At Avoid Crowds we predict how many tourists visit popular tourist destinations like Venice each day. Previously, we combined our crowd prediction data with weather forecasts. In this blog you can find our month to month guide for the best time to travel: Best time to visit Venice in 2020. With fluctuating travel patterns, there are some good months and some bad months to visit Venice. For us one month stood out as particularly interesting: October. In October you can expect fewer crowds and sunny weather.
Fewer crowds in Venice in October
Peak season in Venice is relatively long compared to other destinations in Italy. Although you can argue that Venice has become a year-round destination, we believe the true peak season starts at the beginning of June and ends late September. The worst time to travel to Venice is August when overtourism peaks in the city of water. July is the second worst month to visit Venice. Originally, peak season was limited to July and August only. With changing weather patterns and increasing number of tourists, we see that peak season is changing. In the last few years, peak season has been lasting longer than before. It starts earlier and ends later. As a result, June and September are now almost as busy as mid-summer.
With peak season now lasting from June to September, the attractive shoulder season, with fewer crowds and good weather, is shifting as well. Nowadays, the shoulder season starts as early as end March and then flows into peak season early June. Peak season now extends into September while the after-summer shoulder season does not start until half September. This second shoulder season of the year starts half September and lasts until the last weekend of October.
If you can choose between the spring shoulder season or autumn shoulder season, we would recommend the second. Crowds in October are lower than in Spring because there are fewer public holidays on the European continent. That means that there is less opportunity to travel for most Europeans. Keep an eye on some busier weekends as Germany celebrates a public holiday at the beginning of the month. You can find our daily crowd predictions for Venice here.
Global warming is changing October weather in Venice
While the weather is very unpredictable in spring, it has been very stable in October over the last few years. Global warming is changing weather patterns across the globe. For European travel this means that the continent is benefiting from ‘late summers’ with warm summer weather now extending into early autumn while wet windy weather stays away.
In Venice, summer weather usually extends well into October. The average maximum temperature, measured over the last 30 years, has been 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit) with only 5 rain days. Due to global warming and rapidly changing climates, these 30 years averages are not fit for purpose anymore. We have to look at more recent years. In 2019, temperatures were well above this historic average with 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) measured as late as October 26. You can find these 2019 temperatures here. In 2018 these 20+ Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) temperatures even extended into November.
Although these historic weather patterns hold no guarantee for the future, it is now common knowledge that the month of October is warmer than ever before. Please be aware that in November 2019, Venice was hit by the worst floods in 50 years resulting in severe damages. Although this is unlikely to happen in October, this is of course a risk you need to be aware of.
Cruise ships can ruin a good October day in Venice
Cruise ships can make Venice extremely crowded. With as many as 16,272 cruise ship passengers arriving on October 4 2020, your experience can be completely ruined. These cruise ships offload their passengers in and around the cruise terminal. Afterwards, most of these passengers will do daytrips and excursions in the city. On these busy days, it is advisable to plan your day in advance. Buy skip-the-line tickets and avoid the most crowded areas.
Cruise ship arrivals in Venice are mostly limited to weekends. While it is uncommon for more than one ship to dock in Venice on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays often see the arrival of 6 ships or more. We wrote an extensive blog about this crazy scheduling problem in 2019. You can find the 2020 cruise ship schedule for Venice here.