Best Area To Stay In Venice Italy For First Time Visitors

Venice is a magical city built on over 100 islands connected by canals and bridges. With its maze of narrow alleys, iconic gondolas, and charming piazzas, it can be difficult to decide where to stay during your first visit.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Stay near Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge to be close to top attractions while getting the authentic Venetian experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of Venice’s six sestiere (districts) to help you determine the ideal neighborhood for your needs and preferences.

Overview of Venice’s Districts

When planning a trip to Venice, Italy, it’s important to choose the right area to stay in. Each district in Venice has its own unique charm and attractions, so it’s worth exploring the options to find the best fit for your interests and preferences.

Here is an overview of some of the most popular districts in Venice:


Castello is the largest district in Venice and is known for its quiet streets and local atmosphere. This district is home to many historic sites, including the famous Arsenale shipyard and the beautiful Church of San Zaccaria.

Castello offers a more authentic Venetian experience, away from the crowds of tourists.


Cannaregio is one of the liveliest districts in Venice, with bustling streets and a vibrant nightlife. It is also home to the historic Jewish Ghetto, which is well worth a visit. Cannaregio offers a mix of traditional Venetian charm and modern amenities, making it a popular choice for both locals and tourists.

San Polo

San Polo is the smallest district in Venice, but it is packed with history and charm. It is home to the famous Rialto Bridge, which offers stunning views of the Grand Canal. San Polo is also known for its lively market, where you can find fresh produce and local delicacies.

This district is a great choice for food lovers and history enthusiasts.


Dorsoduro is a trendy and artistic district in Venice, known for its picturesque canals and beautiful architecture. It is home to several prestigious art galleries and museums, including the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Dorsoduro offers a more laid-back and bohemian atmosphere, attracting artists and intellectuals.

San Marco

San Marco is the heart of Venice and home to many of its most famous landmarks, including St. Mark’s Square and the iconic St. Mark’s Basilica. This district is bustling with tourists, especially during the peak season, but it offers an unforgettable experience with its stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere.

San Marco is a great choice for first-time visitors who want to be in the center of the action.

Santa Croce

Santa Croce is located near the main train station and is a convenient choice for those arriving in Venice by train. This district offers a mix of residential areas and tourist attractions, including the beautiful Church of San Simeon Grande and the Museum of Natural History.

Santa Croce provides easy access to other parts of Venice and is a quieter alternative to the bustling city center.

Remember, choosing the best area to stay in Venice depends on your personal preferences and interests. Consider what you want to experience during your visit and use this overview to help you make an informed decision. Happy exploring!

Best Areas for First Time Visitors

When visiting Venice for the first time, choosing the right area to stay can greatly enhance your experience. Here are some of the best areas for first time visitors:

Near Piazza San Marco

Staying near Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark’s Square, puts you right in the heart of Venice’s main tourist attractions. This bustling square is surrounded by historical landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.

You’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the square, take a gondola ride through the canals, and explore the nearby streets filled with shops and restaurants. Keep in mind that this area can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season, but the charm and convenience make it a popular choice for first time visitors.

Near the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is another iconic landmark in Venice and staying in its vicinity offers a unique experience for first time visitors. This area is known for its vibrant market, where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and souvenirs.

The bridge itself provides stunning views of the Grand Canal, and staying nearby allows you to easily explore the neighboring streets and alleys. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in traditional Venetian cuisine.


If you’re looking for a more authentic Venetian experience, consider staying in Cannaregio. This neighborhood is located away from the main tourist areas and offers a glimpse into local life. Here you’ll find charming canals, picturesque streets, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Cannaregio is also home to the historic Jewish Ghetto, making it a culturally significant area to explore. Despite its quieter vibe, it still offers a good selection of restaurants and shops.


Dorsoduro is a residential area that provides a perfect balance between tranquility and attractions. It’s home to several prestigious art galleries, including the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which houses a vast collection of Venetian art.

This area also features beautiful churches, palaces, and scenic views from the Zattere promenade along the Giudecca Canal. Dorsoduro is a great choice for those who want to escape the crowds but still be within walking distance of major sights.

Ultimately, the best area to stay in Venice for first time visitors depends on personal preferences. Each neighborhood offers its own unique charm and attractions. It’s recommended to research and consider factors such as proximity to major sights, atmosphere, and convenience when making your decision.

Getting Around Venice

Once you arrive in the enchanting city of Venice, it’s important to know how to navigate its unique transportation system. Getting around Venice can be an adventure in itself, with its intricate network of canals and narrow streets. Here are some of the best ways to get around Venice:

On Foot

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Venice is by exploring it on foot. With its charming alleyways, picturesque bridges, and stunning architecture, walking through the city allows you to truly immerse yourself in its atmosphere.

You can easily wander from one famous square to another, such as St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge, and discover hidden gems along the way. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as you navigate the cobblestone streets!

Vaporetto (Water Bus)

The Vaporetto, also known as the water bus, is a popular mode of transportation for both locals and tourists in Venice. These yellow boats operate on various routes and can take you to different parts of the city, including the islands of Murano and Burano.

It’s a convenient and affordable way to travel, with regular services throughout the day. You can purchase tickets at the ticket booths or online, and it’s recommended to get a multi-day pass if you plan on using the Vaporetto frequently during your stay.

Traghetto (Gondola Ferry)

If you’ve always dreamed of taking a gondola ride in Venice but want a more budget-friendly option, then the Traghetto is for you. These gondola ferries operate at various points along the Grand Canal and provide a quick crossing from one side to the other.

Although they don’t offer the same romantic experience as a traditional gondola ride, they are a fun and affordable way to experience a taste of Venetian transportation.

Gondola Rides

No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride. Although it can be a bit pricey, it’s a unique and iconic experience that allows you to see the city from a different perspective. Drifting along the canals in a traditional gondola, propelled by a gondolier in his striped shirt, is a magical experience that will create lasting memories.

You can hire a gondola from various locations throughout the city, including near St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge.

Remember to plan your transportation options in advance and consider the time it takes to get from one place to another. Venice is known for its crowded areas, especially during peak travel seasons, so it’s always a good idea to allow extra time for your travels.

Whether you choose to explore on foot, hop on a Vaporetto, or indulge in a gondola ride, getting around Venice will be an adventure you won’t soon forget!

Where to Stay in Venice

When it comes to finding the best area to stay in Venice, Italy for first-time visitors, there are several options to consider. Whether you prefer the convenience of hotels, the privacy of apartments, or the charm of bed and breakfasts, Venice has something to offer for every type of traveler.


Venice is known for its unique and luxurious hotels that offer stunning views of the canals and historic architecture. Staying in a hotel allows visitors to immerse themselves in the Venetian atmosphere and experience the city’s charm at its finest.

Some popular hotel options in Venice include the iconic Gritti Palace, the elegant Hotel Danieli, and the opulent Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.

For budget-conscious travelers, there are also plenty of affordable hotels in Venice that still offer comfortable accommodations. The Hotel Antiche Figure and Hotel Al Codega are just a few examples of budget-friendly options that provide a great value for money.


Renting an apartment in Venice can be a fantastic option for those who prefer more space and privacy. With a wide variety of apartments available throughout the city, visitors can find a home away from home and truly live like a local.

Websites like Airbnb and HomeAway offer a range of apartments to suit different budgets and preferences.

Staying in an apartment allows travelers to have their own kitchen, living area, and often, a breathtaking view of the canals. It’s a great choice for families or groups of friends who want to have the flexibility to cook their own meals and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere during their stay in Venice.

Bed and Breakfasts

If you’re looking for a more intimate and personalized experience, staying in a bed and breakfast in Venice might be the perfect choice. With their cozy and welcoming atmosphere, bed and breakfasts offer a unique opportunity to connect with the local culture and get insider tips from the owners.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts scattered throughout Venice, each with its own charm and character. From historic buildings to modern accommodations, visitors can choose from a range of options that suit their preferences and budget.

Some popular bed and breakfasts in Venice include Ca’ Maria Adele, La Villeggiatura, and Locanda Orseolo.

Whichever option you choose, staying in Venice is a truly unforgettable experience. The city’s unique beauty and enchanting ambiance will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


We hope this guide has helped you decide the best neighborhood to stay in during your first trip to Venice. With its unique layout and wealth of sights, getting lost in the city’s labyrinth of canals and alleys is all part of the Venetian experience.

Wherever you choose, prepare to be enchanted by La Serenissima!

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