Where to stay in Venice – the best (and worst) areas in Venice

Venice is a magical city, filled with cobbled streets, canals, and breathtaking architecture. With its unique culture and romantic atmosphere, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

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But when it comes to choosing where to stay in Venice, it can be a little overwhelming, with so many options to choose from.

This guide will help you make an informed decision and pick the perfect accommodation and the best place to stay in Venice.

Short on time?
These are the best accommodations in Venice:

Luxury | The Gritti Palace

Upscale | Baglioni Hotel Luna

Moderate | Palazzo Pianca

Affordable | Doge’s Home

Entire home | San Marco Suite 755

What to Consider When Choosing Where to Stay in Venice

When choosing where to stay in Venice, there are several key considerations to make. The best place to stay in Venice will depend on your budget, the type of accommodation you’re looking for, and the area of the city you want to explore. In addition, there are some specifics you need to be aware of when choosing your stay in Venice.

Type of Accommodation and Budget

Set a budget and consider the type of accommodation you’d like. From luxury hotels to budget hostels, there’s something for every budget. Do you want to stay in a traditional Venetian guest house, or would you prefer a modern hotel with all the amenities?

Travel style and itinerary

From the vibrant San Marco district to the laid-back Cannaregio, there are a variety of neighborhoods to choose from so think about your travel style.

Do you want to be close to the action, or would you prefer a more peaceful area? Each sestiere offers a unique atmosphere and attractions, so it’s important to decide what you want to visit before making a decision.

Accessibility

Accessibility is a major factor when choosing where to stay in Venice. There is no land transport in Venice and the boats can only get you so far. Most bridges over canals have at least a few stairs and the majority of the old buildings have narrow and steep staircases and no elevators.

If you have mobility issues or travel with loads of luggage make sure to pick an accommodation with a private water taxi stop or that offers luggage service.

Tourist tax

Venice implemented a daily tourist tax for day visitors starting in January 2023. However, overnight visitors have been subject to a tourist tax per night for quite some time, and this policy remains unchanged.

If you plan to spend the night in Venice, this tax will be included in your accommodation cost, so there’s no need to purchase a separate ‘ticket’. If you’re considering saving on accommodation by staying outside of Venice, remember to factor in this additional cost.

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Where to stay in Venice – best (and worst) areas and suburbs

Venice is divided into six sestieri (districts), and each one has its own unique charm, from the quaint streets of Cannaregio to the bustling San Marco.

Moreover, Venice is home to numerous islands, 62 islands to be exact. While you may already know about Murano and Burano, there are other islands that attract visitors, such as Torcello, Giudecca (which is officially part of the Dorsoduro district), and Lido di Venezia.

Keep in mind that if you decide to stay on any of the islands, while saving on accommodation costs, you’ll have to pay for the vaporetto to town.

Some suggest you stay on the mainland, for example in Meste, if you’re looking to save some money on accommodation. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to cover the cost of the train and the daily tourist fee to access Venice.

Before making a booking, ensure you calculate the costs of transportation and tourist fees, and consider the time spent on the road. Often, the savings on accommodation are not worth the additional expenses and wasted time.

Best areas to stay in Venice

When choosing your accommodation in Venice consider the sights you’d like to see and the atmosphere you’d like to experience, and then decide which area is right for you.

Here’s a breakdown of the best areas to stay in Venice:

San Marco is the oldest and most central sestiere packed with the main Venice attractions. Staying here means you’ll be close to everything but you’ll also have to pay a premium for it.

San Polo is also fairly central and gives you easy access to most sights in Venice, with some highlights located in San Polo itself.

Dorsoduro is a more laid-back area where the University is. Here you’ll find the liveliest bars and the prices are slightly lower than in San Marco.

Cannaregio is also a more laid-back area and it’s where the locals live. It is home to a ton of osterias and bacaros.

Less recommended areas in and around Venice:

Castello is the least touristic part of Venice. The Biennale occupies a significant portion of the sestiere, coexisting with the local community that calls this area home.

Santa Croce doesn’t quite capture the essence of Venice. But this is the only sestiere accessible by car and where the Port of Venice is located so it’s a good option if you’re in transit.

Giudecca is technically a part of Dorsoduro, but it stands as a separate island accessible solely by water. Known for its affordability, Giudecca attracts a vibrant community of artists and students who call it home.

Lido is a popular beach escape from Venice and is great in summer. It’s a bit far from the city center but you can reach it by vaporetto.

Murano, a charming little island just a boat ride away from Venice, is renowned for its exquisite Murano glass. It attracts many visitors as a popular day trip destination. However, it’s important to note that accommodation options on the island are limited.

Burano, another charming small island, is a popular day trip by boat from Venice. The vibrant facades here add a splash of color to the surroundings, creating an atmosphere that is both cozy and inviting. However, it’s worth noting that accommodation options on the island are limited.

Mestre, located on the mainland, serves as the gateway between Venice and mainland Italy, providing convenient access to both the city and other destinations in Northern Italy. Accommodation options in Mestre are notably more budget-friendly.

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The best accommodation in Venice

Below you’ll find a curated list of the best hotels and apartments in each area of Venice.

San Marco – best for first-time stays and sightseeing

For many, the best area to stay in Venice will be the central San Marco district.

Named after the city’s patron St. Mark, San Marco is at the heart of Venice and home to the majority of the iconic landmarks, despite its small size. Its crown jewel is undoubtedly St. Mark’s Square, a grandiose, open square framed by the ornate façades of the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.

This is the oldest sestiere and with age come grandeur, incredible architecture and culture. Beyond these iconic landmarks, San Marco district offers much more. The area is filled with luxurious resorts, romantic boutique hotels and truly unique experiences.

While it can get incredibly busy and rather expensive, San Marco is the best area to base yourself in if you’d like easy access to all the sights and the ultimate Venetian holiday.

Best hotels in San Marco

Luxury | The Gritti Palace

The Gritti Palace is a luxurious hotel renowned for its remarkable Venetian-style decor, exceptional service, and breathtaking views of the Grand Canal.

Upscale | Baglioni Hotel Luna

Baglioni Hotel Luna offers a refined and elegant stay, featuring sophisticated rooms and an unforgettable view of the San Marco Basin.

Moderate | Palazzo Pianca

Palazzo Pianca is an exquisite hotel that marries traditional Venetian charm with modern amenities, providing convenient access to the area’s major attractions.

Affordable | Rosa Salva Hotel

Rosa Salva Hotel offers comfortable and affordable accommodation with a great location, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers looking for great value for money.

Best holiday homes and apartments in San Marco

Luxury | Venice is a Fish

Venice is a Fish is a 4 bedroom rental apartment located in the heart of San Marco with spacious and stylish interiors perfect for a group of friends.

Upscale | San Marco Suite 755

San Marco Suite 755 is a luxuriously appointed apartment with modern amenities and stylish interiors, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a blend of comfort and convenience.

Moderate | Lagoon Apartment

Lagoon Apartments offers a centrally located, clean, and spacious abode. It is beautifully decorated and comfortable.

Affordable | Testa d’Oro

Testa d’Oro is a stylish and comfortable 2-bedroom apartment that offers all the comforts and amenities you could need for an unforgettable stay in the heart of Venice.

venice rialto - Venice, Veneto

San Polo – a quieter alternative to San Marco

San Polo, located adjacent to San Marco, is often seen as a quieter, more tranquil alternative to its bustling neighbor. This district is famous for its vibrant Rialto Market, the oldest bridge in Venice – the Rialto Bridge, and a number of charming, narrow alleys filled with local shops and eateries.

With a wealth of historic sites and attractions, including the grand Gothic-style Church of San Polo and the Scuola Grande Di San Rocco, San Polo is an excellent choice for those seeking a more authentic, less touristy Venetian experience. Despite being the smallest sestiere, it is densely packed with hidden gems and surprises waiting to be discovered.

Moreover, the accommodation choices here are diverse and cater to different budgets, making it a great base for explorers, food lovers, and history buffs alike. In this area, apartments are more common than hotels.

Best hotels in San Polo

Luxury | H10 Palazzo Canova

The H10 Palazzo Canova is a magnificent 4-star art deco hotel situated in a preserved 19th-century palazzo, providing exceptional views of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge.

Upscale | Hotel L’Orologio

Hotel L’Orologio presents a modern take on Venetian lodging with its stylish, contemporary decor and a prime location overlooking the Grand Canal.

Moderate | Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel

Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel, conveniently located next to the iconic Rialto, offers stunning views of the Grand Canal. Having undergone recent renovations, this hotel presents a fresh, modern approach to Venetian lodging, all while maintaining incredible value for money.

Affordable | Ca’ Angeli

Ca’ Angeli is a delightful bed and breakfast and guest house situated alongside the Grand Canal. It is an affordable yet convenient accommodation choice with incredible views.

Best holiday homes and apartments in San Polo

Luxury | Rialto Terrace on the Grand Canal

Rialto Terrace on the Grand Canal is a stunning penthouse apartment overlooking the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge.

Upscale | Ca’ della Scimmia

Gorgeous newly renovated apartments of various sizes but all with a touch of jungle and plenty of monkeys to make your stay fun and enjoyable. Jokes apart, this flat really is comfortable, comes with perks and is in a great location.

Moderate | Polo’s Treasures

Polo’s Treasures is a beautifully decorated apartment exuding an air of elegance with its high ceilings, wooden beams, and large windows that flood the space with natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable environment for its guests.

Affordable | Doge’s Home

Doge’s Home is a charming 2-bedroom apartment with a spacious living room and well equipped kitchen.

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Dorsoduro – best for lively bars and restaurants

Dorsoduro is located across the Academia bridge, south of San Marco. It’s an area full of vibrancy and life, dotted with a plethora of lively bars, cafes, and restaurants. Dorsoduro is where the University of Venice is located and it is very popular among students. This sestiere s a cool and artsy, and caters well to a younger crowd.

This district is renowned for its vibrant arts scene and is home to Venice’s most significant art galleries, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Galleria dell’Accademia. Here you’ll also find the iconic Church of St. Maria della Salute where you can climb the cupola for a breathtaking view!

If you’re seeking a neighborhood with a casual vibe and a vibrant bar scene, Dorsoduro is the ideal destination for you. Here, you’ll find a plethora of chic and fashionable accommodation choices. Opt for accommodation near the Academia bridge for easy access to San Marco, or take a traghetto across the Grand Canal.

Best holiday homes and apartments in Dorsoduro

Upscale | Ca’ Romantica Terrace

Moderate | Guggenheim Luxury Suites By Bricola Apartments

Moderate | “Ea casa de mì”, l’incanto di vivere Venezia

Affordable | Ca Grimani

Cannaregio – best for an authentic Italian experience

Cannaregio, one of the largest sestieres in Venice, is primarily inhabited by Venetians. Throughout history, this district has been a haven for renowned artists who have left their mark on the city.

In Cannaregio you’ll also find the first ghetto, The Ghetto Ebraico, which was the mandated residence for Jews during the era of the Venetian Republic, known as La Serenissima. This secluded neighborhood was accessible only through two gates and guarded at night, preventing Jews from venturing into other areas of the city.

Choosing to stay in Cannaregio offers a unique chance to explore Venice from a fresh perspective and connect with the locals. In this charming district, you’ll come across a variety of authentic Venetian-style eateries that primarily cater to the local community.

There are accommodation options to fit every budget here. The area of Cannaregio adjacent to San Marco is an excellent choice for your stay, offering close proximity to the city center. This is also where you’ll discover some of the most luxurious hotels. Opting for accommodations further out in Cannaregio may be less convenient.

Best hotels and guest houses in Cannaregio

Luxury | Ca’ Bonfadini Historic Experience

Upscale | Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice

Moderate | Carnival Palace – Venice Collection

Moderate | Hotel Giorgione

Affordable | CàPatron

Best holiday homes and apartments in Cannaregio

Luxury | Casin dei Spiriti

Upscale | LOVERSINITALY Romantic Apartments

Moderate | Ca’ Berto Apartment

Affordable | Good Wine Apartments

Castello – a quiet escape and the Biennale

Castello is the largest sestiere in Venice but a big chunk of it is taken up by The Arsenale. This is a large shipyard that serves as grounds for the Biennale di Venezia. If you like contemporary art, architecture, music, and theatre, this event is a must-visit.

Additionally, Castello boasts attractions such as the Nautical Museum and the famous Libreria Aqua Alta, which has gained popularity on Instagram.

The area of Castello nearest to San Marco is often crowded because of its proximity to the main attractions. However, as you explore further, it transforms into a serene and genuine neighborhood, providing a delightful retreat from the busy streets of Venice.

Best hotels and guest houses in Castello

Luxury | Londra Palace Venezia

Upscale | Liassidi Wellness Suites

Moderate | Aqua Palace

Affordable | Porta da mar

Best holiday homes and apartments in Castello

Luxury | Bacino San Marco Exclusive View R&R

Upscale | Lion Palace – San Marco R&R

Moderate | Design District Apartment R&R

Affordable | Ca’ Braga Biennale

venice santa croce - Venice, Veneto
Vieew of the Grand Canal from the glass bridge across the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy on 27 November 2018

Santa Croce – best for transit

Santa Croce is the connection point between Venice and the mainland. This is the only sestiere accessible by car and a large part of it is just a massive car park.

Then there’s the bus station and the port. While the Santa Lucia train station is technically located in Cannaregio, crossing the bridge right in front of the station will get you straight into Santa Croce.

So yes, Santa Croce is primarily a transportation hub and I have to be honest, I probably wouldn’t want to stay in Santa Croce, unless I had an early bus, cruise ship or train to catch. The exception would be the few blocks surrounding San Polo which are actually quite nice and central.

Best hotels and guest houses in Santa Croce

Luxury | Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel

Upscale | Cinqueteste Luxury Home

Moderate | Hotel Santa Chiara

Affordable | Ca’ Riza

Best holiday homes and apartments in Santa Croce

Upscale | Residence 8 Loft

Moderate | Residence Poli Venezia

Affordable | Corte del Tintor Apartments

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Giudecca – best for a different view

Part of the Dorsoduro sestiere, Giudecca comprises eight small islands connected by bridges and accessible only by boat from Venice. This charming retreat offers more affordable accommodations and a serene atmosphere.

Giudecca is a haven for art enthusiasts, with its abundance of art studios and galleries, as well as its unassuming bars and eateries. Additionally, while not physically connected by a bridge, the stunning island of San Giorgio Maggiore is also considered part of Giudecca.

Best accommodation in Giudecca

Luxury | Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Upscale | Ca San Biagio

Moderate | Lagoon Secret Venice

Affordable | Blue Lagoon

lido di venezia - Venice, Veneto

Lido – a beach escape

Lido di Venezia is a slender island boasting a gorgeous sandy beach, a pristine natural reserve, and breathtaking Art Deco architecture. Accessible by boat from Venice, it offers a splendid alternative for those seeking a touch of tranquility and proximity to nature during their Venetian holiday.

Best accommodation in Lido

Luxury | Villa Marina

Moderate | Hotel Rivamare

Affordable | B&B Villa Ines

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Murano Island – a quiet escape and crafts

Just a short vaporetto ride away, Murano is a small and charming island known for Murano glass which is celebrated worldwide for its unparalleled quality and craftsmanship.

The island is quaint and serene. While daytime sees an influx of tourists visiting the glass factory, evenings on Murano are tranquil. There is no nightlife, but the family-run trattorias provide dinner options to satisfy your appetite.

Best accommodation in Murano

Luxury | Hyatt Centric Murano Venice

Upscale | Murano Suites Boutique Apartments

Moderate | NH Collection Murano Villa

Affordable | Casa dei Nonni

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Burano – an even quieter escape

Burano, located a bit further away from Murano, is another highly sought-after day trip destination from Venice. This picturesque island is renowned for its vibrant facades and charming lace artisan shops. However, it is super quiet and as a result, options for accommodation and dining are relatively scarce.

Best accommodation in Burano

Luxury | Alla Torre 735

Moderate | Venissa Wine Resort

Moderate | Night Galleria – bed & art

Mestre – on the mainland

Although Mestre is a pleasant town, it can’t quite compete with the grandeur of Venice. But Mestre does have the advantage of affordable accommodations, excellent train connections, and a lack of crowds.

However, be cautious when choosing to stay here as it is time-consuming to get into Venice and you’ll have to pay for transport and the daily tourist fee.

Best accommodation in Mestre

Upscale | Hotel Villa Barbarich Venice Mestre

Upscale | Hotel Plaza

Moderate | B&B Colombo

Affordable | Chiara – Lodge

FAQ

Is it better to stay on Venice Island or Mainland?

Venice Island is the better choice if you want to be close to all the sights and attractions. Mainland offers more budget-friendly accommodation options with easy access to nearby day trip destinations but can get pricy once you account for transport into Venice and the Tourist fee.

What time of year is best to visit Venice?

The best time to visit Venice is generally in the spring or fall, when temperatures are mild and crowds are smaller. Summer months can be hot, humid, and overcrowded. Winters can be cold and wet, but Venice in winter also has its own appeal with plenty of celebrations including the Venice Carnevale.

What is the most touristy part of Venice?

The most touristy parts of Venice are San Marco and San Polo near the Rialto Bridge. These areas tend to be crowded with visitors, particularly in the peak months of summer. If you’re looking for a more authentic Italian experience, consider staying in neighborhoods like Cannaregio or Dorsoduro, where local culture is still alive and well.

Where do celebrities stay in Venice?

The most popular celebrity-approved accommodation options in Venice include the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Hotel Excelsior, The Gritti Palace and San Clemente Palace Kempinski. These luxurious hotels offer top-notch service and amenities.

Where not to stay in Venice?

It’s best to stay away from areas like Santa Croce and Mestre, which are often noisy due to the nearby train station. It’s better to opt for neighborhoods that are more central or tucked away in a quieter part of the city.

How to stay in Venice for cheap?

The best way to stay in Venice on a budget is to rent an apartment outside the main touristic areas and save by cooking your own meals.

How long to stay in Venice?

Venice can be explored in about three days, allowing for a good balance of sightseeing and leisure activities. However, if you are in a time crunch, you can still get a good feel for the city and see the main attractions in just one jam-packed day.

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