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Where to Stay in Venice, Italy: Neighborhood and Area Guide

where to stay in venice italy

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The City of canals is known for its sparkling bodies of water, bridges, gondola rides, and festivals. It’s one of Italy’s most beautiful cities and popular tourist destinations. There are also so many great places to stay in Venice, all within walking distance from the nearest attractions. 

You can stroll down the streets and admire the gorgeous Venetian Gothic architecture, cross over Rialto Bridge, or go on an unforgettable gondola ride. There are countless spectacular sights to add to your Venice itinerary!

However, before you jump on a plane and head off to Venice, you need to choose an area to stay in. Venice has quite a few neighborhoods that are different distances from certain attractions, and each has its charm. In this guide, you’ll get a rundown of the neighborhoods in Venice and the best hotels in the area.

Summary of the Best Places to Stay In Venice, Italy

venice districts

Here’s a quick list of the neighborhoods in Venice. You can carry on reading below for a more detailed description of hotels and AirBnBs and which travelers they’re suited for.

  • San Marco — Best for first-time visitors. You’ll have easy access to most major attractions and be right in the city center. 
  • Santa Croce — A convenient location close to inbound, outbound and city transportation
  • Castello — Best for travelers who want to be in a quiet area with local charm
  • San Polo — Also in the city center and close to most attractions. You’ll find the Rialto Market and Bridge in this district
  • Cannaregio — Best for travelers on a budget. Home of Venice’s Jewish ghetto and where you’ll find Venice’s Santa Lucia train station
  • Dorsoduro — Full of wonderful galleries and museums and a short walk across the Grand Canal to the city’s major  attractions
  • Lido — Great for beach lovers. Lido has magnificent beaches that stretch for miles and is a great place to stay in summer
  • Giudecca — A quieter district with a relaxed nightlife scene. Great if you want to access the main attractions by vaporetto / water bus but also enjoy a slower pace.

San Marco

san marco district venice

San Marco is definitely one of the best places to stay in Venice, especially for first-time visitors. It’s within walking distance of all the major tourist attractions and is a thriving tourist hub in the heart of Venice. 

This neighborhood is always overflowing with people. If you want to enjoy the hustle and bustle of people around you, San Marco is perfect.

There are many unique attractions in this area. The Basilica San Marco (Saint Mark’s Basilica) is here and is an excellent example of architecture during the Byzantine era. It connects to Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace where the leaders of Venice once lived and showcases Venetian rulers’ immense wealth and power.

Take a stroll under Torre dell’Orologio, the famous clock tower at Saint Mark’s. Afterward, you can grab a coffee at Caffé Florian, a little cafe that opened in the 18th century. Make sure to linger a while as the cost of “atmosphere” is built into the price of your coffee.

The hotels in San Marco can range from mid-range to luxury, depending on where you stay. The closer you stay to Saint Mark’s, the more expensive the accommodation. So, planning and saving are essential if you want to stay in San Marco while in Venice. Keep an eye out for discounts and off-season hotel deals. 

Best for: First-time visitors

Hotels Near San Marco

Luxury: The St. Regis Venice – 5-Star hotel with amazing views of the Grand Canal.

Mid-Range: Hotel Montecarlo – 3-Star hotel with Venetian-style rooms and only 150 feet from Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square).

Budget: Hotel San Zulian – Quaint 3-star hotel 350 feet from Saint Mark’s Square.

READ: Discover the best hotels in Venice in our useful guide

Apartments And Airbnbs Near San Marco

Would you rather stay in an apartment? The Plum Guide handpicks and inspects only the best apartments in Venice for your choosing pleasure. They also review and inspect properties found on Airbnb and VRBO to ensure they are good quality options. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Santa Croce

santa croce district venice

Santa Croce is a small district of Venice close to the city’s transportation hub. It has kept its off-the-beaten-track charm, which shows in the area’s architecture.

It’s a very convenient neighborhood to stay in, especially if you want to pack more sights and attractions into your trip. It’s easy to cross over the Ponte degli Scalzi to hop on a train at Santa Lucia train station and there’s also the bus station in Piazzale Roma in Santa Croce. 

There are many attractions to start with in Santa Croce itself. Make sure to check out the hauntingly mysterious 9th-century church San Giacomo dell’Orio. A fun fact about this church is that it has different architectural styles due to the constant rebuilding over the centuries. There’s also the Palazzo Mocenigo, a palace built for the Mocenigo family, who were Doges of Venice. 

Museum lovers, don’t despair. There are quite a few museums in this area for you to explore. From the Natural History Museum to Ca’ Pesaro, comprising the Museo d’Arte Orientale and the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna.

You can also find some of the best seafood dishes in Santa Croce. There are many local Venetian eateries with delectable options in this neighborhood, so you definitely won’t go hungry. Osteria Ae Saracche is a favorite eatery with outdoor seating overlooking a charming small canal.

Accommodation is relatively affordable. There are some lovely budget and mid-range hotels in the area and gorgeous luxury options. There are also apartments and AirBnBs if hotels aren’t your style.

Best for: Travelers who want to visit more places in Venice

Hotels Near Santa Croce

Luxury: Hotel Canal Grande – Boutique 4-star hotel that was once a palace.

Mid-Range: Hotel Aquarius Venice – 4-Star hotel located in central Venice with a gorgeous garden.

Budget: Hotel Locanda Salieri – Small hotel with cozy rooms and spectacular views.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Santa Croce

If you’re looking for your perfect apartment in Santa Croce, look no further. The Plum Guide has many outstanding options for apartments and Airbnbs that give you the best views. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Castello

castello district venice italy

Castello is the largest neighborhood in Venice. The area stretches from the western city center to the eastern side of Venice. It’s also the quietest area and considered off the beaten track.

There is plenty of space to walk around with fewer tourists stopping you from getting anywhere. You will also find many spectacular sights to see in Castello.

You can walk down Via Garibaldi, the widest street in Venice. This street also opens to a lovely nightlife scene as the sun goes down. There are also many little artisan shops and boutiques that you can visit in Castello. You can also grab a delicious Venetian delicacy to snack on from one of the outdoor markets.

History buffs will love the Museo Storico Navale. This museum showcases an extensive collection of historic gondolas, mercantile artifacts, and ship models. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys boats and naval history. 

Castello is also home to Venice’s shipbuilding industry, showcased in the Arsenale di Venezia. Unfortunately, it is currently being used by the Italian army and is only open to the public during the Biennale art exhibition.

Speaking of the Biennale, the gardens in Castello are where you’ll find these annual art and architecture exhibitions. The word Biennale itself may mean “held every two years”, but this international Venetian event is held annually. The type of exhibit is what occurs every two years – alternating between art and architecture on odd and even years respectively. Other popular events include music, dance, theater, and film festivals. 

Accommodation in Castello can be relatively affordable, as there are excellent budget and mid-range hotel options. There are also apartments and AirBnBs in the area. For the more luxurious, there are spectacular luxury hotels available for you to spend your time in.

Best for: Travelers who want a peaceful stay in a quiet neighborhood

Hotels Near Castello

Luxury: Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia – 4 Star hotel in central Venice that’s only a 6-minute walk from Saint Mark’s Square.

Mid-Range: Hotel Da Bruno – Lovely small 3-star hotel halfway between Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark’s Square.

Budget: Hotel Rio – Beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Venice.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Castello

If you want a quiet apartment in Castello, these lovely options on The Plum Guide will suit your needs. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

San Polo

san polo district venice italy

San Polo is Venice’s smallest subdivision. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do or see here. The neighborhood borders Santa Croce, the Grand Canal, and Dorsoduro, so you can easily access these areas.

Even though it’s small, it’s a fantastic location right in the center of Venice. It’s close to all the main attractions and has lovely churches, restaurants, shops, and museums. San Polo is quite notable for its fruit and veg and fish market, known as the Rialto Market. You can sample some delicious Venetian fare at restaurants and bars close to the market and wash it down with a glass of Prosecco. 

The famous Rialto Bridge is located right here in San Polo. This bridge was first constructed in 1591 and since then has become the most highly trafficked bridge in Venice. The architecture of the Rialto Bridge is magnificent with a classic Renaissance style.

Many historians believe that the church of San Giacomo di Rialto in San Polo is Venice’s oldest operating church. However, the actual age of this church remains a mystery.

The accommodation in this area includes some excellent budget and mid-range hotel options. There are also affordable apartments and AirBnBs in the area. This neighborhood gives you access to the Vaporetto, a water taxi that’s used as a common means of transportation in Venice.

Best for: Travelers who want a quieter area that’s still close to the main attractions

Hotels Near San Polo

Luxury: H10 Palazzo Canova – 4-Star hotel located on the Grand Canal, only a few minutes from Rialto Bridge.

Mid-Range: Hotel Marconi – Lovely boutique hotel right across Rialto Bridge, so the view is excellent.

Budget: Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel – Quaint little hotel with warm and welcoming staff.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near San Polo

Wake up every morning with a gorgeous view of the Rialto Bridge if you pick one of the lovely apartments on The Plum Guide for your stay. They rate and review only the best in the city and even inspect Airbnbs. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Cannaregio

cannaregio district venice italy

Cannaregio is a relatively popular area in Venice. It might be due to the neighborhood’s cheap accommodation or being located near the main train station. This can make travel and transport quite convenient, but the area can be less charming especially as you get closer to the station. 

However, Cannaregio has more appeal than just the price tag and access to transportation.

This neighborhood is always buzzing with people – both locals and visitors. Cannaregio has a lot to offer any traveler to Venice, from delicious food options to spectacular sights.

Start by sampling some traditional Venetian fritoìn. This delicacy is essentially fried seafood in a paper cone and can be purchased from most vendors in Cannaregio. Then head off to the Strada Nuova for a shopping spree. Ensure you go down the Calle Varisco when visiting Venice. It’s the narrowest street in Venice and is close to Strada Nuova.

You can also head off to the Fondamenta Ormesini. Here, you can relax and people-watch while snacking on some lovely Venetian foods. Or you can take a leisurely stroll here if you’d prefer.

The most popular attraction in this area remains the Jewish Quarter or Venetian Ghetto. In the 16th-century Jewish people were forcibly segregated and put into this small area of Venice. Shakespeare made it famous in his play, The Merchant of Venice.

As mentioned, accommodation in this area is quite affordable. It’s the perfect place for budget travelers. There are many sights to see, and you can use public transportation to get to other areas of Venice. Budget hotels, apartments, and AirBnBs can easily be found here.

Best for: Travelers on a budget

Hotels Near Cannaregio

Luxury: Carnival Palace – Sophisticated 4-star hotel located in the Jewish ghetto.

Mid-Range: Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio – A 4-star boutique hotel that was once a monastery.

Budget: Venice Maggior Consiglio – Comfortable boutique hotel that’s a 2-minute walk from Santa Lucia train station.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Cannaregio

With thousands of gorgeous apartments at low prices, The Plum Guide is your friend. Browse the list of options in Cannaregio and find the perfect fit for you. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Dorsoduro

dorsoduro district venice italy

Dorsoduro is the university district in Venice, and is bustling with students throughout the day and night giving it a fun and high energy atmosphere. There are many amazing cultural things to see in this neighborhood as well.

The Gallerie dell’Accademia is a museum located in Dorsoduro and perfect for anyone who loves art. This famous art gallery showcases Venetian art and artists over the centuries. You can also visit the famous Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the private collection of modern art amassed by the American heiress who lived in Venice for many years.

Another must-see is the church of San Sebastiano, where Venetian artist Paolo Veronese hid to escape murder charges. To thank the church for hiding him, he gave them artistic contributions that can be found in the church today. And you can’t miss the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute overlooking the Grand Canal and the wonders of San Marco beyond. 

The area of Dorsoduro is less expensive than most other areas of Venice but there are several luxurious options here if you feel inclined to spoil yourself.

Best for: Art lovers, young professionals and those who appreciate a vibrant nightlife

Hotels Near Dorsoduro

Luxury: Hotel Palazzo Stern – Lovely 4-star boutique hotel serving buffet breakfast on the Grand Canal banks.

Mid-Range: Hotel Ca’ Nobile Corner – 3-Star boutique hotel set in a 14th-century palace.

Budget: Domus Cavanis – Gorgeous boutique hotel that’s only 350 feet from the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Dorsoduro

Looking for a cosy place to stay in this arty district of Venice? The Plum Guide has a massive list of apartments in Dorsoduro. Just browse the list and choose the best spot to get fueled for the next party. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Lido

lido venice italy

Lido is a long island in the Venetian lagoon and is perfect for a lazy beach day. The many beaches in Lido stretch for miles, and the stunning views make it even more desirable. Who doesn’t want to stay close to the beach?

However, Lido is not only for beach goers. There are many spectacular attractions in this area that you have to visit. Stop by the monastery in San Lazzaro if you’ve heard of Lord Byron and want to see where this icon of English poetry did his work. 

The Oasis of Alberoni is a protected natural reserve with a diverse ecosystem. You can rent a bike to take in all this oasis has to offer. The Church Of San Nicolò Al Lido also holds significant history. It’s where the yearly Sposalizio del Mare took place. 

Sposalizio del Mare is Italian for Marriage of the Sea and is a ceremony where the Doge of Venice marries the city to the Adriatic Sea. It’s all metaphorical, except when the Doge throws a gold ring into the sea.

The pull of Lido is the beaches, with vast waters as far as the eye can see and golden sand to sink your feet into. To reach the main attractions in Venice you will need to use the water bus which can be time consuming.

Because Lido is a small island, the accommodation here can be pretty pricey. There are many magnificent luxury hotels for anyone who wants a luxury beach vacation. However, you’ll also find some excellent budget and mid-range options. 

Best for: Beach bunnies and film enthusiasts

Hotels Near Lido

Luxury: Ausonia Hungaria Wellness & Lifestyle – 5-Star luxury hotel surrounded by art.

Mid-Range: Hotel Riviera Venezia Lido – 3-Star hotel in a historic palace with a panoramic view of the lagoon.

Budget: Hotel Rivamare – 3 Star hotel only 66 feet from the beach.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Lido

With The Plum Guide, you won’t have to worry about finding an apartment in Lido with a stunning ocean view. You just need to browse the list of lovely apartments and decide which view is better. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Giudecca

giudecca district venice italy

Giudecca is an up and coming district of the Venetian lagoon away from the hustle and bustle of the central neighborhoods.

If you want a place to stay with fewer tourists, a slower pace, and a sophisticated nightlife scene, then Giudecca is perfect for you. This is where you go for wine tasting at the nearby bacari (bars) and then head off to a casual eatery to try the local delicacies.

There are also some spectacular attractions in the area. There are two notable churches that you can visit, the Chiesa Della Zitelle and the Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia. Both were built in the 16th century by famous Venetian designer Andrea Palladio. 

Every year on 14 July, the lagoon in Giudecca is brightened by fireworks as the Venetians celebrate the Feast of the Redeemer. 

Giudecca is mainly a residential area, so there aren’t as many options for accommodation. You will however find some of Venice’s celebrated five star hotels here including the Belmond Hotel Cipriani.

Best for: Those looking for a quiet district with luxury options

Hotels Near Giudecca

Luxury: Belmond Hotel Cipriani – Luxury 5-star hotel with stunning views of the lagoon.

Mid-Range: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice – 5 Star hotel with the largest ballroom and spa in Venice.

Budget: Hotel Giudecca Venezia – Lovely 3-star hotel with spectacular views of the Palada Canal.

Apartments And AirBnBs Near Giudecca

Even though accommodation options are limited in Giudecca, you can still find a stunning apartment by browsing The Plum Guide. Who knows, you might find a place that keeps you in Venice forever. Make sure to add the code “Untold5” for a 5% discount. 

Which Is the Best Area to Stay in Venice, Italy?

best places to stay in Venice

The neighborhoods in Venice each come with their own flair and charm that attracts countless people each year. Whether you’re only staying for one night or planning an extended vacation, there is a spot for you in this magnificent city.

If you want to be in the middle of the action, then San Marco is the area for you. However, if you want some peace and quiet on your trip, then Castello is the better choice. Whatever your needs, there is a place for you in Venice. 

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