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Venice Travel Tip #1 > Misadventures in Venice Hotel Hunting

Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of the photos you see of Venice are of the water, gondolas on the water, beautiful buildings next to the water, etc? Nobody shows you what the maze of teeny, tiny alleyways between all those buildings looks like.

Venice Space Between 2 Buildings
The space between 2 buildings in Venice!

So, based on my own experience of finding out the hard way, my number 1 travel tip for Venice is: pay the water taxi price to get to your hotel!

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We were in Europe for 17 days, mostly in Italy but in and out of Paris. We each had 2 suitcases (like this, not exactly, close). When we got to the Venice airport we realized we hadn't really thought about how we would get to our hotel but didn't stress about it. We went to the port area and looked at our options. We could take a water taxi or the water bus. The water taxi cost about 50-80 Euros (at the time about $75-100) and the bus cost something like $10. So we went with the water bus option.

Getting on the bus with the two heavy suitcases was a bit of a hassle, but I managed to get on board without injuring myself or anyone else. We had asked which stop was the one we needed for the Westin Europa (now closed!0. We got off at the stop at San Marco, the main tourist attraction in Venice, and proceeded to try to find our way to the hotel. Up bridges of steps, down bridges of steps. Up bridges of steps, down bridges of steps. Me. With two heavy suitcases. Not happy.

It was quite a walk and we had to keep stopping for directions. Not easy to do. Venice is a beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful place to get lost in all the twists and turns and alleys. But not when you are carrying 2 heavy suitcases plus your carry-ons. We finally got close enough to where people were able to direct us to the alley that led to the hotel.

Here is the last part of our path:


Down this alley – no markings…


Turn into this alley – no markings…


Down this alley, no markings, but almost there! And into this courtyard, hurray!

Westin Venice

So an HOUR after being dropped at San Marco, we arrived. I was tired, dripping in sweat and a bit peeved. The main entrance to the hotel is, of course, the water entrance, which looks like this:

Westin Venice

And that is the way we left to go home!

The Venice water bus system is phenomenal and for the entire time we were in Venice we used it religiously, but I HIGHLY recommend when you are arriving with luggage and you don't know where you going, take a water taxi, pay the extra and have peace of mind…and body!

How about you have you struggled to get to your hotel in Venice?

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  1. julie goebel says:

    Fantastic tip. I want to go back to Venice and will remember this. If I arrived like you did by foot and saw that entrance in the courtyard I would be highly disappointed in the Westin but it looks great from the water side.

  2. I think I might have stayed there as well when I was in Venice!!! What a workout you had! Beautiful pics though. 😉

  3. I’ve just begun reading your blog. Since I have just become a blogger myself I accidentally found your site and I am so glad I did. I am so intrigued and entertained by your adventures and like in this post, the beautiful photos.

    I don’t know if I will ever travel outside the U. S., but at least I can read your adventures. Thank you. JoAnna

  4. I can’t wait to go back! It has been since my teen was born. And yes, we have stayed near the train station, and also in San Marco, what a difference!