Here’s the best area to stay in Venice from our experiences.
Updated in August 2019
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Have you heard of Dorsoduro? With so many choices of hotels, apartments, and Airbnb accommodations, it’s difficult to pick the best area to stay in Venice. We’ve got one top choice for you, so hopefully this helps you narrow things down a little bit. If you’re looking for where to stay in Venice, we recommend choosing the Dorsoduro district.
Dorsoduro is one of six sestieri, or boroughs in Venice. It’s a neighborhood or region on the island of Venice just south of the main tourist attractions, like Piazza San Marco. But, it doesn’t feel like the crowded, overly touristic Venice that you might already know. It’s quieter and more relaxing. Dorsoduro Venice is not just a place that’s delightful to return to each evening. It’s where we loved to dine, wander, and experience. Here’s why Dorsoduro is the best area to stay in Venice, Italy.
Dorsoduro is the Real Venice
Okay, so all of Venice is the real Venice. However, most of Venice consists of tourists, day trippers, and cruise ship passengers visiting this magical Italian city. There’s nothing wrong with any of this. After all, we were tourists and I’m sure you’re also a tourist looking to travel there. But, you might be seeking a different experience aside from the main tourist attractions like St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. I’m sure you’ve heard about the magic of getting lost in Venice; that is, exploring the island down every narrow alley, not knowing where it will lead. Enter Dorsoduro Venice.
You’ll see far more local residents in Dorsoduro than other areas of Venice. When we woke up in the morning and started our day, we saw many people taking their dogs out for walks. Almost everyone liked to dress up their dogs in cute little coats and sweaters. Adorable. There were lots of young local children chasing their friends around in the piazzas before school. And best of all, there weren’t any crowds. This view of Venice probably aligns with the one in your head: strolling arm in arm with your partner along the canals (not the one where massive tour group crowds make it impossible to move). That’s Dorsoduro.
Fun Fact About Dorsoduro
In Italian, the name of this district comes from the words “osso duro.” This translates to mean “hard bone”. It references the harder soil in this neighborhood, and also refers to the fact that it’s on higher ground than the rest of Venice.
Hotels in Dorsoduro Venice are Cheaper
If you want to stay right on the Grand Canal, expect to pay a pretty penny for that hotel. We were looking to extend our dollars across a three week trip to Italy, so that was a little out of our price range. The hotels in Dorsoduro Venice are significantly less than those in the more popular spots. It costs less to stay and dine in Dorsoduro than many other places. With that said, you can find lovely accommodations and delightful places to enjoy a meal all the same.
We adored our apartment, Giglio at Warm Hospitality Apartments. It was tucked down a narrow alleyway beyond a small bridge and a quaint piazza. The apartment came fully outfitted with a kitchen and a washing machine. It had the best balcony that overlooked a cute courtyard. Furthermore, it was very affordable, especially considering there were so many luxuries. Book your stay at Warm Hospitality Apartments or read more reviews by fellow travelers. We think that this is the best place to stay in Venice, hands down.
One of our favorite restaurants, OKE Pizzeria, was really close to our apartment in Dorsoduro Venice. The restaurant has a patio overlooking the water. There’s also the option of doing take-out. They use fresh, local, and organic ingredients wherever possible. The staff also pay special attention to dietary needs and allergies. Plus, it tastes delicious! There are lots of Dorsoduro restaurants with scenic views, cute patios, and great service, all while serving up authentic Italian cuisine.
Dorsoduro Venice is Still Convenient
There’s vaporetto service all over the city, including a few stops in Dorsoduro. Our apartment was near the Zattere stop. Even though you’re staying off the main tourist path, Dorsoduro Venice is an incredibly convenient district to explore the islands of Venice. We think it is the best place to stay in Venice.
Justin and I walked all over Venice and took the vaporetto everywhere else. You’re going to do some exploring, whether it’s at the tourist sites or other random areas. At the end of the day, you can hop on a vaporetto and take it back to your hotel or apartment in Venice, no matter where it is. As an added bonus, it won’t ever be busy or noisy when you return. Plus, while walking back to our apartment in the evening, we felt as though we had Venice all to ourselves. Dorsoduro is the best area to stay in Venice, and we’d return to this district again in the future without hesitation.
Attractions in Dorsoduro
Thinking that there’s nothing to do in this little local neighborhood in Venice? Think again! Dorsoduro has many attractions, like museums, churches, and galleries. It’s one of the most artsy neighborhoods in Venice with a history of attracting writers, artists, designers, and educators. It’s also home to the University of Venice and many students choose to live in Dorsoduro. All in all, it’s artsy, lively, and trendy.
If you’re looking for things to do in Dorsoduro, here are a few of our suggestions. The Gallerie dell’Accademia is a massive art gallery with many pieces by famous Venetian artists, like Veronese, Titian and Tintoretto. You can choose to take a guided tour to learn more in depth details and information about the art. There’s also the Peggy Guggenheim Collection for the art lovers in the crowd. It’s a modern art gallery with artworks spanning many modern art movements, such as cubism and surrealism. There’s an entire room dedicated to Jackson Pollock.
Other attractions you need to visit in Dorsoduro include Ca’ Rezzonico, a brilliant grand palace and museum. There’s also the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, more commonly known as I Gesuati. It’s a stunning 18th-century Dominican church in Dorsoduro Venice. Another church to visit in Dorsoduro is the magnificent Santa Maria della Salute, a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica.
Thinking about visiting multiple museums in Venice? Why not purchase a Venice museum pass for one low price! You can visit Doge’s Palace, the Correr Museum, Archaeological Museum, Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Ca’ Rezzonico, Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo, Carlo Goldoni’s House, Ca’ Pesaro, Glass Museum of Murano, Lace Museum of Burano, Museum of Natural History. The pass is valid for six months after you begin using it, too!
I hope you consider staying in Dorsoduro as we think it’s the best area to stay in Venice. From the area attractions to the great dining options, cheaper prices, and the more relaxed atmosphere, we think you’ll love spending time in Dorsoduro Venice. When it comes to choosing where to stay in Venice, we hope you’ll think it’s a much easier choice after reading this piece of travel advice.