While Venice seems to steal the spotlight from the rest of the Veneto region, there are many other places to consider when trying to determine where to stay. Located in the northeast of Italy, it stretches from the Dolomites and Venetian Prealps to the Adriatic Sea and includes part of Lake Garda, providing a diverse range of landscapes.
The “Floating City” isn’t the only one for romance, with plenty to be found in Verona as well, home to Juliet’s House with the iconic Shakespeare balcony scene, along with impressive Roman ruins. Padua is another great center, a university city with buzzing nightlife, while Vicenza is a Palladian beauty. Cortina d’Ampezzo has been called the “Sophia Loren of ski resorts” and it’s ideal for hiking too. Then there are the coastal towns for a beach getaway and the Prosecco Hills with charming towns and little hamlets tucked among the vineyards providing the ultimate place for wine enthusiasts.
Venice is what draws many to the Veneto region, and for most first-time visitors, it’s the best place to stay as a bucket-list destination. There are six different districts called sestieri to consider for your stay, with San Marco being the very best for those who want to enjoy landmarks like St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace in St. Mark’s Square.
It’s also home to the world’s oldest café, Caffe Florian which opened in 1720, perfect for people-watching. Within this area, choosing accommodation along the tinier streets away from the piazza will provide a more tranquil setting while putting you just steps from the popular attractions. It’s not cheap, with some of the most luxurious hotels here, but most feel it’s worth the splurge. Verona is another great option with many outstanding boutique hotels and attractions of its own, including Italy’s most well-preserved Roman amphitheater and the House of Juliet with its famed balcony from Shakespeare’s play.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the world’s most famous ski resorts, located in the heart of the Veneto Dolomites about two hours north of Venice. It staged the Winter Olympics in 1956 and is surrounded by the magnificent Dolomite peaks, making it one of the most beautiful places to ski. The pistes offer technical challenges to please the more advanced skier, but there are plenty of blue sections for beginners as well. During the warmer months, Cortina d’Ampezzo becomes a premier hiking destination.
Encircled by the craggy peaks of the Croda da Lago, Sorapiss, Tofane, and Cristallo mountains with the Baies/Prags Dolomites just a short drive away, there are countless trails featuring breathtaking scenery to choose from. While the town is ideal for outdoor adventurers, it also boasts a rich, thousand-year history, offers world-class shopping with an extensive array of venues from fashion boutiques to fine jewelry, and nightlife with bars, clubs, and late-night discos.
If you want to spend part or all of your vacation enjoying the beaches of Veneto, Caorle is a good choice. It provides a quieter setting for enjoying the sun and the sand with large stretches of pristine sand that are ideal for those who don’t relish the crowds. The Blue Flag quality beaches of Spiaggia di Levante and Spiaggia di Ponente are divided by Caorle’s historical center and are both within a short walk from just about anywhere in town.
There are free and paid sections at both, with most of the paid sections reserved for hotels – you’ll have some great beachfront accommodation options, including some with access to your own stretch of sand, umbrellas, and deck chairs. The tranquil town of Chioggia is worth considering too. Criss- crossed by canals, it sits in a group of small islands that are linked to the mainland by causeways and offers huge stretches of beach without insane crowds.
The most obvious destination for a lakeside retreat is Lake Garda. If you’d like to enjoy its many delights, the charming town of Peschiera del Garda sits along its shores in the Veneto region and is surrounded by the vast walls of the UNESCO-listed fortress that dates back to the 14th century. It offers access to picturesque beaches like Braccobaldo with sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent.
Historical attractions like Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary and Porta Verona are located here and for those who don’t have a car, Peschiera del Garda is convenient as it has a railway station making it easy to travel to and from other towns around the lake. If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path lake destination, consider Auronzo di Cadore on Lake Auronzo near the border of Austria. It boasts a surreal emerald hue, a forested shoreline, and an awe-inspiring backdrop of the highest peaks in the Dolomites.
Those seeking a wine-focused trip should consider the Prosecco Hills, perfect for enjoying dolce vita on a food and wine getaway. Named after the former village of Prosecco which is now part of the city of Trieste, vineyards carpeted the valleys and hillsides with vines that have been cultivated for centuries. The main towns providing a base for exploring it are Conegliano and Valdobbiadene with the winding Prosecco Road running for about 20 miles between the two while hosting over 100 wineries.
Both will provide visitors with easy access to the wineries while offering a wide range of B&Bs and agriturismos, or farm stays for a memorable traditional experience. Conegliano offers a gorgeous historical center with outstanding shops, bars, and restaurants as well as having a direct train connection to Venice. Valdobbiadene isn’t as convenient in terms of location, but it’s a stunning town with excellent family-run eateries and fabulous vineyard views.
The picturesque city of Padua is located just 25 miles from Venice, but it’s a beauty in its own right with some of the best nightlife in the Veneto region thanks to its large student population as the home of the University of Padua. Founded in 1222, it’s the second-oldest university in Italy and is widely regarded as the birthplace of modern medicine. With a young, dynamic atmosphere, university life flows through the streets which host impressive landmarks like the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, Palazzo della Ragione, Scrovegni Chapel, and Prato della Valle, one of Europe’s largest squares.
There are over 20 museums and many stylish boutiques, independent cafes, wine bars, and restaurants, while the world-famous Aperol Spritz is said to have been invented here. The city also plays host to a wealth of music festivals and concerts from pop to jazz and opera, with many international and national artists performing regularly.
Venice is a crown jewel in Veneto, in a class of its own. Famously built on the water, it’s known for its picturesque canals and gondolas as well as its spectacular architecture. While there are six different sestieri, or districts, to choose from when it comes to where to stay in Venice, the historical center is the most convenient.
It’s the best choice for most visitors, home to famous St. Mark’s Square and the city’s most iconic landmarks, including Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. You’ll be steps from the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge too and there are many vaporetto stops that make it easy to explore elsewhere. This is the priciest area, with lots of luxury hotels. Accommodation ranges from mid-range to ultra-luxurious, with rates more expensive the closer you stay to St. Mark’s Square but it’s hard to beat the opportunity to rise early and visit the piazza with no other tourists around.
The romantic city of Verona is not only known for its connection to Romeo and Juliet’s love story, but it’s also filled with delights that include medieval streets lined with spectacular architecture, enticing piazzas, and Roman ruins. One of the most popular cities in Italy, it offers multiple neighborhoods that are good for tourists along with a wide range of accommodation options. Many prefer the historical center as it’s the most convenient for sightseers with top attractions within easy walking distance, from the 1 st century AD Roman amphitheater to Piazza dell’Erbe, the city’s forum during Roman times.
There are cafes, bars, a market, and a lively atmosphere, while accommodation options include luxury hotels with features like pools and views of Juliet’s legendary balcony, charming B&Bs, quaint family-run guesthouses, and budget-friendly hostels. If you prefer to be away from the tourist crowds, consider the leafy neighborhood of Valdonega which offers a more tranquil setting as an upscale residential community.
Built on the site of an ancient Roman camp at the foot of the Berici Hills where two rivers cross, Vicenza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for Palladio’s architectural masterpieces. The late Renaissance-era architect redesigned the look of the city center and beyond, including villas in the countryside like Villa Capra, also known as La Rotonda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vincenza’s characteristic porticos (covered walkways), line Corso Palladio, the main street, and include many shops and bakeries. The most beautiful square is Piazza dei Signori, with enticing cafes, historical monuments, and noble buildings like the UNESCO-listed Basilica Palladiana. While the city is popular for day trips, it’s worth spending more time in with some good places to stay, including everything from converted villas and palazzi to family-run guesthouses and boutique hotels, all of which are usually much cheaper than what you’d find in Venice, about 47 miles east.
While Padua is often overlooked by tourists, there are many reasons to stay here, from its university that’s considered to be the birthplace of modern medicine founded in 1222 to its 14th century Scrovegni Chapel with famous frescoes by Giotto, the 13th -century II Santo basilica, picturesque parks, fabulous cafes and restaurants, and thriving nightlife. Less than a 40-minute drive west of Venice, it has a more authentic Italian feel yet with a modern culture and a young, dynamic vibe thanks to the large student population. One of Europe’s largest squares can be found here, Prato della Valle.
This expansive space has a green island at the center which is surrounded by a small canal bordered by statues while offering great people-watching. Every New Year’s Day, and during the mid-August Feast of the Annunciation, music and fireworks are hosted here. When it comes to accommodation, there are self-catering rentals and reasonably priced hotels right in the city center.
Cortina is one of the most famous ski resort villages in the world, having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956. It’s easier to get to than other villages in the Dolomites, most of which require a long drive over winding mountain roads. It’s located at the southeastern edge of the mountains and can be reached in about two hours by car from Venice International Airport via Valle di Cadore. Mountain beauty is its main draw, with opportunities to ski as well as hike and cycle.
A former rail line now serves as a gravel trail for hikers and bikers to enjoy an easy grade while passing breathtaking mountain peaks. Cortina also offers one of the best shopping districts in Europe, similar to Vail, Colorado with everything from outdoor gear to haute couture, including retailers like The North Face and Louis Vuitton. Accommodation includes everything from sumptuous boutique hotels to well-known high-end chain properties with incomparable Dolomites views.
Located some 30 miles northeast of Venice, Caorle offers the chance to enjoy traditional Veneto life and a fabulous, relaxed seaside escape. A hidden gem along the Adriatic coast, it’s managed to preserve many of its traditions with an authentic atmosphere without being too noisy or crowded. It boasts a wide, three-mile-long sandy beach that’s divided by the Old Town, with the eastern side referred to as Levante, featuring gorgeous sands, dunes, and pine trees.
Ponente is the western side, a bit livelier and more crowded with shops, restaurants, and bars. Many establishments offer umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, and the like, with hotels having their own areas of the beach. A vast array of watersports is on offer, including paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and sailing. The town overall is mostly quiet and laid-back, ideal for romantic moonlit strolls. If you’re looking for lots of entertainment and nightlife such as discos and clubs, you’ll want to head elsewhere.
Set along the shores of Lake Garda, the charming town of Peschiera del Garda is encircled by the huge walls of its fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 14 th century. Its location makes it ideal for exploring the lake and other towns along the shoreline like Lazise and Sirmione. There’s a cycling path that winds inland through pretty small towns and villages like Borghetto sul Mincio and you’ll find beaches for swimming and sunbathing such as Braccobaldo Beach which includes umbrellas and sunbeds.
The historical center is a delight and summer evenings are extra-special for strolls along the promenade, enjoyed with gelato in hand and the sounds of the water that laps against the banks of the lake. Families with children will appreciate it too as the town sits at the doorstep and numerous theme parks, including Movieland and Gardaland, with free buses that will bring you to the main parks.
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