Should you stay in Mestre or Venice?


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Should you stay in Mestre or Venice?

If you’ve never heard of Mestre before, it’s hardly surprising. This unprepossessing town on the Italian mainland isn’t exactly well-known in comparison with the celebrated Venetian islands of the neighbouring lagoon, connected to Mestre by a long bridge. If you are deciding where to stay in Venice to visit the city and its surroundings, Mestre could be the right choice. Here are some things to think about before booking your accommodation.

The pros

Mestre is a city located just across the lagoon from Venice, Italy. Many travellers, when choosing where to stay in Venice, prefer to stay in Mestre as an alternative, more convenient and less crowded.

This is the main reason for choosing a Mestre hotel over staying in one in Venice. It can be considerably more affordable. If you’re on a budget, Mestre offers a cheaper alternative and going from Mestre to Venice is very easy (it’s only around €2 by train, and there’s also a bus from Mestre to Venice that runs every eight minutes or so).

Hotels in Mestre tend to be bigger than those in Venice itself, so they usually have more facilities. You can either stay in Mestre for much less than you’d pay to stay in Venice, or stay in Mestre for the same price but get lots more for your money. Either way, you’ll get a bed for the night with better value for money.

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Another factor that makes Mestre more practical, in some ways, than staying in Venice: arriving with lots of luggage. Land-based public transport isn’t going to get you straight to your hotel in Venice, as there are no roads. That means you’ll be lugging your suitcases through cobbled streets and over tiny stepped bridges to get to your hotel.

Another factor that makes Mestre more practical, in some ways, than staying in Venice: arriving with lots of luggage. Venice is a city built on water, with no roads for cars or buses. This means that visitors must navigate the city’s streets and canals with their luggage in tow.

Not only that, but it also means that you will have to drag your suitcases through cobbled streets and small step bridges to reach your hotel. For passengers with a lot of luggage or mobility issues, this can be a significant challenge.

Mestre, on the other hand, is on the mainland and has a more modern infrastructure with roads, buses and taxis. This means that visitors can easily arrive and depart with their luggage without navigating the narrow and winding streets and bridges of Venice.

Getting from Mestre to Venice and from Venice to Mestre is quick and easy. There are frequent connections during the day. Additionally, Mestre has its train station, which makes it a convenient base for day trips to other destinations in the region.

Here the question arises: is Mestre safe? The city is a more residential area than Venice and is generally less crowded and more peaceful. This can be a welcome respite for those who want to escape the crowds and noise of Venice after a long day of sightseeing.

The cons

Cost isn’t the only factor to think about when deciding whether to stay in Mestre or Venice; the trade-off is that staying at a distance from Venice itself, you’re not imbibing its magic for your whole trip – only during the day. You don’t get the exciting feeling that comes from waking up in a place as special as Venice.

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When you’re in Venice, you can walk everywhere and never have to think about getting public transport – unless you fancy a trip on its maze of waterways by vaporetto or gondola, of course. And when you’re having to get public transport into the centre of Venice, it’s difficult to get up early and enjoy the quiet of the city before all the tourists flood in.

Venice at night is arguably even more atmospheric, and staying in the heart of it, you’ll be free to wander without worrying about getting back to your hotel. If you stay in Mestre, you’re constrained by the fact that the last train from Venice train station to Mestre is at around midnight and the service is interrupted until 5 am – meaning that you might have to cut short your fun night out. 

While there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Mestre, the nightlife scene is more limited than in Venice. For those who are looking for vibrant and lively nightlife, Mestre may not provide the same level of excitement.

Mestre has its attractions, such as Piazza Ferretto and Parco San Giuliano, but it cannot compete with the wealth of cultural and historic landmarks found in Venice. For travellers who prioritize sightseeing and cultural immersion, there may be better choices than Mestre. Venice has the historic charm and character of a floating city. If you are looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, staying in Mestre may not provide the same level of ambience.

Venice to Croatia Ferry

Staying in Mestre to visit Venice: yes or no?

Your decision ultimately comes down to whether or not you’re happy to trade waking up and going to sleep in magical Venice in return for saving some money. If budget is an issue, you may have little choice – especially if you’re booking at the last minute. The decision of where to stay depends on individual preferences and priorities. But if you want to immerse yourself in Venice, it’s worth splashing out and staying in the city itself. You might not get to experience it again, so make the most of it while you’re there.

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