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3 Days in Venice in November: Canal View

Venice in November: Worth the Trip? (+ Tips!)

Italy

There’s something magic about Venice in November.

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.

3 Days in Venice in November: Couple

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

After visiting the city of canals during the summer and also hitting up Venice in November, we can say this with certainty: we love Venice at any time of the year, but November in Venice is something quite special–and it’s definitely worth the trip.

Here’s what to keep in mind when you go.

Photo of the city of Venice from above, taken from San Marco Campanile, during a visit to Venice in November.

November Weather in Venice

High temperatures during Venice in November generally hang out around 11 Celsius/52 Fahrenheit for the bulk for the month, getting progressively colder as the month wears on. By the end of November, you can generally expect highs in the 40’s Fahrenheit.

Sunshine is limited, and it usually rains about 1/3 of the days of the month.

November is prime acqua alta season in Venice, so be prepared for the possibility of some flooding.

Ultimately, November weather in Venice is far from cheerful–but it is moody, cozy, and definitely not a reason to shy away from visiting.

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

What to Do in Venice in November

In many ways, visiting Venice in November is a lot like visiting during any other time–except better. The legendary heat and humidity are absent, the crowds present but entirely manageable.

The major tourist sights don’t close, and you’ll always find plenty to do in a city whose mere existence is worth admiring for days on end.

Here’s what not to miss.

Wander the streets and photograph the canals.

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

While heavy clouds can detract from photos of many destinations, in Venice they just work–so even if (like us during our trip to Venice in November) you never quite see the sunshine, the city still looks absolutely stunning, and there’s definitely no shortage of opportunities to photograph Venice.

Even during the summer, you can certainly find spots to be alone with the canals in Venice–but in the popular sestieri of San Marco and San Polo in particular, that is far easier to do in the offseason than the busy one. 

3 Days in Venice in November: Small Canal

Trip a trip to Burano and/or Murano.

These outlying islands of Venice don’t close for the season–but by visiting them while bundled in a coat instead of in a t-shirt or sundress, you’ll have far fewer crowds to contend with (like just about everywhere else in Venice).

Head to Burano to see the famous colorful fishing village, or Murano to check out the island’s legendary glass-blowing–or book a tour that will take you to both in one day!

Book your trip to Burano + Murano today!

3 Islands Tour: Burano, Murano + Torcello 

Burano + Murano Tour with Glass Factory

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Consider a gondola ride.

Gondola rides are still just as expensive when visiting Venice in November, there’s no doubt about it–but you’re also far more likely to have the quiet canals to yourselves. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, a little fog might even roll in, making your gondola ride just that much more ethereal.

Photo of the view from Ponte d'Accademia in Venice taken on a cloudy day--don't miss this spot when visiting Venice in November!

Curl up with a book.

My inner bibliophile simply can’t miss an opportunity to suggest paying a visit to Libreria Acqua Alta!

This gorgeous bookstore in Venice is known for its unique methods of storing books: in a gondola, in bathtubs, in rowboats, and more.

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Inside Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice’s Unique Bookstore

The reason for this? Protecting the books from the acqua alta–and there was even a minor one lapping at the feet of an armchair on the store’s back porch during our first (of many) visits to the store.

Be sure not to miss climbing the epic staircase of books out back, either–the view of a canal from the top is lovely, and the decor itself even more so.

Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see the video we made at Libreria Acqua Alta during our trip to Venice in November!

Staircase of books at Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice as seen from the side, two ship's wheels are propped up on the righthand side.

Check out the acqua alta, if there is one.

November in Venice is prime acqua alta (or flooding) season, with November and December being the two of the most common months for one to occur.

While the constant flooding is no doubt a pain for residents and can definitely get much more dramatic than what we witnessed during our trip to Venice in November, 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.

3 Days in Venice in November: Acqua Alta Ramps

Visit all the major tourist attractions–just like any other time of year. 

Sights like the Doge’s Palace, the San Marco Bell Tower, and the St. Mark’s Basilica certainly don’t close for the winter–our suggested 2 day Venice itinerary can easily be completed during your November trip to Venice!

If you’re hoping to see Venice’s major historical sights, it’s actually easier do so when visiting Venice in November than during, say, June or July–because there will be far fewer people to share the space with.

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We do still recommend booking a tour for the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, simply because the content is so interesting (and history buffs, definitely consider reading City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas before coming as well–it adds so much context to the city and is an enjoyable read).

Book your tour of the Doge’s Palace + St. Mark’s Basilica today!

Not into tours?

You can still skip the line at the Doge’s Palace by purchasing a priority ticket in advance.

3 Days in Venice in November: Rialto Bridge GondolaWhat to Pack for Venice in November

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and this is definitely a case of better safe than sorry. For example, it would be very, very rare, but in the event of a particularly severe acqua alta, you might be glad for the chance to cancel your trip! We use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Italy.

Umbrella — The odds of staying dry during your whole trip to Venice in November are quite slim!

Warm coat — Temperatures are far from frigid during November in Venice, but the damp, cold air–especially if you take a gondola ride or head out on the water via ferry–will certainly leave you chilled. Be sure to pack a warm coat! Look for something like this or similar to this–these options are very similar to what Jeremy and I wear when traipsing around Europe in November.

HatScarf & Gloves — To stay cozy–trust me, you’ll be glad you have them! I ended up buying a scarf during our trip to Venice in November.

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

Travel Adaptors for Italy — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors for your electronics.

Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough: this travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft in Venice, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).

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Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal, but can’t commit to a huge amount of writing each night, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough–I’ve been using it for more than two years now and love it!

Sea Bands & Non-Drowsy Dramamine — If you’re prone to motion sickness like me, I strongly recommend coming to Venice prepared–especially if you have your heart set on experiencing a gondola ride or even a boat ride to some of the outlying islands.

3 Days in Venice in November: Statue with Hands

Where to Stay in Venice

Since Venice is such a walkable city, and exploring it by foot is such a joy, you can stay just about anywhere in or near the center of Venice and easily work your way through this Venice itinerary.

We’ve stayed in 3 different sestiere in Venice (Cannaregio, San Marco, and Castello), and enjoyed our stays in all of them.

When researching hotels, consider checking out the prices for hotels a bit nicer than what you normally stay in–you might find them surprisingly low, another benefit to planning a trip to Venice in November!

Photo of the Bridge of Sighs, with a few gondolas visible in the canal below.

Budget

Hotel Casa Boccassini — This cute hotel easily met our needs during our first trip to Venice! The room was simple but clean, and the shared bathroom a fair trade in exchange for their competitive prices in a great location in Cannaregio. 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 vaporetto to the airport. 

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Casa Boccassini!

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Mid-range

Hotel Lisbona — We decided to check into Hotel Lisbona for one reason: we wanted to stay on a canal!

If you’re looking to stay right on a canal in Venice without paying luxury prices, we can heartily recommend Hotel Lisbona: the building is beautiful and definitely has that oh-wow-I’m-in-Venice effect (especially when you look out the windows), the customer service great, and the included breakfast tasty.

The central location (it’s around a 5-minute walk to Piazza San Marco) couldn’t be better.

The downside? The room we stayed in was tiny–but to be staying right on a Venetian canal in such an amazing location, we definitely considered the trade-off worth it.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Lisbona!

View of several Venice gondolas in a canal from above

Luxury

Hotel Danieli — If you’re looking for a true luxury experience for your 2 days in Venice–the kind of hotel stay that you’ll remember for the rest of your life–look no further than the iconic Hotel Danieli, located inside 3 former palazzos along the Riva degli Schiavoni.

Every detail has been looked after here, and everything from the furniture to the breakfast to the to the location (mere steps from the Bridge of Sighs) to the truly stunning lobby will ensure you have an absolutely unforgettable trip to Venice.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Danieli!

Where to Propose in Italy: Venice Proposal on a Small Bridge

Final Call for Venice in November: Is 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, and highly recommend the experience–even one day in Venice would have been worth it.

True, the weather was not great during our November trip–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.

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We loved the smaller crowds (even more so after later experiencing Venice’s summer crowds!) and the lack of heat and humidity, as well as the quiet peacefulness of seeing the city a bit foggy and with a slightly mysterious vibe completely fitting of Venice. 

We would plan more trips back to Venice in the fall and/or winter in a heartbeat–probably starting with paying a visit to Carnival in February, which would definitely be crowded, but also an experience not to forget.

30 Comments Write a comment

Kate has been traveling the world full-time for more than 3 years. She tries to keep a balance between going on new adventures and exploring favorite destinations (like Italy!) in depth, and is always on the lookout for the next beautiful overlook and delicious meal.

30 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.

  • Joel September 19, 2018

    Thanks for this great write-up. It was very helpful. I’ll be visiting Venice with my wife this coming November. How cold was it when you were there? What were the temperatures like during the day and night?

    • Kate Storm September 20, 2018

      Thanks, Joel! We were there toward the beginning of November, temperatures were in the low 50’s during the day and into the high 30’s at night if I remember correctly. We definitely wanted coats on (I actually bought one in Venice!), but with layers, scarves, gloves, etc, we were quite content to walk around for hours. The only time we got unbearably cold was on top of St. Mark’s Bell Tower.

  • Anonymous October 15, 2018

    We went to Venice for a week one November (anniversary). We loved every aspect of it. Stunning.
    We had a lovely theatre evening (Vivaldi music) – we sauntered back to the hotel, admiring the pink street lights, enjoying the quietness and the beauty of the light on the water. We crossed over St Marks Square and couldn’t believe it – the water was beginning to bubble up. We’d never seen anything like it! We thoroughly enjoyed the special light, the buildings/architecture/ no traffic. During the days when busy with day trippers we went round the ‘back local streets’ and found the Jewish Quarter – very interesting, visited Murano. The market is interesting, plenty to see and explore. A uniquely, amazing place.

    • Kate Storm October 19, 2018

      Venice is definitely both unique and amazing! I’m glad you agree on the November trips–honestly, we loved it so much we would happily plan a November trip there again. The quiet mornings and evenings in the city were just marvelous.

  • Rachele March 21, 2019

    I visited Venice in June and didn’t have a problem with the crowds or the heat or humidity. It was all part of the experience. The streets flooded when it rained the one day and ruined my shoes permanently, also my feet were swollen red and killing me after all the walking by the end of our 3 nights but it was worth it. It’s the most beautiful and magical place in the world without a doubt. It’s literally a marvel of innovation and has the most breathtaking architecture and art the world has ever created. Anyone with any interest in history or art needs to go at least once. It’s like being in a fairy tale, it doesn’t even feel real. Anyone that complains about it is clearly lacking some kind of crucial substance and it’s a sign to avoid that person. Only a Grinch or an absolute spoiled brat who grew up with a silver spoon would complain about this place.

    • Kate Storm March 21, 2019

      Glad you had a great time, Rachele! We’re hoping to make it back to Venice this year–we miss the city and its magic terribly!

  • Corrine Hosker May 7, 2019

    Hi,

    after reading your review I am now debating on going in November. I was originally going to go next year during the quiet time as I thought November might be colder and wetter and wanted to fit it in with something else but we are now looking at Rome for a few days and Venice for the others.I am definitely going to speak to my husband now about going for our wedding anniversary in November x

    • Kate Storm May 8, 2019

      Hope you have a wonderful anniversary! Venice in November certainly is a bit cold and wet, but still absolutely lovely. We’d be happy to book an off-season trip there again!

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