Mestre is fantastically located just 15 minutes by public transport from Venice, a magical city of islands and canals. Mestre makes an affordable base for visiting its famous (and often crowded) neighbour, but has plenty to offer in its own right, from a charming historic quarter, to a host of places to eat, drink and shop. The Piazza Ferretto, overlooked by a handsome clock tower, is the showpiece main square, and has lots of inviting cafés under the arcades. You can hop on the handy tram, train or bus to be in the heart of gorgeous Venice in just a few minutes.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 15m
When to go
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Mestre is perfectly located just a short hop by tram, train or bus from the centre of Venice. It’s a fantastic base for visiting the gorgeous city of islands and canals located just across the bridge, thanks to its wide range of affordable accommodation, fewer crowds, and great value shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. Many of these are located on and around the Piazza Ferretto, Mestre’s charming main square, which is overlooked by an old clock tower and fringed with arcades. Thanks to the excellent public transport connections, you can be swanning down the Grand Canal, right in the centre of gorgeous Venice, in under 20 minutes.
There is a fantastic choice of places to eat and drink in Mestre, most of which are more affordable than those you’ll find in Venice. Most of them are concentrated on and around the central Piazza Ferretto, and include everything from pizzerias to upscale restaurants. Like all Italian regions, this area has its own delicious specialities that you will definitely want to try. There’s a lot of seafood, from sepe al nero (cuttlefish from the lagoon cooked it its own ink) to sarde in soar, a marinated fried sardine and onion dish. Or you could go for one of the pasta dishes, such as the famous bigoli in salsa (a kind of whole wheat spaghetti with an anchovy sauce). Finish up with a classic tiramisu – which comes from the Veneto region – or the heavenly fritelle, little puffs of fried dough with different fillings.
Mestre is a great city to base the kids if you’re visiting Venice and its surroundings. There are two, spacious green parks – the Parco San Giulliano and the Parco Bissuola – where they can run around and let off steam, along with play areas dotted around the city. You’ll find lots of wonderfully welcoming and family-friendly places to eat, along, of course, with the all important ice-cream shops. There are lots of facilities for sports, if you fancy a swim in the pool, or even want to go ice-skating. In Venice, the gorgeous buildings, canals, bridges and markets will enchant all children, and there all kinds of possibilities for entertainment, from boat rides, or gondola trips to a guided ghost walk. And if you want a break by the sea, you can head to the beaches along the Lido di Venezia (Venice Lido).
Action & Adventure
The Mestre area has plenty of things to keep you active during your holiday! The two main parks (the Parco San Giulliano and the Parco Bissuola) are good places for a jog, and the city boasts several swimming pools, many of which also feature outdoor pools. There are numerous places to go horse-riding close to Mestre, as well as a couple of golf courses within easy reach. In Venice, you could try paddle-boarding around the canals if sitting in a gondola or water taxi is too sedentary. Or head to the wonderful beaches along the Lido di Venezia (Venice Lido) for a dip in the ocean.
The nearest beaches to Mestre and Venice are located along the Lido di Venezia (Venice Lido), a 7-mile long island in the Venetian lagoon. A virtually unbroken string of wide, sandy beaches unfurls along the Adriatic side of the island, lined, in typical Italian style, with private lidos featuring rows and rows of sun loungers and parasols. You can choose whether to bag a sun bed and sunbathe in comfort at a lido, or lay your towel on one of the free areas of the beach. Most of the crowds are congregated at the beaches around the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta – the island’s main artery – but you’ll find there are fewer crowds if you head to the furthest ends of the beach.
Mestre has a good choice of bars and cafés where you can relax after a long day’s sightseeing. Start the night with an aperitivo at a café with a terrace on the main square and indulge in a spot of people-watching while you enjoy your drink.Then you can take your pick from mellow jazz bars or go for one of the livelier cocktail bars that get going after nightfall. There is also a clutch of good nightclubs in the city, with more – including some very glamorous options – in nearby Maghera. You’ll also find plenty of nightlife in Venice, from charming enotecas where you can try some of the region’s wines, to fashionable summer beach bars on the Lido di Venezia (Venice Lido).
Venice truly is one of the most romantic cities on earth, with its gilded palaces set on an enchanting web of canals. By basing yourself in Mestre, just a quick hop by public transport from its famous neighbour, you’ll be able to enjoy all the best of heavenly Venice without the inflated price tags and big crowds. So you can sit back and enjoy a romantic holiday with your partner in peace! With all the rich cultural attractions of Venice right on the doorstep, you can still enjoy Mestre’s lovely historic centre, which is filled with delightful cafés, cake shops and boutiques. There’s plenty of nightlife, and the glamorous beaches of the Lido di Venezia (Venice Lido) are within easy reach.
With stunning Venice right on the doorstep, there is no shortage of cultural attractions in Mestre! In the city itself, you can explore its charming historic quarter, admire the old clock tower – the only surviving vestige of the castle that once stood here, and visit interesting art galleries, like the Galleria Massimodelucca, which occupies a converted factory. In Venice, the list of cultural highlights is endless, from St Mark’s Square, where you’ll find the stunning cathedral and the Doge’s Palace, to the sublime palaces such as Ca’ Rezzonica. There are scores of fascinating museums, including the Peggy Guggenheim and the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and the city plays host to a number of excellent arts festivals.