Our No. 1 Venice Hotel Warning!
In Venice, picking the wrong
hotel location can be a costly, frustrating mistake.
ABOVE: On a Saturday in May, newly-arrived visitors waited
patiently in line by the railroad station to take expensive vaporetto
rides to their hotels. If they'd given more thought to location, they could
have avoided the line and saved 14 euros each (€28 for a couple) on local transportation.
We hope you'll forgive
the scary headline, and we don't want you to start your trip planning on a
negative note, but we aren't kidding. We really do have a "No.
1 Venice Hotel Warning," and here it is:
Don't pick a hotel in a location that's
inconvenient or expensive to reach.
Hotel location may not be critical in most cities, but in
Venice--a city with 400+ footbridges and outrageously expensive public
transportation--the wrong location can be frustrating and costly. That's why
your hotel selection should be a two-step process:
First, decide where you want to stay. (Our tips below will
After you've picked a district or neighborhood, you
can narrow down your hotel possibilities by price, hotel ratings, user
reviews, how many bridges you'll need to
cross with your luggage, etc.
Now for some specific suggestions:
If you're in Venice for only two or three days,
stay near an
airport-boat stop, the Santa Lucia Railroad Station, or the Piazzale Roma
(airport buses and land taxis). You'll waste less of your vacation time getting to and from your
hotel, you'll avoid long ticket lines at vaporetto stops, and
you'll save 14 euros per person in waterbus fares.
If you're loaded with luggage,
we also recommend staying at a hotel near the
Piazzale Roma (airport buses and
land taxis), the Santa Lucia railroad
station, or an Alilaguna
airport boat stop. Venice's narrow streets can be crowded during the
tourist season or on weekends, and hauling large bags up and down the steps
on bridges is a nuisance--even when you're young and fit.
If you're arriving or departing
on a cruise ship, stay at a hotel near the Piazzale Roma (Marittima
terminals), the San Basilio pier, or--less conveniently--the Piazza San
Marco, where you can catch an Alilaguna Blue Line boat to the Marittima
basin. (Murano, the
glassmaking island, is another possibility for Marittima passengers.) We discuss these and other options in our article about
Venice Cruise Terminal
If you're flying out of Venice Marco Polo Airport
(VCE) before 10 a.m., see
Flights from Venice Airport.
If you've got mobility problems,
stay at a hotel that's easy to reach on foot, or you may find
yourself struggling up and down the steps of pedestrian bridges. (See our
Accessible Venice Hotels
article, or browse our
"How Many Bridges to Cross?" Hotel Listings for
hotels that are within 0, 1, or 2 bridges of public transportation.)
If you're sleeping in Mestre,
on the mainland, choose your hotel carefully so you'll be in
downtown Mestre--within 10 to 12 minutes
from Venice--instead of being trapped in an isolated, depressing motor inn
on the road to the airport. (See
for specific recommendations.)
Consider storing some of your luggage
if you're "traveling heavy" and insist on staying at a hotel that requires a
long walk over multiple bridges or a vaporetto ride. Our
Left Luggage (Baggage Storage)
article describes Deposito Bagagli offices at Venice Marco Polo
Airport, the Santa Lucia Railroad Station, and the Piazzale Roma (where land
taxis and airport buses arrive).
let someone else make a booking decision for you!
If a travel agent, airline, or other resource has already booked you into an
inconveniently-located hotel, cancel the reservation and make your own hotel
decision--unless you're stuck with a prepaid, non-cancellable booking.
(We've had e-mails from readers who were booked into "Venice hotels" that
turned out to be 30 to 60 minutes away in small towns on the Italian
Here's a final--and important piece--of
- Book early if you can.
Hotels in Venice tend to be small (many have fewer than 20 rooms), so it's
best to book ahead while rooms are still available. You can always cancel
your reservation if your travel plans change.
For more detailed tips on where to stay, see the
menu below. And while we'd obviously love it if you booked your hotel
through the links in our hotel tools and articles, we hope you'll heed our No. 1
Hotel Warning even if you
find a room by other means.
- Durant and Cheryl Imboden, Venice for