Summer is peak season in Venice. Tourists cram into every nook, and hotels raise their rates—even though the heat can be stifling, the bugs a nuisance, and the canal, well, it can be pungent. The summer season is filled with plenty of festivals, including Venice’s International Film Festival in August.
The other busiest time in Venice takes place in February during Carnevale. The city fills with revelers who don ornate masks and costumes and parade around the city, enjoying outdoor music and other events to celebrate the ten days leading up to Lent. Easter can also bring in swarms of visitors willing to pay any price to experience Easter Mass in Saint Mark’s Basilica.
The spring and fall shoulder seasons are typically the best time to visit Venice, when the weather fluctuates pleasantly between warm and chilly, the summer tourists are gone, and the city is reasonably affordable. It’s a good time to see sights like Doge’s Palace, Galleria del’Accademia, and even the Rialto Bridge without having to jostle with other tourists for a viewing spot.
Though winter is the low season in Venice, it’s perhaps the most underrated and magical time, if you’re not wary of warm layers. Walk the quiet streets and discover the moonlit romance of this atmospheric island-city sans the crowds. A cold wind off the Dolomites may blow in over the icy Venetian lagoon, but the chill is nothing that a cup of hot chocolate in a cozy café can’t cure.