Venice is not a city of hostels. It’s not a city with any nightlife to speak of, or one that stays “open” until all hours. But it’s still on the agenda of most backpackers making their way through Europe – even the ones who are traveling on a serious budget and don’t have the money to spare on any one of the hundreds of high-end hotels crowding Venice’s streets and canals. So, where do all those budget travelers sleep?
Well, I didn’t say there were no hostels in Venice. Just not many. The largest one, and also the only one open year-round, is Ostello Venezia on the Giudecca. While many tourists never venture beyond a ten-minute walk of St. Mark’s Square, the hostel’s location on the Giudecca offers an incredible view across the water at the onion domes of St. Mark’s and the basilica’s bell tower. It’s exactly the kind of view you can’t get if you only stay in the middle of the square itself, which is a good enough reason to hop on a vaporetto and visit the Guidecca.
But I digress – back to the hostel itself.
Ostello Venezia occupies an old granary a few steps from the Zitelle vaporetto stop, and offers three floors of beds for budget travelers. Two floors are reserved for women, and one floor for men – there are no mixed dorms and no completely private rooms, although if a single-sex group makes a reservation together there are smaller private areas within the larger dorms which have doors to help keep out noise. Most of the walls, however, don’t go all the way to the ceiling, so it’s likely that if you’re a solo traveler sleeping next to a private room full of friends who are up talking all night, you’ll hear them, too. No matter whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, ask for one of the beds that overlooks the water – from some of the top bunks, you’ll be able to wake up to a view of the Basilica San Marco.
Each floor is mostly identical, except for the top floor (one of the women’s floors), which is a bit smaller because of the roofline – and a bit more interesting because of the exposed beams on the ceiling of every room. In addition to the three floors of dorm rooms, there are two handicapped-accessible rooms on the main floor (just off the common room) which share one handicapped-accessible bathroom. One of the bedrooms at has two single beds in it, and the other has a single bed and a pair of bunks – in case a disabled person is traveling with companions.
Left: Disabled room with bunks; Right & Center: Top floor with exposed beams in ceiling:
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There are big, clean and brightly-painted bathrooms on every floor of Ostello Venezia, and a big common area right by the reception desk as you walk in. The common area serves many purposes, from computer station to dining area to TV lounge, and it’s comfortable and accommodating if a bit cafeteria-like. There’s a place to get food in the corner that’s open at certain times, and the reception desk has a few sundry items for sale if you happen to run out of shampoo or something. Also, there’s a laundry just a few doors down in case you need to wash a few things during your stay in Venice.
The halls, stairways and common areas are monitored by video cameras, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your stuff lying about on your bed all day – the rooms aren’t on the video network to give people a bit of privacy! There are, however, lockers in each room as well as in the common room (the latter are ideal for those who need to check out of the hostel but aren’t leaving Venice until later in the day). There is a curfew at Ostello Venezia, but again – without much of a nightlife in Venice, you probably won’t need to worry too much about getting back late.
All in all, Ostello Venezia is clean, basic and well-run – and it’s the perfect place for backpackers who want to include Venice on their European trip without breaking the bank. What’s more, the people running Ostello Venezia are accommodating and friendly, and they like travelers. Also, this is not only one of the only hostels in Venice at all, it’s the only one that’s part of the AIG network of hostels in Italy (AIG is the Italian equivalent of YHA) and a Hostelling International hostel to boot, so you can rest assured that it’s meeting all the standards you’ve come to expect of good hostels the world over.
Plus, who can get over the view of San Marco? I mean, really?
Address: Fondamenta Zitelle 86 (on the Giudecca island) 30100 Venice
Closest Vaporetto Stop: Zitelle
Curfew/Lockout: Doors are closed for cleaning from 09:30-13:30, and there’s a curfew as well (but Venice doesn’t have much of a nightlife, so that shouldn’t be a problem).
What’s Included: taxes, linens, breakfast, lockers
More Information: Ostello Venezia booking
Location: Despite the location of the dot on this map, the hostel is not actually out in the water… It’s on the land just near the dot when you zoom in.
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