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Information on the Santa Lucia & Mestre train stations in Venice for travellers planning to arrive into Venice by train, includes tips and advice on luggage storage, Italian trains, and how to get to your hotel from the train station in Venice
There are in fact two train stations serving the city of Venice. The Mestre railway station, or more commonly known in Italy as Mestre-Venezia, is located on the mainland while the Santa Lucia railway station lies directly on the Grand Canal in the historical centre of Venice.
Although Santa Lucia is the official railway station of Venice, it's counterpart on the mainland, Mestre railway station, has more trains and services especially if you're travelling long distances. It's possible to travel from Venice to all over Italy, and most of Europe including Paris, Vienna & Munich to name a few by train.
Unless you're staying in Mestre or somewhere else on the mainland you should plan to arrive directly into Santa Lucia railway station. Standing directly on the Grand Canal, the main waterway of Venice, Santa Lucia railway station's facade is symbolic of the regime of Mussolini with its fascist undertones.
As you enter the station from Venice, the first part of the structure houses ticketing and reservation agents and a selection of shops. While at the rear of the station are all the train platforms. The main platforms directly outside from the ticketing offices is where all the main trains depart while an adjacent series of platforms to the left are for local regional trains travelling short distances. In between these two separate sections of train platforms you'll find a place to leave luggage.
Throughout the railway you'll find both printed timetables and electronic ones to inform you of train departures, while train announcements for both arriving and departing trains are made in both Italian & English.
Close to the platform entrances you'll find portable kiosks attended by employees of Italy's national railway system, and these people are typically looking after the premium "Freccia Rossa" trains. The trains that most tourist use nowadays as they are high speed trains, that run on time even if there are strikes.
The people who attend this kiosks are very friendly and eager to help you. If you're ever in doubt about the departure of a train, platform, time etc always ask one of these attendants as like anywhere else once the trains have gone it's too late to do anything
But, if the worst thing happens and your trains late or you miss your connection you couldn't have a better location to relax in while you wait for your departure. Sit on the steps in front of the station and admire Venice, the Grand Canal and the constant movement as boats navigate the waterways of Venice.
Once you arrive by train, like most centrally located railway stations you are immediately thrown into the city itself, the crowds, noise and confusion. Everyone who visits Venice knows in advance that it's a unique city where the streets are all full of water, but there are still many visitors who come unprepared as to how to navigate the city to get to their hotel.
Once you exit the train station there are water-taxi drivers trying to offer you a ride, crowded public water-buses, and porters who'll carry your luggage waiting for you. If you've planned ahead then you should have already researched with water-bus and in which direction you need to take it to arrive at your hotel. If you're within walking distance, then you should know the direction you need to head to get to your hotel.
Otherwise using a private water-taxi expect to pay a minimum of 100 Euro to go to your hotel, and porters can charge up 50 Euro just for taking your luggage a few hundred metres. Avoid the hassles and find out how to get to your hotel before arriving in to Venice