The Best District In Venice: Where To Stay When You Visit

July 14, 2020

by David Jefferson

Photo of Venice Italy with a view of the Canal della Giudecca
Photo by Henrique Ferreira from Unsplash

Venice is one of the most romantic places in Italy. From the picturesque buildings, walkways, and waterways to the romantic rides on gondolas, the Venetian wonders go on and on. It’s no wonder many travelers list Venice as one of their must-visit places. However, just planning out the itineraries for your visit to Venice is only half the story. The most vital factor that can alter your travel is nonetheless your accommodation. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to spend the entire time traveling around with a vehicle just to get from one attraction to another.

 

So, here’s our recommendation for the best area you should stay in Venice and that districts that are best to avoid. 

 

What Area To Stay In Venice, Italy?

Photo of San Marco at night with a wide area with no people and Venetian buildings surrounding it with a tall tower at the center of the plaza with an animal statue on top, and in the near distance a tall building with a pointed tip is seen, with street lamps giving the area bright light

©Photo by Alessio Furlan from Unsplash

 

Anywhere you go, you’ll be overwhelmed by the distinctive districts and places that seem foreign to you. Regardless if this is your first time in Venice, most visitors are recommended to stay in San Marco. But, why?

 

First off, San Marco is the epicenter of the city— whether you’re booking a tour or sightseeing on your own, you’ll somehow end up in San Marco one way or another. It’s an iconic area with most of Venice’s main tourist sights: St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, Harry’s Bar, and the Doge’s Palace. If you’re planning on doing all these best things to do in Venice and don’t want to travel too far, San Marco is the best area to stay in Venice. 

 

Apart from the convenience, staying in San Marco means you’ll be guaranteed with safeties. You’ll feel safe wandering around without worrying about theft. Though visitors argue that the crime rate has gone up the past few years. But generally, it’s still relatively safe to travel in as a couple, family, or solo. Besides, you’ll find beautiful Venetian architecture littered everywhere, from their traditional buildings to their magnificent churches. If you’ve always dreamed of staying in Venice and waking up to the beautiful view of Rialto Bridge, then this is the place to be.

 

Other Great Districts To Stay In Venice

If you’re not very fond of crowds and high-priced meals, or if you’ve stayed in San Marco before and want a new experience, there are many other good options to consider. Venice city is a vast area, and it’s full of islands and residential areas that might better suit your tastes. Here are our top recommended picks:

 

Cannaregio (The Northern Part of Venice)

Cannaregio the northern part of Venice

Photo by Adobe Stock

 

If you’re looking for a lovely and authentic Venetian neighborhood, then you should check out Cannaregio. It’s home to the Santa Lucia Train Station, which is Venice’s Jewish Ghetto. Not only that, but it’s also the homeplace of many actual Venetian residents. If you’re looking to get away from crowded tourist areas, then Cannaregio is a good choice. 

 

Some sights to see in Cannaregio include the Ghetto, Ca d’Oro, the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, and the Church of Madonna dell ‘Orto. Most of these are palaces, churches, and places that illustrate Venetian Reinassance art, such as paintings and architecture.

 

You won’t have trouble looking for hotels, B&Bs, or vacation rentals in this district. Many are pretty affordable for Venice. Ca’Dogaressa is a beautiful choice and is only a 10-minute walk from the train. 

 

Castello (Long Eastern Part of Venice)

Old street in Castello, Venice, Italy

Photo by Adobe Stock

 

Castello is the largest Sestriere in Venice, as it dates way back to the 13th century. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Venice to experience its authentic, laid-back, and local vibe, then this is the place. Taking a bit of a walk along the streets will immediately make you feel like a local, as you will see old ladies gossiping between windows and little kids playing soccer on the streets. 

 

You might be wondering what tourist spots can exist in such a local place, but there are actually a couple that’s worth checking out. First, you have the Arsenale, which is the district’s major attraction. It’s a naval dockyard which was once the largest shipyard in the city. Today, it’s home to the famous Venetian Biennale. Another sight to see is the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the Church of San Zaccaria, Scuola Grande di San Marco, and the Santa Maria Formosa church and campo square.

 

If you’re looking for accommodations, many luxury hotels overlook the canal towards San Marco, such as Ca’Bragadin Carabba. However, if you want a unique experience, check out Yacht Freedom for overnight boat accommodations.

 

Dorsoduro (South Western Part of Venice)

A gondola ride overlooking the grand canal and the views of Dorsoduro and San Marco

Photo by Jamena McInteer from Unsplash

 

It’s difficult to decide where to stay in Venice when you can’t pick between a quiet neighborhood and a lively nightlife. Well, hard as it may be to believe, it’s not necessarily a problem when it comes to Venice. There’s actually a sweet spot where during the day, it’s tranquil, but at night, it comes alive with a buzzing nightlife. That place is Dorsoduro. 

 

However, don’t think that’s all there is to it. While it may be the best of both worlds, it also has a third strength–it has many noteworthy places to visit! If you’re into art, then Dorsoduro is certainly one of the go-to places in Venice, since it houses the city’ ss most famous art gallery. There are also other sights to see, including the Church of San Sebastiano and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Moreover, if you want to see Venice at night with lively happenings, check out Campo Margherita. 

 

For hotels and inns, Dorsoduro has many B&Bs. If you want to try out something unique, check out Hotel Galleria Venice to stay at an old world-styled room. 

 

Giudecca (Island of the Venetian Lagoon in the North)

San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca islands in Venice, Italy

Photo by Adobe Stock

 

While it’s actually a part of Dorsoduro, Giudecca is a special island separated from the rest of Venice via a canal. On this island, you’ll encounter more locals than tourists, with most of them being from the working-class. Moreover, there are many interesting places to eat and to stay. 

 

If you’re wondering about sightseeing on this Venetian island, there’s the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (commonly known as Il Redentore) designed by 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. Its history is pretty interesting as the structure was built to thank God for the end of the Black Death. Every year on the third Saturday of July, there’s even a feast called the Festa del Redentore commemorating this historic event with fireworks.

 

If you’re looking for hotels, check out Hotel Cipriani or a luxury treat at Bellmond Hotel Cipriani. If you’re a bit tight on funds, we suggest you try the Generator Hostel. It has an industrial-style setting with private rooms and dorms. 

 

San Polo (The oldest Northern Part of Venice)

The Rialto Bridge connecting San Polo and San Marco on the Grand Canal

Photo by Vincenzo Landino from Unsplash

 

San Polo is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Venice and also the smallest. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t lively. In fact, it’s one of the liveliest and touristy districts in Venice because of its central location. It’s also near Rialto Bridge, which makes it even more of a touristy area.

 

Apart from Rialto Bridge, San Polo also includes several other tourist attractions. Many noteworthy places are churches: San Giacomo di Rialto, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, and San Rocco. Each of them has a distinct feature that makes them special. One is the oldest in the city, the other houses Titian’s famous paintings, and the last one displays Tintoretto’s paintings. On the other hand, there’s also Campo San Polo, which is Venice’s second-largest square after Piazza San Marco. From there, you can also visit the Rialto Market — a bustling day market not to be missed. 

 

There aren’t many hotels in this district, so you better book early if you decide to stay in San Polo. If you do, Ca’Angeli is a good, cozy option while looking over the Grand Canal. Locanda Sant’Agostino is also a great choice if you want distinctly Venetian rooms near Rio di San Polo.

 

Santa Croce (The Western Corner of Venice)

Grand Canal between Santa Croce and Cannaregio

Photo by Florinel Gorgan from Unsplash

 

If you want a less touristy place to stay, Santa Croce is a great option. It’s the major transport hub of Venice with the main port and Piazzale Roma right in the district. 

 

If you’re looking for tourist attractions, most of them will be in the Eastern area of Santa Croce. One such attraction is the Church of San Giacomo dell’ Orio, which houses Lorenzo Lotto’s and Veronese’s paintings. Another attraction is the Fondaco dei Turchi. It’s a 13th-century palazzo that transformed into a ghetto for the Ottoman-Turkish people. However, nowadays, it holds the Museum of Natural History. 

 

If you’re looking for a budget hotel with Venetian-style rooms, Hotel al Ponte Mocenigo is a good option. It’s only a few steps away from one of the Vaporetto stops. Alternatively, Hotel Alloggi Serena is also a good budget option with Venetian decor.

 

Where To Stay In Venice On A Budget?

The neighborhoods of Venice don’t always come cheap, especially in San Marco or in Venice’s touristy areas. You might be left wondering how to stay on a budget when you’re staying in the city. Which district is the most affordable district to stay in? Moreover, how do you stay on budget while still staying in such a nice place? 

 

Hotels in Venice, Italy typically don’t come cheap. If you want to go on a budget, stick to B&Bs, or inns, or even an Airbnb. You can even opt to rent a short-term apartment if you think it’s the best option. The district doesn’t matter too much as long as it isn’t in a very touristy area. If you really want a lot of cheaper options within the district, we recommend staying in Cannaregio. 

 

Where To Stay In Venice Islands?

A canal street in Burano Venice with colorful buildings

Photo by Dorian Mongel from Unsplash

 

If you want to stay close to Venice proper, check out the island of Murano, which is well-known for glassmaking. See how beautiful glass art is made in Venice’s own homegrown glassmaking island that dates back to the 13th century. 

 

For a more agricultural experience, you might want to stay on the island of Burano. It has beautiful colorful houses owned by the fishermen on the island. The vibrant colors help the fishermen navigate the area during foggy times. 

 

Being an important religious powerhouse back in the day, Torcello is one of Venice’s most notable islands. For over a millennium, it was home to Venice’s bishops and a cathedral. The main attraction on the island is the Cathedral of Santa Maria, which features Byzantine mosaics.

 

For a unique luxury experience, stay in Isola Santa Cristina — a private island hotel for guests. All amenities are private, from fishing ponds, orchards, vineyards, and viewing wild animals. 

 

Where To Stay Outside Venice?

Mestre City alleyway buildings with closed windows

Photo by James Wainscoat from Unsplash

 

Being on a budget means having to skip out on a few things. While it’s a tough decision to make, sometimes, staying within Venice itself just isn’t that practical. That’s why some people opt to stay outside Venice, where there are more affordable restaurants and hotels. However, where should you stay if you still want to visit the city proper? 

 

Some people recommend staying on an island right outside Venice, as the island of Lido. It’s convenient as it has wider pavements and an accessible beach. It is an excellent choice if you are traveling with kids. Mestre city is also one of the most recommended options if you want a more urban atmosphere. It’s the city closest to Venice, and it’s doubly accessible if you stay at a hotel near a train station. From there, it’ll be a breeze to get to Venice proper. You won’t have to miss out too much on Venice while still staying at an affordable place.

 

How Many Days To Stay In Venice?

Venetian canal alley surrounded by colorful orange and brown buildings

Photo by Tom Podmore from Unsplash

 

Venice is a wonderful place to visit with all of its cultural landmarks and its beautifully designed city. It’s one of the must-visit cities in Italy. Apart from wondering where to stay in Venice, it can be hard to determine the length of your stay when you’re planning a trip. After all, you don’t want to stay for too short a time and miss out on everything Venice has to offer.

 

On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to stay too long and run out of things to do and sights to see. Fortunately, you don’t need too much time to enjoy Venice in all its glory. It’s recommended that you stay a minimum of 3 to 4 days to fully enjoy your trip and experience Venetian life.

 

Venice: The City Of Love

Venice is undoubtedly one of the must-visit places for all travel lovers. Its surreal architecture and city structure leaves most of the tourists breathless with awe. Staying in any of its districts will certainly have its own ups and downs, but visiting the iconic city is an experience worth having, regardless of where you decide to stay. In Venice, almost everything will feel like living in a dream.