The Best B&Bs in Venice

A room at the Locanda Barbarigo in Venice
Rates start at €85 for a double at the 5-room B&B Locanda Barbarigo overlooking a canal in the heart of San Marco.

How to find, and reserve, the best bed and breakfasts in Venice in every price range and neighborhood

More on how B&Bs work in Italy: info, tips, and advice
The B&B concept—a handful of rooms run as an inn by a family in their own home—has recently spread throughout Italy and there are now more B&Bs in Venice (around 511) than there are hotels (around 509).

A Venetian bed and breakfast essentially works something like a small hotel that provides breakfast and is located in the owner's home (or at least an a converted apartment in their building). The size is limited to no more than 3–4 rooms or 6–8 beds total.

This usually means a cozy, welcoming, friendly place with a bit more interaction with your hosts than at a hotel—and B&Bs are usually anywhere from 5% to 40% cheaper than hotels.

Expect to pay anywhere from €70 to €140 for a double room at a typical Venice B&B.

Note that there's a thin line (often just which set of local standards, requirements, and legal complications the owner wants to deal with) between what's called a B&B and what's called an affittacamere (rental rooms) (which adds another 330 rooms to the total number of B&B-like accommodations in Venice).

Finding the perfect Venice B&B

  • Booking.com (www.booking.com) - A general booking site, and one of the few that includeshundreds of B&Bs (filed variously under the categories of "Bed and Breakfast" and "Guesthouse").
  • Venere.com (www.venere.com)- Another generalist booking site based in Italy with a huge representation of B&Bs (in addition to hotels, apartments, and other options).
  • BedandBreakfast.com (www.bedandbreakfast.com) - Massive site and database with thousands of choices all across Italy, including around 55 in Florence.
  • Airbnb.com (www.airbnb.com) - Network of both official and unofficial B&Bs, homestays, and apartment and house rentals, including 572 "private rooms" in Florence. Its rates are among the lowest around, charging anywhere from $15 to $250 per night (a handful charge more).

Other useful B&B resources for Venice

  • The Venice tourist office (www.turismovenezia.it) - A complete list of all registered bed and breakfast outfits in town (and allows you to specify neighborhoods, which is nice), but it's simply that: a database list of all the B&Bs in alphabetical order. The info on each provided is pretty basic: just name, address, and classification on the search results pages. To get more info (phone number, website or e-mail, number of rooms, amenities, and—crucially—the price range for a double room) you have to click on each B&B name one at a time. No pics. No maps. And it's insanely hard to comparison-shop, since you can't look at properties side-by-side. What's more, the websites aren't even hotlinked; you have to cut-and-paste them. A resource, sure, but one that requires a lot of legwork to use.
  • Bed-and-Breakfast.it (www.bed-and-breakfast.it) - Probably the biggest and best of the huge, national services, with more than 10,000 B&Bs across Italy.
  • Bed & Breakfast Italia (www.bbitalia.it) - Another major nationwide service, with more than 1,000 members and three quality categories where prices range from €44 to €116 ($52 to $137).
  • Generalist booking sites - The following sites have limited listings in Italy (from a few dozen to a few hundred total), but you never know where you'll find the perfect place, so feel free to sift through the offerings: www.innsite.com, www.karenbrown.com, www.bbonline.com, www.1bbweb.com.

Tips & links

Lodging links
Lodging tips
  • If you're looking for a hotel near a particular sight, just go to that sight's page and, in the sidebar on the right, you'll see a list of all the nearby hotels (with "Reid Recommends" choices preceded by a little RR icon: Reid Recommends).
  • The Venice hotel tax: As of 2011, Venice began charging a Visitor Tax. This is the city's doing, and it is not a scam (just annoying). All charges are per person, per night, for all guests over the age of 10, and the tax is charged for stays of up to 10 days. (There are discounts: Dec-Jan, 30%; Kids aged 10-16, 50%; Stays on the Lido or other outer islands, 20%; Stays in Mestre or elsewhere on the mainland, 20%.)

    The cost breakdown is insanely complicated (varies with official clasification and rating cateogry), but general as of 2014:

    • Hotels: €1 pppn (per person per night) per star rating. (So a couple [2 people] staying three nights [2 x 3 = 6] in a four-star hotel [6 x €4 = €24] would pay an extra €24.
    • B&Bs: €3 pppn flat
    • Apartments, residences, rental rooms: €1.50–€2.50 pppn
    • Hostels/religious housing and agriturismi: €2 pppn
    • Camping: €0.10–€0.40 pppn

    Some hotels have folded the fee into their quoted rates; most properties tack it on as an extra when you check out. Just be prepared.

  • Book ahead in summer and during Carnevale: Venice is way more popular than the number of beds it has, so while in the dead of winter you can often show up and find a good place to crash easily, the best rooms (and the best-value hotels) are booked well in advance for the summer months and the two weeks prior to Ash Wednesday (when Venice breaks out the fancy dress and masks for its famed Carnevale celebrations).

    Same goes (though less so, and more at the chic and high end hotels) during the Venice Biennale art festival and the Venice Film Festival.
  • Pay extra for A/C in summer: No matter what kind of lodging you pick, if it's summer (a) try to get a room with air-conditioning and (b) even if you can't (or you can but have a hankering for some fresh air) resist the urge to open the windows to your room.

    Venice is, I believe, the primary breeding ground for the mosquito population of Southern Europe, and precious few Italian hoteliers have discovered that newfangled invention called window screens. Keep the windows shut, or prepare to be bitten.

    (Also, carry some bug spray for those romantic canalside dinners outside. Trust me.)
  • Avoid Mestre: Any hotels with an address in "Venezia-Mestre" is actually in the dull, modern, industrial suburb at the mainland end of the bridge over to the real, ancient Venice you came all this way to see. Do not stay in Mestre! You'll spend more time and money commuting each day in an out of Venice proper than you will save.
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