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Where to Stay in Venice Italy
When deciding where to stay in Venice, it’s 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 closer to the train station, eliminating the otherwise long walk or water taxi ride to your hotel?
Venice’s picturesque alleyways and canals – a UNESCO Heritage Site – 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 Best Place to Stay in Venice
Where to Stay in Venice – Venice Neighborhoods
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.
San Marco, Venice
Venice’s most important sights are found in the San Marco neighborhood, and the San Marco neighborhood is a great place to stay in Venice provided that you are prepared to embark on the adventurous task of getting there. Also read our guide on the top 20 things to do in Venice, many of which are in San Marco.
INSIDER TIP: Venice is one of the most crowded tourist cities in Italy and I highly recommend you to book skip the line tickets for the major tourist sights, especially the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica.
The easiest way is to take a water taxi from the airport, which will drop you off within steps of your hotel and which will cost around 40 euros each way/per person. You can book your transfer in advance here.
Otherwise take an ACTV-operated vaporetto, which is a water bus 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 want to stay close to the famous Rialto Bridge and right in the touristy center of Venice, San Polo is the place to be. Don’t miss the Rialto Market and the stunning views of the Grand Canal. From the airport, you can take a water taxi (private ~$100/shared ~$40/per person). You can book your transfer in advance here.
This neighborhood is a great choice if you want to stay close to the main transportation options in Venice. The Venice Train Station – Santa Lucia = is close by and so is the main bus terminal and many ferry terminals. It is not a touristy neighborhood and you’ll find some great budget-friendly options here, yet it only takes about 30 minutes to get to the main sights in Venice.
This Venice neighborhood is just north of San Marco and a great choice if you want to be centrally located, but avoid the worst of the tourist crowds. At the Eastern Tip, you’ll have stunning views of the Lagoon of Venice and the iconic San Giorgio Maggiore bell tower across the water, and the dome of Santa Maria della Salute behind you.
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- Get Travel Insurance! I use Allianz Travel Insurance and can only recommend them. If you travel a lot, I recommend the Multi-Trip Insurance, but you can read all about whether single trip or multi-trip travel insurance is right for you here – as long as you get insurance.
- Visit my Travel Gear and Resource Page to see my recommendations on useful travel gadgets and helpful travel services that can help you with planning your trip.
5 Star Hotels in Venice
Looking for a really special hotel? This hotel comes with a private island: the island of San Clemente. One of the most exclusive 5 star hotels in Venice, 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 motorboats run regularly to the center of Venice and take around 15 minutes.
Located in a Venetian palace near the sight-filled Piazza San Marco, this luxury 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 and we highly recommend this hotel as a top place to stay in Venice.
This luxurious hotel has excellent ratings (9.8) from over 2000 customers. Its central location makes it a perfect for first-time as well as return visitors alike. The Gritti Palace is also a wonderful choice for families, especially if you want to explore with your kids during the day, but enjoy a nice romantic dinner by yourself, as the hotel offers babysitting services.
As with all hotels in this category, there isn’t much, that the Gritti Palace doesn’t offer, but it does it just a little bit better than most other 5-star properties.
4 Star Hotels in Venice
Located in the San Polo neighborhood near the Rialto Bridge, this stunning 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, 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.
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.
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 minibar, and traditional décor. Two rooms are handicap accessible. The hotel staff is particularly friendly and helpful.
3-Star Hotels in Venice
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.
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.
This 3-star hotel is close to Piazza San Marko and provides some of the best rates in the area. The rooms include a minibar, 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
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.
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.
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 accommodations.
- 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.