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3 Days in Venice in November: Canal View

3 Days in Venice in November: Was It Worth It?

Italy

I’ll be quite honest: Venice was never high on our list of destinations and visiting Venice in November even less so.

Before visiting ourselves, hearing people speak about Venice often felt like hearing about two different cities, depending on their opinion of the place.

To some people, Venice was romantic, magical, and a special city like nowhere else in the world. To others, it was an overpriced, overcrowded, and smelly city that wasn’t worth the effort to get there.

As you can imagine, the second description left us a bit skeptical.

Still, while Venice remained low on our list of travel priorities, something always called us back: we wanted to see this controversial city for ourselves. So when a good opportunity came up to visit Venice in November after finishing up our month in Florence, we jumped on it.

And, let me just say: I’m so glad that we did.

3 Days in Venice in November: Couple

What We Did During 3 Days in Venice in November

In many ways, visiting Venice in November was a lot like visiting during any other time–except better. The legendary heat and humidity were absent (though I did end up caving in and buying a warm coat due to colder temperatures), the crowds present but entirely manageable.

None of the major sites that we wanted to see were closed, though we did bail on the idea of visiting Burano and/or Murano due to rainy weather (the ferries were still running though, so we easily could have gone if we deemed it worth it or had better luck with the weather).

For the most part, our 3 days in Venice in November looked exactly like a standard first trip to Venice during any other time of the year, just with a few more clouds.

Here’s what we got up to.

Wandered the streets & photographed the canals.

Wandering through Venice was like wandering through an impressionist painting: everything from the architecture to the paint to the narrow alleys to the canals felt vaguely ethereal and magical.

While heavy clouds can detract from photos of many destinations, in Venice they just worked: we couldn’t even find the energy to be bummed out about the less-than-perfect weather we experienced while there.

It was lovely. It was quiet (especially in the early mornings). It was romantic. It was perfect. To us, the ambiance of Venice was everything that Venice-lovers had ever professed it to be when pitching the city to us, and more.

Read Next: 2 Weeks in Italy: The Perfect Itinerary for First Time Visitors

3 Days in Venice in November: Small Canal

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Admired the Rialto Bridge.

The famous Rialto Bridge and its epic view of Venice’s Grand Canal were beautiful, and we walked across the bridge at least once every day we were there.

The famous view of Venice’s Grand Canal as seen from the Rialto Bridge was first introduced to me before I even knew what it was: a picture of that view hung in my various childhood homes as far back as I can remember, and it was incredible to see it come to life.

3 Days in Venice in November: Grand Canal

Considered a gondola ride, but passed.

A gondola ride with your partner in Venice–nothing sounds more romantic, right?

Well, for 80 Euros a ride… we could think of a lot of things that sounded better.

We went back and forth on the idea of taking a gondola ride–if you’re going to ever ride a gondola, Venice is the place to do it, after all–but ultimately couldn’t justify the cost.

We don’t regret it a bit. Our trip to Venice was magical, and an expensive gondola ride wouldn’t have made it better. Maybe if we go back one day when we’re on a bit more of a spending spree, we’ll consider it!

On the first day we arrived in Venice, though, we did take a water bus through the Grand Canal from the train station to the Rialto Bridge to shorten our walk to the hotel–that was an exciting and wonderful way to arrive in Venice, and at 7.50 Euros/person, was much more affordable!

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3 Days in Venice in November: Rialto Bridge Gondola

Took couple’s photos in Venetian masks.

Cheesy? Over the top? Who cares!

We had a blast waking up early and taking cute photos of ourselves in our Venetian masks (which also made great souvenirs!), and we loved how they turned out.

Small tip if you’re looking for a Venetian mask: they come in every price point you can think of, but for simple, inexpensive souvenir-style ones, look for prices around the 3 Euro mark. That’s what we paid for ours, though we saw the exact same masks being sold around Venice for anywhere from 3-10 Euros!

"If you have someone you think is the one, take them and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all over the world, to places that are hard to reach and hard to get out of. And when you land at JFK and you're still in love with that person, get married." - - Bill Murray * Well, we got married first and will never be done traveling the world, but we still love this quote--travel teaches you so much about each other, especially when things are stressful! * One and a half years of full time travel and counting later, we would happily remarry each other in an airport, in a forest, on a beach, on a 10 hour bus ride, in the rain, in the fog, and certainly in stunningly beautiful Venice. * * * * #venice #veniceitaly #venezia #italy_vacations #italygram #ig_europe #living_europe #ig_italy #iloveitaly #italy_photolovers #italytravel #gltlove #girlswhotravel #dametraveler #wearetravelgirls #forahappymoment #unlimitedparadise #couplegoals #coupleswhotravel #travelcouple #inlovewiththeworld #travelandchill #darlingletsbeadventurers #travelforever #adventurecouple #marriedlife #marriagegoals #instapassport #flashesofdelight #travelstoke

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Climbed the San Marco Bell Tower.

Brr!! Of all the things we did during our 3 days in Venice in November, this was the one that was most impacted by the season: what felt like reasonable temperatures and a light breeze on the ground felt like bitter, icy wind at the top of the bell tower!

We didn’t care once we saw those views, though: the views from the San Marco Bell Tower are incredible, including views of Saint Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, the outlying islands, the dense city center, and more.

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3 Days in Venice in November: Venice from San Marco Bell Tower

Visited Libreria Acqua Alta.

Way back in college, I found some photos of Libreria Acqua Alta on Pinterest, and I’ve wanted to go ever since!

This bookstore in Venice constantly prepares for floods, storing its books in rowboats, bathtubs, a gondola, and more. They also have a staircase out back that is made entirely of books, and when you climb to the top, you’re rewarded with views of one of Venice’s canals.

Both of those features made the store “Pinterest famous” before “Instagram famous” was ever a thing, and it was almost surreal to finally see in person a bookstore that caught my eye so long ago.

It lived up to the hype: Libreria Acqua Alta is a very cool spot, and is even home to several cats in addition to all of its other charms.

Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see the video we made at Libreria Acqua Alta!

3 Days in Venice in November: Libreria Acqua Alta

Experienced a minor acqua alta.

This was definitely a benefit (in our eyes, anyway) of visiting Venice in November: we got to experience a small acqua alta (or “high water”) while there!

While the constant flooding is no doubt a pain for residents and can definitely get much more dramatic than what we witnessed, it was a very interesting cultural experience to be in Venice and see St. Mark’s Square completely dry one day and flooded the next, to walk on the elevated ramps the city puts down to help people move through the acqua alta safely and to see street hawkers selling plastic booties to tourists.

November and December are some of the most common months for an acqua alta to occur in, so we definitely upped our odds of seeing one by visiting Venice in November!

Being prepared for rain is a must while visiting Venice in November! Consider packing a rain coat or poncho and shoes that can get wet. Definitely bring an umbrella!

3 Days in Venice in November: Acqua Alta Ramps

3 Days in Venice in November: Acqua Alta St. Mark's Square

How Many Nights in Venice?

If you’re just coming to Venice to see the highlights, deciding how many nights in Venice should be fairly simple–you can probably see most of what you came for in 1-2 days if you hurry! If you’re planning a trip that is covering multiple spots in Italy in a relatively short amount of time, we would probably recommend 1-2 days, or 2-3 nights, in Venice.

However, that doesn’t mean you’ll run out of things to do with more time: we definitely left plenty of things undone in Venice, including a visit to Doge’s Palace and day trips to both Murano and Burano.

3 Days in Venice in November: Statue with Hands

Venice in November: Was it Worth it?

Yes, yes, yes!

We are so glad that we took the risk and decided to spend 3 days in Venice in November–even one day in Venice would have been worth it.

True, the weather was not great–our umbrella was constantly with us in our day bag and the only time we saw blue sky hovering over Venice was on the ferry to the airport the day we left–but cloudy skies definitely didn’t detract from Venice’s beauty.

We loved the smaller crowds, lack of heat and humidity, and limited small factor that November brought as well–in fact, if we plan a return trip to Venice at some point, we would be more likely to plan it for November than for July! And if we ever do end up braving Venice during a crowded time, we’d rather see Venice’s Carnival in February than deal with summer weather and crowds at the same time.

We are completely sold on offseason Venice–if you decide to give it a try, don’t be surprised if you end up loving it too!

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3 Days in Venice in November: Selfie with Bridge of Sighs

Where We Stayed in Venice:

Hotel Casa Boccassini — This cute hotel easily met our needs in Venice! The room was simple but clean, and the shared bathroom a fair trade in exchange for their competitive prices in a great location. The bathroom was clean and we had a sink in our room, both of which always make shared bathroom situations much easier. The courtyard of the hotel was beautiful!

The hotel was a simple and beautiful 10-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge, and just a 5 minute walk to the airport water bus. We would definitely stay here again!

3 Days in Venice in November

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22 Comments

  • Lisa December 13, 2017

    That’s good you experienced Venice without all the people there. I’m there frequently and usually avoid like the plague because of too many tourists, so well done! And good job on the 7.50 for the gondola ride, that’s more the right price than the tourist extortionate price!

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      We definitely had a better experience due to avoiding the crowds! It made the whole trip much more peaceful.

  • Tania Banerjee December 14, 2017

    Learning the gondola ride is 80 Euros just broke my heart too. Though Venice is mostly projected as the most romantic city I want to go there for its architecture, history and city planning. Its hard to imagine a city on water, so I need to see and feel it in order to understand! The loved your picture in the mask!

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      I know, right?! So much money. Maybe one day if we’re feeling especially wealthy. 😛

  • James December 14, 2017

    I didn’t know it was 80 euros for a gondala ride in Venice. I think you chose a good option by getting your pictures taken in masks! I too don’t have a desire to visit Venice so would probably rush it into 1-2 days.

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      We actually took the photos ourselves–even better! Just required an early wake up call to get out with our tripod before the crowds lol.

  • Bailey Mills December 14, 2017

    I can’t believe those are actually your photos, and not professionally taken! The architecture in Venice is so breathtaking, I want to copy this vacation for myself! I have always wanted to visit Venice, and take a gondala ride. I agree with travelling slightly off-season, it makes for a less touristy vacation and there is so much more you can do easily! Staying in a hotel that is that central to everything sounds like a huge bonus, you end up saving a lot of money on getting around town!

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      Aw, thank you! High compliment. We love how our Venice photos turned out.

  • Savannah December 14, 2017

    I have to admit, I am definitely of that second group of people. I had a horrible experience in Venice, therefore I hated it and would only consider returning in the winter and only because it’s sinking. Or the ocean is rising. Whatever.
    Also, I did not get to see the Libreria Acqua Alta, and I am so jealous that you did!! That alone is worth the visit. Awesome video, btw!

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      Ah, so sorry you didn’t have a good experience Savannah! I can definitely see how that would happen.

  • Indrani December 15, 2017

    We did precisely the same. No gondola ride but the water canal ride and it gave good photo ops.
    Masks are a must buy there. Cool you did Venice in November not peak of winters yet.

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      The water bus ride definitely did the trick! Doing it as soon as we arrived in the city made an impact for sure.

  • Samah December 15, 2017

    I too have heard both opinions about Venice, which left me skeptical as well, but I like how you cleared things up. Wandering around and taking photographs is the way to go anywhere you travel and now I feel iffy about taking that iconic gondola ride haha. Climbing the San Marco Bell Tower is totally something I would do, I live getting birds eye views of places!

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      I agree, visiting viewpoints is almost always worth it! This one definitely was, even if the wind almost knocked us over a few times.

  • Yukti December 17, 2017

    Sometimes it is good to do a tour in off season, specially famous tourist attractions. Though it was raining during your trip, you managed to take beautiful pictures of Venice. Climbing Bell Tower and having views of Venice is so beautiful thing to do here and I missed it because our trip was of only 1 day. I also did Venice tour in February to avoid crowds, heat and overpriced hotels.

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      Avoiding the crowds and heat is definitely a plus! Changes the whole experience.

  • Manjulika Pramod December 17, 2017

    This comes as a very helpful post and it clears my doubt. I have also been skeptical about thinking of Venice because I have heard its dirty but once you guys said that it was good that you visited, I am sure there is something magical about the place that attracts so many people all over the world. Lovely captures.

    • Kate Storm December 17, 2017

      Aw, thank you! Hope you get a chance to go soon and love it as much as we do now!

  • David from Travelodium January 3, 2018

    I’ve been to Venice 3 times and I love the place, not for the romance or the canals, but for the history. You’ve done the right thing going in the off-season. Venice in the summer is a hell-hole and well worth avoiding unless you have no other choice. Nothing I loved more than getting on a boat and going island to island on the public transportation.

    • Kate Storm January 4, 2018

      Ha–yes, heard that about the summer a lot! I can’t imagine we’ll ever plan a trip there in July–if we ever decide to fight the crowds and pay a premium for lodging in Venice, it will be because we decide to go for Carnival!

  • Julie Sigua July 21, 2018

    Hi there! Thank you for this post. I might do exactly this trip, as I will be going there in late November for three days, sans the partner. hahaha. Do you think the things you listed would still be okay for a solo traveler? I do not mind the time, but was thinking more of the cost. Also, did you bring water boots, for when the water floods in? Or did you just buy/rent something local? Thanks for the tip, and again, really enjoyed your post!

    • Kate Storm July 22, 2018

      Hi Julie!

      I actually think Venice is wonderful for solo travel–the only additional expenses I can think of is buying a hotel for one instead of two (unless you opt for a dorm hostel), and you’d need to get a group together for a gondola ride if that’s something you want to do (I assume they’ll take solo people, but it’s expensive!).

      The odds of an acqua alta severe enough to require water boots during a short visit are very slim–most likely you’ll see just some minor flooding in certain areas if anything, and salesmen will be selling the plastic booties you can see in the photos if that happens. I wouldn’t worry about it, and just pick up something local if it becomes an issue. Venice is pretty great about putting up elevated walkways, etc, making it easy to get around without being wet.

      Hope you have a blast!! We can’t wait to go back one day.

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