Home » Staying in Mestre when visiting Venice: things to know

Staying in Mestre when visiting Venice: things to know

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Are you spending ages online trying to figure out whether to stay in Mestre or central Venice? Here are some answers to the most common questions.

The square of Mestre in the historic center with the clock tower in the background

Who hasn’t wondered at least once if Mestre is in Venice? And how many times have you found yourself endlessly scrolling online, torn between staying in Mestre or central Venice?

For those visiting Venice for the first time, this can be the most stressful aspect of planning the trip. That’s why I’ve put together a simple guide to help you navigate the Mestre vs Venice dilemma.

Below, I’ll tackle some common questions you might have. And if you’re leaning towards Mestre for your accommodation, I’ve listed some top hotel picks at the end of the article to make your decision easier. 

So, where is Mestre?

Mestre sits around 10 km away from Venice and became a favored spot for locals relocating from the over-touristed Venice Island. It’s your quintessential Italian town, complete with a charming historic center and a bustling main square where folks gather. This makes it an ideal spot to witness genuine local life in action.

Moreover, if you’re on the hunt for budget-friendly accommodations in Venice, in Mestre you can find some excellent rates (and plenty of parking).

To sum up, while Mestre is technically part of Venice (as one of its six boroughs), they’re physically distinct: Venice is the iconic city on the water, whereas Mestre sits on the mainland.

Just remember, the train station serving Mestre is dubbed “Venezia Mestre,” while the primary station for central Venice is “Venezia Santa Lucia.

An old building in the historic centre of Mestre

Things to do in Mestre

Mestre might not be the fanciest spot around, but you’d be pleasantly surprised to discover some interesting things to do there.

The historic center is just a 20-minute walk from the train station and is centered around Piazza Ferretto, which is the main square. This is a pedestrian area surrounded by pretty buildings, such as like the 12th-century Clock Tower (the only one left of the eleven that were once part of the castle fortifications), the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, and the former Excelsior Cinema with its lovely Art Nouveau architecture.

In Via Palazzo, you’ll find some other interesting buildings worth checking out, such as the Town Hall and the Palazzo dei Provveditori, which were built in the 16th century. Also, don’t miss the 13th-century Church of San Girolamo just around the corner.

If you’re into museums, definitely visit the M9 Museum – it’s all about 20th-century history and it’s the biggest multimedia museum in Europe. And if shopping’s more your thing, you can head to the shopping center at Piazza Barche or take a stroll through Galleria Matteotti, which is a stunning Art Nouveau arcade packed with shops.

The Forte Marghera is also worth a visit in Mestre. It’s this huge, star-shaped military fort that was built back in the early 19th century, located between Via della Libertà and the San Giuliano Park (which happens to be one of the largest urban parks in Europe!).

How to travel from Mestre to Venice

Mestre and central Venice are conveniently linked by both road and rail, so traveling between the two locations is rather easy.

You can catch frequent trains departing from Mestre station every 10 to 15 minutes, starting from 5:16 AM until 11:48 PM. The journey to Venice takes only ten minutes. Tickets are really cheap (€1.40) and you can buy them on the Trenitalia website – if you want to know more about train travel in Italy, check out this article.

Another convenient option for getting from Mestre to Venice is by bus. Line 2, for example, leaves from Mestre station (indicated as “Mestre FS” on the timetable), while Lines 4 passes from the town centre. And if you intend to stay in Venice until late, the lines N1 and N2 run all night (check the timetables on the ACTV website).You’ll also find two trams available – T1 (from the town centre) and T2 (from the station).

If you are in Mestre with a car, I advise against driving to Venice. Parking spaces on the island are extremely limited and expensive. Instead, a convenient option for reaching Venice by car is to take a taxi. A trip from Mestre city center to Piazzale Roma in Venice has a fixed fare of €23 (valid for a maximum of 4 people). You can purchase taxi tickets easily online through the Radio Taxi Venezia website.

Mestre historic centre

Where to park in Mestre

Parking in Mestre is convenient with ample parking spaces available, allowing you to make the most of the excellent transportation system connecting the two towns.

If you’re staying in a hotel close to the train station, there’s the open-air Cà Marcello Car Park, which charges 0.80€ per hour or the multi-level Parcheggio Saba, which charges 3€ per hour. In the historic center, the Piazzale Candiani Car Park offers underground parking at 12€ per day.

My thoughts on staying in Mestre vs central Venice

I’ve stayed in both Mestre and Venice, and here’s what I suggest: if it’s your first time visiting, definitely opt for Venice. There’s something truly special about being on the island that adds to the whole experience.

Don’t get me wrong, Mestre is perfectly fine, but you’d be missing out on the enchantment of wandering around Venice early in the morning or late at night when its true charm shines through. Sure, you can still visit Venice from Mestre, but it’s just not quite the same for me.

Plus, there’s the convenience factor. Staying in Venice means you’re never far from your hotel if you need to freshen up or take a break, without having to deal with train stations and such.

I know you might be thinking that hotels in Mestre are way cheaper, and most of the time, they are. But with a bit of searching, you can find some reasonably priced places in Venice too. On my last trip, I stayed at Domus Ciliota, a charming hotel near Campo Santo Stefano, and it didn’t break the bank (I wrote about it here)..

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal taste, doesn’t it? Mestre may not be for everyone, but for a lot of people, it does the trick, especially those who prefer modern hotels with spacious rooms and don’t mind commuting every day. But for many, there’s a certain allure to staying in a bijoux room on the island.

Creative benches in Mestre historic center

Top Mestre hotels

If you’ve decided to stay in Mestre during your trip to Venice, I suggest finding accommodation close to the train station. This makes it easy to hop on a train and reach Venice quickly.

Personally, I stayed at Leonardo Royal Hotel Venice, which is just a five-minute walk from the station. I had a stylish room with a really comfy bed, which costed less than 100€ despite the high season. The hotel also has a restaurant and a cocktail bar, but there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and a large supermarket nearby.

Right across from the Leonardo Royal Hotel is the A&O Hostel, an interesting option for travelers on a budget. They offer both dorms and private rooms starting at 12€ per night. Plus, they have a 24-hour bar and a bus stop right outside, along with convenient parking area.

Another option to consider is the Best Western Hotel Bologna right in front of the train station. This hotel has been around for over a century and offers spacious rooms, private parking, and a restaurant that’s often recommended in the Michelin guide.

Lastly, there’s StayCity, which is a stylish aparthotel with a selection of studios and one-bedroom apartments. Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchenette, making it ideal if you prefer to cook your own meals. They also have a gym, a cafe, and laundry facilities on-site.

Where to eat in Mestre

Mestre has a good range of restaurants where you can try the local cuisine. Right in the town center, there’s Trattoria da Terzo, a classic restaurant that’s been owned by the same family since the 1970s. They serve up regional favorites like Venetian-style liver, sarde in saor (marinated sardines), and Vicenza-style codfish.

Another spot worth checking out is Trattoria Vecia Posta, a no-frills eatery near the train station. They serve dishes rooted in Venetian tradition, especially focusing on seafood.

For a quick bite, head over to Bar Perla on Via Mestrina. It’s famous for its tramezzini – those triangular sandwiches of soft white bread filled with all sorts of good stuff.

Ciao for now,


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