where to stay in venice, italy

Where To Stay in Venice: 6 Neighborhoods

Deciding where to stay in Venice can be daunting, but this list breaks down everything you need to know about the specific vibes of each main neighborhood. Scroll to the end for a list of hotels for any budget in each spot!
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Venice, Italy is a small city, but it’s still one of the most popular travel destinations in the world – and for good reason, it’s stunning! However, despite it being so small, it can be incredibly daunting to decide exactly where to stay in Venice!

It’s especially difficult to decide where to stay in Venice because of the nature of the city – it’s an island that’s made up entirely of canals and other small islands! Unlike many other popular European cities you cannot simply rely on walking, trams or cars to get around, so you have to make sure you’re happy with your location.

In this post I’m going to walk you through all the best neighborhoods and let you know where to stay in Venice depending on what you’re looking for on your trip.

Be sure to check out my top hotel and vacation rental picks for each Venice neighborhood, sorted by budget.

First I’m going to walk you through some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to where to stay in Venice, and then I’ll break each neighborhood down for you. So sit back, relax, and let me do the legwork of making your trip to Venice the best it can be!

Map created with Wanderlog, a travel planner on iOS and Android

Delve into Italy

Where to stay in Venice, Italy

Dorsoduro: Where to stay in Venice for a balance of culture & budget

where to stay in venice dorsoduro

Dorsoduro is probably the most vibrant neighborhood in Venice, and is certainly the one best suited to give you a real look at what it’s like to live as a young Venetian. It has less tourists than many of the other neighborhoods, making it much more affordable than some of the more typical Venice neighborhoods.

Dorsoduro is home to Ca’ Foscari University, one of the top universities in Italy, which would explain the authentic and affordable vibes this neighborhood is known for! It’s also home to some of Venice’s best art museums, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which of course make it a great base to stay in if you want to prioritize seeing some art while you’re in the city.

Some other great draws in Dorsoduro are Campo Santa Margherita, a food market by day and filled with bars by night, Ca’ Macana, a wonderful and traditional mask shop, and Osteria Ai 4 Feri in Campo San Barnaba, one of the best seafood restaurants in Venice.

Overall, when considering where to stay in Venice, Dorsoduro is a great option if you want a more affordable, realistic feel to the city, and if you like a walkable, lively neighborhood!

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

San Polo: Where to stay in Venice for history lovers

where to stay in venice neighborhood guide

San Polo is the smallest neighborhood in Venice, but don’t let the size fool you, there is a ton of charm and life in this neighborhood!

San Polo is home to Venice’s oldest settlement, the Rialto, which dates back to the 11th century when it became a fishing village – something it’s still known for today! The Mercati di Rialto, a bustling market open from 7am to 2pm, is a huge draw for locals and tourists alike, and a great way to get a glimpse of everyday Venetian life. The area is also full of great bars and restaurants, which is great if you’re looking to stay somewhere that’s quite convenient!

San Giacomo di Rialto, the oldest church in the city, is also located in San Polo – making it a convenient location for any history buffs looking for where to stay in Venice! The neighborhood is a cultural hub, also housing the Leonardo da Vinci Museum and Campo San Polo – the second largest square in Venice.

Last but not least, the Rialto Bridge, the most famous bridge in Venice, is located in San Polo – I told you the size of this neighborhood was misleading!

This area is best for history buffs and those who want something busy and popular for their stay.

Cannaregio: Where to stay in Venice off the beaten path

where to stay in venice cannaregio

Cannaregio is considered the most authentic neighborhood in Venice due to it being the most densely populated with Venetians. It’s also the most populous generally and the second largest by land area.

The former industrial hub is also home to the only train station in Venice – making this a great option for where to stay in Venice if you’re arriving to the city by train.

Cannaregio is also home to Venice’s Jewish community and Campo di Ghetto Nuovo – the first recorded Jewish ghetto. You’ll also find many synagogues worth visiting and the Jewish museum of Venice in this area.

Because Cannaregio is one of the least touristy areas of Venice, it is generally quite affordable, as well as very trendy and artistic – boasting loads of cafes, gallery spaces, cultural centres and nightlife. You’ll also find the Strada Nova shopping avenue in this neighborhood for those looking to do some spending!

Staying in Cannaregio is best for anyone looking for something off the beaten path, or who just wants a convenient trip to the train station!

Castello: Where to stay in Venice for a local experience

where to stay in venice castello

Castello is a quieter and more relaxing option of where to stay in Venice. Despite being the largest neighborhood in Venice, it’s by far the least busy and touristy, which again makes it a great affordable option for where to stay in Venice.

It’s walking distance to the popular Piazza San Marco and famous Rialto Bridge, but unlike most areas near the tourist attractions, there are no crowds in Castello. Instead of crowds you’ll find local bakeries, restaurants and quiet streets, making Castello the perfect place to stay for anyone who prefers a more relaxing area to the normal hectic energy of Venice.

Despite being quiet, Castello still boasts an impressive array of monuments, squares and green spaces, meaning it’s still totally worth walking around and checking out!

Castello is the perfect place to stay for anyone wanting a quieter and lowkey time in Venice.

San Marco: Where to stay in Venice for convenience & sights

where to stay in venice san marco

San Marco is the most famous part of Venice, and understandably so. It’s centrally located and is a seriously impressive sight to see. The Piazza San Marco is one of the most impressive sights in the city, as well as Venice’s central hub of activity.

There’s no denying that it’s beautiful, but there’s also no denying that San Marco is without a doubt the most touristy part of Venice. The crowds can be brutal throughout the day, so if you want to explore the area I highly recommend you do so in the early morning or evening!

The thing about touristy areas is, well, they’re touristy for a reason! San Marco has some incredible sights to see. It’s home to the Basilica San Marco, Doge Palace and Museo Correr – all things that are definitely worth your time.

Do be aware though that San Marco is also home to the most expensive restaurants and cafes – all capitalizing on the onslaught of tourists each day. The same can be said for accomodation, to be honest – something to keep in mind when considering where to stay in Venice.

All in all San Marco is great for anyone looking to be in the thick of it all and who wants an easy and convenient home base.

Giudecca: Where to stay in Venice for artistic vibes

where to stay in venice giudecca

Giudecca is another great option for travelers wanting to get off the beaten path. It’s a neighboring island to Venice that’s only a short 5 minute water bus ride away – don’t be daunted by how that sounds – it’s seriously like right next door!

Here you’ll find a super low-key and creative vibe – artist studios and galleries like Casa dei Tre Oci are all over the island, and they have ongoing initiatives such as the Giudecca Art District. Given that it’s further away and has less tourist infrastructure it can be comparatively cheap to stay here!

While there may be less to do on the Island itself it still has a lot nice restaurants on the water, most of which have lovely views of Venice. Giudecca is a great option for anyone wanting a more relaxing stay and hoping to get a more authentic look at a different side of Venice.

FAQs About the Neighborhoods of Venice

Where is the best location in Venice?

Now, if you’ve clicked on this blog post I have to assume you not only want to know where to stay in Venice, but also probably where the best location to stay in Venice is. I’m sorry to break it to you but the “best” part of Venice doesn’t exist!! That’s why I’ve rounded up most of the choices and have broken it down for you so you can get a good idea of whether that neighborhood is a good option for you.

I know that was kind of a cop out to the question, but it’s the truth!! However, if you’re still not satisfied I’ll tell you that my personal favorite area part of Venice is Dorsoduro, and that’s where I opt to stay when I visit.

Is three days enough in Venice?

One of the most commonly asked questions around traveling to Venice has to be about the length of stay that is best. I personally think that three days is an ideal amount of time to see the city – though you may want to go for four if you’re eager to see all of the attractions and museums but still give yourself time to relax and stroll among the canals!

It’s a very small area, but the nice thing about Venice is that you can just get lost there. Not to mention that you want to have time to visit some of the other islands in the area and make sure to not burn yourself out either!

where to stay in venice

Is it better to stay in Venice or outside?

As you’ll see from this list, when considering where to stay in Venice, I believe that it’s best to stay inside Venice. Staying outside of the city can add a nice local and relaxing charm to your stay, but on the other hand it can add a lot of logistical stress!

If you’re not comfortable having to deal with the water taxis and buses, or getting transportation in and out of the city, I would recommend you just make your life easier and stay in Venice.

Is Venice a walkable city?

Yes! Aside from the islands surrounding Venice (Murano, Burano, etc.), Venice is incredibly walkable. In fact, I think that any other mode of transportation would be a hassle in Venice given the crowds! My favorite way to experience Venice is by foot, just getting lost in the beautiful side streets and climbing over endless bridges.

If your feet are tired you can always get a water bus as well, or perhaps just stop for a coffee and recharge!

If you’re worried about getting lost, I would highly suggest taking a guided walking tour with a Venice local at the beginning of your stay. I always find that this helps me get oriented so I know where the main streets are and how to get back to my hotel.

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Are you ready to decide where to stay in Venice now?

There really are so many options for where to stay in Venice, so I hope I helped narrow down the search for you! I’ve gone one step further and rounded up all my favorite hotels and apartment rentals in each neighborhood to make the booking experience just a little bit easier on you:

Also be sure to check out my guide for what to do in Venice off the beaten path!

Happy traveling!

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