Venice is known as one of the most crowded tourist destinations in Europe. Venice is often the first city that comes to mind when we talk about overtourism. This is for good reason, it is estimated that about 20 million tourist per year visit Venice each year. With a population of only 55,000 on the island, it isn’t hard to imagine that tourism is taking its toll. Venice on a busy day isn’t that great. If you don’t plan ahead, you might not have a great experience.
When you plan a trip to Venice there are two important factors to take into consideration: weather and crowds. In this blog we take both factors into consideration and give you a month to month overview of the best time to travel. In general, weather is good in summer but crowds will be massive. Outside peak season it might be less crowded but the weather is a bit more unpredictable. If you are able to travel outside school vacations, spring or autumn is probably the best time for you to travel.
One good thing to know about Venice is that it is more crowded during weekends than during the week. This is because the city of Venice has a massive problem with scheduling cruise ship arrivals. The majority of all cruise ships will arrive on either Saturday or Sunday.
On top of the many cruise ship passengers, day trippers will make Venice more crowded during the weekend. Italians and people living in neighbouring countries have the ability to come to Venice for a weekend trip. That means that when the weather is good, people can make a last minute decision and decide to jump in their cars and make a short trip to Venice. People with jobs will not be very able to take off from their jobs last minute. This good weatehr day tripper effect therefore is mostly limited to the weekends.
January 1 is a public holiday in most European countries. Many countries, including Italy, will still have school vacations during the first week of January. Therefore, the first week of January might be busier than regular winter months. After the Christmas break, basically any week but the first week of January, it is truly low season. Although Venice attracts tourists 365 days per year, it will be much less crowded than any other period during the year.
January weather is however very unpredictable. While it is the driest month of the year, it is also the coldest. With average temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius (32 °F) to 7 degrees Celsius (45 °F), you will have to bring warm clothes. Wind chill is also a factor during the winter. Skies will also be grey most of the time and temperatures could drop well below freezing point.
February is a good time to visit Venice if you don’t like crowds. Especially the first part of the month is true low season. There will be (almost) no cruise ships visiting the lagoon. Similar to January, the weather in Venice can be unpredictable and cold. Average temperatures swing from 1 degrees Celsius (34 °F) to 9 degrees Celsius (48 °F). The infamous wind chill can make the city feel colder than usual. Although Venice doesn’t really know (very) wet months, February is one of the driest months. The skies will be grey and there could be cold waves where temperatures fall well below freezing point.
February in Venice can actually be busy as well. During the second part of the month, many European countries will have winter school vacations meaning that Europeans will start to travel again. This effect will continue in March. On top of that one massive popular event will make Venice feel extremely crowded in some areas: Venetian Carnival. 2020 Venetian carnival takes place from February 8 to February 25 with most crowds visiting the city during the later part of the month. We went to see how crowded Venice gets during carnival last year’s edition and found out you can happily survive the crowds if you know where to go.
March might be a good month to visit Venice if you don’t like crowds. The weather remains unpredictable but the city will slowly start to warm up. Meanwhile, the massive Carnival crowds have left the city. Although more cruise ships will start to set sail to Venice, it is far from peak season. One thing to consider are European school holidays that might make Venice busy during some weeks. The weather will be considerably better at the end of the month than at the beginning. The average temperature in Venice will be 4 to 13 degrees Celsius (39 °F – 55 °F) with very limited rain.
During April things start to heat up in Venice. Temperatures are on the rise, larger cruise ships start to arrive in Venice and also the bigger crowds find their way to the lagoon. Add in the Easter holidays around the weekend of April 12 and overtourism will hit Venice badly for the first time in 2020.
Although there are some very crowded days in April, it doesn’t mean it is a bad month to visit the city. There are many days when the city will not be crowded. It is however smart, to carefully plan your visit. Not only should you watch out for busy days, when there are local events or big cruise ships arriving, you should also think about what you will do during your visit. We have eleven tips to avoid crowds while on vacation in Europe.
The weather in April can already be good. Although the average temperature is not yet so high (8 to 16 degrees Celsius (46 °F – 61 °F)), some days will be warmer than others. Especially at the end of the month it will be warmer. There will be slightly more rainy days in April and the weather remains unpredictable.
May is a good month to visit Venice in 2020. The weather is still improving week by week and the massive cruise crowds have not yet found their way to the city. However, there will be big fluctuations in tourism throughout the month. Although the majority of days will be good, some days will be better to avoid. The weather will be pleasant. Not as warm as the hot summer but also not so rainy as March or April. However, there can still be some colder days at the beginning of the month. The average temperature will be between 13 and 22 degrees Celsius (55 °F – 72 °F).
Although May is the second busiest month in terms of cruise ship traffic, arrivals are mostly limited to the weekends. If you want to visit Venice on a weekend it is best to check the cruise ship schedule. If there are several large ships bringing cruise passengers to the lagoon it can get very crowded. On those days it is good to know that cruise passengers need to get back their ships late afternoon. From 3pm onwards things will quiet down again. Other things to consider: school vacations. Many European countries will have school vacations in May. This will also affect how busy Venice will become.
June is probably the best month to visit Venice during the summer. Although it can already get busy, the weather will be perfect. Avoid weekends if you can due to the before mentioned cruise ship scheduling problem. It is also good to know that at the end of the month more and more Europeans will be able to travel. That means that although June is a good month to travel, it will get busier and busier as days pass by.
Average temperatures in June are between 16 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius (61 °F – 77 °F). It will be summer warm on most days but rain is possible as thunderstorms can break out late afternoon. On some days it can be colder as wind from northern and central Europe can bring chilly weather. Overall, temperatures in June will be good and there (usually) is no need for a jacket.
We believe July and August are two months to avoid. Although the weather will be at its best with warm temperatures and almost no rain, it will be very crowded. Through the city’s own crowds tool, Venetian local authorities advise tourists to come during other months. Average temperatures in July lay between 18 degrees 28 degrees Celsius (64 °F – 82 °F).
If you can only visit Venice in July, plan ahead! Buy tickets to main attractions and plan your day. Get up early and try to avoid weekends. It might also be worth it to skip some of the main attractions and explore some of the lesser known parts of the lagoon.
Where we believe you should avoid the lagoon in July, we are even more serious about August. August is set to be the most crowded month of the year. Maybe the most crowded month ever as more and more people are traveling these days. Why will it be so busy? Because Europeans and tourists from all around the world will be able to travel this month due to school vacations. In addition, cruise ship arrivals will also peak in August. Large cruise ships will be docking in the city each and every weekend. Average temperatures in August lay between 18 degrees 28 degrees Celsius (64 °F – 82 °F). Such great weather will attract last minute day trippers.
If you cannot resist going to Venice during the worst month of the year, we have some tips. Don’t go at the beginning of the month. The beginning of the month is worse than the end. By the end of August at least some European countries are back to school. Also, avoid weekends at all costs. We already spoke about the notorious Venetian cruise scheduling problem. That problem gets even worse during peak season. If you still decide to go to Venice in August we wish you good luck and advise you to carefuly plan ahead.
In September, we will slowly leave the craziness of a busy summer behind us. Although it can still be busy in September, the crazy big crowds will be gone. With most Europeans back at their jobs or in school, it will get less crowded week by week. Good to know is that during the first week of September, the Venice Film Festival will make some areas feel extremely crowded.
With an average temperature of between 14 and 24 degrees Celsius (57 °F – 75 °F), the weather Venice in September is still good. It will be getting slightly colder as the month progresses. Our favourite time of the year to visit Venice, is actually late September. Although there is a chance of chilly weather, the crazy big crowds will have left the Lagoon. Due to the cruise scheduling problem weekends are still best to avoid.
In terms of arriving cruise ship passengers, October will be the third busiest month of the year in Venice. In total 186,773 cruise passengers are scheduled to arrive in Venice in October 2020. Important to understand is that most of these ships will arrive during weekends. That means that during the week, almost no cruise ship passengers will arrive.
In fact, if you are lucky with the weather, which is usually the case at beginning of the month, October will be a very good month to visit Venice. With average temperatures of between 10 to 18 degrees Celsius (50 °F – 64 °F), it is good to know that the weather will take a turn for the worse later in the month.
All over Europe, November is one of the slowest months in terms of tourism. There are basically no school vacations, public holidays or events. By now, many cruise ships have relocated from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. As a result, the city’s streets will be (relatively) quiet. The weather however, is unpredictable. It can be cold, grey and wet. If you are lucky you can catch a sunny day and your experience will be perfect. The average temperature in November is 4 to 12 degrees Celsius (39 °F – 54 °F).
December is one of the coldest months in Italy. There will be frost at night and the wind chill will make it feel colder. There can be cold waves with temperatures dropping well below freezing point. Despite the cold, it can be a bit busier than in November. This is due to the ability to travel. Many Europeans will have vacation later in the month to celebrate Christmas. Although most people don’t use this time to travel, some do. Nothing will be as crazy as during the summer but you can expect some crowds in Venice. The temperature? It’s similar to other winter months with an average temperature of 0 to 7 degrees Celsius (32 °F – 45 °F).