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Venice Hotel : Near Station - practical? Or charming??

This will be our 1st visit to Venice. In October or November 2024, for 3 nights (probably) before continuing to Florence. We’ll be traveling by train so arriving + departing from Santa Lucia Station.
Rick Steves writes in his pocket guide to Venice:
“I also list a few hotels near the train station (less charming but handy for train travelers).”
If we go for charm over practicality - how would we get out wheelie suitcases to our more quaint hotel? (We're young at heart and quite fit, but grey haired!) Should we settle for ease of movement?
Looking forward to reading the forum’s tips. Thank you!

Posted by
5118 posts

We always stay in the Cannaregio area, full of charm and no crowds, on the quiet back canals. As I remember, it's about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station to our favorite hotel, Hotel Ai Mori D'Oriente, which is located directly on a canal. The hotel sets up tables for afternoon cocktails canalside.
And as we remember, I think there was only one bridge to cross from the train station to the hotel . I'd highly recommend this hotel and location, and we plan to return next spring. Check it out on, but book directly for the best price. We never found the walk with our carry-on suitcases an issue. After all, one is walking in Venice!
To get to the closest vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal from this area requires a 10 minute walk.
For us, the train station area has always seemed busy, and per RS, less charming.
Have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
2477 posts

You could stay at a place accessible by water taxi. Costs more but can be worth it. 6 years ago I walked, this year I’m probably use a water taxi

Posted by
17 posts

I can't recommend enough staying at a hotel where you can arrive by water taxi. We stayed at the amazing Hotel Dona Palace, and arrived by water taxi right under the bridge of sighs. Amazing location steps from the piazza and basilica but with a very quiet dock facing a side canal, and beautiful big rooms. Coming down the canals in a vintage wooden boat and pulling right up to your hotel via water is something i'll never forget. We splurged on that part of our Italy trip and were so glad we did.

Posted by
15471 posts

There are 6 Sestieri (districts) you can choose from (Sestiere=1/6th).
The Sestiere of Cannaregio and the sestiere of Santa Croce are the closest to the station. There are decent hotels in both. Look around online, then check the exact location. You don’t want to be too far from the vaporetti which basically run along the Grand Canal from Piazzale Roma all the way to San Marco and beyond.
You can also look for other sestieri. I like Dorsoduro. But again make sure you are not too far from the vaporetti along the grand canal. No matter where you go, there is a good chance you’ll have to roll your suitcases for a bit, so travel light, especially considering your traveling on trains. Unless you need to leave super early in the morning, there is no reason to stay near the station. It is more important to travel light and to stay within a reasonable distance from a vaporetto stop..

Posted by
27405 posts

The major impediment to moving a suitcase around Venice is the humpbacked bridges, which aren't fitted with ramps. Before settling on a hotel, zoom in on Google Maps so you can see the little canals in the area. To cross any canal you must cross a bridge (except on the Grand Canal, where waiting for a vaporetto might also be an option). The bridges may not always be optimally located; sometimes you have to divert from what seems to be the most direct route to get to a bridge. Be sure there aren't too many bridges between your hotel and the nearest vaporetto stop(s), though for the fit, the bridges may not be bothersome when not dealing with suitcases.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your thoughtful and helpful advice based on your experiences. I think we’ll definitely be looking at the districts a little further from the train station, based on your recommendations. Th/y!