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’re thinking of staying in Mestre to visit Venice, here are some things to think about before booking your accommodation.
The main reason for choosing a Mestre hotel over staying in one in Venice is that it can be considerably more affordable. If you’re on a budget, Mestre offers a cheaper alternative while still being within relatively easy reach of Venice (it’s only around €2 by train, and there’s also a bus that runs every eight minutes or so).
Hotels in Mestre tend to be bigger than those in Venice itself, which means they typically 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.
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.
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.
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 back to the mainland is at around 11pm – meaning that you might have to cut short your fun night out.
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. 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.