Where to Stay in Venice First Time: 11 BEST Areas

In this post, I will help you find Where to stay in Venice first time, the best areas to stay in Venice for first-timers (with a video and map), best hotels in Venice for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed) and safest places to stay in Venice.

Venice, the City of Canals, has long been considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Venice has hundreds of islands, canals, bridges, and gondolas. There are tons to see and do in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, from historical landmarks to contemporary tourist attractions.

Founded in the 5th century AD as a refuge for people fleeing the barbarian invasions, Venice later became a wealthy trading hub, dominating the Mediterranean. In 1797, it fell to Napoleon and later became part of Italy. Today, it’s known for its canals, art, and architecture.

Venice is a very safe city to visit both day and night with a very low rate of violent crime. There are no unsafe district, but as you travel to any tourist area, you should always practice common sense and be aware of pickpocketing.

🎬 You can watch this video about best areas in Venice, and continue reading:

Where to stay in Venice for first time visitors?

The best areas to stay in Venice for first-time tourists are San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, and Castello. These are safe central locations, offering plenty of accommodation options for all budget travelers!

San Marco is the overall best area to stay in Venice for first-timers. It is the heart of Venice, home to iconic attractions such as St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. Staying here offers easiest access to those sights, and some of the island’s best hotels, shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Venice is expensive when it comes to hotels, especially in the high season. If you are visiting during the Venetian Carnival, be sure to book well in advance!

Cannaregio and Castello on Venice island, or Mestre on the mainland are the best areas for budget travelers. Mestre is located a short train ride away from Venice island, offering more affordable accommodations and restaurants compared to Venice’s center.

Mestre and Santa Croce are the best places to stay in Venice with a car. Mestre is a better base for those seeking cheaper hotels and don’t mind commuting to Venice. Santa Croce (Piazzale Roma area) is better base for those wanting stay right on the island and don’t mind higher costs.

From Marco Polo International Airport and Treviso Airport, you can easily reach Venice center by bus and boat. Venezia Santa Lucia train station has train links to Rome, Milan, and Florence.

Wherever you choose to stay, Venice is a relatively small city and walkable. Even the outer districts aren’t far enough from the major attractions to cause many issues. The six sestieri (main districts) of Venice island all have their own characeteristics.

Where did I stay in Venice?

When I first visited Venice, I stayed for 3 nights at Hotel Montecarlo. It had a prime location, a short walk from major tourist attractions such as the St Mark’s square. My room was clean, the bathroom was large. The tea time and breakfast was excellent!

💖 Best Area for First-timer:San Marco
💎 Best luxury hotel:The Gritti Palace 
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Corte Di Gabriela
💰 Best budget hotel:Novecento Boutique Hotel

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Venice:

Where to Stay in Venice Map of BEST Areas & Neighborhoods
Where to Stay in Venice Map of BEST Areas & Neighborhoods

Overviews of best areas to stay in Venice for first-time visitors

Here is an overview of the best areas in Venice for first-time visitors:

Best areas in Venice for first-time tourists Why should you stay in this area?
San Marcois the tourist center of Venice, home to major attractions including the iconic St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. It’s a bustling district with numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants.
DorsoduroKnown for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere, Dorsoduro is home to the Gallerie dell’Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It also known as the University district, offering affordable hotels and vibrant nightlife.
San Polois one of the oldest and most authentic district in Venice, home to Rialto Market and Bridge. It has a super central location, close to major landmark, and quiet vibe, making it a great base for families with children.
Santa Croceis transportation hub of Venice and convenient location close to bus and train stations, and ferry terminal. The district also offers authentic local atmosphere.
Cannaregiogreat base for budget-conscious travelers with easy access to Santa Lucia Train Station and the major attractions. Cannaregio offers a mix of residential areas and local attractions, such as the Jewish Ghetto and Strada Nova shopping street.
Castellothe largest sestiere (district) in Venice and offers a glimpse into local life and budget-friendly accommodation and dining options. It has charming streets, quiet canals, and landmarks like the Arsenale and the Biennale Gardens.
GiudeccaLocated on an island opposite St. Mark’s Square, Giudecca offers a quieter retreat from the busy city center. It provides beautiful views of Venice and has a few luxury hotels and waterfront restaurants.
Lido If you’re looking for a beach experience, Lido is the place to be. It’s a narrow island with sandy beaches and a lively atmosphere during the summer months. Lido is also famous for hosting the Venice Film Festival.
MestreAlthough not technically part of Venice, Mestre is the mainland area and a great base if you’re looking for more affordable accommodations and dining options, or travel with a car. Mestre has excellent transport connections to Venice.

Best areas to stay in Venice for first-timer tourists are:

1. San Marco

San Marco, best area to stay in Venice for first time tourists

San Marco is the best overall place to stay in Venice for first-time visitors because it is the tourist hub of the island where you can find iconic attractions such as the Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, and Rialto Bridge, as well as some of the island’s best restaurants and shops.

San Macro is the island’s oldest district and is named after the patron saint of Venice, Saint Michael. It is the most central of all the districts on the central Venetian islands. Staying here allows you to be located within easy walk from major landmarks.

The 11th century, Saint Mark’s Basilica is the jewel of San Marco. The opulent cathedral features towering domes and soaring steeples atop a grand, arched façade. The interior is possibly even more magnificent, decorated with beautiful, mosaiced walls and gilded accents. 

Right next door is the stunning Doge’s Palace, which was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries. Overlooking the Grand Canal, Doge’s Palace has ornate exterior and numerous exhibitions from the palace’s past as both a royal residence and prison.

The famous Bridge of Sighs, designed by Italian architect Antonio Contino, connects Doge’s Palace to the once prison on the other side of the Rio del Palazzo canal. To really appreciate the historic bridge, however, it is better viewed from the Ponte Della Paglia. 

The Basilica and Doge’s Palace are both located at the east end of Saint Mark’s Square, known locally as Piazza San Marco. This 12th-century plaza is a popular meeting place for both tourists and locals but can get very busy.

You can climb to the top of the imposing 99-meter-high, 12th-century bell tower in the center of the square, Campanile di San Marco, and enjoy a stunning view of Venice. Also take a look at the Torre dell’Orologio, a Renaissance clocktower in St. Mark’s Square.

San Marco Square is surrounded by shops, cafes, and several museums. Stop by 18th-century Caffé Florian, dates back to 1720, one of Venice’s most famous coffeehouses to grab a cup of coffee. The nearby Hard Rock Cafe Venice and Harry’s Bar is where you can try famous Bellini.

With so many historic buildings and charming side streets, San Marco is one of the top options in the city for couples and those wanting to capture the romantic atmosphere of Venice.

History lovers can visit the Museo Correr and National Archaeological Museum of Venice, which has a large collection of Greek sculptures and ancient artifacts.

Shoppers can explore the Via Marzo XXIII, with the expensive boutique shops like Fendi and Gucci. Mercerie is also a premium shopping area, with boutiques and souvenir shops. It is a chain of shopping streets, spanning from the Rialto Bridge to St. Mark’s square.

If you want to watch a theater performance, check out the well-known La Fenice opera house, and the Goldoni & Malibran Theaters.

Other places of interest are the Church of San Moise at the back of St Mark’s Square, as well as Campo Santo Stefano for a morning or afternoon coffee and admire its beautiful buildings.

If you are interested in architecture, check out the 15th century medieval circular staircase called Scala Contarini del Bovol, with a Gothic-style dome and is accessible from street level.

Being surrounded on three sides by the 3,800 meters long Canale Grande means you will have plenty of opportunities for intimate riverside walks too. be sure to take a ride on a gondola or a water taxi through the canals of Venice.

San Marco has ton of restaurants that serve traditional Venetian dishes like cicchetti and seafood. But as a popular tourist destination, the meal can be more expensive around the main square; if you dine in less busy streets, you might find a great venue for you.

Due to its central location and proximity to the island’s major attractions, San Marco is an ideal base for those staying in Venice for two nights or three nights. Within such a short time, you can easily explore many of those attractions by staying in the heart of the island.

San Marco is the most touristy of the six sestieri of central Venice, especially from March-October. If you are hoping for a quiet and peaceful area to stay in Venice, this is probably not the best place to consider. 

St. Mark’s Square is located within 45 minutes walk from the city’s main train station, Santa Lucia or Piazzale Roma bus station. You can also reach the square by vaporetto (public ferry).

Being the most central and most visited district in Venice, San Marco is also one of the most expensive areas on Venice island. There are plenty of luxury options, as well as more mid-range hotels to be found a little further from the riverside.

But, if you want a hotel with views of the iconic canals and lagoon, you are definitely going to have to pay a premium for it if you have your heart set on staying in the central Venice island. 

Stay In San Marco If you are first-timers; You want to stay right at the heart of the Venice island; You are visiting for a shorter break or weekend trip; you want luxury stay and fine dining; you want lots of sightseeing;

Best places to stay in Venice in San Marco:

  • luxury ($$$): The Gritti Palace, 5-star hotel, located in a former noble residence on Venice’s Grand Canal, with views of Santa Maria delle Salute Church. It is short wak from La Fenice theatre and Santa Maria del Giglio’s vaporetto water bus stop.
  • mid-range ($$): Corte Di Gabriela, 4-star hotel, centrally located in San Marco, within walking distance to Campo Sant’Angelo waterbus stop line 1 and Venezia-Santa Lucia Train Station.
  • budget ($): Novecento Boutique Hotel, great hotel, located in Calle del Dose, short walk from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and Santa Maria del Giglio vaporetto stop.

See more:

2. Dorsoduro

Dorsoduro, where to stay in Venice for nightlife and art lovers

Dorsoduro is one of the six sestieri on Venice island. It is Venice’s University district and is home to the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Much of the retail and hospitality here cater to the student population. As such, you will find plenty of trendy boutiques and hip cafes lining the streets.

Catering to the young, student crowds means the restaurants and cafes are generally more reasonably priced than the touristy center. The area also has a more authentic vibe, giving Dorsoduro a laid-back air not seen in the more contrived tourist traps in San Marco. 

Dorsoduro is located across the Accademia Bridge from San Marco. It has a vibrant nightlife and some of the most famous art galleries in the city. Super close to the city center, Dorsoduro is ideal for those hoping to stay at the heart of Venice, but whilst avoiding the worst of the crowds. 

With the attractions of San Marco to the east and San Polo to the north, you will be surrounded by plenty of things to see and do within easy walking distance of your hotel. Meanwhile, the transport hub of Santa Croce is also right next door, so getting to and from your bus, train, or car will be easy.

Of course, Dorsoduro itself offers plenty of things to do and see. It is home to some of Venice’s principal arts institutions, including Venice’s most famous art gallery, the Gallerie dell’ Accademia.

The Gallerie dell’ Accademia displays classical artworks of Tintoretto, Giorgione, Bellini, and Veronese from the 13th through 18th centuries. If you want to get a detailed look at how Venetian art and fashions have changed throughout the ages, this is the perfect opportunity.

If you prefer more contemporary and modern art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection might be more to your tastes. It houses masterpieces by renowned artists such as Dali and Picasso. It is housed within an 18th-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, right on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Further along, at the far eastern end of Dorsoduro, you will find the 17th century Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute. The interior is stunning and houses work by the renaissance painter, Titian.

Another impressive church in Dorsoduro is San Sebastiano, has the work of Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, and Titian. Venetians hosts the Festa della Salute in Santa Maria della Salute every November.

If you are interested history, check out the Ca’ Rezzonico, the Museum of 18th century Venice. it is the last home of the famous poet Robert Browning. You can see artworks here.

Campo Santa Margherita is the nightlife hub of Dorsoduro, a popular meeting place for local and university students day and night. it is surrounded by historic building like Scuolo Grande del Carmini, as well as market stalls, bacari, bars, and restaurants.

A stroll from the scenic promenade of Fondamenta Zattere to the boatyard of Squero di San Trovaso, along the lagoon, is very recommended, you can enjoy views of the Canal of Giudecca.

Despite being so close to the city center, Dorsoduro offers more affordable hotels compared to San Marco. Whilst not the cheapest area in Venice, there are plenty of mid-range and budget options. Stay near Ponte dell’ Accademia, you won’t even have to worry about waterbus fares.

Stay In Dorsoduro If You want great nightlife scene; You want to stay close to the city center whilst avoiding the worst crowds of tourists; You are budget travelers wanting to stay close to the major attractions; you are a first-time visitor;

Best places to stay in Venice in Dorsoduro:

  • Luxury ($$$): Sina Centurion Palace, 5-star hotel with the views of the Grand Canal, located next to the Basilica of Chiesa of Santa Maria della Salute. It offers spacious family rooms, making it a great base for family and kids.
  • Mid-range ($$): Pensione Accademia – Villa Maravege, 17th-century villa located in a quiet central location in Venice close to the Accademia water-bus stop.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Pausania, former home of an aristocratic Venetian family, easily reachable from Ca’Rezzonico Vaporetto stop. It is close to the church of San Sebastiano and to the Maritime Station.

3. San Polo

Rialto Bridge San Polo, where to stay in Venice for families
Rialto Bridge

San Polo is the smallest sestiere of Venice as well as one of the oldest, located directly across the Grand Canal from San Marco. It is fantastic place to stay for those who want to stay in a well-located area, with easy access to the Vaporetto, to see as many of the attractions as possible.

Being close to so many popular attractions whilst not quite as crowded as the central San Marco region makes San Polo a very popular base for families. With less hustle and bustle and short distances between sights, it’s easier to safely shuttle kids around this area.

San Polo is particularly well known for its historic streets and structures. It is home to the famous Rialto Bridge, one of the most well-known landmarks in Venice. Constructed in the 16th-century, it is the oldest of the bridges that cross the Grand Canal, connecting San Polo to San Marco. 

More than just a footbridge, the Rialto Bridge offers a unique shopping experience. Arcades of shops and stalls run along the length of the Rialto Bridge, selling jewelry and souvenirs. Being a bridge, it gets pretty packed, so is not too ideal if you don’t enjoy crowds.

The shops on the Rialto Bridge are not to be confused with those of the Rialto Market. Dating back as far as the 11th-century, the Rialto Market well predates the bridge and is one of the oldest institutions in the city. 

Rather than souvenirs and trinkets, the Rialto Market specializes in fresh produce. Depending on when you go, you may have to contend with the smells and aromas of the meat and fish stalls. If you can get past the strong odor, you can pick up some of the most sublime local ingredients to try. 

The Market is held close to the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Believed to have been built in the year 1071, the market and the church have been operating here for almost a thousand years. It’s an incredible slice of history to partake in when you visit. 

San Polo is also home to some of the oldest churches and cathedrals in Venice. The Basilica Dei Frari was constructed in the early 1300s. It’s next door to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco which was built less than two hundred years later. 

At the heart of the district is the Campo San Polo public square. Dating back to the 1400s, it is a convenient meeting place and now hosts concerts and seasonal attractions in a stunning historical setting. The square is home to Palazzo Soranzo and the Palazzo Corner Mocenigo.

San Polo is home to some stunning hotels, with many offers views of the Grand Canal, although you will likely have to pay a premium for such a privilege. There are a few more affordable options further away from the canal. Overall, the hotel rates here still better value than in San Marco.

Stay In San Polo you’re first-timers, families with children seeking a central location but quieter than San Marco; surrounded by historic sites is ideal;

Best places to stay in Venice in San Polo for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel L’Orologio, 4-star hotel located next to the Grand Canal, short walk from Rialto Bridge and Campo San Polo Square, and 15-minute walk to Venezia Santa Lucia train station.
  • Mid-range ($$): H10 Palazzo Canova, 4-star hotel, located in central Venice island, close to the Ca’ d’Oro, Rialto Bridge and San Michele Cemetery.
  • Budget ($): Riva del Vin Boutique hotel, 3-star hotel, in the San Polo district, easy walk to Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square and Basilica.

4. Santa Croce

Santa Croce, transportation hub of Venice
Grand Canal

Santa Croce is one of the six main districts of Venice island and the least touristy sestiere. It offers a much more laid back atmosphere, and affordable options compared to San Marco. 

Santa Croce is very well connected to transport systems. Both Venice’s primary bus terminal and port are located here, right next to one another. 

If you are traveling into Venice by bus or boat, with Piazzale Roma bus station, staying in the Santa Croce sestieri will save you the time and effort of traveling to and from your hotel. It has links to Marco Polo Airport and Treviso Airport.

The train terminal of central Venice, Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, is also located just across the Grand Canal. Several bridges connect over from the train station to Santa Croce, so you will have just a short walk from the station to your hotel. 

Additionally, if you are traveling into Venice by car, Santa Croce is located right at the end of the Ponte Della Liberte bridge. The Ponte Della Liberte is the train and traffic bridge that connects the Venetian islands to the mainland. 

Santa Croce is the only place in the main Venetian islands where you will find roads and parking for cars. If you would rather avoid the hassle of hauling your luggage onto a ferry or water taxi, Santa Croce offers the easiest hotel commute. 

Of course, being that parking on the islands is so very limited, it may be beneficial to check ahead for prebooked parking. You don’t want to get all the way there only to find you have nowhere to leave your car. 

Most of the attractions in Santa Croce are clustered in the east of the district. The west is largely transport terminals and infrastructure. Towards Villaggio Eden you will find several lovely museums, such as:

  • The Mocenigo Palace-Museum houses displays of antique artworks and furniture in a lovely 17th-century Venetian palace.
  • The Ca’pesaro, the International Gallery of Modern Art offers a more contemporary alternative, with numerous exhibits of modern artwork and sculptures. 
  • The Natural History Museum offers a break from all the art and culture. It is just a short walk along the banks of the Grand Canal.
  • the Museum of the History of Medicine.

You can also find attractions such as the Palazzo Mocenigo just behind San Stae, the 9th century church San Giacomo dell’Orio, San Simeon Grando, and the 17th century San Nicola de Tolentino.

The shopping and hospitality of the area are generally much less high-end and pretentious than you often find in the very center of Venice. Instead, you can enjoy local, family-run restaurants and cafes. It is a wonderful place to take a more relaxed break and mingle with the locals. 

Being further out of the city center, and a bit further from the major attractions, rates for accommodation are typically much more affordable here. If you are working with a smaller budget but still want to stay on the islands, this is a great neighborhood to consider. 

Stay In Santa Croce If you want a convenient location close to train, bus, and ferry terminals; you want off-the-beaten-track charm; you travel on a budget, or with a car; you are first-timers;

Best places to stay in Venice in Santa Croce first-timers:

  • luxury ($$$): Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel, 5-star hotel with the Grand Canal views, easy walk to San Stae water bus stop, and 10-minute walk of Venice Santa Lucia Train Station and St.Mark’s Square.
  • mid-range ($$): Hotel Santa Chiara, 4-star hotel, set next to Papadopoli Gardens, as well as the ferry terminal and airport coach stop in Piazzale Roma.
  • budget ($): AC Hotel Venezia by Marriott, 3-star hotel, located close to La Fenice Theatre, Ca’ d’Oro, and Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The hotel has family rooms.

5. Cannaregio

Cannaregio is one of the most popular areas to stay in Venice on a budget due to its affordable accommodations, proximity to the main train station, and the major attractions. It is one of the six main districts of central Venice island and is the vibrant hub, located to the north.

The Santa Lucia Train Station is located in the west end of the district. If you are traveling to Venice by train, Cannaregio will be particularly convenient for you. Getting from the train station to your hotel will be much easier if you stay here rather than in one of the other districts. 

Once a bustling industrial area, Cannaregio is now home to the largest residential population in Venice. It is a good place to stay in Venice with more local vibe than other sestieri in the city. 

The shops, restaurants, and cafes in Cannaregio feel much more laid back and authentic with more casual, friendly, homely feel.

Historically, Cannaregio is known for boasting the world’s first Jewish ghetto, the 16th-century Campo di Ghetto Nuovo. You can see many historic structurese, including some of the area’s oldest synagogues and a museum dedicated to the Jewish history of Venice.

If you happen to be in town around the Hanukkah celebrations in December, you should consider visiting Cannaregio to experience the celebrations that take over the area. 

Cannaregio is also a great place to visit if you enjoy shopping but prefer local stores and vintage boutiques over the big brand names of the city center. The Strada Nova shopping street is a particularly popular destination with both locals and visitors. 

The main street is lined with a mix of chain stores, independent craft stores, and souvenir shops. The side streets leading away from Strada Nova are home to numerous small cafes and restaurants, where you can take a break after bargain hunting. 

If you want to break from shopping and sightseeing, grab yourself a fritoìn, a classic Venetian street food, which is a paper cone filled with fried seafood and vegetables. Frito Inn, near to Ponte delle Guglie, is one of the vendors that you can buy it.

Cannaregio is also home to the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti Alla Ca’ d’Oro Palace, beautiful 15th-century waterside palace, located in Palazzo Santa Sofia. It is home to exhibitions of renaissance furnishings and artworks by renowned Venetian painters. 

Visitors are free to wander the palace by themselves. Alternatively, take a guided tour and enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the history of the palace and the relics housed within.

Other notable sites include the Santa Maria Dei Miracoli church and the Church of Madonna dell’Orto, which is the burial place of renowned painter Tintoretto.

Cannaregio is the location of Venice’s narrowest street, Calle Varisco with only 53cm wide. The nearby Fondamenta Ormesini is one of Venice’s best places to catch sunset and enjoy nightlife.

You can also take a look at the Palazzo Labia, close to the train station, built in the 17th century by a wealthy Spanish family. Its famous attraction if a fresco cycle painted by Tiepolo in the ballroom.

Cannaregio is located close to Murano island – famous for the glass laboratories, Burano island -known for its handmade lace works, and Torcello island – home to the older Church of Venice.

Cannaregio is home to Cannaregio Canal, Venice’s 2nd biggest cannal. I recommend to take a stroll a long its canal and enjoy wonderful atmosphere.

Stay In Cannaregio If you’re budget travelers; you are first-time tourists; you want a more relaxed, residential disitrict with a local vibe; you are traveling into Venice by train;

Best places to stay in Cannaregio for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Ca’ Bonfadini Historic Experience, elegant accommodation, set near the main train station and Venice Casino.
  • Mid-range ($$): Carnival Palace – Venice Collection, 4-star hotel, located in Jewish Ghetto area, short distance from Tre Archi Vaporetto water bus stop and Santa Lucia Train Station.
  • Budget ($): Alle Guglie Boutique Hotel, 3-star hotel, located next to Ponte Alle Guglie, close to Piazzale Roma, the main arrival point of Venice. The hotel is surrounded by with open-air markets and shops.

6. Castello

Castello, centrally located in Venice for authentic experience 
Venetian Arsenal

Castello is one of the largest sestieri in central Venice island. Covering most of the city east of San Marco, Castello offers a location super close to the attractions of the city center without the crushing crowds of tourists. 

Historically, Castello was Venice’s maritime hub. Much of the old industrial and shipping infrastructures have been preserved and now serve as tourist attractions.

The Naval History Museum, known as Museo Storico Navale in Italian, houses fascinating exhibitions on Castello’s heritage as a base for the Venetian navy. 

The Arsenale di Venezia is a shipyard that dates back to the byzantine period of the early 12th century. The collection of structures surrounding it are now used as venues for various events. The Arsenal is also the center point for the Venetian Biennale. 

The Venice Biennale is an arts organization that arranges various festivals throughout the year, each focused on a different sector of the arts. The internationally renowned Venice Film Festival is one of the events the Venetian Biennale organizes. 

Even when the Biennale isn’t hosting any events or festivals, there are still plenty of shows to take in. The area boasts numerous theatres and opera houses, in addition to the typically Venetian collection of art galleries and museums. 

In the east of the Castello district are the Venice Giardini, or Giardini della Biennale. With unobstructed views out over the Venice Lagoon and swathes of leafy trees, the Biennale Gardens are a lovely opportunity to escape from the press of the city.

You can enjoy some particularly lovely walks here, sandwiched between the lush trees and the open water. Within the park, there are various pagodas and pavilions to explore, each full of artworks from around the world. 

In the heart of the Castello sestiere stand Via Garibaldi, the widest street in all of Venice, filled with shops, bars, cafes, and nightlife venues.

On San Pietro island, you can find the 16th-century Church of San Pietro di Castello. One of its prominent attractions to look at is its Arabic motifs and Renaissance bell tower.

If you have more time, take a look at the Campo di SS. Giovanni e Paolo, the Church of San Zaccaria, and the Parco delle Rimembranz.

Being such a large district, there is a lot of variation in the sort of accommodation one can find here. Closer to the border with San Marco, you can find a lot of pricier, luxury hotels. This is especially true along the length of the waterfront. 

Further inland and away from the main tourist center, however, there are a lot more mid-range options to choose from. You should note though that even once you get further from busy San Marco, there still isn’t much super-budget accommodation here. 

Around the time of the Biennale’s events, this area gets even busier, and accommodation can get even more pricey. It’s definitely worth keeping that in mind when considering booking accommodations in Castello.

Stay In Castello If you want a relaxing stay in a quiet neighborhood; you love the arts; you are attending one of the festivals organized by the Venice Biennale; this is your first visit;

Best places to stay in Venice in Castello for first-timers:


7. Giudecca

Giudecca, where to stay in Venice in laid-back, quieter island

Giudecca is a large, long island, just south of central Venice island, in the Venetian lagoon. There are no bridges connecting Giudecca across to the main islands. If you stay here, you will be relying on the ferries whenever you want to get to or from the main part of the city. 

That can make sightseeing feel like a bit of a chore, so it’s not great if touring around all the major attractions is your priority. For that reason, I don’t recommend Giudecca for first-time visitors.

The upside to being so separated from the main city is that it makes it a lot less touristy than central Venice island. It is a great base for those seeking a quiet neighborhood with casual eateries, reasonably priced accommodations, and sophisticated nightlife.

The neighborhood has come a long way from its history as a prison island, then a military base. Now it exists as a leafy suburban retreat for the city’s artistic community. 

The Giudecca district is notable for its beauty. The island itself is home to numerous leafy parks and gardens. The parks and houses along the southern waterline boast an unobstructed view across the Lago

Giudecca is home to numerous studios and small galleries, belonging to the local artists. If you want to see more of the current generation’s artwork, rather than just classical masterpieces, this is a good place to explore.

The Santissimo Redentore Church, or The Basilica of the Redeemer is one of the highlight attractions on Giudecca. It was built in the 16th century by Palladio. It hosts the Feast of the Redeemer festival in July each year.

You can also find a few more interesting churches such as the Chiesa Della Zitelle, the Casa de Maria, the Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia, the House of the Three Oci, and the Molino Stucky.

Along the waterline where hotels can offer unobstructed views across to the famous attractions of Dorsoduro, you will generally have to pay higher rates than elsewhere in Giudecca.

Stay In Giudecca If  You are Looking for a quieter neighborhood; Sightseeing is not your top priority; It is not your first time visiting Venice; you want experience local life;

Best places to stay in Venice in Giudecca:


8. Lido di Venezia

 Lido di Venezia (Lido), where to stay in Venice for beaches

If you are planning a beach vacation rather than a city break, Lido would be the top Venetian district for you. With the lovely Blue Moon beach stretching along the eastern shore of the island, Lido is perfect for a break spent relaxing on the sand in summer, especially July and August.

There aren’t a ton of sights to see in this part of Venice. However, there are plenty of chic waterfront cafes and cocktail bars to relax at, so you will still have plenty to keep you entertained throughout your trip.

The island’s main road, Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta and a pedestrianised piazza are lined with gelateries, cafés, hotels, and shops.

There are no bridges connecting across to the city center. If you want to do any sightseeing in the main town, you will need to rely on the ferry services. There are multiple routes going to various locations around Venice so it’s not too much hassle.

This is where much of the Venice Film Festival is held. If you are visiting specifically for the festival, the Lido is where you will want to stay. On the other hand, if you aren’t visiting for the festival, you may want to pick a different area or time to visit. It gets both crowded and more expensive. 

If you love nature and biodiversity, you can rent bikes to visit the natural Oasis and dunes in Alberoni, Oasi WWF Dune degli Alberoni, a protected natural reserve on the south side of the island.

Lido is one of the few areas in Venice that accommodates cars. Aside from being generally more convenient, it also makes it more accessible for travelers with mobility issues, who struggle with the pedestrian lanes and ferries of the main islands.

Lido has cheaper accommodations compared to the historic center of Venice. Lido is more convenient location than Mestre as a base to stay near Venice. It is also a convenient place before or after cruise ship.

Stay In Lido Di Venezia If You want a relaxing beach vacation; You have mobility issues that make the car-free main islands difficult to get around; You are attending Venice Film Festival;

Best places to stay in Venice in Lido Di Venezia for first-timers:


9. Mestre

Mestre, where to stay near Venice for budget

Mestre is mainland area located across the Venetian lagoon. Mestre is a popular base for some budget travelers due to its generally lower accommodation costs and convenient transportation links to Venice.

Mestre along with Santa Croce is one of the best places to stay in Venice with a car because it has cheaper car parkings and accommodations, and well-connected by bus, making it a great base to take a day trip to Venice island.

Whilst most of the iconic Venetian attractions are on the famous islands, Mestre also has its share of things to see and do. Forte Marghera dates back to the 1800s and makes for a particularly unique art gallery and events space.

Alternatively, Museum M9 offers a unique look at how technology is affecting our personal and family lives. It also offers predictions into the impact technology will have on our future societies. It will be interesting to see how accurate those predictions prove to be.

Mestre is also home to the 13th -century Torre Civica di Mestre, the Church of San Lorenzo, Piazza Ferretto where you can do shopping, dining, and San Giuliano Park.

One thing to note about the Venetian islands is that the many canals make it impossible for cars to access the main city. As such, it can be difficult for those with mobility issues to get around, having to rely on wobbly ferries and narrow bridges. 

Staying in Mestre negates that issue. Whilst you would obviously have to find a workaround for any sightseeing, you wouldn’t have to struggle just to get your luggage to your hotel. Traveling into Mestre, in general, is a simpler task than it is for many of the island districts. 

Aside from being able to drive into Mestre, you can also take a train straight into Venezia Mestre train station, at the heart of the Mestre. Trains to Venice take around 10 minutes and cost less than €2 per trip.

While Mestre offers several advantages for budget travelers, it might not provide the same charm and ambiance as staying in the heart of Venice island. But, if your primary focus is to save money, Mestre can be a practical and cost-effective choice for accommodation near Venice.

Stay In Mestre if you travel with a car; you travel on a budget; you don’t mind staying outside Venice; this is not your first time;

Best places to stay in Mestre for first-time tourists:


Mestre is the best area to stay near Venice on budget, but you can also stay in Noale and San Donà di Piave which are both in short driving distance from Venice. if you want to save money on hotel room or travel with a car, you can consider to stay outside Venice city.

10. San Donà di Piave

San Donà di Piave is located along the river Piave, in the province of Venice, Veneto Region of northern Italy. The train from San Donà di Piave-Jesolo to Venice is around 40 minutes with 66 trains per day.

Here, you will find some religious attractions like the 20-century Cathedral which was built on the ruins of the church during the First World War; and the Parish Church of Chiesanuova.

Other historical attractions are the Museum of the reclamation of the marshland and the 18th-century Villa Ancillotto.

There are also several green spaces in the neighborhood including the Gardens of San Marco, Park Benjamin, Park Fellini, and the Agora Garden.

Best places to stay in San Donà di Piave:

mid-range ($$): Best Western Park Hotel Continental, this 4-star hotel is convniently located close to San Donà di Piave Bus Station, train station, the San Donà Noventa exit of the A4 motorway, and the shopping streets of San Donà di Piave.

budget ($): Hotel Forte Del 48 this 3-star hotel is located in San Donà, 30-minute train ride from Venice and short drive by car from Adriatic coast. Enjoy Veneto region food and high-quality wines at its on-site retaurant.

11. Noale

Noale is a quiet small medieval walled town in Provincia di Venezia. The train from Noale-Scorze railway station to Venice is around 30  minutes, with 55 trains per day.

Here, you will find historical churches, buildings, piazzas, and festivals:

  • The ruins of 12th century Tempesta fortress, along the river Marzenego
  • The Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower), the ancient east entrance of the village
  • The Torre delle Campane (Bell Tower), west entrance of the village
  • Palazzo della Loggia, home to the municipal council, the Museo Civico, and Egisto Lancerotto. 
  • The parish church of Saints Felix and Fortunatus
  • Palio di Noale: the festival where you can find the medieval market and parade with contrada that has a band and a flag-throwers group.

Best places to stay in Noale:

Residence Le Bugne Conveniently located in the centre of Noale, close to the train station that connect to Venice in 30 minute ride. There is free bike to use and well-equipped rooms. There are many nice restaurants nearby.

Al Bersagliere Nice hotel in Noale with free private parking, good price. It is within easy stroll from the train station where you can catch the train to Venice in 25 minute ride.

🎬 You can watch this full video about best areas in Venice in my youtube channel.

Where should I stay in Venice for the first time?

San Marco is the best overall area to stay in Venice for first-timers due to its central location and proximity to tourist amenities and major landmarks such as the Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, and Rialto Bridge. It is the main tourist hub of the Venice island.

What are the best areas to stay in Venice?

San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Castello, Giudecca, Lido, and Mestre are the best areas to stay in Venice for tourists because they are the most popular and safe locations to explore the city.

What are the safest areas to stay in Venice?

Venice is overall a safe city for tourists. If you are looking for the safest part to stay in Venice, look into tourist areas such as San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Castello. However, as you travel to any big city, you should always practice common sense.

Where not to stay in Venice?

There are no no-go areas in Venice, but it is recommended to use common sense and be aware of your surroundings as you travel to any touristy areas.

Where to stay in Venice with family?

San Polo, San Marco, Cannaregio, Santa Croce, and Castello are the best places to stay in Venice for families with kids because they are the most central locations on Venice island, offering plenty of family-friendly things to do and see for children of all ages.

Where to stay in Venice for two nights?

San Marco and San Polo are the best locations for travelers seeking a short stay in Venice, for two nights, even one night due to its prime location. San Marco is the heart of Venice, can be more expensive and crowded. San Polo is a quieter but still within walking distance of major attractions.

Is it better to stay in Venice or outside?

If you want to truly experience Venice life from early morning to late night, it is best to stay inside Venice if possible. If you want to save some money on hotel room, or travel with a car, you can consider staying outside Venice in Mestre or Lido.

See more other cities in Italy:

In conclusion, San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Castello, and Mestre are some of the best places to stay in Venice for tourists. They offers a wide range of accommodations for all budget travelers to stay and explore Venice.

Personally, I recommend San Marco as the best area in Venice for first-timers because it is the most central place to stay in Venice to see Venice’s top sights and it offer a wide range of accommodation options for all budget travelers.

With evidence suggesting that the floating city is sinking a little more every year, you will definitely want to get there whilst you still have the chance. As you know where to stay in Venice, it’s time to get booking your dream vacation and head off on your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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