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Where To Stay in Venice: 11 Best Areas & Places

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Buongiorno, travelers! Welcome to beautiful, historic Venice—always a favorite for travelers, and for many a good reason. Here, you’ll find everything you’ve dreamed of, from canals to gondolas to ethereal blown glass; isn’t it only natural that this city would be one of Italy’s most popular places to visit? We sure think so.

Its picturesque views, proximity to the Adriatic Sea, and colorful history make it clear why the city is a major tourist attraction. Pick up a Venice transportation pass and soon you’ll be off exploring the city.

With so many things to do in Venice scattered all around the city, how do you settle on where to stay? Is it possible to choose between its best boutique hotel and a vacation stay?

Not to worry, voyagers: we have the answer to that. If you’re looking for a place to kick back and relax overnight, you’ve come to just the right place.

Below, we go in-depth about everything you can expect from staying in the Venice area. We’ll explore the Grand Canal, visit Piazza San Marco, cross Rialto Bridge, and start you on a journey to make memories to last a lifetime. Read on to learn about Venice, Italy’s best hotels and must-dos!

TL;DR: Places to Stay in Venice

Hotel Name Location Price Range Amenities
Hotel Donà Palace San Marco $$$ An unforgettable experience with timeless design, delicious breakfast, a bar, and cots available for children.
Madama Garden Retreat Cannaregio $$$-$$$$ A truly special experiential hotel with a secret walled garden, breakfast, and stunning interior design in a calm location.
NH Venezia Rio Novo Dorsoduro $$-$$$ Stylish, modernist stay that’s pet-friendly, has its own garden, and also has its own bar.
Hotel Nuovo Teson Castello $$$ A historic building with modern design, this hotel boasts good breakfast, a bar, and proximity to the Venice Biennale art show.
Locanda Sant’Agostin San Polo $$-$$$ A family-friendly hotel that maintains its beauty. Offers a buffet breakfast, air conditioning, as well as an optimal location.
Canal Grande Santa Croce $$$ Stunningly gorgeous hotel that boasts “superb” breakfast, facilities for disabled guests, a terrace with a water view, and more.
Maison Boutique Al Redentore Giudecca $$$ A beautiful hotel in a relaxed location. Offers access to a fitness center, delicious breakfast, and even a spa in the king suite.

Areas to Stay in Venice

  • For first-timers/tourists – San Marco Square
  • For budget travelers – Cannaregio
  • For luxury travelers – Castello
  • For families – San Polo district
  • For long stays – Cannaregio

Where to Stay in Venice, Italy

Aerial view of Venice Cityscape
golovianko / Adobe Stock

Most people visiting Venice will likely arrive via the Santa Lucia train or bus station. After that, plenty of sights are within walking distance of everything you want to see, from Campo San Polo to Piazzale Roma. Since exploring history is part of why we’re here, a central location will best benefit travelers like you.

Of course, we cover our bases—not only do we go over the best places to stay in Venice for first-timers, but we address their proximity to all the main attractions, the main train station, and some.

1. Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco's Basilica San Marco and the Clocktower in Venice, Italy
AlexAnton / Adobe Stock

When you’re setting foot on mainland Venice, Italy, for the first time, you want it to be memorable. That’s easy, given how stunning San Marco is.

Picture this: You step out into San Marco Square. You’ll need days to peruse before you are surrounded by countless architectural wonders, tour guides offering gondola rides, and a litany of major attractions. How does that sound?

Dating back to the ninth century, Piazza San Marco is a pillar of central Venice. It’s been a hub for centuries and was even dubbed “the world’s most beautiful drawing room” by Napoleon. Countless attractions abut its paved streets, such as Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Museo Correr, the Campanile, and St. Mark’s clocktower.

As any other historically significant place might, there are rules in Piazza San Marco. First, there’s no eating or drinking in the square; second, there’s no littering or feeding the pigeons. Keep this in mind!

Suppose you’re staying in or near Piazza San Marco (or Saint Mark’s Square). In that case, you’re in a perfectly convenient location: the city center. Being just a short walk from almost everything you’re there to see means you’ll knock it all out in no time; all the above attractions are easily accessible, as well as proximity to the famous Rialto Bridge, the Venetian Lagoon, and other famed Venice neighborhoods.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in San Marco

The San Marco area is definitely one of the best to stay in, although it might be pricey for hotels. Still, there are hidden gems to be found—and we’ll dig them up.

From off-season hotel deals to a luxury stay with private marble bathrooms, there’s plenty to please. Check out which Venice accommodation suits you:

See Related: Incredible Reasons to Visit Italy This Year

2. Cannaregio

Sunset canal view in Cannaregio, Venice, Italy
Kavalenkava / Adobe Stock

For all the busy bees, Cannaregio is the buzzing hub you’re looking for. A bustling center for travelers and locals alike, this area is one of Venice’s best places to stay.

Located in the northern part of the city, it’s not that far of a walk from Saint Mark’s Square—fifteen minutes, give or take. Head northward, and you’ll find an incredible array of souvenir shops, tourist-centric locales, and even a few Venetian curiosities exclusive to Cannaregio.

One of these is Calle Varisco, the narrowest street in Venice. This minuscule street winds past Campo San Canciano and Campiello della Madonna, whose width clocks in at a remarkable total of 20 inches (53 centimeters). This is the thinnest part of the road if it can be called that!

For the most part, Cannaregio is known for Strada Nuova and its collection of tourist shops, as well as little wonders like Calle Varisco. However, it also showcases something unique—something of major historical significance to the region: the Venetian Jewish Ghetto.

Instituted in 1516 by the decree of a Venetian Doge, the Jewish Ghetto is an important part of Venice’s history. Historically, Jewish people were relegated to this area of the city to segregate them.

At the time, less than 1,000 Jews were living in Venice, most of whom were merchants. The Ghetto later made waves following Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” which, if we’re honest, is also pretty antisemitic.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Cannaregio

When it comes to Venice hotels, there’s definitely variety to be found. What makes Cannaregio special, though, is how reasonably priced and conveniently located its hotels are.

When you’re staying here, you’ll be surrounded by a flurry of activity, including markets and historical sites. You’ve heard of window shopping; now get ready to shop through your window!

See Related: Poveglia: The Truth Behind The Most Haunted Island in Italy

3. Dorsoduro

Canal view from Dorsoduro in Venice
radko68 / Adobe Stock

A haven for students and young people of all backgrounds, Dorsoduro is Venice’s famed university district. It harbors a vast student population, boasts fewer tourists (more than likely because of the latter), and tends to be less expensive as a result. Late-night bars and clubs are common here; if you’re looking to go out, this is where you’re likely to be.

While there is plenty to be found in Dorsoduro regarding nightlife, that’s certainly not the only available option. There are a variety of venues for shopping and dining, and this area is renowned for the arts; its plentiful museums reflect this. Some of the most interesting ones you’ll find include Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and also what was once the church of San Sebastiano.

San Sebastiano, a 16th-century Roman Catholic structure, was converted into a church in 1468. It stands today as one of the great “plague churches” of Venice. This concept was developed to ward off pestilence in Europe, or they respected a specific saint who labored against the plague.

You can also top off a night in Dorsoduro by walking along the canal, enjoying aperitivo (Italy’s happy hour), or visiting some other locales famed for their Medieval prominence.

Other activities you might enjoy nearby include the following:

Where to Stay in Dorsoduro

Staying in Dorsoduro is likely to be more reasonable than in other parts of the city, thanks to its student populace. Still, the specific location of your hotel might have different results.

Whether you’re in search of a view of the Grand Canal, hoping for closer proximity to San Marco Square, or are just in search of the best hotels, we’ve got options for you:

See Related: Things to Do in Milan, Italy

4. Castello

Rialto Bridge and Gondola ride in Venice, Italy
Ekaterina Belova / Adobe Stock

When it comes to atmosphere, nowhere is doing it like Castello. This may be because it’s the largest neighborhood in Venice, stretching from the western city center to the Arsenale in the east… or maybe it’s because it’s still a quiet place to be, so you can relax and enjoy while remaining close to the action.

There’s no shortage of sights and history in Castello. You’ll walk Venice’s widest street, Via Garibaldi, and enjoy the shops here.

After sundown, though, this area becomes pretty busy as nightlife picks up. Still, it showcases countless boutiques, a selection of outdoor markets, and work cultivated by local artisans.

Castello’s greatest claim to fame must be its Biennale exhibitions. Showcasing contemporary visual art, striking architecture, and more every two years, the Biennale is credited with the inspiration for other worldwide biannual events.

The first art exhibition occurred in 1895 and has been scheduled biannually since then. Impressively, this schedule was adhered to until COVID-19 forced postponement.

We always remember Venice is on the water. If you’re interested in naval history, plenty of places in Castello could satisfy that itch.

The Museo Storico Navale has a massive collection of artifacts, including historic gondolas, ship models, and more. Arsenale di Venezia is also nearby, but we’ll get more into that in a minute.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Castello

If you’d like to explore more reasonable stays in and around Castello, there are plenty of places to find within the Western city center. Navigate the following accommodations and see if they check your boxes:

See Related: Things to Do in Italy

5. San Polo

Street in San Polo Square, Venice, Italy
nejdetduzen / Adobe Stock

San Polo is the smallest area of Venice, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cover your bases. A beautiful, historic district, this zone runs directly along the famous Grand Canal, as well as Dorsoduro and Santa Croce. You can switch between them easily if you’d like.

Visitors to this area will certainly find themselves entrenched in a tourist hub. You can reach Rialto Bridge from here, as well as the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. You can easily access water buses and taxis as needed.

Situated in an ideal central location, San Polo sits at the heart of Venice. This positions it near all the main landmarks and tourist attractions you’re undoubtedly on your way to find. On top of that, you’ll find plenty of museums, shops, churches, and restaurants, too.

Speaking of food, one of San Polo’s biggest calling cards is its markets. Its fruit and vegetables are fresh and ready to eat, so once you pick some up, you can head straight home for dinner. In this way, San Polo boasts a lovely amalgamation of the old city and traditions and the new.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in San Polo

If you’re looking for a place that appeals to people of all ages, this is where to stay in Venice. Of the many locales in Venice City, the San Polo district is indisputably among the best for families.

See Related: Where to Stay in Florence, Italy: Best Areas & Neighborhoods

6. Giudecca

Canal de la Giudecca in Venice, Italy
fannyes / Adobe Stock

At a glance, Giudecca possesses a sprawling, famous nightlife scene. While that’s not untrue, it’s more relaxed than some might expect.

This island locale is an excellent place for students and young adults looking for a place to decompress. It boasts a variety of casual, authentic Venetian eateries and a slice of nightlife without getting too intense.

Visitors to Giudecca enjoy the waterfront markets, first and foremost, as well as its countless other sights. Chiesa delle Zitelle, designed in 1579 by Andrea Palladio, and Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia, initially built in the ninth century, can be found here.

They each showcase history and stunning mosaics of their own for your perusal. From Chiesa delle Zitelle, you’ll actually have a great view of one of the sightseeing spots we recommend below.

We touched on the eateries featured in Giudecca, but we needed to get into the details. How do you feel about fresh seafood reeled in each day?

Or you’re a fan of fresh wine sold directly from the barrels in the cellar. If either appeals to you, you must visit Giudecca for the food scene. Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Giudecca

Now that you know what to expect on the island, it’s time to decide where to stay. Giudecca is unique in that it’s small, so there are more limited places to stay than elsewhere, yet it also boasts some of the best Venice hotels.

Likewise, it requires a bit more effort to reach. During your trip, you’ll likely have to take a water taxi, especially if your hotel boasts its private dock. See which of these stays suits you:

See Related: Best Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours

7. Santa Croce

Night View in  Santa Croce, Italy
Ekaterina Belova / Adobe Stock

When you’re deciding where to stay in Venice, Santa Croce may appear as a lesser-known option. But that doesn’t diminish its quality.

One of the city’s main districts, Santa Croce, is one of the nicest places to stay in Venice. It boasts not only “off the beaten path” pleasantness, but it’s a great area to mingle with locals and visitors alike.

What else makes Santa Croce noteworthy? It’s a main transportation hub, easily within walking distance of all the buses you’ll need at Piazzale Roma, and similarly close to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station.

It’s a short drive from the Mestre train station as well, but if you have a rental car, you’ll reach the area effortlessly. You’ll also find water taxis and water bus lines here if you need transportation across the canal.

Of course, there’s more to Santa Croce than access to the bus station. Here, you’ll enjoy a hefty dose of history.

An incredible, mysterious church awaits; San Giacomo dell’Orio. This was constructed in the ninth century and even today begs questions. The origin of its name is unknown and will perhaps remain so.

There’s plenty more history to be found both at the Natural History Museum and Ca’ Pesaro. The latter actually comprises two separate but similar museums: the International Gallery of Modern Art and the Museo d’Arte Orientale.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Santa Croce

When you’re exploring Santa Croce, a lot of the charm comes from their comfort, convenience, and practicality, as well as proximity… and it manages all of this without dropping you directly in the center of Saint Mark’s Square.

See which of these unique Santa Croce-area hotels suit you:

See Related: Day Trips from Milan, Italy

8. Venice-Lido

Aerial view of Lido di Venezia
P.S.DES!GN / Adobe Stock

We’ve run through the most well-known of Venice’s neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other places to see. A great spot is Venice-Lido, particularly if you’re interested in beaches, the Venice Film Festival, or taking a rental car in and around the streets.

What makes Lido special? Well, first and foremost, it’s a short water bus ride to Piazza San Marco, so you can very easily revisit any sites you might’ve wanted to take a closer look at. What’s more, it boasts several impressive historic and gastronomical spots alike, so regardless of your main point of intrigue, you’ll find food and entertainment no matter where you go… and that’s just the beginning.

Part of Venice-Lido’s appeal is how relaxing it is. While the rest of the city is all hustle and bustle without a break (or riposo, since this is Italy), this neighborhood flips that on its head. Here is where to go if you want to kick back and refocus on yourself, resting and sunbathing.

Naturally, the beaches are a short walk from almost anywhere in Lido, and accessing them is either paid or free, per your preference. Like other coastal spots in Italy, there is also the option to pay for sunbeds, access to changing rooms, a toilet, and a shower, so you can check off everything you’ll need on your beach-goer list.

Bicycles are available to take around Venice-Lido, and maps are typically provided by the tour company you use to bike with. Be aware that riding on the sidewalk isn’t allowed—you do have to ride in the street, so tread carefully while you’re on the go.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Venice-Lido

Many travelers claim to prefer staying in Lido over Venice proper, strictly due to how laid-back it is in comparison. Naturally, you’ll find charm in just about everything its accommodations have to offer.

Explore to see which of these unique Lido-area hotels fit what you’re looking for:

9. Murano

Boats and houses in Murano, Venice
Yasonya / Adobe Stock

Much of Venice’s beauty can be sourced to Murano, otherwise known as its neighboring island and impressive glassblowing haven. Studded with small furnaces and rife with live glassmaking shows, on the whole, Murano is a smaller, quirky island that promises beauty as far as the eye can see.

When you visit the stunning maze of elaborate work that comprises Murano Glass, you’re also in for a history lesson. Venetian glassmakers were ordered to move to Murano in 1291 and have since cultivated the colorful (literally!) and robust past the island now possesses.

Their fame first grew through the creation of beads and mirrors, although they later gained acclaim for their chandeliers. Murano is also the birthplace of Aventurine glass itself.

What makes Murano such a showstopper isn’t just its arrayed artwork displays, though. Plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and small-time craftsmen reside on the winding streets, all available for your perusal. Likewise, travel between the many islands surrounding it is famously simple, thanks to the frequency and upkeep of Venice’s water taxis.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Murano

Should you choose to stay in Murano, you’ll find that you quickly lose the hustle and bustle of everyday Venice. Instead, you’ll find yourself exploring its many hidden depths, from its blown glass to its historical structures. Maybe you’ll be able to spot them from your hotel room!

Check out these Murano accommodations:

See Related: Italy vs. France: Which is Better to Visit?

10. Campo Santa Margherita

View of Campo Santa Margherita in Venice
ArTo / Adobe Stock

Going through Campo Santa Margherita is like wandering a U.S. college town, albeit far more beautiful. Why, you ask? Located in Accademia, near Dorsoduro, you’ll find all the artsy student-life appeal that appears in the latter’s neighborhood.

This area focuses on the arts, but it’s also great for socializing. There’s no better place to mingle than around Dorsoduro—introduce yourself to someone, and you’ll be invited to aperitivo in no time. Campo Santa Margherita is centralized on a very popular piazza (from which it gets its name), so you can count on meeting people from all walks of life just by sitting on a bench.

Campo Santa Margherita has historically showcased several specialty museums, bridges, churches, and restaurants. Of course, that hasn’t changed; countless attractions, including the landmark Church of San Pantalon and Impronta, a highly-rated seafood hotspot, are available to you within walking distance.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay inCampo Santa Margherita

As you can see, part of what makes Campo Santa Margherita special is its proximity to… well, everything. In that case, it makes it a great choice of neighborhood to stay in. Here, you can walk to your heart’s content but also reach any of the big Venice landmarks with ease.

Some hotels we recommend in Campo Santa Margherita include:

11. Campiello dei Squelini

Campiello dei Squelini in Venice, Italy
seregayu / Adobe Stock

In and around Campiello dei Squelini resides Venice’s most touristy, fun locales, albeit one of the lesser-known places to stay. Much like Campo Santa Margherita, this area sits near Dorsoduro. Street artists, painters, sculptors, historians, collectors, and countless others cross paths, culminating in a beautiful amalgamation of art and culture that makes this spot a must-see on your Venice to-do list.

If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to museums, you won’t be disappointed, either. Historic hotspots like Ca’ Rezzonico double as architectural masterpieces and homes for old Venetian art.

You’ll find that given Campiello dei Squelini’s proximity to Dorsoduro, you’ll also be within easy reach of the Peggy Guggenheim collection. While you’re headed there, you may cross the Accademia Bridge (spanning the Grand Canal) and observe the sights from there.

Of course, there’s more to this area than the arts. Industry and sports, too, get their share of the limelight in the more modern sectors of Campiello dei Squelini.

In the vicinity, a hidden backroad doubles as a basketball court for truly playful tourists and students. Likewise, several buildings serve as converted university houses, and the bustle of students stretches from the main piazza to the Santa Lucia train station.

This makes the area appealing; you can hop off for a quick aperitivo after work to decompress a little. Naturally, that feature also makes it a great spot for visitors to enjoy.

Other activities you might enjoy in the area include the following:

Where to Stay in Campiello dei Squelini

If you’re looking to stay in a quieter part of Venice (for example, Campiello dei Squelini), then you’ll be charmed by the small-town vibe this area gives off. Explore its many shops just outside your hotel, and pick and choose your favorite restaurants from your window!

The hotels we’d suggest in Campiello dei Squelini are:

FAQs

Where should I stay in Venice for Biennale?

If you want to be close to the event, you should stay in Castello, where the leading exhibition is held. However, if you want to be in a nearby, more reasonable area, you could stay in Cannaregio or San Polo.

Speaking of Biennale, are you ready for Carnival? Unlike its sister festival, Carnival (or Carnevale) occurs annually. Remember to get your Venetian masks polished and prepped because the season is upon us!

If you’re in search of a good place to stay in Venice for Carnival, these same areas will suffice.

What is the best area to stay in Venice?

It depends on what you’re looking for. San Marco is great for first-timers, so you can be in the center of everything.

Conversely, San Polo is good for families, while Castello is fantastic for the atmosphere. If you’re looking for any of those things, these are definitely the places to be.

Is it expensive to stay in Venice?

Venice is touristy; as you might expect, it comes with tourist prices. However, albeit expensive, there are definitely reasonable places to stay in the city—especially if you’re flexible about what you’re looking for and where you might stay. When it comes to budget areas, we recommend Cannaregio or Santa Croce.

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