What to see and do in Mestre and why choose it for a holiday in Venice [Complete Guide]

Staying in Mestre for a holiday in Venice is certainly a strategic, clever and economically sensible choice compared to staying overnight in the lagoon, allowing you to visit not only one of the world's best-loved destinations, but also its unconventional surroundings such as Treviso, the Prosecco hills and Padua!


Mestre is part of the municipality of Venice and it is connected to the lagoon by the Ponte della Libertà, a 3.5 kilometres long extremely efficient double railway and road bridge. Did you know that this architectural work was renamed at the end of World War II, to commemorate the liberation from fascism? The strategic location of Mestre, the reduced cost of accommodation and the greater ease of finding a parking spot, make this option that was little-known by tourists a surprising solution if you want to visit Venice for business, pleasure or leisure, either by car or by public transport!


But what does this city offer in itself? What to do and see in Mestre and what are its main attractions? What are the advantages of booking a hotel in Mestre and how to reach Venice from this location that is waiting to be discovered? Here is a complete guide by Belstay Hotels, with tips, travel information and everything you need to know about Mestre as a base for a trip to the Venice historical centre. Live Contemporary, travel clever!




Mestre is undoubtedly famous for being the gateway to Venice, but it is also an industrial and manufacturing hub that offers various attractions and points of interest for both its younger and grown-up visitors. Here are some interesting facts about Mestre:

1. Until 1926 Mestre was autonomous and was integrated into the municipality of Venice as part of a municipal institutions masterplan that saw it as an expansion point of the lagoon to the mainland;

2. Its municipal theatre, the Teatro Toniolo, boasts years of cultural and artistic splendour thanks to the artistic direction of the renowned Giorgio Gaber;

3. From April 2022, the Banchina Liguria in Mestre-Marghera will welcome all large cruise ships arriving in the lagoon from all over the world. This infrastructural project aims at protecting the environmental and cultural heritage of Venice's historic centre and facilitate the management of cruise traffic by stopping access to the St. Mark's Basin.


Mestre has a population of over87,000 people and since the World War II has accommodated the development of several infrastructure projects, residential districts, services and key industrial sites. Such developments made it an important logistics and services base for the historic centre of Venice. Although Mestre is not a tourist destination in its own right, it is certainly the ideal place to dine and sleep during a comfortable and convenient visit to Venice!




Mestre may really surprise you! We are well aware that this destination might only be a strategic base or passing point during your visit to Venice, but you could make your trip even more memorable by exploring a bit of it. Here are Mestre's most popular attractions for your next trip!


1. Piazza Erminio Ferretto

A trip to Mestre must begin with a visit to its historic centre and its main attraction, Piazza Ferretto (or Piazza Maggiore)! This lively place of cultural and social life, also known as the 'Salotto di Mestre' (Mestre's Living Room), is one of the best-loved and most crowded meeting points for the locals in Mestre, who gather here both in the evenings and during the day to enjoy an aperitif in spacious pedestrian areas in a typically medieval atmosphere. This pretty corner of the city will welcome you with its many bars, cafés and restaurants and the charming 'Nudo di Donna', a fountain with a modern brass sculpture by artist Alberto Vianil. It is home to another of the most representative buildings of Mestre and the Venetian mainland: the Teatro Toniolo, a reference point for Mestre culture and entertainment offering. Walking along the square, one can admire three other historical monuments of Mestre: the 17th-century city cathedral, the Palazzo da Re and the imposing Clock Tower. Let us tell you more about them!


2. Palazzo da Re

The Palazzo da Re is located right in the middle of Piazza Ferretto and is easily recognisable thanks to the three large arches that embrace the portico and its terrace. The portico, which is also called Pavion (from the French word 'pavillon', pavilion), was home to grain merchants and the grain market until 1913, when such commercial activities moved to Piazza Cesare Battisti. A few years earlier, in 1884, Giuseppe Da Re had a commemorative slab placed on the façade of his house, which is still visible today!


3. Torre dell’Orologio

The Torre dell'Orologio (Clock tower) in Mestre, overlooking Piazza Ferretto, is one of the most fascinating historical landmarks and represents the last remaining intact tower of the ancient Castelnuovo di Mestre. Built in the 12th century, it is the ancient remains of a fortification dating back to 1108 and was erected by the Collalto family, wealthy local lords. This majestic civic tower has recently been restored and stands out elegantly against the square, with its splendid swallow-tailed battlements and large 16th-century clock. Nowadays, the building hosts temporary art and photographic exhibitions by local artists, fulfilling important public and cultural functions after years of use as a private home and coffee shop.


4. Duomo di Mestre

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo Martire in Mestre is undoubtedly the most famous place of worship on the Venetian mainland. This religious building with 18th-century features was built in the late Middle Ages, starting in the year 905, and underwent various changes and reconstructions during the prosperous era of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. The two-order white exterior façade in neoclassical style and the interior renovation are the work of the Venetian architect Bernardino Maccaruzzi. The must-see features of the city cathedral of San Lorenzo? The 19th-century organ, the stone bell tower and the fine fresco on the dome by the painter Giovan Battista Canal.


5. Galleria Matteotti

Galleria Matteotti in the centre of Mestre is one of the last vestiges of 20th century Art Nouveau not only in the city, but in the entire Veneto region! Inaugurated in 1912, it is characterized by a distinctive steel, iron and glass loggia, features that recall the Parisian architectural style. The Galleria Matteotti emerges with personality, modernity and glory in stark contrast to the surrounding post-modern buildings.


Inside the gallery, you can discover historic local shops while strolling on the original 100-year-old pavement. A suggestion? Visit it at sunset to enjoy the spectacular light patterns and reflections generated by the sun against the stained-glass windows!


6. San Giuliano Park

If during your stay in Mestre you find it hard to not to give in to a moment of relaxation in nature, the San Giuliano Park is your destination! This urban garden is the green lung of Mestre, it  extends for 76 hectares and romantically overlooks the Venice lagoon. Its immense size makes it the largest city park in Europe and the ambitious urban and environmental  recovery project was one of the most significant in Italy in terms of complexity!

The park is popular among locals and not only. During summertime San Giuliano’s Park is the ideal place to enjoy a walk or a bike ride, do sports, relax in the sun or enjoy an event such as the renowned Heineken Jammin' Festival. For lovers of urban planning and geometry the San Giuliano Park is not to be missed! By walking and cycling along its cycle and pedestrian paths, you will draw neat concentric circles in a setting full of greenery and well-being. Enjoy a moment of relax in the open air amidst its meadows, woods and canals and let yourself be enchanted. A visit to the San Giuliano Park might just surprise you!


7. Forte Marghera

Looking for an attractive and young food and drinks destination in Mestre? Here's a tip for you! Forte Marghera is a 19th century fortress that has been redeveloped to host food areas, events, exhibitions and shows. What makes it so special? It is a former military building with a peculiar star-shaped plan, overlooking the canal that once connected Mestre to the lagoon and housed the heroic troops defending the Serenissima. Located just a few kilometres from the centre, today it is owned by the Venice municipality and has been totally redeveloped to promote a sustainable social project and host exhibitions and cultural events organised by the Venice Biennale.

'At the gates of Venice, an outpost of culture' - Forte Marghera Foundation

Its energy, historical setting and the vast array of events, concerts and shows make this monumental area an important historical, cultural and social hub not to be missed. Discover the events in Forte Marghera and choose Hotel Belstay Mestre as your favourite accommodation!


8. Museo M9 del Novecento

The M9 Museum in Mestre is the attraction you don't expect to find. It’s an extraordinarily innovative exhibition space where contemporary, immersive and avant-garde technologies thrill visitors of all ages who want to rediscover history! Inaugurated in 2018, M9 represents a new generation of multimedia-based museums that recounts in a compelling way the events of the 20th century from multiple perspectives: from everyday life to the major economic, social, urban and cultural changes of the time.

All these interesting permanent thematic routes, together with various temporary exhibitions, an auditorium and a media library, welcome you at the price of €10 (regular rate) and €8 (reduced rate for children up to 18 years of age or students up to 26 years of age). Buy your ticket, we'll take care of your accommodation at Belstay Hotels!




The cuisine of Mestre is strongly influenced by nearby Venice, and not only. Typical dishes also recall the culinary traditions of Vicenza and Treviso. Two local specialities? Sardines in saor and squid ink risotto! Fish is very popular here, but there is no shortage of international restaurants to offer you a complete gastronomic proposal to savour.


An alternative that stands out is the restaurant concept found inside the Belstay Venezia Mestre: SEGUIMI. Did you know that SEGUIMI offers an innovative, convivial and unique catering proposal in the city? Michelin-starred chef Andrea Ribaldone implemented an original menu that recounts the flavours of authentic dishes in a modern and innovative way. Designed upon the desire to share to offer the customer a convivial experience and allow them to share an experience, SEGUIMI is passion, creativity and attention to details that tell the story of how a meal in the suburbs can really surprise your palate in many ways!




And if you really want to taste something traditional or exotic in the city without going into the Venice lagoon, this is a varied selection of the most popular places to eat Mestre (besides Forte Marghera):

  1. Al Bacaro del Baffo (Venetian cicchetteria, €€), Via Cappuccina 24;
  2. Dietro le Quinte (fish restaurant, €€), Via Cesare Battisti 9;
  3. Al Leone di San Marco (fish restaurant, €€€€), Via Trezzo 6;
  4. Filanda Grill Garden (grilled meat restaurant, €€), Via Fratelli Rondina 3;
  5. BEFED Brew Pub (burger, €), Viale Ancona 20;
  6. Fabbrica in Pedavena (brewery with kitchen, €), Viale Ancona 18;
  7. Aki (Japanese cuisine, €€), Via Torino 6;
  8. Jixiang (Chinese cuisine, €€), Via Piave 1;
  9. VgOloso (plant based, €€), Viale Ancona 10/A, Venice;
  10. Café Royale (aperitif, €€), Viale Don L. Sturzo 43.




Mestre represents the main entry and passage point into the lagoon and offers a practical and logistically convenient solution as a base for a holiday in Venice. Dining and sleeping here is more affordable, parking availability is guaranteed, and connections by bus or train to the centre of Venice are convenient and frequent. Mestre is a money and time-saving way to visit Venice in in comfort and in control of your travel budget. Particularly if you stay at Belstay Venezia Mestre you can easily reach the lagoon, thanks to the shuttle service to the Mestre train station or by jumping on but number 6 from Piazza Mercato.


What's cleverer than that? Experience something different and discover Venice!




Hotel Belstay partners with the Garage Venezia Isola Nuova car park on the Tronchetto Island to offer its guests advantageous rates in a covered parking in the lagoon! By leaving your car in this car park in Venice you can take the ferry to Rialto’s bridge or San Mark’s Square or the People Mover, a small train located 1 minute walking from the parking that takes you to Piazzale Roma in just 7 minutes.


Parking can be easily booked at the Belstay Hotel, taking advantage of the special rate, or upon booking, of a B&B accommodation with double parking included, one at the hotel and one on Venice Tronchetto!


Any alternatives?


In the event that you neither want to leave your car at your hotel nor reach Venice by car by leaving it at the Garage Venezia Isola Nuova, it may be useful to know that Mestre offers parking spaces distributed throughout the city, including indoor ones, which often apply affordable rates.


There are many free parking spaces in Mestre, but they are generally located in more suburban and less accessible areas and the low rates, in some cases, may not be worth the effort and time required to get to the centre. Several car parks can be found in the area of Mestre station and in San Giuliano, but also in Piazzale Candiani, Via Torino, Ca' Marcello and Corso del Popolo. Here a few suggestions for you:

  • Gregory car park, close to Mestre Station and accessible with TELEPASS;
  • Saba car park, the largest in the area with its 7-storey building;
  • Delfino garage, one of the most cost-effective solutions.


An ideal choice is to stay in a hotel in Mestre with private parking. If you are looking for the perfect accommodation, Hotel Belstay could really be for you! Parking is free for the hotel guests, but also available for those not staying in the hotel are admitted to park for a fee. The hotel also offers a convenient shuttle service to Mestre Station!






As already mentioned, Mestre is connected to Venice by Ponte della Libertà. If you travel by car watch out for speed cameras! If you opt for the  public bus or train services, know that the service is very frequent, the journey is short and the ticket costs is budget friendly.! From Mestre station, you can rely on ACTV, the local transport company, which will take you by bus to Piazzale Roma, or buy a train ticket to Venezia Santa Lucia station with Trenitalia. The service is available every 15 minutes!


Catch the ferry from Mestre!

Another, even more romantic, way to travel from Mestre to Venice is opting for a boat, a choice that will take you right into the heart of the city through a unique setting! The waterbus service operating in Mestre allows you to reach St. Mark's Square in just over 45 minutes and will save you a long walk across the historical centre. The public water transport service provides connections to the historic centre from Mestre San Giuliano. The fastest way to get to Venice by boat is to board the ferry that depart directly in front of our partner car park, Garage Venezia Isola Nova on Tronchetto.

Other destinations that are easily reachable by Ferry from Fusina, located only 10 minutes away from our hotel, are the Alberoni beach in Jesolo and the Island of Pellestrina.


The most sporty can also get to Veice by bike!

Are you a cyclist who loves sport, the environment and long bike rides? Then you will be interested to know that Mestre offers modern cycle lanes and that the Ponte della Libertà has a lane which is entirely reserved to bicycles. This 6 km long route will allow you to get to Venice on two wheels! Where to start? We recommend jumping on your bike from Viale San Marco (Mestre), but always keep in mind that bikes cannot ride in the centre of Venice and must be left in a dedicated bike park in Piazzale Roma.


For any other useful information on visiting Venice, you can visit the official 'Venezia Unica' tourist board website and the www.pisteciclabili.it portal.


You can rent a bike in Mestre at Venice Trail and from Belstay Mestre you can reach beautiful cycling routes to Jesolo, Padua, Treviso.

If you're in the mood for adventure, you can also join Dragon Boat on unmissable excursions in Venice!


Belstay Venezia Mestre is also the ideal base for those who decide to take a break in Venice to follow their favourite professional team on the road. Venice is a sports city with important clubs such as Venezia Calcio (Serie B) and Reyer Umana Venezia (basketball, Serie A1). The Reyer arena is just a few kilometres from our hotel!




Hotel Belstay in Venezia Mestre recently reopened after a renovation and relaunch project that aims at innovating Italian hospitality at the gateway to Italy's most fascinating city. Our hotel is strategically located at the junction of the main communication routes between Mestre, Venice and Marghera. Comfort, innovative and fresh design, quality food and drinks and conviviality are just some of what we offer you to experience a new type of hospitality that is proud to be suburban.


Staying in Mestre at Belstay as a base for visiting Venice is the smartest and most convenient idea for your holiday. The Classic Room are for the most budget-conscious traveller, while the Superior Room for those seeking maximum comfort. Choose according to your need! Both categories are  available with a third bed or connecting rooms if you are travelling in a group or family!


 Live contemporary, travel clever.

Book now!