Where to stay in Venice, Italy – 12 hotels by district
Venice is one of the most touristic cities in the whole world and, unfortunately, is also quite famous for being expensive. Besides, the central part of the city, where you can find the islands, is a labyrinth where the cars do not enter. Thus, it is important to think about more aspects than just the price and understanding the city map before choosing your hotel can be a good idea. After all, you might need to carry your suitcase through many streets and bridges before arriving at the place your staying in. Not to mention that the center public transport uses boats (Vaporettos) and is one of the most expensive systems in the entire world – each trip will cost you 7 euros.
Now, let’s explain the best approach to staying in Venice. Before anything else, let’s study the city map?
For starters, have you noticed that Venice isn’t only constituted by islands and canals, right? A big part of the city is on the mainland. The thing is that all that upper area is a part of the Comune di Veneza. In other words, basically, it is a part of the metropolitan region of Venice.
On the map above, the blue part represents the Venice Island + Murano and Burano (two islands that are a little bit distant). That’s where you will find most of the touristic attractions. The red part represents the city coastline, where the cities of Lido and Pellestrina are located. Finally, the areas from 3 to 6 are the Continental Venice, where most of the population stays, and they include cities such as Mestre and Campalto, besides Marco Polo Airport, in Tessera, and the port area, in Marghera.
Once you understand this, you will still need to look at another map. The Island of Venice is divided in six neighborhoods, called sestieri. Those are: Cannaregio (purple), Castello (blue), Dorsoduro – which includes the island of Giudecca (yellow), San Marco (dark green), San Polo (light green) and Santa Croce (red).
After all, where should you stay in Venice?
In Cannaregio you will find the Santa Lucia train station and the connection from the islands to the mainland, through the Ponte della Libertà. If you are travelling by train, that’s where you will arrive in Venice. This area has less tourists e more Venice citizens. It is not the most charming area of Venice but it isn’t ugly either. Besides, the prices are better there than in any other sestieri.
As the name suggests, this is the sestieri where the San Marco Piazza and Basilic are located, and also the Ponte Rialto. This means that the most visited touristic points of Venice are in this area. Here you will also find many restaurants, tourists, hotels, gondolier, and everything else. That’s what you will find in San Marco. Since nearly every sign is pointing towards Rialto and San Marco, it is harder to get lost. Yet, that comes with a price: the area has the most expensive hotels in the whole city, but don’t be afraid: you can find an accommodation option there paying around 50 euros for a double bedroom – during the low season, of course. During the high season, the prices are two or three times higher.
Jtesla16, Wikimedia Commons
Castello and San Marco are neighbor areas, and this is the most eastern sestieri of the island. There, huge crowds are less frequent, despite the fact that there are many parks in the area and that the Venice Biennal happens there. That area has many sophisticated hotels, so you should go there if you want to find peace and beauty but you will need money to afford it. For those who can’t afford it, there are cheaper options in hostels and Bed and Breakfasts. Remember that Castello is a little bit far away from the center, so you will have to walk a lot to get there.
This is the smallest sestieri and here you will find the city market, north from the Ponte Rialto. It is also one of the oldest parts of the city: its history goes back to 1097. This are is always crowded with tourists, good restaurants and more inexpensive hotels, right in the city center.
Santa Croce is one of Venice gateways. In this are you will find the Piazzale Roma, the bus station. In other words, that is the station where the buses coming from Mestre and the surroundings arrive, and it is also the place where you can catch a shutter to the airport. This area is not very touristic but it still is beautiful. The landscape includes churches and open fields, such as the Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, a very pleasant square where the elderly read the newspaper and to share some time. The prices in Santa Croce are reasonable.
Dorsoduro is the most beautiful area of Venice, at least in my opinion. In this are you will find the Ponte Dell’Accademia, the museum with the same name and also the Peggy Guggenheim. The little streets that resemble a labyrinth and the canals of the area are very charming and pleasant for those who want to get lost. The prices there are a little bit more expensive but if I had to choose one of the six areas to pay a little bit more, I would certainly choose Dorsoduro and its charm.
Mestre and the surroundings
Choosing to stay outside the islands is a decision made in the name of economy but it still is a good choice. In fact, Mestre, Campalto and Favaro Veneto are in the mainland, in Comune di Veneza, and have great hotel options and a public transport system that is directly connected with the islands. You will pay 1,30 euros and in 20 minutes, maximum, you will be in the Piazzale Roma. I stayed there, at the Mercure Veneza Marghera, a four stars hotel with fair prices!
Furthermore, if you stay in those cities, you will have more options regarding supermarkets and restaurants, which are more affordable. The negative side is that you won’t have the traditional sight of Venice from you window. On the other hand, you can spend the entire day wandering aimlessly through the labyrinths and return to the hotel late at night, since the buses operate from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m..
Where to stay in Venice: campings and hostels
If you really want to save some money, staying at a shared bedroom in a hostel or in a camping place can be a good idea. Check the available options for that kind of accommodation in Venice and its surroundings. We stayed at Camping Rialto, in Campalto. In that camping there were cottages, which means that you don’t need to travel with your tent and all the associated items to stay there.