Where to Stay in Venice, Italy in 2024: 5 Best Areas for First-Time Visitors

Where to Stay in Venice, Italy in 2024: 5 Best Areas for First-Time Visitors

Everyone dreams of visiting Venice at one point in their life, and you’re incredibly lucky if your time has come. The sinking city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, with more than 30 million visitors every year. But most of those tourists come to Venice for the day, and less than 3 million actually spend a night in the city. We visited the city twice, and both times, we stayed for 3 days, which was the perfect amount of time, in our opinion. If you’re planning to stay in Venice for more than 24 hours, this guide to the best Venice hotels will help you find the best accommodation! 

Venice is not a very big city, so you can stay anywhere on the island in terms of just the location. You’ll be a 30-minute walk from the top attractions at most, and you can get around quicker in water buses and taxis. But some areas are better than others, especially for first-time visitors, and that’s what I’ll mainly focus on in this guide to the best areas to stay in Venice. 

Best Places To Stay In Venice, Italy

I want to mention that I’ve only focused on the central island of the Venetian Lagoon, and that’s because it’s undoubtedly the best part of the city for a first visit. We have chosen to stay in two different areas during both our visits to Venice. San Marco, the first time, as it is really central and we wanted to be in the middle of the action, and San Croce the next time, as we wanted to be closer to the train station yet still have good access to the main sights.

While Lido and Murano have a lot to offer, they shouldn’t be your top priority if you’ve never visited this magical city before. Save something for the next time you’re here, and then you have the perfect excuse to return to Venice! 

1. San Marco

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Marco

San Marco is the central neighborhood of Venice. It’s home to all this floating city’s most iconic tourist sights, including the Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Piazza San Marco, Campo Santo Stefano, and many others. Stay in this part of Venice if you want easy walking access to all the best-known landmarks. This is why this area appealed to us so much.

But keep in mind that hotels in San Marco are some of the most expensive in Venice. Even the two-star hotels aren’t cheap, and I wouldn’t recommend a hotel room in San Marco to travelers on a very tight budget. On the other hand, this district has some of Venice’s best palazzos, several of which have been converted into hotels and guest houses. If the idea of staying in an ancient palazzo sounds exciting, San Marco is the area for you. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Marco Canal

Another thing to consider is that San Marco is the busiest area of Venice. Hordes of tourists are everywhere, and in peak season, the neighborhood gets so busy that walking down the street becomes challenging. However, the same can be said for most parts of Venice, and it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, especially in such a central area of the city. 

Luxury: The Gritti Palace

If you want to live the good life in Venice, it can hardly get better than The Gritti Palace. This lavish hotel is set in a former noble residence and features spacious rooms with opulent decorations. Think decorated walls and marble bathrooms, with furniture that matches the color theme of each room. 

Murano glass and antiques are found in every room of the hotel, along with classic Venetian furniture. The hotel restaurant is on the canal, and you can enjoy spectacular views along with tasty Italian food every day. Also, all hotel rooms are equipped with spacious ensuite bathrooms, free WiFi, and air conditioning. 

Mid Range: Hotel Rialto

Hotel Rialto is an excellent four-star hotel in the northern area of San Marco. It’s adjacent to the Rialto Bridge, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks. All the rooms and suites are equipped with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and flat-screen TVs, but the style of the rooms varies drastically. Whereas the smaller rooms feature the more classic and somewhat tacky decor, the larger suites are decked out with mostly modern furniture. 

Book a room with a view of the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge to enjoy the sight of Venice’s best landmarks from the comfort of your bed. Breakfast is included in the rate of every room, and you can enjoy it at the restaurant terrace right next to the Canal. Also, the water bus stop is right in front of the hotel, so you have a direct connection to the train station and the nearest airport. 

Budget: Hotel ai do Mori

Hotel ai do Mori is a budget hotel in the heart of San Marco, just a couple of minutes from St. Mark’s Square. The location of this hotel is fantastic for the price because you can hardly find a more central place to stay in Venice. The rooms are small but clean and equipped with all the necessities, making this hotel a good option for travelers who want nothing more than a place to rest their heads at night. 

All the rooms at Hotel ai do Mori are air-conditioned, which is certainly a plus. Every room also has a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom, so you will have access to all the essentials. The only thing to keep in mind is that the nightly rates for this hotel start at around 160 Euros. That’s pricey when you look at the photos of the rooms, but you’re paying mostly for the superb central location. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Marco Square

Pros of Staying in San Marco

Walking distance to all the best landmarks in Venice  Views of the Grand Canal from hotel rooms Plenty of shops and eateries throughout the neighborhood  Connected by bridge with San Polo and Dorsoduro

Cons of Staying in San Marco

Pricey hotels  Extremely crowded almost all the time Far from the train station 

2. San Polo

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Polo Neighbourhood

San Polo is the second-best area of Venice for first-time visitors. Just like San Marco, it’s home to iconic Venice landmarks that you can’t miss when staying in the city. From the Rialto Market in the east to the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the west of San Polo, the neighborhood is ideal for casual strolls through narrow alleys and rides in Venetian gondolas. 

Trendy restaurants and excellent art museums are other staples of San Polo. You can’t walk along the Grand Canal without passing by countless restaurant terraces, all of which will tempt you with the lovely smells of classic Italian cuisine. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Polo Churches

The hotels in San Polo are on the pricier side, just like those in San Marco. There are very few true budget hotels, so you might want to consider staying in a different part of Venice if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck. But if you want to stay in an actual Venetian palazzo and wake up to views of museum-worthy painted ceilings, I think you’ll find several suitable options in San Polo. 

Luxury: Aman 

Aman is a luxury hotel in central Venice, mere steps away from Campo San Polo. It’s set in one of Venice’s great palazzos and features only 24 rooms, so it’s pretty much perfect for travelers who prioritize privacy. The hotel rooms feature the perfect blend of modern furnishings and classic Venetian accents, so you get the best of both worlds. 

The beds are very comfortable, and you’ll sleep like a baby. Every room has a spacious private bathroom, a private balcony, a minibar, and air conditioning. The common rooms are the highlight of the hotel for me, as they are classic palazzo rooms with gorgeous decorations on the walls and painted ceilings. This hotel also has two private gardens, and you can relax at the shaded tables, enjoying the views of the Canal as if you had Venice all to yourself. 

Mid-Range: H10 Palazzo Canova

H10 Palazzo Canova is a great four-star hotel on the Grand Canal overlooking the Rialto Bridge. Featuring modern rooms with stylish furnishings, this hotel offers excellent value for money, considering the location, amenities, and service quality. My favorite part of the hotel is the rooftop restaurant, where you can enjoy a delicious breakfast along with one of the best views in Venice.  

The rooms at Palazzo Canova are spacious, clean, and equipped with more than just the bare necessities. Every room has a coffee machine, a seating area, and a dedicated workspace. Guests all have access to free WiFi and a minibar, and it goes without saying that all rooms have an ensuite bathroom with either a bath or a shower. 

Budget: Hotel Marconi

Hotel Marconi is an affordable three-star hotel just steps away from San Giacomo di Rialto Square. It’s on the Grand Canal, and some rooms offer a view of the Rialto Bridge from the balcony. The nightly rate starts at around 160 Euros, which is a seriously good deal for this location. Hotels across the canal from this one are at least double the price, so choose this hotel if you’re looking for affordable accommodation in the heart of Venice. 

The rooms are decorated with classic furnishings, and that’s honestly my least favorite part of Hotel Marconi. I’m not a big fan of the myriad of gold accents everywhere, but the price is attractive enough to help me get past that. Also, all the rooms have a private bathroom, a minibar, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV.   

Where to stay in Venice Italy San Polo Pros and cons

Pros of Staying in San Polo

Historic attractions and landmarks Beautiful neighborhood with views of the Grand Canal Choose from dozens of hotels 

Cons of Staying in San Polo

Few cheap hotels  Very crowded part of Venice  Restaurants and cafes here are pricey 

Santa Croce 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Santa Croce Neighbourhood

Santa Croce is an excellent neighborhood for a first trip to Venice, especially if you’re looking for affordable hotels. It borders San Polo so you’re still very close to the central Venice neighborhoods, plus it’s home to many popular landmarks and attractions. We stayed here on our second visit to Venice and loved it.

The famous art gallery, Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, is right here in Santa Croce, as well as Giardini Papadopoli, and the Natural History Museum. The area is also home to many excellent eateries, which are usually less crowded than those in San Polo and San Marco.

Where to stay in Venice Italy Santa Croce Streets

Staying in Santa Croce also means you’re close to the train station, which is great for longer stays in Venice. It is a bit of a longer walk from Santa Croce to the attractions in San Marco, but absolutely worth it because you’ll get to discover more of Venice and venture into parts of the city that otherwise wouldn’t even be on your radar. Who knows what hidden gems you might discover! 

Luxury: Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel

Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel is set in a 16th-century building on the Grand Canal. It’s also a five-minute walk from the more central San Polo, so you’re still very close to all the best Venice attractions. The rooms are exquisite, with classic decor, marble bathrooms, and stunning artwork. Every room has a TV, minibar, desk, and a comfortable seating area. 

A restaurant with 2 Michelin stars is part of the hotel, so you don’t have to go anywhere for a fabulous dining experience. Also, the hotel has a private garden overlooking the Grand Canal, so you can enjoy wonderful views in the evenings, but without the hordes of tourists that are usual for Venice. 

Mid-Range: Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal

Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal is a four-star hotel across the canal from the train station. A stone bridge is very close to the hotel, so you’re only five minutes away from the Santa Lucia train station, which is very convenient. This hotel boasts rooms decorated with classic Venetian furnishings, but they’re all very small. 

Even the triple rooms are under 20m², so you might want to consider a different hotel if you like having lots of space. All the rooms have a private bathroom and a desk, but the seating area usually consists of just a small chair. Every guest will also have a TV and a minibar in the room, as well as beautiful Murano glass lamps. 

Budget: Albergo Marin

Albergo Marin is an affordable hotel with a fabulous location in Santa Croce. It’s a short walk from the train station and just 10 minutes from Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in San Polo. If you prioritize location and affordability over decorations and amenities, this is one of the best hotels in Venice to consider. 

The rooms don’t look stunning or anything, but they are all air-conditioned and equipped with surprisingly comfortable beds. Every hotel room has an ensuite bathroom complete with a shower and a bidet, as well as a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Also, you can book the hotel now and you don’t have to pay anything until you arrive in Venice. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Santa Croce Pros and Cons

Pros of Staying in Santa Croce

Cheaper-hotels  The train station is close  Fewer crowds 

Cons of Staying in Santa Croce

About a 20-minute walk from central Venice Not many tourist attractions  Fewer options for luxury hotels 


Where to stay in Venice Italy Cannaregio Neighbourhood

Cannaregio encompasses most of northern Venice. It borders Santa Croce and San Marco, plus it’s separated from San Polo by the Grand Canal. The location is great for exploring Venice, and you’ll find that the area is home to more affordable restaurants and hotels than the city center. 

Also, there’s lots to see and explore in Cannaregio. Once upon a time, this was Venice’s Jewish ghetto. The Jewish population of the city was forced to live in this area from the 16th to the 19th century, and this impacted the architecture of the district quite a bit. For one, buildings are taller than in other areas of Venice because they were constructed to accommodate more people. This is the part of the city where you’ll find the synagogues, history museums, and the best kosher restaurants in Venice. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Cannaregio San Michele Island

Cannaregio is very close to San Michele Island, which has a famous cemetery, and even Murano Island. Boat transfers to the smaller islands are offered from practically every pier on the north side of Cannaregio. But there’s only one bridge connection to San Marco, so you’ll need to ride in water buses to get to the attractions in San Marco. 

Luxury: Ca’ Bonfadini Historic Experience

Ca’ Bonfadini Historic Experience is an opulent hotel set inside a 16th-century building. Stay here to experience world-class service in one of the prettiest palazzos in the Venetian Lagoon. The hotel rooms are spacious, with extremely comfortable beds and elegant Venetian decor. The guest suites are absolutely magical, with gorgeous paintings on the ceiling and walls. 

Whether you book the cheapest or most expensive room at this hotel, you’ll get a TV, ensuite bathroom, and free WiFi. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate, and every room also features a small seating area with at least an armchair and a desk. The hotel also has a restaurant with a terrace right next to the Grand Canal. 

Mid-Range: Ca’ Vendramin Zago

Ca’ Vendramin Zago is a four-star hotel situated in a building from the 17th century. It features classic Venetian rooms but also some modern suites, in case that’s your preference. It’s very close to the Casino of Venice, and just a short water bus ride from the center. 

The rooms are small but equipped with all the essentials. The beds are quite comfortable, and the decor is much more elegant than in some cheaper hotels. I particularly like that there aren’t as many gold accents here because they tend to look tacky when overdone. Every hotel room has a bathroom, TV, and minibar, plus breakfast is included in the nightly rate. The suites are fabulous, boasting a blend of modern and Venetian decor, as well as desks and separate living rooms. 

Budget: Hotel Henry

Hotel Henry is a very affordable two-star hotel. The nightly rate starts at 135 Euros, which is pretty good considering that it includes dinner. Also, this hotel is only a 10-minute walk from Ponte degli Scalzi, which will take you through Santa Croce and to San Polo in no time. And it’s mere steps away from the Jewish Ghetto in Cannaregio, so the location is excellent.

But I wouldn’t use the same word to describe the hotel rooms. They’re small, and the furniture is a bit outdated; I’d call the style ancient Venetian if you catch my drift. Every room has an ensuite bathroom, though, and all guests have access to free WiFi. Except for the cheapest economy room, all guest rooms also have a desk and an armchair. Overall, if you don’t care too much about the furnishings and are just looking for a good deal, this is certainly a hotel worth considering. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Cannaregio Pros and cons

Pros of Staying in Cannaregio

Better rates for hotels  Lots of landmarks in the area  Easy access to the center with water buses Great for day trips to Murano and San Michele islands

Cons of Staying in Cannaregio

The hotels aren’t quite as nice as in the city center Only one bridge connection to Santa Croce The area surrounding the train station is known for pickpockets 


Where to stay in Venice Italy Dorsoduro Neighbourhood

Dorsoduro is Venice’s university district, so one of the best areas for students and young adults. The streets of this neighborhood are filled with indie local eateries, vintage boutiques, and unassuming buildings that house some of the most spectacular artwork in the city.  

Stay in Dorsoduro, and you’ll experience smaller crowds than in the central San Marco or San Polo. You’ll also get better hotel deals, and you’ll have more options if you want budget accommodation. Best of all, you’re always just a quick ride across the canal from San Marco or a short walk across the bridge if you stay in the southeastern part of Dorsoduro. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Dorsoduro Church

It’s also by far the best area of Venice for art lovers. Dorsoduro is home to the city’s best art museums and galleries, as well as historic buildings adorned with special artwork. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is home to 12 of Titian’s works, while Campo Santa Margherita boasts historic statues and ornate building facades. 

Luxury: Sina Centurion Palace

Sina Centurion Palace is a wonderful five-star hotel right next to Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. It’s set in a 19th-century building and seamlessly blends contemporary and original elements. You’ll sleep in comfortable modern beds, but wake up to the view of old wooden beams on the ceiling. 

All the rooms are air-conditioned and feature a minibar, flat-screen TV, ensuite bathroom, and high-speed WiFi. There’s also a private courtyard where you can enjoy drinks at the hotel bar’s terrace while admiring the views of the Grand Canal. The hotel is just eight minutes from Ponte dell’Accademia, so can be in the center of Venice in no time. And the hotel even has its own private dock, for quick transfers in a water taxi. 

Mid-Range: Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace

Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace is hands down one of the prettiest hotels in Venice. The boutique hotel is set inside an actual palazzo and features mesmerizing decorations throughout. With painted ceilings, huge chandeliers, and extraordinary artwork, the decor of this hotel is a proper masterpiece. The presidential suite is without a doubt the most beautiful room in the hotel. 

Other rooms are also beautiful but without as many pretty details. The standard hotel rooms are much smaller, and they’re all equipped with an ensuite bathroom, TV, coffee machine, and minibar. This lovely hotel has a breakfast bar and a sprawling garden but lacks a pool and a fitness center. 

Budget: Hotel Belle Arti

Hotel Belle Arti is an affordable three-star hotel near the Church of Saint Mary of the Rosary. The location is excellent because the hotel is super close to Ponte dell’Accademia, the only bridge that connects Dorsoduro to San Marco. It’s only a 15-minute walk from Hotel Belle Arti to Piazza San Marco in the heart of Venice. 

The nightly rate is around 80 Euros, which is really good for the location. Plus, breakfast is included in that rate, and you could save quite a bit of money on food. Just keep in mind that the rooms are very basic; they include a bed, a private bathroom, air conditioning, and not much else. The decor is described as classic Baroque, but I think that’s an overstatement. But for the price, there’s absolutely no need to be nitpicky about curtain colors. 

Where to stay in Venice Italy Dorsoduro Pros and cons

Pros of Staying in Dorsoduro

The hotels are cheaper  Lots of interesting landmarks and attractions  Not as crowded as San Marco and San Polo 

Cons of Staying in Dorsoduro

Only one bridge connection to San Marco  Far from Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square  It’s the university district, and there are a lot of students 

Best Areas To Stay In Venice: FAQs

Best Areas To Stay In Venice Italy

Which part of Venice is best to stay? 

San Marco is the best part of Venice for tourists. All the famous landmarks and attractions are within easy walking distance, as are the best hotels and restaurants in Venice. 

Where should I stay in Venice for the first time? 

If you’re visiting Venice for the first time, stay in either San Marco or San Polo. Both neighborhoods are centrally located and offer easy access to the best things to do in Venice. 

Where to avoid staying in Venice? 

Avoid staying in the eastern parts of Castello because they are quite far from central Venice. Also, try to avoid hotels near the Santa Lucia train station, as this area is known for pickpockets. 

What is the prettiest area in Venice?

San Polo is the prettiest area of Venice. This central neighborhood offers beautiful views of the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge, as well as many other historic landmarks. 

Where Not To Stay In Venice

Where not to stay in Venice Italy

Avoid booking a hotel in Castello, especially in the eastern areas of the neighborhood. Consider hotels that are close to the border with San Marco, but avoid the ones further away because you’ll spend most of your time in the city just walking to the city center. Or even worse, you’ll spend all your time – and money – on water taxis. While it is fun to have the experience of riding in a Venetian gondola, it becomes much less exciting when you have to do it multiple times a day, just to get to dinner on time. 

I don’t recommend the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the Santa Lucia train station in Venice. The area is known for pickpockets, and tourists are usually the victims of theft in this part of the city, especially at night. Cannaregio is generally a safe neighborhood with lots of excellent hotels, and as long as your hotel room doesn’t overlook the train station, you should be fine. 

Where not to stay in Venice Italy Murano Island

Don’t stay on Murano Island if it’s your first time in the city. While it might seem like a good idea to avoid the crowds, it will be a nightmare to travel constantly from the island to central Venice, and there’s really not much to see on the island apart from the glass factories. You can’t just go shopping and then drop off your bags at the hotel because you have to take a ferry and then walk for who knows how long to your room. The same goes for Lido Island; although it’s popular for nice beaches and resorts, it’s logistically not a good idea to stay here if your main goal is to explore the historic attractions in central Venice. 

Why We Love Venice

Where to stay in Venice Italy our recommendations

We love Venice because it’s a special, historic city. It’s a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime, even for a few days, preferably as soon as possible while it’s still there. Venice is sinking, slowly but surely, and the rising sea levels have endangered the city’s future. 

We also love it here because Venice offers so many fun and interesting things to do. Come to the city to ride in a Venetian gondola through the Grand Canal, cross the iconic Rialto Bridge, and stand at St. Mark’s Square admiring all the historic buildings that line it. Visit a Murano glass factory and see where the Venice Biennale is held. Discover the magic of the city that has inspired William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie, and see for yourself why Venice is one of the best cities to visit in Italy.

Plan Your Next Trip To Venice, Italy, With These Resources

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