You would think that Venice is such a small city so does it really matter where you stay? Actually it does. There are some areas of Venice are pricey and central, and others which are reasonable and local. Your Venice experience does change depending on where you stay.
Avoid San Marco - central and expensive
San Marco is the central district with all the major attractions of Venice. So it is not surprising that it is packed with tourists, and therefore is also expensive. Most tourists choose to spend their time here during most of the day. For these reasons I would not recommend San Marco to tourists visiting Venice for the first time, especially if you are planning to stay for a couple of days.
Dorsoduro District - My top choice!
If I were to choose the best place to stay here in Venice, Dorsoduro would be my first option. The following reasons make it the most recommendable place
Easy Access to the Major Attraction Sights
This area could be grouped among the off the beaten path and tourists traps. However, from this district, you will still have easy access to most of the main sights located at the St. Mark’s square.
Access to Major Museums
For lovers of art, here you will also have access to the two most important museums in Venice which are Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection. You can also visit the Ca’ Rezzonico museum.
Restaurants and Bars That Serve Local Dishes
Since the area is close to the university, there are many bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the local dishes at very affordable prices than other areas.
The area is ideally located close to the main terminals, and you will have the option of either using the Piazzale Roma (bus/car), railway station or the cruise terminal.
For great views - stay along the Grand Canal
In Dorsoduro, few hotels are located on the Grand Canal. However, if you wish to have a great view of the canal and still be close to the main terminals, you should book a hotel that is on the Grand Canal mostly those that are near the railway station.
This is because, in addition to enjoy the incredible Grand Canal view, you will also have the advantage of conveniently accessing the main sights using a water bus.
On a budget - stay in Mestre but sacrifice the Venice feel
If you have a tight budget and still want to enjoy your stay in Venice, then you can opt to stay in Mestre district. This district is on the mainland and may not be what you would think as Venice. The area is linked to the historic town of Venice.
The surprising fact about this area is that you will have the privilege to stay in modernized hotels at half or less the cost of similar hotels in Venice. Transportation here is not a problem since there is a bus that will take you to Venice. From a personal perspective; the last time I stayed here I must confess I didn’t feel like I was in Venice
Lido - a quirky alternative
Remember that there is a crucial diversion between the mainland of Venice and the historic town-island, and both areas offer different things, and the tourist attraction sites also differ. Personally, I would prefer any district in historic town-Island as compared to the Mainland districts.
Areas to Avoid in Venice
Venice is a very safe area, and there is no specific religion that I would advise you to stay away. Actually, Venice is less risky than other European cities but with all said, you just need to keep your eyes open. Nevertheless, beware of pick pockets especially in crowded areas. For those who hate noisy areas especially at night then you should avoid areas such as Misericordia, S. Margherita square, and Fondamenta degli Ormesini since most people gather at these places for drinks at the bars and pubs.
Recommended Hotels in Venice
Low Cost Budget
With the popularity of this city and the numerous tourists who come to Venice, it is hard to find a low-cost hotel. However, you can go for a 2 Stars Hotel Tivoli in Salizadaa S. Pantalon. It is only 3 minutes on foot to Frari and Scuola Grande di San Rocco. To get to Piazzale Roma, it will only take you 7 minutes. 3-star Hotel Pantalon is situated just in front of this hotel and is also a low budget 3-star hotel in Venice
Mid range (Affordable) Budget
The best affordable hotel in this category is the 3 stars La Calcina. It is designed in the Venetian style and has a perfect location and is in front of Fondamenta delle Zattere. Most of the rooms have a great view of the Giudecca Canal. It houses a restaurant that serves a wide range of delicious and local dishes. 3 stars Hotel Pausania located near S. Barnaba square is another recommendable hotel under this category.
Boutique Hotels; Small Hotels with Stylish and Historic Aspect
Pensione Accademia is the most preferred small three star Sup boutique hotel and has an average of 27 rooms. It is located at the off the beaten region but is still at the central region of Dorsoduro district. It will only take you 3 minutes to get to the Accademia Bridge and museum on foot. The rooms have a unique and decorative Venetian design and the hotel has 2 gardens; one on the front where breakfast is served and the other is the back where it offers the best place to relax while having a drink. From most of the rooms, you will have a magnificent view of the Grand Canal. Next to the Accademia Bridge is another 4-star boutique hotel known as Ca’ Pisani design hotel; which is another recommendable place.
Great idea to stay at Venice apartments
Hotels in Venice are more popular, and it wouldn’t break a bone to break the monotony and rent an apartment. Since you are most likely to be walking around all day touring places, it would be an excellent idea to get a spacious room where you can hang out with your friends during the night. Moreover, the nightlife here in Venice is not quite memorable. Check out Venice-rentals.com where there are more than 80 chic properties where you can rent.
Each district (Sestiere) of Venice has its particular beauty. The choice of the district in which to stay depends exclusively, therefore, on our budget: surely the most expensive district is that of San Marco, followed by San Polo, Dorsoduro and Santa Croce.
In the sestieri of Castello, Cannaregio and Giudecca, surely the expenses will be more contained.
An option not to be discarded, if you want to visit Venice for several days, is to stay in Mestre.