When deciding where to stay in Venice, its important to know something about the differences between its many neighborhoods. Should you stay near the main piazza, Piazza San Marco, or would you prefer to stay nearer to the train station, eliminating the otherwise long walk or water taxi ride to your hotel? Venice’s picturesque alleyways can become a confusing labyrinth, even with a good map, and wheelie bags won’t be of much help going up and down the bridges, which are comprised of steps rather than smooth ascents. In short, Venice is unlike any other city in the world, and this article will help you prepare for the tricks it has up its sleeve. Here are a few tips and hotel recommendations to help you decide where to stay in Venice.
The main neighborhoods in Venice are Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo, Dorsoduro, San Marco, Castello, and the island of Giudecca; and good accommodations can be found in all of them. Venice’s most important sights are found in the San Marco neighborhood, and the San Marco neighborhood is a great place to stay provided that you are prepared to embark on the adventurous task of getting there. The easiest way is to take a water taxi, which will drop you off within steps of your hotel and which will cost around 60 euros each way. Otherwise take an ACTV-operated vaporetto, which is a waterbus that will cost around six euro. Be forewarned that the vaporetto might not stop near your hotel. The only other way to Piazza San Marco is to walk, which takes roughly an hour, whether arriving to Venice by ferry, bus, train, or car, and is not recommended.
If you don’t want to deal with Venice’s public transportation, I recommend staying closer to the Santa Lucia train station or Piazzale Roma. However, this will put you about a 45-minute walk from the sights. Here are a few more tips to help you choose where to stay in Venice:
- The island of Giudecca is home to many of Venice’s most luxurious hotels, and a ferry ride from Giudecca to Piazza San Marco takes roughly 10 minutes.
- Venice’s more residential neighborhoods include Dorsoduro, Cannaregio, Castello, and Santa Croce.
- Venice Mestre is the mainland portion of the city of Venice. Getting to Venice’s important sights from the Mestre neighborhood is very time-consuming and, therefore, not recommended for hotel accomodations.
- Obtain a map of the city before arriving so you can plan the route to your hotel.
- The tourist offices do not provide maps for free, and it is definitely worth purchasing one to help you get around.
- Keep your hotel’s phone number on hand in case you get lost on your way.
5-Star Hotels in Venice
San Clemente Palace Hotel & Resort
Looking for a really special hotel? This hotel comes with a private island: the island of San Clemente. An exclusive 5-star luxury hotel, it offers rooms that are exceptionally large and lavishly decorated. A one-time monastery, the hotel’s architecture is stunning, and white rabbits populate the grounds. Shuttle motor boats run regularly to the center of Venice and take around 15 minutes.
Luna Hotel Baglioni
Located in a Venetian palace near the sight-filled Piazza San Marco, this hotel comes with great views of the Grand Canal, and its splendid rooms feature fine draperies, silk fabrics, and hand-blown Venetian glass chandeliers, as well as high speed WiFi. The concierge is fully prepared to help visitors plan trips and activities around Venice, including boat trips that leave from the hotel’s private dock. The staff is known for providing fantastic service.
4-Star Hotels in Venice
Al Ponte Antico Hotel
Located in the San Polo neighborhood near the Rialto Bridge, this hotel offers spacious rooms that are so superbly decorated you’ll feel like Venetian royalty. Breakfast is included and eggs and crepes are made to order. For those with high standards while traveling on a budget, this hotel is a very good value. Enjoy its many amenities, including free WiFi, and don’t hesitate to ask for a room with a balcony overlooking the Grand Canal.
Hotel Canal Grande
This hotel is in the vicinity of the train station on a private street next to the Grand Canal. All rooms come with safes, WiFi, satellite TV, and air conditioning. Rooms are decorated with golden framed mirrors, traditional furniture, and Murano glass. Prices are very competitive considering the quality of the rooms and service.
Aqua Palace Hotel
Located in the Castello neighborhood, this hotel is a short walk from either the Rialto Bridge or Piazza San Marco. Guests are welcomed in a lobby set up to look like a classic Venetian living room. Rooms are spacious and come with WiFi, a mini bar, and traditional décor. Two rooms are handicap accessible. The hotel staff is particularly friendly and helpful.
3-Star Hotels in Venice
Hotel Antiche Figure
This is a wonderful hotel for the money. The Hotel Antiche Figure provides high standards of service and quality. Easy to reach, it is located right across the Grand Canal from the train station. Guest rooms are recently remodeled in the Venetian style and free WiFi is available. The restaurant is also known for its great food. If sensitive to noise, ask for a room off of the Grand Canal.
Hotel Ca’ Dogaressa
Located in the Cannaregio neighborhood on the Cannaregio Canal, this hotel gets you away from the tourists and welcomes you to Venice’s Jewish Ghetto neighborhood, which is known for its traditional restaurants. The staff excels at making you feel at home, and every room has a marble bathroom, air conditioning, and ADSL internet access. If you’re traveling without a computer, the hotel will even provide one for you.
Albergo San Marco
This 3-star hotel is close to Piazza San Mark and provides some of the best rates in the area. The rooms include a mini bar, WiFi, and flat screen TVs. If you’re traveling alone, the economy rooms are specifically designed for solo travelers. A continental breakfast is included.
Budget Hotels in Venice
Hotel al Ponte Mocenigo
Another boutique hotel, this one is located just steps away from a vaporetto stop in the Santa Croce neighborhood. All ten rooms are unique and feature Venetian décor. The staff is professional and friendly. Walking to Piazza San Marco will take around 30-45 minutes. Free WiFi.
Hotel Alloggi Serena
A great option for budget travelers, this boutique hotel has small rooms artfully decorated in typical Venetian style. The staff, while sometimes hard to track down, is very friendly and happy to answer questions. Located in the Santa Croce neighborhood, breakfast and WiFi are included.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com
Recommended Travel Books and Guide Books on Venice and Italy: