Venice is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a magical winter getaway. While most tourists flock to the city in the summer, visiting Venice in winter is an entirely different experience.
One of the most enchanting winter features in Venice is the Christmas market, where you can find unique Venetian gifts and delicious holiday sweets and drinks.
In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about visiting the Venice Christmas Market, including the confirmed 2023 dates.
As you wander through the narrow streets and along the canals of Venice, you’ll be enchanted by the festive decorations and twinkling lights that adorn every corner.
You might be interested in shopping for unique gifts at the Christmas market or taking a romantic gondola ride through the lit-up canals.
Christmas in Venice is an unforgettable experience, and I remember my time there fondly.
Venice Christmas Market 2023
At the Christmas markets, you can wander through the stalls and admire the intricate Murano glasswork and Carnival masks that Venice is famous for.
Indulge in a cup of steaming cioccolata calda 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 as one of the world’s most beautiful squares.
Note that the dates listed here are for the Municipality of Venice. Dates for individual markets vary.
Dates and Information
Venice Christmas Market dates: 21st November 2023 to 7th January 2024.
Location: Campo Santo Stefano.
Mestre locations: Piazza Erminio Ferretto, Via Allegri and Via Palazzo.
Opening times: 12pm to 7pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 21st November for the Festa della Salute.
Ice skating: Yes, at Campo San Polo in Venice.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of option.
Gluten free: Yes, but 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. You can park in Mestre if needed. Ask at your hotel for details.
Reason to visit: One of the most beautiful locations in the world.
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, 8-minute from the Christmas market.
Where to Stay
To stay centrally, 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 markets and Christmas events and have a variety of places to stay, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options.
I suggest staying at Baglioni Hotel Luna as it’s in a great area near Piazza San Marco and a short walk to many of Venice’s attractions.
A city tour of Venice is an incredible way to start your exploration of Venice’s history and culture. With its picturesque canals, ornate palaces, and stunning architecture, you can’t go wrong.
I recommend taking a city tour of Venice to see all of the highlights, like this tour that includes a visit to the Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica, both of which are at Piazza San Marco.
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.
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 may find it helpful to check my guide to the Christmas markets in Italy 2023, which has tips and recommendations for making the most of your winter break.
Christmas in Venice
Fritole: Venetian doughnuts you often see at street food stalls around the city. They’re deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Local bakers often add raisins or pine nuts for extra flavour and texture. It’s a classic snack with a long history in Venice, dating back to at least the Renaissance.
Cicchetti: Venetian tapas-like dishes that you can order at bars in Venice. These small bites can range from mini sandwiches, known as tramezzini, to skewers of seafood or olives. They’re commonly made with local ingredients such as fresh fish, cheeses and cured meats.
Pandoro di Verona: Though not exclusive to Venice, Pandoro di Verona holds a special place in Italian Christmas traditions. This tall, star-shaped cake is traditionally dusted with vanilla-scented icing sugar to resemble the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps. Bakers in Verona produce it, but it’s a widespread treat in Venice as well.
Panettone: This sweet bread originally hails from Milan but has made its way into the hearts of Venetians as well. Made with dried fruits, raisins, and zest, you’ll see it in the shops from November. Some local variations might include alternative ingredients, such as figs.
Baccalà Mantecato: Spreadable and creamy, Baccalà Mantecato is a whipped salted cod dish. It’s often served atop slices of grilled polenta. This dish combines ingredients brought back from Venetian sailors’ voyages and the local lagoon’s offerings, making it unique to the region.
Vin Brulé: To ward off the winter cold, stalls often sell Vin Brulé, an Italian mulled wine. Made by warming red wine with spices like cloves, cinnamon, and anise, it’s an Italian take on the traditional German Glühwein.
Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Murano Glass: The signature craft of Venice is prominently displayed in various stalls. Made on the nearby Murano Island, these glass items are hand-blown by expert artisans. Ornaments, small figurines, and jewellery made of Murano glass are popular choices.
Venetian Masks: Another classic from Venice, Venetian masks make a compelling gift or souvenir. Often adorned with fine materials like gold leaf and feathers, each mask is usually hand-painted. Historically used in Venetian carnivals, these masks are not just trinkets but hold cultural significance.
Burano Lace: Lacework from the island of Burano is especially prized as a quality gift. You can find items such as tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and linens. Each piece often takes hours to craft, making it a meaningful and traditional gift.
Paper Products: Venetian marbled paper is another artisan product you’ll find at the market. Commonly used in bookbinding, this unique paper also appears in the form of notebooks, journals, and stationery sets. The marbling technique involves floating dyes on water to create intricate patterns, and each sheet is unique.
For more information on planning a trip, check out the City of Venice’s official website, where you can find out what to do and see and how to book gondolas and other activities and museums.
Here are some ways you can make your Christmas visit to Venice more sustainable.
Eco Hotels: Book a hotel that uses renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. These places are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and often come with other green initiatives like water-saving systems.
Limit Food Waste: When sampling the diverse food items in Venice, consider sharing portions to minimise waste. Many stalls serve dishes in generous sizes, making it easy to over-order. By sharing, you not only get to try various dishes but also contribute to reducing food waste. This is what makes cicchetti so great, you can try lots of things without waste.
Mindful Consumption: Venice is renowned for its artisan products like Murano glass and Venetian masks. While it’s tempting to buy several items, focus on purchasing only what you genuinely need or will use.
Plant-Based: Sustainable eating is another way to be responsible. While Venice has numerous traditional seafood dishes, you can find plant-based alternatives at many stalls and restaurants.
Public Water Transport: Venice’s vaporetto system serves as a green alternative to motorised road transport. The vaporettos serve multiple locations across the city and the surrounding islands.
Walk: Venice is a compact city, making it ideal for walking. Choose to explore the city on foot when you can, especially within the main island, where many attractions are close by.
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.