Welcome to this guide that looks at the best things to do in Venice in January, the weather in Venice and important items to pack to visit Venice in winter.
Are you planning to spend some days in Venice in January? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that, by in large, January is the ideal month to travel to Venice if you wish to find more accommodation availability and some superb hotel deals on offer.
Even if temperatures are low, I think we can agree that it’s better to walk around the foggy streets of Venice than being sat in front of a computer in the office, right?
Venice in January
In Venice it’s more or less high season all year round, so tourists arrive in the city even in January but the influx is a lot lower than from spring to autumn.
As you can probably imagine, the Christmas and New Year festive atmosphere is still in the air, but there are more exciting events on the line during this month.
Let’s find out what you can expect from your visit to Venice in January.
Why Visit Venice in January?
January is a good month to visit Venice. Even though it’s more pleasant to walk around the city with higher temperatures, less chance of high tide and on a sunny day, travelling to Venice in January is ideal to save money and avoid tourist crowds.
See 3 more reasons why I believe it’s worth travelling to Venice in January:
Have I convinced you to visit Venice in January? If not yet, keep reading this guide to learn about some of the best things to do in Venice around this time of the year.
The Weather in Venice in January
Before getting into the nice bit, you might want to know what to expect from the weather in Venice in January. It’s no secret that January in Venice is cold and humid and temperatures range from 0 to 7 °C.
During this month don’t be surprised if you wake up in the morning with a thick fog. It usually clears out around midday and then at night time comes back.
You can also expect to encounter rainy days but snow is quite rare. Get ready for the ‘acqua alta’, (the name for high tide in Venice), by carrying some high boots.
To face the cold weather, make sure you pack the following:
For women, I also recommend carrying thermal tights or leggings. For more suggestions on what to wear in Venice in January see my dedicated guide for tips.
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Things to do in Venice in January
Now you know that winter is the least busy time to visit Venice, see this list of the best things to do and most important events happening in January in Venice.
Attend a concert at La Fenice theatre or inside a Venetian palace
The concert season in Venice continues even after Christmas and New Year. Like every single year, the 1st of January at La Fenice theatre takes place the most important concert of the year: the New Year’s concert.
Tickets get sold very fast and are usually available one year in advance. The concert is divided in two parts: orchestral and opera. If you don’t get the chance to attend La Fenice’s opera concerts, you can always get the ticket to the New Year’s concert of the Musici Veneziani.
The Orchestra of I Musici Veneziani was founded by the most talented Venetian musicians and singers that re-purpose the music of the period of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
The orchestra performs inside the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro and there are even a few extra concerts during January: the Baroque music concert and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. You can get your ticket from the Musici Veneziani official website.
Watch the Epiphany Regatta on the Grand Canal
The Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January and it’s a very heartfelt festivity in Italy. Children love it as the tradition wants them to be rewarded for being good the past year with a lot of sweets and chocolate.
In Italian we say that Epiphany ‘tutte le feste si porta via’ which means that the Epiphany takes all festivities away (with reference to Christmas and New Year). This event marks the end of the festive period and people go back to work and children return to school after the two weeks of Christmas holidays.
There’s a lot going on in Venice on Epiphany Day so make sure to join the celebrations! In St. Mark’s Square there’s the procession of the Three Kings to the Clock Tower and the Epiphany Regatta on the Grand Canal.
Many boats take part in this annual regatta race during which men dressed as witches cross the Grand Canal from San Tomà. The arrival point is the giant sock hanging from the Rialto bridge.
Celebrate the Italian Flag Day (Festa del Tricolore)
Festa del Tricolore or Italian Flag Day is on the 7th of January. It’s called Tricolore which means tricolour for the 3 bands of the Italian flag: red, white and green.
On this day Italians honour the Italian flag that by law, is hung on all institutional and government buildings. In some Italian cities the Italian flag is celebrated with solemn ceremonies like in Reggio Emilia and in Rome with the changing of the honour guards in front of the Quirinale Palace.
It’s common to see parades in the streets or the flag-raising ceremony in the historic centre. While you’re in Venice, there’s no better occasion to go on a gondola ride or get a vaporetto (that’s cheaper!) and navigate the Grand Canal.
In fact, most institutional buildings overlook the main city’s waterway and you can enjoy the view of the flags hung outside their windows and doors.
Head to Piazza Ferretto in Mestre for the Christmas markets
In the first week of January, you can still find some Christmas markets. Where? In Piazza Ferretto, in Mestre.
If you’re still in the festive mood, visit Mestre from Venice by train, tram or bus. The most central square is the set of some of the best Christmas markets of the region.
You can simply go for a stroll around the stalls, enjoy some street food and warm yourself up with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Enjoy the last days of Christmas lights and decorations.
You can also find a skating rink which families visiting Venice with children will absolutely adore. If you don’t have the chance to go to Mestre, you can also find a skating rink in Campo San Polo in Venice for the whole month of January! In Mestre, there’s a long calendar of shows and entertainment for the little ones too.
Visit the main attractions and museums with no queues
Winter is the ideal time to visit Venice at a slower pace. You can take advantage of the reduced influx of visitors that land in Venice in January to explore the best museums and art exhibitions held in beautiful Venetian palaces.
Believe me, it’s priceless to have some of the most touristic attractions of the city all for yourself! If you’re a first time visitor, then I recommend going on a guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace and visit at least one of these museums:
Have fun at the most-awaited city’s event: the Venice Carnival
Venice Carnival dates change every year, and celebrations can begin at the end of January. Venice Carnival is one of the most famous Carnivals in the world, together with the Rio Carnival in Brasil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, USA. Its origins are very old with the first testimonies dating back to the year 1094.
Today thousands of visitors visit the city on this special occasion to walk around the streets of life flooded with classic and quirky Venetian masks.
Many people take Carnival very seriously by honouring past traditions like eating the ‘fritole’ (and I do that too!), the Carnival sweet treat and go to Carnival parties inside palaces, like Venetians used to do back in the Serenissima Republic days.
There are many events going on during the 2 weeks Carnival celebrations, like theatre performances, parades and parties.
Celebrate Tu B’Shvat in the Jewish Quarter
Tu B’Shvat is a Jewish festivity, also called ‘The New Year of the Trees’ and celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat which might fall on the end of January.
In Venice there’s the oldest Jewish ghetto in the world, which it’s located in the Cannaregio district, and it might be a good idea to visit on this occasion. You can go for a relaxing walk, visit the Jewish Museum and the 5 synagogues scattered around the ghetto and learn more about Jewish history.
It’s also good to remind you that the 27th of January is Holocaust Remembrance Day which is another more than valid excuse to pay a visit to the ghetto where Venetian Jewish people were taken during World War II and transported to Fossoli camp, the antechamber of Auschwitz.
I have noted this area as one of the best areas to stay in Venice for first time visitors so go immerse yourself even more in the Jewish culture and traditions, you can get some freshly baked pastries from the Panificio Giovanni Volpe and eat kosher food at the Gam Gam Restaurant.
Venice in January
So, is Venice in January cold and sometimes foggy? Yes, it is, but remember is a good time to visit the city while avoiding the huge tourist crowds.
Of course, you have to be prepared to find grey and foggy days, and for the possibility of rain or to find the infamous ‘acqua alta’.
But with the right warm clothing and travel accessories to protect you from bad weather, there’s nothing that will stop you from uncovering Venice’s beauty and attending city’s events like the much-awaited Venetian Carnival.
Still not convinced? See this detailed guide on the best time to visit Venice for more ideas on what’s going on when looking at other months of the calendar year.
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