Venice with children and toddlers can be quite a challenge. Learn how to get around, keep your kids entertained, happy and full.
TOP 5 Venice Hotels (by TripAdvisor Guest reviews):
1. Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo - Top value only 10 minutes walk from Piazzale Roma and close to Grand Canal, read more... 2. Al Ponte Antico - A family hotel on Grand Canal that many wish to keep a secret, read more... 3.Hotel Canal Grande - Highly recommended hotel on Grand Canal, close to Piazzale Roma and the train station, read more... 4. Hotel Antiche Figure - Friendly, clean and with fantastic location for cruisers, read more... 5. Hotel Ca Dogaressa - A small hotel in a quiet canal and a vaporetto stop right outside, read more...
We all know Venice is number one destination for a romantic vacation so what you might think that this city is not kid-friendly or not the best spot for a family vacation.
But if you plan your stay in Venice ahead and follow some of our recommendations, we promise you to have loads of fun even doing activities for kids. It may become everyone's favorite part of your family travel.
Let's give you a little bit of 'bad news' first: Venice is not the best cruise port for toddlers and younger kids who cannot walk for at least 5-6 hours.
Once you finally get out from the Stazione Marittima cruise port into Venice you will want to take advantage of everything that there is out there and not go back to the ship that soon.
In other words, you will be away from the cozy, air-conditioned environment of your cruise cabin for quite a time.
Remember, you need to allow at least 30 min for the whole cruise line water bus transfer procedure or even 45 min for the local vaporetto plus walking/people mover back to the port. So if you head out into Venice with your kids, be ready to stay out longer. In case you forget something, popping back to the ship quickly just isn't possible.
If you are thinking of taking a baby stroller into Venice, keep in mind this city is full of narrow streets, cramped with tourists crawling slowly one after another, breathing down each other's necks, and then there are bridges and stairs up and down every few minutes.
In other words, do not take the stroller with you under no circumstances! Your Venice holidays activities be much be easier and less frustrating with a kid carrier.
If you are headed for your Italy holidays with older kids or teenagers in tow, they will love this city! They will fall in love with its fairy-tale architecture, and you will probably need to explain that this isn't a Disneyland kind of place, everything is actually centuries old and authentic. I am saying this because I have actually met some grown-ups who needed to be explained this.
Prepare the kids for the visit by telling them how the city was built. Wooden beams were driven into the soft marshy grounds to create solid ground upon which houses, palaces and churches could be built! It will be very exciting for them to hear the city is actually sinking because of that. Engage them by letting them research about this online and find out what is being done to prevent the sinking.
For kids used mostly to riding cars, buses or underground back home where they come from, it will be a real discovery to find out that in Venice people take vaporettos or water buses to go to work or school. Take them for a vaporetto ride either down the Grand Canal, or even better to the islands of Murano or Burano.
In Murano, try to attend one of the glass making demonstrations. Your kids will be really amused watching how hot and almost liquid glass turns into figurines of horses or clowns. Burano will enchant them with its candy colored houses.
Gondolas are another feature of Venice that will surely attract your kids’ attention and they will probably want a ride.
Kids just love Venice carnival masks! They will see them all around Venice but teach them the difference between the cheap plastic ones they will see in most shops and street stands and the papermache ones, hand painted or covered in silk or velvet.
Take them to Il Sole e la Luna shop in Frezzeria (just behind San Marco square) or any other famous workshop to see how the masks are actually being made or, if staying in Venice for at least two days, sign them up for the fun mask making workshop.
When just walking the streets of Venice, entertain your kids with this task: make them search for and count all the Venetian winged lions they will see on the buildings or as sculptural decoration around town. Tell them that it represents the patron of the city, Saint Mark.
If you're worried about what your kids will eat in Europe, specifically Venice, I'm sure they won't say no to pizza cuts you will find on every corner, fantastic gelatto or the tramezzini, triangular sandwiches made out of two slices of soft white bread with crusts removed.
Don't want to spend any more time travel planning or reading tips?
To make most out of your short day in Venice, check out these Venice Italy sightseeing tours and shore excursions that will entertain both you and your kids:
Focus: child friendly activities, entertaining and educational commentaries, child friendly guide, sightseeing, gondola ride, complimentary ice-cream
Duration: 5 hours
Meeting Point: St. Mark's Square
Focus: This family and child-friendly walking tour has a choice of several departures throughout the day; appropriate for kids of all ages; includes trivia and visual learning
Duration: 3 hours
Meeting Point: St Mark's Square or your hotel (if staying in Venice)
Focus: Family oriented tour that takes you to exclusive Venetian Ateliers to see making of blown glass, glass beads, paper mache masks...
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Point: to be agreed on with the tour guide
Focus: Small group ensures private service, engages kids with spirit of adventure and interactive guided itinerary, stimulates imagination...
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Point: Central Venice
Focus: Price per boat, up to 6 adults; Private taxi boat, possible pick up at the cruise terminal, a ride down the Grand Canal, visit to Murano and Burano islands
Duration: 4 hours
Meeting Point: Hotel lobby in Venice or cruise terminal