Venice: a centuries old city and perhaps one of the world’s most romantic destinations. Some 50 million people pass through the city which threatens to be swallowed by the Adriatic Sea each year, drawn by the picturesque landscape and the thousands of years of history and art you can see in a small area. “The majority of tourists travel to Venice during the summer months, between June and August,” said Dean Van Es, the CEO of Fast Cover travel insurance who’s visited Venice outside of peak season. “If you don’t want to risk a holiday filled with queuing and trying to see around people, the simplest thing to do is travel in winter.”
Winter in Venice can be freezing with temperatures dropping to as low as 3 degrees Celsius in January. But if you time in right there are huge benefits to travelling to Venice during the off-season. Here are just a few of the things you can look forward to.
Venice, like a lot of Europe, isn’t a cheap travel destination, so if you’re on a budget winter is the best time to travel! Accommodation options significantly drop their prices during the off-season. Instead of a hostel, you might find yourself able to splurge on one of the beautifully decorated and luxurious bed and breakfasts, which also have the benefit of an Italian breakfast spread each morning. You’re also more likely to find the perfect spot to stay with fewer people looking for rooms. There’s plenty of accommodation options just a few minutes’ walk from Saint Mark’s Square.
There’s nothing quite like walking through the Grand Council Hall of the Doge’s Palace, trying to absorb the huge life-like paintings on the walls and roof, with only a few other people in the room. There’s fewer (if any) queues in Venice in winter, meaning you can relax and wander around St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, Torre dellÓrologio, the Rialto Bridge and Santa Maria della Salute at your own pace. You’ll also be able to wander into a restaurant and find a place to eat without making a booking.
More picturesque views
You go everywhere by foot in Venice. The whole city is formed by laneways and narrow bridges. In winter the laneways are uncrowded, which leads to beautiful views around every corner. The water in the canals is calmer and you won’t be competing for a view of the boats and gondolas on the river or Venice’s historic buildings.
The Carnevale festival
From late January to early February Venice holds the Carnevale di Venezia, or Carnival of Venice. You’ll spot people wearing masks and decadent outfits along the river. There’s a parade of strangely-decorated gondolas and live music in the main squares. Of course there are dozens of small carts where you can buy a mask yourself and join in the festivities.
When it’s cold, the food and drinks only seem better
Italian food never tastes as good as when it comes right after you’ve been walking in the cold weather outside. Venice has a lot of food on offer. There’s pastas and pizzas of every kind and pastries and cakes to help you refuel during a day of exploring. During winter, you might also come across an outdoor bar on wheels where you can get a cup of hot mulled wine. There’s also thick, Venetian hot chocolate to warm you up.
There’s a little more romance
If you plan to travel to Venice with your partner, you’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company a little more in winter. It’ll be easier to talk and discuss everything you’re seeing with fewer people around you. The canals are also quieter, which makes a gondola ride feel more special.
Venice’s reputation as one of the world’s most romantic and beautiful cities still holds today. If you are thinking of travelling there, you might find it far more enjoyable to visit Venice during winter. Sure it may be a bit cold, but with some warm gloves and layering your clothing, you’ll be able to enjoy everything Venice has to offer without rubbing shoulders with hundreds of other travellers.