Venice in winter really is absolutely magical. To those that say Venice is crowded, smelly and unpleasant, I ask, “Well, when did you visit?” Because, I went in winter and it was wonderful. The canals were almost empty at times and I felt like I had Venice to myself. The only thing I smelt was pasta cooking.
I had heard so many negative things about Venice, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I could see how the narrow pathways could get crowded in busy months, but not in winter. There were still enough people though that it didn’t feel like a ghost town.
Also Read: A Weekend Travel Guide: Venice, Italy
We visited in the middle of January and several restaurants and bars that I wanted to try were closed. The few weeks between New Years Eve and Carnival are when some local businesses take their vacation. So if you want to make sure you don’t run into any closed restaurants, avoid the middle of January.
In January, the Christmas lights were still hanging in Piazza San Marco and throughout the city. The lights made Venice in winter even more magical.
There was plenty of strolling room in San Marco’s square. The cafe inside Museum Correr is the perfect spot to warm up with a coffee and take in the views of the famous square below.
And you might even see a Venetian in their finest winter coat.
We didn’t have to wait in any lines to get our museum passes or to visit any museums. I didn’t see any gondola lines either. Actually, the only line I waited in the entire weekend was for gelato. The weather was quite mild and we still enjoyed a gelato every day.
This couple even thought it was warm enough to eat outside.
Another perk about Venice in winter is that the sunrise is much later. You can catch stunning sunrises like this one at around 7:30 or 8 am.
Then at the end of the day, enjoy the sunset from the top of the DFS department store rooftop terrace. No waiting. No reservations. You should most definitely make a reservation though if you’re visiting in the peak season because this is THE spot to be for views of Venice.
Have you ever been to Venice? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.