Christmas is the most awaited time of year and is magical in the city of water!
Spending Christmas in Venice is a unique experience and during this season, it’s lovely to immerse in the Christmas festive atmosphere and make the most of it.
Even though some museums, art galleries and attractions might change their opening times, or even be closed (normally just the 25th and 26th of December), you can certainly find a way to stay long enough to go sightseeing as well as explore Christmas markets and even go ice skating in a proper Venetian ‘campo’.
Christmas in Venice 2023
If you’re looking for an exclusive way to spend your Christmas whether that be with friends, or family, then Venice could be your next destination!
This guide looks at things to do in Venice at Christmas as well as places to see and ideas on where to stay so you can be as close as possible to all the action.
First, though, let’s look at some ideas on why you would want to spend your Christmas in Venice and some of the traditional things people like to travel here for during this time of year.
Why Spend Christmas in Venice?
If you’re still asking yourself why should I spend Christmas in Venice, below is a list of good reasons why this city may just be exactly what you were looking for.
These are just a few reasons why you should be in Venice around Christmas, so let’s find out more about what you can do and see during this time here.
Things to do in Venice at Christmas
Now let’s learn more about spending Christmas in Venice so you can make up your mind about which activities you want to do.
Shopping at the Christmas Markets
One of the best things to do for Christmas in Venice is visit the Christmas markets that you can find in different parts of the city. Not only the atmosphere is lightened up by thousands of lights and decorations, but you can actually take the opportunity to buy souvenirs and typical products.
Some markets also have some attractions to keep your children entertained whilst taking a look at the products on the stalls. The Campo Santo Stefano markets are the best in the city centre, although Campo San Bortolo, Campo dei Santi Apostoli and the markets of Mestre are also worth a visit. The markets inside the Ca’ Zenobio palace are known for their high-end craftsmanship handicrafts.
Some of the traditional items you can purchase are the lovely and soft panettone (typical Christmas dessert), wines, Murano glass decorations and Burano lace artisanal products. The Christmas markets are open from the end of November till the end of the first week of January, so there’s plenty of time to explore them.
Walk under the Christmas lights
There’s no better way to enjoy this festive time of the year, than walking around the city, under the Christmas lights. They have a spectacular effect because they are reflected in the canals and lagoon waters.
Just take your time to stroll through the public squares and streets and observe the historic buildings lit up by the Christmas lights.
One of the best places to admire this lighting show is certainly St. Mark’s Square, but don’t miss the chance to cross Rialto Bridge and walk along the Grand Canal.
An alternative option while in Venice for Christmas is to ride a gondola and observe the city lights and decorations from a different point of view.
Attend a Christmas concert
One of the most traditional things to do for Christmas in Venice is go to the Christmas concerts. I recommend you buy your tickets well in advance. Some of these concerts are held in some the city’s most beautiful churches and palaces.
You can join a traditional Christmas music concert or a modern music one. There’s no doubt that the most important concerts are ones you can attend at the La Fenice Theatre, one of the most important opera theatres in the world of opera.
There are many shows over the Christmas period, but the best one to go to is the New Year’s Eve concert. There are three possible dates to choose from 29th, 30th and 31st of December.
Go ice-skating in Campo San Polo
From early December in Venice, Campo San Polo, which is the second-largest square of the city, a large skating rink is set up to entertain people of all ages.
The closing time is around 7 pm every day, so make sure to visit this ‘campo’ of Venice before this time for a fun hour or so on the ice!
Spending time there can be a great way to enjoy a Venetian morning or afternoon and do something you would only do during winter or Christmastime.
Take some time to walk around this part of the city, admire the beauty of its buildings and visit the food and drink stalls for a quick snack. From the stalls, you can choose among excellent dessert options to go with a nice glass of mulled wine.
Watch Santa Claus arriving in a gondola
A more recent event happening around Christmas in Venice is the Santa Claus race. The non-competitive run/walk’s scope is to support scientific research and takes place in mid-December annually, not only in Venice but in other Italian cities.
In 2022 will start in Venice from Rialto and the starting point might change every year. It will take place at the same time throughout Italy! Everybody can take part in it, both adults and children and get dressed up as Santa Claus for the occasion.
Even if you don’t decide to take part in the race, at least be around the streets and canals where it’s taking place to enjoy the joyful atmosphere and feel the Christmas spirit even more.
Visit Murano for its ‘Glass Christmas’ event
If you’re spending 3 days in Venice or more, I suggest visiting other islands in the Venetian lagoon. A not to miss during Christmas time is definitely Murano.
In Murano, there are multiple events going on in December connected to the glass-blowing art for which the island is famous for.
The most important one is the Glass Christmas (Natale di Vetro) festival and the whole island is full of events, exhibitions, sculptures and workshops on glass craftsmanship.
Its squares are adorned with stunning glass sculptures and some laboratories offer small workshops to learn everything about the traditional glass-blowing technique.
Where to stay in Venice at Christmas?
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to visit Venice and for this reason, make sure to book your stay well in advance to find a good deal.
Here is a selection of some of my favourite hotels in the city:
Christmas in Venice FAQ Guide
Here are some questions people ask when it comes visiting Venice at Christmas.
Christmas in Venice
Venice at Christmas is and will always be a very attractive destination to visit.
Travelling to Venice around this time of the year means, in some cases, finding cheaper flights and hotel prices than in the summer.
Additionally, the atmosphere you will find at Christmas is much less touristy as it’s mostly the Venetians populating the streets and squares of the city to attend the different events.
Why not check out my page featuring the best Venetian tourist attractions if you’re wondering what other places to visit while you’re here in Venice?
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