In Venice, choosing the wrong hotel neighborhood can be a costly, frustrating mistake.
If you take just one piece of advice from us, make it this:
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.
To minimize pain and suffering, your hotel selection should be a two-step process:
First, decide where you want to stay. (Our tips below will be helpful.)
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.
Stay near an Alilaguna airport-boat stop, the Santa Lucia Railroad Station, or 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 15 euros per person in waterbus fares.
We recommend staying at a hotel near the Piazzale Roma (airport buses and land taxis), 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. You may also want to consider leaving large or heavy bags at a luggage storage office.
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 Venice Cruise Terminal Hotels and 10 Hotels Closest to Cruise Ships.
Here are two final--and important--pieces of advice:
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. With a cancellable reservation, you can always change your mind later on.
If you book through a major reservations service like Booking.com (our hotel partner), you should be safe. When booking directly with a hotel, make sure that your credit-card details are protected before you enter any data.
For more detailed advice on where to stay, see our smartphone-friendly Venice Hotel Guide.
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