If you're planning a trip to Venice, some times of year are definitely better than others. Weather, festivals, and, of course, the acqua alta (high water) that Venice is so famous for, should all be considered when deciding when to go to Venice.
Venice Weather and High Water
Late spring and early summer are the best times to visit Venice as far as weather is concerned. But the city during these beautiful warm days is packed with tourists, meaning that there can be long waits to enter museums and sights. Also during this peak time, finding accommodations – budget or otherwise – can be a challenge.
Venice is similarly packed with tourists in late summer, even though the city can be oppressively hot, the canals ripe with odor, and the inevitable mosquitoes bothersome.
The fall is a lovely time to visit Venice, but it is also when the acqua alta (flooding, or literally "high water") is more likely to occur. October through January is the typical high water season, though flooding can occur at any time during the year. While high water can definitely hamper your sightseeing, know that it has been a way of life for Venetians for hundreds of years and is a unique experience to have as a tourist.
Venice's location, in northern Italy on the Adriatic Sea, means that the city has colder, longer winters. While winter can be a great time of year to visit, especially in terms of getting a bargain and avoiding crowds, it can be harsh. The winds that whip off the Adriatic and down the alleyways are bone-chilling. Luckily, winter ends on a lively note with Carnevale, Venice's biggest festival (see below).
Venice has several big events that are worth booking a trip around. Carnevale, or Carnival, takes place in February or early March (see carnevale dates) and tons of tourists descend on Venice for two weeks of masked and costumed revelry. Easter is also a festive time and is the start to the high season in Venice.
Every other year, in odd-numbered years, Venice hosts the Biennale for Art. This international arts showcase is a world-renowned event and takes place from June to November. The Biennale is a very popular event, so be prepared to find Venice more booked up than usual when it is on.
Yet another summer festival to see in Venice is the Festa del Redentore, which occurs the third weekend in July. This religious festival takes place at the Church of the Redentore, which lies on the island of Giudecca across from Saint Mark's Square. The festival is celebrated with the building of a pontoon bridge over the water, feasting, fireworks, and a gondola regatta.
To help you decide when to visit Venice, check Venice Month-by-month for more Venice events and festivals.
Editor's tip: Venice is really crowded on the May 1 holiday, the worst I've ever seen it. I recommend avoiding a visit to Venice on May 1 if possible.