Last November during my trip to Italy I spent four days in the lovely city of Venice and it was most certainly out of season for the city. During our time we didn’t encounter anywhere near as many tourists as I’d expected and the least out of any city break I’ve done before.
I am very much an advocate of going to places out of season for a variety of reasons but for a city like Venice, there are certainly some pro’s and con’s which I’m going to explore so you can make a decision as to whether it’s the right time for you to go.
For me, one of the biggest pro’s to going anywhere out of season is the fact that there are fewer crowds and this is pretty much the same anywhere. Navigating around the windy streets of the city and getting on and off transport from the hotel was so much nicer with fewer people around. Around the location of our hotel, we didn’t encounter a lot of tourists and even the restaurants seemed to host a lot of locals. Having fewer crowds means you can explore at your own pace and have a bit more of a relaxed time.
Due the number of of canals and how close you are to the sea Venice does get quite windy and there were times where this was a bit of an issue trying to navigate around the city. If you’re not a fan of colder temperatures then you might want to consider going to Venice at the start of summer when it’s a bit warmer as there were situations where gloves would have been a good option.
Restaurants are quieter
With less people around the restaurants which we went into were much quieter this generally meant a quicker more attentive service, although I’ve always found Italians pretty attentive anyway (outside of Rome that is!) The great thing is you can get into really nice restaurants at peak times and not have to worry about pre-booking or there being queues, especially at the weekend.
Not everything is open
In contrast to my point above, out of season, not everything is open. When walking along the streets in Venice I did see a number of shops and restaurants closed, and while this didn’t affect the more touristy areas it did affect the more off the beaten track places which is where we would have wanted to eat in the first place. It’s worth looking on Trip Advisor in advance at reviews and opening hours to see if places are open in your area.
You can get better quality hotels for cheaper costs
Hotel rooms always cost more during peak seasons and you find the further you go from the traditional ‘summer’ time the better deals you can find. Hotels want to fill up their rooms so will drop prices during off-peak seasons in order to attract visitors and just by going in November we were able to afford a suite in a very nice hotel which at any other time of the year we’d have had no chance of being able to afford.
This works two-fold so you can either save money by going for the same room you’d have chosen in the summer, or you can get more for the budget you’d have looked to spend.
The final potential con about going to Venice out of season is the chance of flooding. Forus we only hit a snag on this mildly but it can be an issue depending on when you go and how the weather is doing. As Venice is built entirely on canals most days the water level rises to some degree and this can cause water to spill out onto the streets. Thankfully shops, restaurants and hotels are just used to this and many have measures in place to stop the flooding, or they just push out the water when the levels go back down.
On one of the days we were out we did have quite heavy rain which caused some roads to become flooded so thankfully although it came above ankle height and our feet were soaking we were only on our way back to the hotel.
There are both pro’s and con’s to visiting Venice out of season, although personally for me I felt like the pro’s outweighed the con’s as it meant for a relaxing, affordable trip away.