Venice should be on the bucket list on anyone visiting Italy. It should also be on “1000 places to see before you die” list of every Gallivanter. The city is built on 118 small islands connected by around 400 bridges and this explains why water is the most common mode of transport! Venice is beautiful year around. However, the prices vary depending on the seasons! The peak season is the busiest and the most expensive time. Venice is less crowded during off-peak season but the only issue is that you could experience high tides which at times cause flooding and most of the main attractions remain closed during this time, so planning your time of travel is crucial to finding the best hotels to stay in Venice.
BEST TIME TO VISIT VENICE
- For General Sightseeing: The second half of April to First half of May, and the second half of September to the first half of October are the shoulder seasons and the best time to visit Venice. June to August is the peak period and is also hot and humid, full of sweaty crowd and lots of bugs. October to January is the winter season and really not an enjoyable time.
- For Attending Events/Festivals: If you want to enjoy Venice festivals despite the weather or the crowd, here are the few events/ festivals you can enjoy-
- Carnival- The biggest annual event in Venice, happens in the month of February. Venice carnivale is full of masked parades, confetti, balls, parties, mischiefs and pranks. The whole city comes alive.
- La Sensa- Venice procession of boats celebrates the relationship between Venice and the sea, and happens in the month of May.
- Venice Vogalonga- Rowing festival, happens in the month of May or June.
- Venice Film Festival- happens takes place at the end of August / beginning of September.
- Avoiding Acqua Alta- Acqua alta (high water) is the time of high tide and flooding in Venice, and happens frequently in the months of October, November, December and April. Tourists have to wade through water logged streets. Do pack rubber boots if your are going in these months.
HOW TO SELECT HOTELS TO STAY IN VENICE
Do NOT select a hotel in Venice randomly or based on price alone! There are no cars allowed in Venice and only means of transport is a water taxi or a water bus (vaporetto). Vaporetti have fixed schedule and stops (depots) and private water taxis are expensive. So you can end up having a very tough time carrying your luggage across bridges and cobblestoned streets if your hotel is far away from a vaporetto stop, or you can have a tough time to find water taxis to take you to airport for your flight. Venice is always crowded and has a lot of bridges and the streets are narrow and cobblestoned making it difficult to pull the bags. Even if you are young and fit, it is a very big hassle to drag your bags and it is always recommended to stay close to Piazzale Roma. From here, it is only a 20-minute ride to the airport and you are still in the city to enjoy. There are also special buses such as ATVO which connect certain airlines such as Ryanair and Whizzair. Saying closer to the airport is easier than pulling your luggage on the streets that are crowded and you pay a lot for water buses and taxis.
If you are on a long trip in Italy and visiting Venice only for 2-3 days, you can store your luggage at a baggage office and carry only necessary stuff for stay in Venice. These luggage offices are called Deposito Bagagli Office and you can spot them easily at The Marco Polo Airport, Venice Santa Lucia Railway station, Piazzale Roma and Venice Cruise Terminal which are the major hubs. Recently at certain locations, they have introduced Luggage lockers and you can easily store your luggage in such lockers. So consider such options with hotels depending on the location.
Venice is not the best tourist city out there that is wheelchair friendly. The cobblestoned streets and the connecting bridges make it a pain to travel here for people with walking disabilities. If you are a slow walker or need a wheelchair, make sure you stay close to the mainland by easy roads. Some of the water taxis are not wheelchair friendly either. Before booking a hotel, make sure you check with the hotel if they have elevator and your special requests are met. Study the Venice Districts (Sestieri) map below very carefully. While trying to find hotels to stay in Venice, keep these three things in mind-
- ARRIVAL: You will be arriving in Venice through these four entry points, so try and keep your hotel near to these entry points-
- 1. By Car: Cars are not allowed in Venice, so if you are arriving by car, you will be routed to the Piazzale Roma parking garage (€23.40 to €29 per day), marked by a red box on the map in Santa Croce–or to the Tronchetto Parking Garage (€21 per day) near ship terminal to the left marked by the white area. Best hotels to try near Piazzale Roma are Hotel Moresco, Hotel Antiche Figure and Hotel Olimpia.
- 2. By Train: If you are arriving in Venice by train, you will land at Santa Lucia Station. Right in front of the main entrance of the station are floating waterbus platforms. Find a vaporetto to take you to your hotel’s nearest vaporetto stop or get a water taxi (expensive) to take you nearest to the hotel. The best hotels near Santa Lucia Station are Hotel Antiche Figure, Hotel Canal Grande, Hotel Moresco, and Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo. The best part of selecting hotels to stay here is that many of them do not involve crossing bridges and if you have heavy luggage, this could be an advantage.
- 3. By Plane: You will arrive at Marco Polo Airport, 6km north of Venice, by flight. Ride an ATVO or ACTV airport bus to reach the Piazzale Roma, or an Alilaguna water bus (Red, Blue or Orange lines) to reach near your hotel, or a private water taxi in case you have a big family or a group.
- 4. By Ship: You will be arriving at Marittima termial (white area in top left on
the map) so find a hotel near that area. Venice is one of the busiest cruise ports with almost 700,000 passengers per year. If you are a cruise person and visiting Venice this way, staying at a hotel close to the ship terminal will save you a lot of money and hassle. Wrestling with luggage is a pain in Venice’s narrow streets and selecting hotels the closest plays a big role. The main hotels closest to the port are Hotel Santa Chiara, Cà Doge, and AC Hotel Venezia By Marriot.
- SIGHTSEEING AND HOTEL NEIGHBOURHOOD:
When looking for a hotel in Venice, most people think a view of water is the key. It isn’t very hard to look for such hotels. Proximity to major attractions also attracts tourists. Most of the affordable accommodations tend to be located away from the main city. Many tourists prefer to walk on foot and see the attractions than staying in the main city. The main districts for hotels to stay in Venice (refer to the districts map above) are
- San Marco: San Marco is the district that has almost all the attractions, museums and monuments. All the tourists gather around in this area during the day. There are photo opportunities everywhere. If you have very less time and want to see everything as fast as possible, San Marco is the district for you. Finding a ride and travelling to monuments is easy breezy. Grand Canal is located in this district and you can see how beautiful this district is. While it is a beautiful district, it is a hub for tourists and is always noisy and full. So, if you are someone who likes quiet places, away from boisterous crowds, and enjoy to stroll on the cobblestoned streets, you need to look somewhere else. Best Hotels- The Gritti Palace, Corte Di Gabriela, Rosa Salva Hotel
- Cannaregio: Very similar to San Marco, this district is also located on the banks of Grand Canal, but because of the distance from the main attraction, it is comparatively less crowded. It is a great district if you are a history fanatic and love to explore museums and architecture. It is a 15-20 minute-walk to reach the center from here. You can spot the locals and if you are interested in living a Venetian’s Life, this is the place where you need to be. Best Hotels-Ai Mori d’Oriente, Arcadia Boutique Hotel
- Castello: Castello is the district if you need to explore Venice to the fullest. The district borders San Marco and Cannaregio making this a perfect spot for attractions and budget hotels. While there is not much to do here, you can still see a lot of things walking around the streets.
- Santa Croce: Santa Croce is located on the other side of Grand Canal. There are very less tourists here and you can see the authentic side of Venice in this district. It is also a center to some of the Venice’s major transport hubs. There are several small vendors and you can find fabrics and handicrafts here at very less price.
- San Polo: San Polo is very close to Santa Croce. It is also one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. This district involves a lot of walking. It is also home to the famous Rialto Bridge and you can find a lot of tourists here too. There is also a fish market close by, so you can always see crowds!
- Dorsoduro: This is a very famous district for youth. The district is known for its night life and bohemian charm. The district is a hub for late-night drinks and conversation. There are many things to do here. There are very few luxury hotels in this area. The district is not a perfect place for families!
- Giudecca: Guidecca is a district for those who have come for a peaceful and relaxing time. The only drawback with this district is the transportation. There are no bridges connecting to the city and only water and boats are the mode of transport. The district is also popular for its budget hotels and attracts students and youth alike.
- Lido di Venezia: Even though there is nothing great to see in this area, this district is the top pick for celebrities. It is a long island that also serves as a beach. You can walk along the shore and that makes it a beautiful romantic destination. If you love sea food and willing to spend a few extra bucks, this could be your favorite place in Venice. Who knows, you might run into George Clooney!
- Mestre: Mestre is least famous among tourists. It is a little farther than the main attractions in Venice and public transport is the key here! If you stay here, you are completely missing out the Venetian life!
- DEPARTURE: For people leaving by plane, one of the things that is bothersome in Venice is flight timings. Many international flights start very early in the morning and this makes it reaching the airport harder. If you have early flights, the only option is to hire a water taxi but these would cost you around 90-120€ making it a very expensive ride. ACTV Buses do start around 5am and takes around 25-30 minutes to reach the airport. However, this is a possibility only if you have flights after 6.30am. Before that it can be a little difficult! If you have an early morning flight, the best option would be staying close to the airport. This way it will be an easier commute with the luggage and also you can leave later without spending much and be stress free. The closest hotels at walking distance to the airport are: Courtyard by Marriott Venice Airport, Annia Park Hotel Venice Airport, Best Western Titian Inn, Hotel Gronda Lagunare. Some of the hotels close to the airport also offer free shuttle services to the airport. Try to make use of the services which are free of cost if you have a lot of luggage.If you do not have an early flight and you can leave later with the buses, we would suggest you to stick to main Venice city but note that the travel and wait to the airport would take more than an hour and you need to leave accordingly. As, you can still have spend the last night memorably at Venice than spending it close to the airport where you would just eat and sleep!
BEST HOTELS TO STAY IN VENICE
Considering all the above points, below are the best hotels to opt if you are visiting Venice.
If comfort and luxury are your top priorities, and you wouldn’t mind spending, opting for luxury hotels to stay in venice is the best option. You get everything at your fingertips and this makes the trip go smoother!
The 82-room Gritti Palace is owned by Marriott and is situated on the Grand Canal with views of Santa Maria delle Salute Church. The luxurious rooms features antiques and house the famous Murano Glass. Being in the center, it is just 500m away from the St. Mark’s Square. Situated in San Marco district, it gives you easier access to the monuments. CHECK AVAILABILITY
Located in the Castello district, this luxury hotel is also owned by Marriott. The hotel consists of 3 separate buildings which dates back to 14th , 19th and 20th Centuries. The award-winning Luxury collection hotels are interconnected by bridges. The hotel definitely dominates the Venetian lagoon. It is located just 200m from St Mark’s Square. The nearest water bus stop is only 2 minutes away and making it easy to travel around. Some rooms offer fantastic views of lagoon.
This hotel’s very own Terrazza Danieli is a panoramic restaurant and is absolutely romantic offering the best views and menu. Best option when looking for old town exploring. The hotel itself is very historic and artistic. However, The windows do not block much noise and being situated in the center, it can be very noisy at night till the tourists disperse. CHECK AVAILABILITY
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The hotel is one of the top rated 5-star hotels in Venice. The hotel is also home to a full-fledged art gallery. The hotel offers stunning views of a tiny lagoon and is very spacious with antique furniture and Murano glass chandeliers. Located just a few steps away from St Marks Square in the heart of the city. Presence of an own private dock where you can arrive and depart in style. The water bus is juts 50 m from the hotel. Very spacious rooms which has variations and are draped in Venetian style. Family Friendly. Beds and cots for children below the age of 16 are free. However, lesser priced rooms have no views and this can be a bummer considering the price paid. CHECK AVAILABILITY
The hotel is located in the heart of Dorsoduro. The hotel is a unique blend of gothic and exclusive contemporary interiors. The original decor from 1892 can still be spotted and makes it historically and artistically very beautiful. The property combines contemporary interiors with original décor from 1892. Located overlooking the picturesque Grand Canal and the location couldn’t have been better. Presence of airport shuttle but with additional charge. Access friendly. However, some rooms have leaky showers so check before and make sure you switch your rooms if there is a problem. CHECK AVAILABILITY
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5. AMAN VENICE
The hotel is situated just on the Grand Canal with spectacular views. The interiors are lovely and with museum quality art and architectural features, it does redefine luxury. The hotel is balanced by contemporary design classics and the rooms are pure luxury with intricate balance between art and richness. It doesn’t surprise anyone that this 16th century Hotel was the choice Clooney’s picked to spend their wedding night! Friendly and helpful staff. Designed Itineraries from expert guides available. Room rents almost remain the same throughout the year with very little variations. Disability friendly. Nestled in the center but away from the crowd. Huge bathrooms! However, Mostly adult atmosphere and not kid friendly. No good views in the lower category rooms. CHECK AVAILABILITY
I just couldn’t finish the list without adding this hotel. The Hotel is located in its own private 16 hectare island. The hotel is a 5-star Resort with a beautiful spa and 4 restaurants. The island is a haven and when you are here, you would be very tempted to skip Venice and relax in this island. Free shuttle that takes you to the center. Free and away from crowds. Rooftop pools for a never-ending sea view. 266 rooms but still doesn’t feel cramped and feels very private making it a beautiful option for couples. 12 rooms equipped for disabled people. Family friendly with playground nearby. However, Since it is a small island, it is definitely far from the main attractions. It takes a 20min long ride to St Mark’s Square. Wi-Fi is charged in rooms and is €15 per 24 hours. Children or adult are charged €130 per night for extra beds and only one extra bed per room and you need to select rooms based on the number of kids. CHECK AVAILABILITY
The hotel is located on the Rio Nuovi Canal. The hotel is decorated with a fusion of Venezian and Oriental design. It has an elegant interior design with Murano Glass lamps and antique furniture. The hotel is just 5 minutes walk from Piazzale Roma which is the hub to all the water buses and taxis. 23 rooms including the suite are beautifully decorated in Venetian designs with the finest textiles. Easy access to all the public spaces in the hotel. Very friendly Staff. Disability Friendly. Breakfast included Presence of shuttle service. However, The distance can be an issue. It is 700m from the Railway station and 25-minutes walk to the St Mark’s Square. CHECK AVAILABILITY
8. CANAL GRANDE
The hotel overlooks the typical Venetian Square and faces the Grand Canal through which it drives its name. The 4- star boutique hotel offers a historic design mixed with modern comforts. Proximity to the attractions. You can easily walk around and cover all the beautiful spots. Children under 2 years are charged nothing and anyone older than this are charged €40 per bed which is cheaper and makes it travel friendly. However, check-in time is 2 pm and if you arrive earlier you need to place your bags in the hallway and there is no guarantee for their safety. This makes it a little difficult if you have valuables. There are complaints that at times they transfer you to a sister hotel when overbooked! CHECK AVAILABILITY
Facing the Magical Grand canal, this hotel is right in the center with easy access to Santa Lucia Railway station and Piazzale Roma. There are 145 rooms that are furnished in the Ventian Style of 1700s. The wall lamps in the hotel are made with Murano Glass. Presence of a splendid panoramic terrace Top of the Carlton Sky Lounge and Restaurant. The location is at the center of Venice. However, not the best bathrooms. No sound proofing and thus, chances are you will be wake up early because of the commotion of water buses and water taxis. CHECK AVAILABILITY
Hotel Cavalletto & Doge Orseolo is one of the oldest hotels in Venice. It has been catering services from 1308! It is situated in center within a few metres from St Marks Sqaure. The rooms overlook the Orseolo Basin. The rooms are all Venetian styled. Situated in Old town gives you an advantage of visiting everything by foot. The nearest bus stop is 2 minutes away. Very friendly staff and they even fix you up with new rooms if available when you aren’t satisfied with the room and if the reasons are valid. Decent sized rooms which are very clean. Breakfast costs €15. However, Since it is an old hotel, some of the rooms smell moldy and have creaky doors. During Acqua Alta, there are chances that water would enter the lobby. Bathrooms are smaller for budget rooms. Could be noisy, considering that it overlooks the gondolas, there are crowds every single minute and this makes it a lot uncomfortable if you want to relax in the mornings. CHECK AVAILABILITY
The palace now a 4- star hotel that dates back to 15th century and was home to the famous Barbarigo Family. The palace was a dowry that was given to husband Giorgio Nani by Elena Barbarigo, daughter of Doge Agostino, the 74th Doge of Venice. In the 18th century, it was turned to a museum which had all the remains of the family and today it serves as a hotel while it still retains the perfect Gothic Style with Murano Glass Chandeliers. Beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Venice. The hotel has its own history and museum to tell. Rialto Bridge and San Marco are at a distance of 1.2 and 1.4 km respectively. Luxurious and Venetian. Quieter and away from the crowds. Excellent breakfast included. Quality rooms. However, Since it was a palace, while trying to retain the old heritage, they constantly need to fix the modern amenities. You can hear noises from the AC and heaters more! Issues with Wi-Fi dropping out. CHECK AVAILABILITY
These are the best 3-star hotels to stay in Venice. While they can never replace staying in a 4 or a 5 star room, they do provide quality comfort.
AC Hotels is a 3 star budget hotel range by Marriott. Decent sized rooms and in an easy accessible location. A normal sized room with AC, kettle and basic amenities. The monuments can be explored by foot but they are far away. Rialto Bridge or St Mark’s Square is a 30-minute walk. Newly built with modern amenities and architecture. Close to the main bus station. However, No restaurant in the hotel and breakfast costs 18 €. Children cannot be accommodated with extra beds and this makes it not Family friendly. CHECK AVAILABILITY
The boutique hotel is set in a 17th century building in the Cannaregio quarter in Venice. The location is pretty picturesque. It has a mixture of modern and contemporary art and designs. Very friendly staff who are happy to recommend and provide you tips about Venice. The rooms are made with robes and beautifully decorated. Just 5 minute walk from Santa Lucia Train Station and the Water bus stop is just 300m away. Very clean rooms and good bathrooms. Good budget rooms are available. However, Some of the rooms open to a street above a restaurant and they can get very noisy. If you come late for breakfast, you will have very less items on the menu/buffet to eat. CHECK AVAILABILITY
14. ROSA SALVA HOTEL
The hotel is spread over three floors and is enriched with precious fabrics and clean furniture. There are elevators present which makes it easy to access for people who have low mobility. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city. Proximity to monuments. Easy to reach from Santa Lucia Train Station and Piazzale Roma. Presence of airport shuttle. Quiet neighbourhood. However, Towels are not changed every day and changed only if you ask. Rooms are not very big. CHECK AVAILABILITY
Hotel Mercurio is a hotel run by family for 3 generations. The atmosphere is very family like and located in quiet neighbourhood. The hotel is decorated with Venetian designs and furnishings. Friendly staff who suggest itineraries. Some of the rooms overlook the canal and gondolas. A very good choice for youth. Perfect location and is just 5 minutes walk to the St Mark’s Square. Availability of budget rooms. However, Steep stairs and no lifts. Rooms are smaller. Cards are not accepted for small payments. CHECK AVAILABILITY
Hope our handpicked list of best hotels to stay in Venice is useful to you and you have an awesome stay in this beautiful city. Do note that we would earn a small commission if you book through some of the above links.
Enjoy Venice! 🙂