Winter isn’t exactly peak season for tourism in Venice—and that’s exactly why it’s the best time for you to visit. Unlike summer, when the city belongs to out-of-towners, La Serenissima in winter is deserted, quiet, and, yes, serene. If the mist-shrouded canals and melancholy romance aren’t enough of a draw, rooms at luxe hotels like The Gritti Palace and the Baglioni Hotel Luna are available for a fraction of their high-season rates, while landmarks like Saint Mark’s Basilica sit blissfully empty. There’s still plenty of excitement, if you seek it: Carnevale kicks off on January 23, breathing life into the city’s sleepy streets with food, music, and dancing. Sure, Venice is enchanting any time of year—but go now, while you can have it all to yourself.
—Krisanne Fordham