should not write off visiting Venice in the winter altogether!
Planning your trip to Venice last minute?
Make sure to book your hotels and tours in Venice in advance to ensure availability! Often, things sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top picks for Venice:
Top Tours And Tickets To Book In Advance:
- Doge’s Palace Entry Ticket (Save time and book in advance!)
- Grand Canal Gondola Ride (Skip the line)
- Marco Polo Airport Bus Transfer (Skip the line and super easy)
- St Marks + Doge’s Terrace Access Tour (Likely to sell out)
Best Venice Hotels:
Winter in Venice is generally defined as December to February, but months such as November and March can experience winter weather as well.
Is winter a good time to visit Venice, Italy? Yes! Winter in Venice means Christmas decorations, uncrowded streets, and a chance of snow. As off-season, it is the cheapest time to visit.
With a few tips and this handy guide by your side, you will be off to an enjoyable trip to the City of Canals during the winter months.
Don’t forget to check out my complete guide to where to stay in Venice!
Let’s look at what to do in Venice in the winter!
10 Best Things to Do in Venice in Winter
Explore the Rialto Bridge Area
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest and most famous bridge in Venice, built between 1588 and 1591. It crosses the Grand Canal, the main channel that divides the city.
The bridge is one of the main hubs in the city, full of markets, restaurants, landmarks, and more. You won’t want to miss this spot even during Venice in winter.
The stairs onto the bridge on either side are lined by shops as well. Since these shops are in a prime location, they don’t have the most affordable wares, but it is fun to window shop.
For the best things to do in Venice in December, you can do some Christmas shopping or admire the pretty lights.
There are tons of restaurants in the area with views of the bridge if you’d like to sit and enjoy. However, if you’re looking for more affordable and authentic cuisine continue a bit further on!
Book Here: Venice: Grand Canal Boat Tour
Grab a Blanket for a Gondola Ride
Yes, you can ride a gondola in winter, although it will be chillier. Even so, this is one of the most romantic things to do in Venice, Italy, in the winter. The blankets provided will keep you cozy!
The waterways will be far less crowded when visiting during winter. Enjoy a gorgeous winter sunset over the water and bridges of Venice.
Gondolas have been the main mode of transportation in Venice for centuries. Navigating the narrow canals has become synonymous with the Floating City.
Be sure to check the rates online before going and double-check with the gondolier before getting on so there are no surprises later about the cost.
This is a must-do activity for any 2 days in Venice itinerary!
Photograph Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica
The most famous landmarks in the city, Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica, will top your list while visiting Venice in winter. It is amazing to check them out without the usual crowds.
The piazza is the main public area in the city due to its political and religious seats of power as well as the shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.
Saint Mark’s Basilica is a historic building on the square dating back to the early 800s. Admire the Italo-Byzantine architecture from the outside or if you have more time, get a ticket and visit inside as well.
The basilica was built to house the remains of Saint Mark. Inside you can visit a collection of mosaics and Byzantine treasures. You can also attend Christmas Mass here.
Also in the square is the towering Saint Mark’s Campanile which offers the best views in Venice.
You will love exploring one of the most Instgrammable places in Venice!
Shop at a Christmas Market
If you are looking for the best things to do in Venice during Christmas, you have to check out the festive Christmas market at Campo San Stefano.
Throughout December, this square becomes a Christmas village with stalls selling local crafts, art, jewelry, and decorations.
There is even a whole section dedicated to Italian specialty foods. Purchase almond nougat, truffles, biscotti, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and more treats.
Listen to live music and be dazzled by the pretty lights as you soak up the fun holiday atmosphere.
If you are in Venice during Christmas, you cannot miss out on this epic market! There are a few other, smaller Christmas markets dotted around the city too.
Carnival (or Carnevale) is Italy’s version of Mardi Gras. This event takes place during the two weeks before Ash Wednesday, which primarily falls in February.
Throughout Venice, you will see people dressed in colorful and elaborate costumes complete with an iconic mask.
There are many activities during Carnival such as boat parades and street fairs. The formal balls are some of the best things to do in Venice in winter!
If you want a great souvenir, make sure to find a shop selling handmade masks to support local artisans.
Carnival is one of the best ideas for what to do in Venice in February! You will have so much fun taking pictures and exploring the lively city.
This can be an expensive time to visit Venice since it is so popular. If you want an epic trip to Italy, make sure to book accommodations in advance.
Attending Carnival is easily one of the best things to do in Italy!
Admire Venetian Glass in Murano
If you like to bring home souvenirs and gifts for friends while traveling, Venetian glass is one of the local goods you should consider.
Venetian glass is not produced in Venice but rather on an island about a mile north called Murano. The glassmakers were moved here because of the fire hazards their studios posed for the city.
Glassmaking in Murano is a local tradition, possibly going back 1500 years. This is some of the most beautiful glass in the world.
Murano is a beautiful area to visit and see glass factories, artist’s studios, and the Glass Museum. Snag a handcrafted piece to bring home!
If you visit Murano in December, you can celebrate Natale di Vetro, or Glass Christmas. You will be amazed by a Christmas tree made of colorful glass. The open-air market showcases glasswork.
Visit Burano Island
Discover some color during winter in Venice by visiting Burano Island which is famous for its vibrantly colored buildings.
Burano is an old fishing town where traditionally the occupants painted their houses bright colors so they would be easy to find even in dense fog.
This also means that even on a foggy winter day in Venice the facades of the homes will shine through for you to experience.
This is a picture-perfect stop for anyone who wants photo mementos and a moment of joyful color during potentially grey winter days. Burano Island should be a must-stop for a visit to Venice in winter.
Burano is also famous for its exquisite, delicate handmade lace.
Just don’t be fooled by shops trying to sell cheap fake imitations of this lace. Real Burano lace is very expensive since it is handmade from high-quality materials.
To admire some of the best examples, visit the Museo del Merletto (the Lace Museum) which can also teach you about the different qualities of lace so you can tell the difference while shopping.
Have Fun Ice Skating
Each year from December through February, an ice skating rink opens in Campo San Polo.
Rent skates and hit the ice for one of the most fun Venice winter activities. This is a great way to warm up during a chilly day. Gloves are highly recommended.
Next to the rink, stalls sell treats and mulled wine. Between skating sessions, you can sit out at one of the cafes and people-watch.
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Venice in January for anyone traveling with kids.
Catch a Show at the Teatro La Fenice
A grand, ornate, and historic building, Teatro La Fenice has been Venice’s main theater for almost 300 years!
For an indoor activity during your visit to Venice in winter look no further than the Phoenix Theater.
It is aptly named after the Phoenix given its sad history of being damaged by fire on three different occasions and rising rebuilt again from the ashes. The most recent fire was in 1996!
Shelter from snow and wind by catching an opera, ballet, or concert here during your Venice winter trip.
You can also simply tour the theater and admire the architecture.
Tour the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs
A 1,000-year-old mansion, Doge’s Palace is unsurprisingly one of the city’s top landmarks. Located next to Saint Mark’s Square, you can conveniently see it during your visit to Venice in winter.
Although once the seat of the main authority for the Republic of Venice, the Doge, in 1923 it was repurposed as a museum showing a peek into the lives of Venice’s past political leaders.
Another popular location connected to the Palace is the Bridge of Sighs. In the past, once a criminal had been convicted at Doge’s Palace they were walked across the bridge and into the prison.
Walking over the bridge was their last glimpse of the outside world while they served their time.
Today some gondola rides will tour underneath the bridge giving you a unique look at this famous bridge.
This area of Venice is one of the top places to visit in Venice in December when the Christmas decor is up.
Book Here: Venice: Doge’s Palace Reserved Entry Ticket
Average Venice Winter Weather
The average weather in Venice in winter is a bit rainy and chilly. It does snow in Venice in winter but you won’t find it frequently, and it won’t snow until the end of January or February.
December weather in Venice (and in Italy in general) is more on the windy and damp side, so there is less chance of snow because it is too warm and wet for the snow to form. Even if it does snow in Venice, it is usually just a dusting or 1-2 inches.
Since Venice observes Daylight Savings Time, the sun sets quite early during the winter in Venice. Understand the sun will set by 6 pm at the latest.
If winter is the only time you have to visit Venice, just remember the average Venice winter weather isn’t all that bad. It is quite doable with the proper packing and planning!
The temperature of Venice in the winter is relatively reasonable, especially for a northern city in Italy. Venice does get cold in winter, but it is usually above freezing.
The average temperature of Venice in December is 39°F, the average temperature of Venice in January is 38°F, and the average temperature of Venice in February is 41°F.
Check out my guide to the best time to visit Italy!
Average Venice Winter Temperatures:
November: 54°F high and 41°F low
December: 46°F high and 33°F low
January: 45°F high and 32°F low
February: 48°F high and 34°F low
March: 55°F high and 40°F low
A Note About Acqua Alta in Venice
Each year between October and January, parts of Venice flood. This is called acqua alta, meaning “high water.” It is more likely in November and December. Really bad flooding occurs every four years.
If you are visiting Venice in the winter, you should be prepared for these rising tides. Water-proof shoes are essential. If you can, you might want to bring rain boots.
However, the acqua alta is not an experience that will ruin your trip, especially if you know about it going in. Only a small percentage of the city is affected.
On days with acqua alta, the flooding only lasts a couple of hours. The water can reach 80 to 110 cm (2.6 to 3.6 feet). If the water is predicted to reach 110 cm, sirens will sound throughout the city.
Saint Mark’s Square, the lowest spot in the city, is usually the most flooded. However, even with inches of water, most cafes and restaurants remain open.
You can easily wait out the acqua alta in your hotel or apartment. If you want to go out to enjoy winter activities in Venice, you can follow the path of raised platforms.
How To Get Around Venice In The Winter
Venice is small and a very walkable city.
Walking around Venice in winter is quite enjoyable because the city will be decked out for the holidays and then may be blanketed in snow during the early months of the year.
You can also take the Vaporetti, or water busses. Vaporetti are a fast, affordable, and easy way to get around, even in winter!
Vaporetti will run rain, shine, snow, and sleet, so it is pretty reliable! You can purchase single tickets or a multiday pass.
Finally, depending on the weather, you can also choose to rent a bike and bike around Venice. Biking is very popular, and there are many local bike stands you can rent from.
Book Here: Venice: Waterbus and Mainland Bus Pass
What To Pack For Venice In Winter
If you are heading to Venice in the winter, there are a few packing tips I suggest! Winter is a magical time to visit, but you need to stay warm and dry.
Dressing in layers is key! If you get too warm or too cold, simply add or take away a layer until you feel better.
Each time we visited Venice in winter, we packed our entire wardrobe in carry-on luggage! If you want to pack in a carry-on, it is totally doable!
If you want to bring a checked bag, that is even better as you will have more space!
- Fleece-lined Leggings. These are perfect for your winter packing list for Venice because they don’t take up much space and keep you warm under slacks, jeans, or dresses!
- Warm Winter Dresses. Thick dresses will keep you comfy and stylish on the streets of Venice!
- Thin Long Sleeve Thermal Tops. These are perfect for layers and pack up super small.
- Comfy Knit Hat. These keep you warm and protect your ears from the wind.
- Waterproof Boots/Shoes. Waterproof footwear is essential for rainy days during a Venice winter. Rain boots will be helpful during the annual flooding.
- A Winter Jacket. Do not think that you can visit Venice in the winter and NOT bring a winter jacket. Bonus points if that winter jacket is waterproof!
- Warm Gloves. These are essential to keep your hands warm. Try touch-screen gloves for snapping photos with your phone.
- A Balaclava. An alternative to a scarf that won’t blow in the wind while keeping your neck warm.
- Dark Denim Jeans. These are easy to style and can be worn over fleece-lined leggings
- Pull-Over Sweaters. Again, easy to style and layer.
Winter and Christmas in Venice is an amazing time to visit. With fewer tourists, you can experience the traditions of different cultures, avoid crowds, feel less guilty for being inside all day while visiting a museum, and so much more.
Venice in winter has so much to offer and relatively mild winter weather too! Don’t miss out on unique experiences because of the weather, all you need is a little preparation and you’ll have an amazing time.
Next, read my tips for planning a trip to Italy!