Venice is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a magical winter getaway. While most tourists flock to the city during the summer months, visiting Venice in winter is a completely different experience.
One of the most enchanting features of winter in Venice is the Christmas market, where you can find unique gifts and delicious holiday treats.
In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about visiting the Venice Christmas Market.
As you wander through the winding streets of Venice during the holiday season, you’ll be enchanted by the festive decorations and twinkling lights that adorn every corner.
The scent of roasted chestnuts and warm mulled wine will fill the air, inviting you to indulge in a taste of traditional Venetian holiday treats.
You might be interested in shopping for unique gifts at the Christmas market or taking a romantic gondola ride through the glittering canals; Christmas in Venice is a truly unforgettable experience.
Venice Christmas Market 2023
At the Christmas markets in Venice, you’ll find an array of unique gifts, delicious food, and festive entertainment.
Stroll through the stalls and marvel at the handmade crafts and intricate glasswork that Venice is famous for.
Indulge in a cup of steaming hot chocolate or a fragrant slice of Italian panettone while you take in the live music and street performers.
Don’t miss the chance to see the famous Piazza San Marco transformed into a winter wonderland and one of the world’s most beautiful squares.
Read on for all the details you’ll need for planning your Christmas visit.
Dates and Location
Venice Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 29th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Piazza Di San Marco and Campo Santo Stefano.
Opening times: 9am to 7pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 29th November.
Ice skating: Yes, at Campo San Polo.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten free: Yes, but very limited.
Accessible: Yes, if you can manage Venice’s narrow streets and bridges.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: The unique location at Piazza San Marco, surrounded by stunning historical buildings, landmarks and canals.
Recommended tour: This tour of Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica is an incredible introduction to Venice.
Specialities: Italian specialties like panettone, pandoro, and torrone, as well as regional delicacies like fritole veneziane (fried doughnuts) and zaleti (cornmeal cookies). Cicheti are small plates of local cheeses and cured meats. Vin brulé (mulled wine) and cioccolata calda (hot chocolate).
Where to stay: Baglioni Hotel Luna is a highly-rated hotel, 1-minute from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Venice Christmas Market
If you want to be near the Christmas market in San Marco, you should consider staying in the San Marco neighbourhood or nearby areas such as Castello or Cannaregio. These neighbourhoods are within walking distance of the market and have a variety of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options.
I suggest staying at Baglioni Hotel Luna as it’s in a great location in the San Marco neighbourhood and is a 1-minute walk to the Christmas market.
Location of Venice Christmas Market
Venice City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Venice is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture. With its picturesque canals, ornate palaces, and stunning architecture, Venice is a city that has something for every visitor.
I highly recommend taking a city tour of Venice to see all of the highlights, such as this tour that includes a visit to Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica, both of which are at Piazza San Marco.
Alternatively, you might like to take a food tour where you can learn about Venetian culture through their cuisine. This is one of the most popular food tours in Venice.
You’ll visit the city’s most iconic landmarks and attractions on a city tour, including St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the famous Rialto Bridge.
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What to Expect in Venice
This video showcases the festive ambience of Venice during Christmas, featuring the Christmas market in San Marco and other iconic locations throughout the city.
You’ll see live music performances, ice skating, traditional Italian treats, and beautiful holiday decor that will transport you to the heart of the Venetian holiday spirit.
Christmas Specialties in Venice
- Panettone: A sweet, fluffy bread loaf studded with candied fruit and raisins, traditionally eaten for breakfast or dessert during Christmas.
- Pandoro: A light, buttery cake dusted with powdered sugar and served sliced, often accompanied by a side of chocolate or fruit sauce.
- Cotechino e lenticchie: A hearty, flavorful stew made with sausage and lentils, typically served on New Year’s Eve.
- Tortellini in brodo: Small, stuffed pasta served in a clear broth, often made with meat or cheese filling.
- Lasagna alla Bolognese: Layers of pasta, meat sauce, and cheese, baked until bubbly and golden brown.
- Zuppa di pesce: A fragrant seafood stew featuring a variety of fish and shellfish in a tomato-based broth.
- Frittelle: Fried dough balls filled with raisins, pine nuts, or custard, dusted with powdered sugar and often served with a side of hot chocolate.
- Crostini di cavolo nero: A vegetarian option, this appetizer features toasted bread topped with sautéed black kale and garlic.
- Caponata: A sweet and sour vegetable relish made with eggplant, celery, and onions, often served as an antipasto or side dish.
At the Venice Christmas Market, you’ll find a variety of typical Italian street foods, including:
- Panini: Grilled sandwiches filled with a variety of ingredients such as prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh vegetables.
- Arancini: Fried rice balls filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and sometimes meat.
- Castagne: Roasted chestnuts, a popular seasonal snack in Italy.
- Cioccolata calda: Thick, rich hot chocolate served in small cups, often topped with whipped cream.
- Mulled wine: Warm, spiced red wine, perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night.
These delicious street foods are great for snacking on while exploring the Christmas market in San Marco.
Mestre Christmas Market 2023
The Mestre Christmas Market is a festive holiday market located in the mainland city of Mestre, just across the bridge from Venice.
This market has over 100 vendors selling a variety of Christmas gifts, decorations, and seasonal treats.
In addition to shopping, visitors can enjoy live music, children’s activities, and traditional Italian foods such as roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and hot chocolate.
The Mestre Christmas Market is a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking to experience the holidays in the Venetian region.
Mestre Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 29th November to 1st December 2023.
Opening times: 9am to 7pm.
Location: Piazza Erminio Ferretto, Via Allegri and Via Palazzo in Mestre, Venice.
Location of Mestre Christmas Market
You may find it helpful to check out your guide to the Christmas markets in Italy, which has tips and recommendations for making the most of your holiday experience in Venice and beyond.
For more information on visiting Venice, check out this website, where you can find out what to do and see and how to book gondolas etc.
Sustainable Christmas Tips for Venice
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Venice at Christmas.
- Choose accommodation that has implemented energy-efficient measures, such as using renewable energy sources and LED lighting.
- Take public transportation or walk instead of using private cars to reduce carbon emissions. Venice is a pedestrian-friendly city with an extensive network of water taxis and public boats, making it easy to get around without a car.
- Support local, sustainable food producers by visiting the Rialto Market or other local markets and buying fresh, organic, and locally sourced produce. Avoid purchasing excessive amounts of food to reduce food waste and compost food scraps.
- Consider alternative gift options that are sustainable and eco-friendly, such as experiences, homemade gifts, or donations to environmental organizations.
- Choose restaurants that have sustainable and locally sourced seafood, such as the Venetian-style baccalà, a traditional dish made from salt cod.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, utensils, and bags to reduce waste and avoid single-use plastics. Many Venice restaurants have free tap water, so you can refill your bottle and avoid purchasing bottled water.
- Visit museums and galleries that promote sustainable art and design, such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which showcases contemporary art and design with a focus on sustainability.
Venice Christmas Market starts on the 29th November and continues until the 24th December 2023.
The Christmas markets in Venice are held in two square and the surrounding streets at Piazza Di San Marco and Campo Santo Stefano.
The Christmas markets in Venice are generally open from 9am to 7pm.
If you want to leave a Venice Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Venice, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.
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