Accommodation Venice: Lido, Mestre or Marghera?
Travel comfortably without queues, buy tickets online beforehand:
On the main island of Venice, the so-called "centro storico", the prices for hotels and pensions are particularly high. Nowhere in Italy are hotel room prices higher as far as we know. You pay in almost every hotel in Venice much more than 100 euros for a simple room. A double room for holidaymakers with medium demands can easily cost 150 to 250 euros per night in summer. Those who cannot or do not want to pay this have the possibility to stay on another island or on the nearby mainland at a slightly lower price. See: Overview of hotels in Venice.
The journey to a hotel in Venice in the oldtown is often not easy. Those who have some money will take a water taxi from the airport. The airport bus is cheaper. But then you have to drag the luggage through the oldtown.
Overnight stay on the island of Lido di Venezia
Many Venice vacationers are looking for and finding accommodation on the island of Lido. From the port of Lido you can reach the central Piazza San Marco in Venice by one of the many ferries in 15 to 20 minutes. In the peak season, however, there are often queues of people at the port and waiting times occur. On the long and narrow island Lido there are streets, cars and beaches. Lido reminds much more of a modern Italian seaside resort than of the old, beautiful city of Venice. There are several 100 hotels, apartments and other accommodations on Lido. On this link you will find an overview with booking possibilities for many accommodations on the island of Lido di Venezia.
Stay overnight further away in the tourist resort of Jesolo
Unfortunately the prices in Lido are also increasing during the season. Another alternative are the many campsites in Cavallino-Treporti. This part of Venice lies north of the main island on the mainland on a promontory heading north. It is said that there are more campers here in summer than in any other place in Europe. A few kilometres further on is the huge tourist resort of Lido di Jesolo. Those who don't want to spend the whole holiday in the old town of Venice can also stay overnight in Jesolo and do some day trips by bus and / or ferry to Venice. Overview of accommodation in Lido di Jesolo.
Our tip: Overnight stay on the mainland (Mestre or Marghera)
But now to the actual topic of this article. We recommend most tourists to look for a room on the mainland opposite the main island. On the mainland there are two big districts of Venice called Mestre and Marghera. They have grown strongly in the last decades and now have considerably more inhabitants than the island of Venice itself. While the wealthy tourists live on the main island Centro Storico, the hotels and holiday flats of the "normal" Venice visitors are to a large extent on the mainland. On Booking.com there are many good hotels in the suburbs Venice-Mestre and Venice-Marghera.
Mestre and Margehera are built together and look like a normal big city. A long bridge connects these districts with the world-famous Old Town. Mestre has a city centre with a beautiful pedestrian zone. In Mestre and Marghera there are hundreds of hotels and pensions for visitors of Venice. Also the prices of the restaurants are lower than in the old town of Venice. There is also a lot of fast food, inexpensive Asian restaurants, kebab shops and much more, especially in Mestre. Also the supermarkets in Marghera and Mestre are much bigger and cheaper than on the island with, as many say, the most beautiful old town in the world.
From Mestre and Marghera you are surprisingly fast and inexpensive in Venice. Every few minutes there is a train over a three kilometre long bridge. The journey takes about 10 minutes and costs just 1.25 euros (beginning of 2018). There is also a tram from Mestre over the bridge. The journey takes about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the departure stop. Also the many buses between Mestre and Venice do not need much longer. A one-way trip by tram or bus between Mestre and Venice or Marghera and Venice costs only 1.50 euros (as of early 2017). Tickets must be purchased in advance. The tickets are available at a lot of sales points like lottery shops, tobacco shops, kiosks or similar. At large bus stops you can also find ticket counters and ticket machines. However, these tickets are not valid on regional trains. For the train there are tickets at the station in Mestre at the ticket machine or at the ticket counter.
In addition one should say however that in the absolute high season the trains, the tram and the buses are often totally overcrowded. This is especially true for Venice in the morning and Mestre and Marghera in the afternoon. In the meantime, Venice is so crowded that we recommend all holidaymakers to come better in the low season. In summer, Venice is hot, crowded and expensive. We are often already waiting at the ticket machine for half an hour or longer to get a ticket.
When choosing a hotel in Marghera or Mestre, you should make sure that there is a bus stop for the means of transport to Venice near the accommodation. Pensions, apartments or hotels close to the Mestre train station (Stazione Venezia Mestre) are of course better. Almost even better is an accommodation in a part in the east of Mestre. The tram stops there several times for example in the street Viale San Marco.
On Booking.com you will find many accommodations in Mestre and Marghera. Many descriptions of the hotels on Booking.com often show you how to get from your accommodation to Venice by public transport.
Another advantage of staying overnight outside the historical centre in Mestre or Marghera is the easier accessibility of the hotels. On the island of Venice, in the Centro Storico, there is no public transport except expensive ferries. If the hotel is not just around the train station Santa Lucia, you have to take the vaporetto (public water bus) to the hotel. These are expensive (7.50 one way per person!) and don't go everywhere. Alternatives are a long walk through Venice or an extremely expensive water taxi (see prices for water taxis). Walking through Venice with luggage is not easy. There are many steps over the bridges, the old cobblestone pavement is not exactly ideal for rolling suitcases. In case of high water, the suitcase has to be carried under certain circumstances. On the mainland, for example in Mestre, one can comfortably go to the hotel by tram, bus or taxi. If one arrives with one's own car or rental car, the advantage of a hotel in Mestre and Co is of course even bigger. Mestre is a big city. Parking, for example, is a problem in the city centre and around the train station. If you have a car with you, you should pay attention to parking when booking the hotel. Many hotels and holiday flats offer parking for a fee.
From the airport Mestre and Marghera can be reached a little faster and easier than Venice itself. There are buses from Venice airport to Mestre and Venice. From Marco Polo Airport there are also ferries to the historic city centre of the lagoon city.
Map of Venice with mainland and islands