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Where to stay in Venice For First Time Visitors

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Venice

Where to stay in Venice

Wondering where to stay in Venice? A trip to Venice is unlike visiting any other city on earth, an archipelago of immense beauty and historical significance with so much to do it almost seems criminal to have so much beauty in a relatively small space.

It’s unlike any other city in Italy (or the world) and has become characterised by the ornate Venetian masks, romantic gondolas, the annual Carnival, and The Rialto, easily one of the world’s most photographed bridges.

The capital of the Veneto region of Northern Italy with a population of over 250,000, Venice lies on a collection of 117 tiny islands connected by bridges. Once an extremely powerful financial and military hub during the Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance, it has now become one of the biggest tourist destinations in Italy.

Whether you’re here on a whirlwind tour to see the sights or are here to take it easy Venitian style, make sure you set aside some time for espresso, gelato, and people watching on the Piazza.

Where to stay in Venice For First Time Visitors - Contents

Where to stay in Venice

Choosing where to stay in Venice can be tricky, particularly if you’re on a budget. Unlike most cities, it’s not always possible to walk where you need to go due to the bridges that connect certain areas separated by canals.

It’s very much a balancing act between getting the right price point and not sacrificing being close to the city centre, particularly if you’re in Venice for a short time which is generally the case for most visitors.

Choosing somewhere that’s not ideal for you can lead to expensive mistakes since many underestimate the price of the water taxis (that can only be caught from the Vaporetto piers) which can be anywhere between 80-170 USD (70-150 EUR).

Also, coming in and out of Venice can have its cost issues, if you’re coming by train then it can be handy to stay within walking distance of the main train station Saint Lucia instead of having to find your way to the hotel with luggage across the water.

When you do find your perfect place, however, Venice is truly an unforgettable wonder of a city and you’ll be thinking about your trip for many years to come.

Check out our guide to choosing your perfect district and learn about where to stay in Venice.

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Where to stay in Venice For First Time Visitors

Where to stay in Venice For First Time Visitors

San Marco

The architecturally astounding heart of Venice

The heart of Venice, staying here means you’ll be surrounded by that classical architecture and have easy access to the water taxis and gondolas the city is so famous for.

Why stay in San Marco

The heart of Venice, staying here means you’ll be surrounded by that classical architecture and have easy access to the water taxis and gondolas the city is so famous for.

For people who love to be in the centre of the action, this is very much the place - looking up at the buildings here is a real treat for the eyes.

Those looking for a luxury stay have a treat in store; the views from the hotels here, like the iconic Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark’s Basilica, are unforgettable. The largest concentration of museums and monuments are located here and everything is within walking distance so if you’re visiting Venice for a short time then this is going to be the perfect spot where you’ll find a photo opportunity at every turn.

You can also access the rest of the city easily via convenient public transport. Spend warm days’ people watching with an espresso in the busy Piazza San Marco and catch a show at La Fenice Opera House in the evening.

Anyone looking for a quieter romantic stay may prefer elsewhere as this is the main tourist hub.

Things to do in San Marco

  • Learn about the Venetian Republic at the stunning Doge’s Palace
  • Be spellbound by opera at La Fenice Opera House
  • Take a picture of The Bridge of Spies, a tucked away passage from The Old Prison
  • Ride down the Grand Canal through the heart of Venice
  • Buy a Venetian mask on the waterside
  • Visit St Mark’s Basilica and marvel at the architecture
  • Climb the San Marco Campanile for the best views of the city
  • Meander the shelves in Liberia Aqua Alta, a flooded, beautiful bookshop
  • Drink cappuccino at one of the oldest cafes in the world, a neo-baroque building from 1720

Where to Stay in San Marco

Hotel BecherCheck Hotel Becher on Booking.com

Hotel Becher

Hotel Becher is in the heart of Venice, 50 yards from La Fenice Theatre and a 5-minute walk from Saint Mark's Square. Rooms feature period furniture and Murano glass lamps. Some rooms have a private balcony. Canal views are available on request.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Locanda Antico Casin

Just 50 yards from Saint Mark's Square in Venice, Locanda Antico Casin offers air-conditioned rooms set in an 18th-century building. It features a small rooftop terrace where breakfast can be served. Rooms at the Locanda are modern and elegant with contemporary furniture and a flat-screen TV. Each includes a private bathroom complete with hairdryer.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Antica Locanda al Gambero

Antica Locanda al Gambero is just a 2-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. It offers a relaxing roof terrace and classic Venetian-style accommodation. Rooms at the Antica Locanda are complete with a satellite TV and air conditioning. Most rooms have a beautiful view of a classic Venetian canal.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Cannaregio

Winding historical neighbourhood near the centre

Just fifteen minutes’ walk from San Marco but far quieter and cheaper, you won’t get the dramatic sweeping views of San Marco but the area has its own unique charm.

Why stay in Cannaregio

Just fifteen minutes’ walk from San Marco but far quieter and cheaper, you won’t get the dramatic sweeping views of San Marco but the area has its own unique charm.

The winding district is home to over a third of Venice’s residents and it’s an ideal way to combine an authentic slice of Venetian life with easy access to the tourist attractions.

Architecture and history lovers will be right at home here, no less impressive than San Marco, the views here are stunning at street level and the colourful Venetian houses only add to the picture-perfect scene.

If you’re in Venice for a little longer this may be a better choice as there’s easier access to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and everything you’d need to make for a comfortable stay.

It’s a pleasure to walk around Cannaregio, wander in and out of the cafes and souvenir shops, and relax with a drink. There’s plenty to do in the area and one of the major draws is the Jewish Museum located in the Venetian Ghetto, while you’re there try one of the kosher restaurants for some fantastic lunch.

Things to do in Cannaregio

  • Explore the Ca’d’Ora, the 15th-century Venetian palace containing art and statues
  • Visit the Santa Maria dei Miracoli for a peaceful moment
  • Learn about a unique aspect of Venetian history in the Jewish Museum
  • Enjoy the gold frescos at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta constructed in 1729

Where to Stay in Cannaregio

Palazzo della TorreCheck Palazzo della Torre on Booking.com

Palazzo della Torre

Located in Venice, 1.1 miles from Basilica San Marco, Palazzo della Torre offers accommodation with a shared lounge. Rooms have a seating area with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a bath or shower. There is also a kitchen in some of the units equipped with an oven, a microwave, and a toaster.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Anima Veneziana

The Rialto Bridge and the Basilica San Marco are within a few steps and 450 yards from Anima Veneziana. The air-conditioned apartment consists of 1 separate bedroom, 1 bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer, and a living room. The accommodation is equipped with a kitchen with a microwave and a toaster.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Valentina's Home

Valentina's Home offers air-conditioned apartments fitted with 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, and a kitchen. The apartment also features a seating area and 1 bathroom with a bidet.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Castello

Local area with quaint eateries and a laid-back atmosphere

The Castello area is more traditional and less touristy than other parts of Venice. There are many places to enjoy the outstanding Italian cuisine and have a drink or two.

Why stay in Castello

Just east of San Marco and with easy access to Cannaregio, you can enjoy the best of both worlds in this quaint little area. The tourists are outnumbered here and it has primarily remained a local area.

There is an overwhelming amount of luxurious accommodation to be had here and you can walk to the majority of Venice’s attractions or take the boats to nearby islands.

Very much a place overflowing with local pizzerias and tiny cafes, staying here offers an off-the-beaten-track vibe while still being very much in the centre of the city. Choose a gelato and wander the side streets for an authentic experience.

Things to do in Castello

  • Peruse Venetian art at San Zaccaria gallery
  • Admire the architecture and examine the tombs of doges in Santi Giovanni e Paolo
  • Try traditional Italian grandmother made food at Osteria Ai Do Pozzi

Where to Stay in Castello

Hotel ColombinaCheck Hotel Colombina on Booking.com

Hotel Colombina

Just 100 yards from Saint Mark's Square, Hotel Colombina is set in a historic building overlooking the canal of the nearby Bridge of Sighs. The rooms have a traditional Venetian design, with multicoloured marble floors. Each room offers air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV. The rooms on the top floor offer beautiful views including the Palazzo Ducale, and St. Mark's bell tower and dome.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Antigo Trovatore

Located 150 yards behind St Mark’s Square, Hotel Antigo Trovatore offers air conditioned rooms, great water bus connections and is just a few steps from the Zaccaria Vaporetto (Water bus) stop for Santa Lucia Train Station.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Fontana

Family-run Hotel Fontana is a restored 18th-century Venetian house which enjoys a central location in Venice, just behind San Zaccaria square and a a 5-minutes walk from Saint Mark’s square and the Bridge of Sighs. Comfortable rooms overlook the characteristic squares below, some have a private terrace with views of gothic San Zaccaria church.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

San Polo & Santa Croce

Quaint market and shopping area across the water from the centre

Centrally located, both San Polo and Santa Croce are ideal locations to stay in Venice. Access to great food, drink and markets. Most parts of the city is still within walking distance.

Why stay in San Polo & Santa Croce

On the other side of the Rialto Bridge lie these two historic neighbourhoods, Santa Croce just behind San Polo.

Easily accessed on foot, you’re not far from any of the major attractions and people staying in these areas can benefit from easy transport access in to the city.

The rental car park is near here as well and the buses to and from the airport, so staying in these two areas is an easy way to save on the pricey water taxis.

Santa Croce is well suited to budget travellers while not sacrificing an easy walk to the centre of Venice. San Polo is closer to the action and it’s winding streets are lined with street food, fruit and vegetable, and fabric stalls, operating since the 7th century, truly an area that will take you back in time.

Slightly more expensive than the Santa Croce but with an abundance of food and drink choices plus the Rialto Bridge and numerous other tourist attractions right on your doorstep, the area has a lot to offer.

Things to do in San Polo & Santa Croce

  • Take photos on the famous Rialto Bridge
  • Get shots of local life and haggle in the market
  • Visit the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venetian Gothic architecture at its finest
  • Relax with a drink at Campo San Polo, the second largest square in Venice – catch the outdoor cinema here on Summer evenings
  • Marvel at San Giacomo di Rialto, thought to be the oldest church in Venice built in 421 – take pictures of the 15th-century clock above the door
  • Head to San Giacomo dell’Orio, a 9th-century church holding a wealth of history

Where to Stay in San Polo & Santa Croce

Riva del Vin BOUTIQUE HOTELCheck Riva del Vin BOUTIQUE HOTEL on Booking.com

Riva del Vin BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Located in the San Polo district, Riva del Vin BOUTIQUE HOTEL offers rooms with free WiFi in central Venice, 100 yards from Rialto Bridge and a 10-minute walk from St. Mark's Square and Basilica. All air conditioned, rooms are fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV. Some rooms boast views of Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Sogno di Giulietta e Romeo

Il Sogno di Giulietta e Romeo is located in the heart of the San Cassian area. It offers individually decorated rooms with Venetian furnishings, some with views over the nearby square. All rooms at the Giulietta e Romeo are air-conditioned and have a private bathroom, minibar and TV.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel dalla Mora

Boasting a terrace with views of the canal, Hotel dalla Mora is located in the Santa Croce district of Venice, a 3-minute walk from San Nicola da Tolentino Church. Rooms come with wooden furniture, a desk and tiled floors, some feature canal views. They have either a private or a shared external bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Dorsoduro

Bohemian neighboorhood with art and nightlife abound

Just a short walk away from St. Mark’s Square and the centre of Venice this popular area borders San Polo and has a distinct nightlife scene and an overall Bohemian charm.

Why stay in Dorsoduro

Just a short walk away from St. Mark’s Square and the centre of Venice this popular area borders San Polo and has a distinct nightlife scene and an overall Bohemian charm.

It’s also the highest land area in the city so you can enjoy some great views. With two of the most important art museums in the city at your doorstep.

The Guggenheim, the Galleria dell’Accademia a former convent with an iconic yellow facade and a plethora of smaller galleries, craft and art shops.

Dorsoduro is an artsy area that has long drawn in artists, musicians, and students. Due to the nightlife, it’s a popular area for young people to stay in.

Since this is Venice, nightlife involves late night bars, conversation and laid-back clubs rather than an intense drinking scene.

Overall, this is an affordable area close to the major attractions with plenty to do close to good accomodation.

Things to do in Dorsoduro

  • Admire art at Venice’s most famous gallery Accademia
  • Browse prolific artworks and Peggy’s grave at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum
  • Drink your way around Campo Margherita, a hub of restaurants and bars
  • Visit the Ca’ Rezzonico, a beautiful Baroque building and home to the Museum of Venetian

Where to Stay in Dorsoduro

Hotel Nani Mocenigo PalaceCheck Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace on Booking.com

Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace

Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace is located just 1,000 yards from La Fenice. Rooms are all air-conditioned and come with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Free toiletries are provided. Some rooms also feature a terrace.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Agli Alboretti

Just 50 yards from the Accademia and a 4-minute walk from the Guggenheim Museum, the Alboretti is located in Venice’s Dorsoduro quarter. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and LCD TV. The Hotel Agli Alboretti’s rooms have large windows, a tea/coffee maker and a private bathroom with cosy slippers.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Pensione Seguso

Affordable accommodation in the heart of Venice; Pensione Seguso is just 200 yards from a Vaporetto (water bus) stop. You can walk to Accademia Bridge in 5 minutes. Most of the rooms at Seguso feature a beautiful view across the canal.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Giudecca

Local island in the Venetian Lagoon with gorgeous views of San Marco

Large island, South of the old town, Giudecca is less touristy and usually more peaceful than the centre. It is most recommended for returning visitors who want to explore Venice lesser known areas.

Why stay in Giudecca

A truly local place to stay with breath-taking views across the water to San Marco.

If you’re looking to take unbeatable photos of Venice then this separate island situated in the Venetian Lagoon is what dreams are made of.

The island isn’t connected by bridges to the city but there’s plenty of transport by water. The advantage of this is that very few tourists stay here and it feels like your own little slice of untouched paradise.

Ideal for people who’ve stayed in Venice before and want to enjoy the slow pace of life with incredible sunsets over the city.

Giudecca is full of local eateries, quaint shops, and local attractions like neo-gothic houses, and churches that are nothing short of masterpieces.

Things to do in Giudecca

  • Head to San Giorgio Maggiore, a stunning 16th-century church overlooking one of the best views of Venice
  • Take pictures of Casa dei Tre Ochi, the gorgeous Gothic home of 20th -century artists Mario de Maria
  • Explore history at Il Redentore Church, a Renaissance masterpiece commissioned after the great plague
  • Enjoy a cocktail at Skyline Rooftop Bar for incredible sunsets and views of Venice

Where to Stay in Giudecca

Bauer Palladio Hotel & SpaCheck Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa on Booking.com

Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa

Facing St. Mark's Basin, this 5-star hotel offers a large spa and an exclusive location in a 16th-century convent on Giudecca Island. A free shuttle connects to Venice's historic centre. Bauer Palladio Hotel and Spa features spacious rooms with air conditioning and historic décor including tapestries, fabrics and paintings. Some rooms have lagoon or garden views.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Set on the peaceful banks of Giudecca Island, the Hilton Molino Stucky is a former flour mill refurbished to become a unique hotel. This Venetian masterpiece features a rooftop swimming pool and the largest spa in town.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Giudecca Venezia

Set on the peaceful island of Giudecca, Hotel Giudecca Venezia offers spacious, elegant rooms with wood-beamed ceilings. Saint Mark’s Square is just 10 minutes away by public transport. The property's air-conditioned rooms come with TV and minibar. Each room has a private bathroom including slippers and hairdryer. Many rooms offer views of Palada Canal.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Lido di Venezia

An upmarket beach stay with easy access to the centre

Away from the busy centre of Venice, Lido di Venezia is a standalone island with a lovely beach and laid-back lifestyle.

Why stay in Lido di Venezia

If you’re looking to escape most of the intense tourism that Venice inevitably gets, then this is the place to stay.

A separate island and home to 20,000 people, the iconic six mile long stretch of beach offers a calm and laid-back getaway and is a true contrast to the bustling atmosphere, canals, and streets of Venice.

Perfect for people who love walking, chic cafes with views of the sea, and cocktail bars. There’s also an abundance of glass blowing workshops, something Venice is well-known for, and souvenir stores for some unique glass takeaways.

Generally catering to high-end travellers though with mid-range options on offer for those who are after a slice of tranquillity.

Alternatively, if you’ve been to Venice before and would like something a little different, this is a perfect choice. Far from being cut off, it takes just a few minutes by water bus to get to San Marco and the centre of Venice.

Things to do in Lido di Venezia

  • Visit the Monastery of San Nicolo al Lido
  • Stroll the Malamocco canal
  • Catch the Venice Film Festival here in September

Where to Stay in Lido di Venezia

Hotel BiasuttiCheck Hotel Biasutti on Booking.com

Hotel Biasutti

Hotel Biasutti is set in a Venetian villa located a 5-minute walk from the sandy beaches of Venice Lido. It serves a varied breakfast buffet in its outdoor patio. Rooms are decorated with classic-style furniture and either carpeted or wood floors. Facilities include free Wi-Fi access, air conditioning and a minibar. Some rooms have a spa bath.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Villa Pannonia

Villa Pannonia is in Venice-Lido, 500 yards from the Vaporetto (water bus) stop to St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The villa stands out for its red façade and modern interiors. Rooms are spacious and air-conditioned. They feature a TV, a minibar and a large bathroom with shower and luxury toiletries.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel New Reiter

Hotel New Reiter enjoys a central position in Venice - Lido, 200 yards from the ferry stop. St. Mark's Square is just a 10-minute boat ride away and boats leave every 10 minutes, 24/7. Featuring a garden, a children's playground, a restaurant and a bar. Every room at the New Reiter is fitted with a desk and a private bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mestre

Budget location on the outskirts of Venice with an abundance of shopping

Mestre is the part of Venice which can be found on the mainland. It’s awesome for budget travellers who don’t mind getting public transport into the city every day.

Why stay in Mestre

The ultimate budget location in Venice, outside of the city on the Italian mainland. It’s about a 30minutes train or bus journey into the city or a 15minutes drive (there’s also plenty of parking in the area).

It’s ideal if you aren’t short on time and would like to keep things as cheap as possible. If you’re visiting Venice during a festival, like the Carnival of Venice, this area is a great option since accommodation in the city sells out quickly and the prices are even higher than usual.

There’s not much else to do in the area aside from some major shopping options but it’s easily the best way to enjoy an affordable trip to Venice.

Things to do in Mestre

  • Shop for designer clothing or enjoy Italian food on the Piazza Ferretto
  • Head to the Centro Le Barche mall on the Piazzetta Coin for some retail therapy
  • Relax in the park and enjoy a view of Venice at Parco San Giuliano

Where to Stay in Mestre

Hotel AaronCheck Hotel Aaron on Booking.com

Hotel Aaron

Ideally located 200 yards from Mestre Station, Hotel Aaron offers modern accommodation and a friendly atmosphere. Reach Venice in 8 minutes by train or 12 minutes by bus. Rooms feature free Wi-Fi, an LCD TV, air conditioning, a fridge and a bathroom with a bath or a shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Ca' dei Barcaroli

All rooms at Hotel Ca' dei Barcaroli are spacious and soundproofed and come with a private bathroom with bath or shower. They are equipped with flat-screen satellite TV, and Wi-Fi access. Italian-style breakfast is served. Venice is a 15-minute bus ride away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Vivit

Hotel Al Vivit is located in the famous Piazza Ferretto, a sociable spot in the pedestrian centre of Mestre. Set in a renovated early 18th-century building, Hotel Al Vivit is a modern establishment with a comfortable, cosy, familiar atmosphere. Shops, restaurants, bars and theatres are all within easy reach.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Responses

A
Ava Mac
09 Apr 2019

Such an amazing article, i visited your blog first time and now i bookmarked it :) because your many articles are very informative for me even for us. Thank you for sharing

C
Cory
10 Apr 2019

Thank you so much Ava, you are very kind xx