VENICE- Traveling Italy With Kids
There truly is no other city like Venice in the world. With streets made of water and Venetian-Byzantine architecture, the whole city is eye-candy everywhere you look. Personally, my favorite cities for travel are ALWAYS cities where there is no traffic, and Venice is no exception. It is much more relaxing to not have to deal with cars and traffic when you’re traveling with kids (or even by yourself!).
In my opinion, the only two downsides about Venice are: 1) the cost of everything on Venice is expensive, and 2) getting to and from Venice can be expensive unless you’re planning to see other places nearby. For us, we were traveling from Cinque Terre across the country to Venice for 3 days and then headed south to the opposite coast (again) towards Sorrento in the south. I really had thought that giving us a month to travel Italy would have felt sufficient, but truly, we were left only wanting more.
One tip for helping your travel budget is, surprisingly, airplanes. I would have thought that buses and trains were surely the cheapest way to travel, but I was definitely incorrect. For a family of 4 to travel by train from Venice to Naples would have cost us near double what it cost to fly. We booked the night before we were leaving Venice on a local, domestic flight and got a steal of a deal. These types of airlines usually make their money on add-ons like baggage, etc, so travel lightly!
1 Take The Vaporetto To Orient Yourself
This should be one of the first things you do. The vaporetto is like a bus on water transporting tons and tons of passengers.
The kids will enjoy the boat ride and you will enjoy the gorgeous architecture, while figuring out exactly where you are and where you may like to go. Make sure to get a spot sitting down with a view (even if that means waiting for the next vaporetto- they come very frequently).
2 Buy A Tourist Travel Card
This is good for your public transportation while you are on Venice: both vaporettos and busses. It will surely save you money since a one-way ticket on the vaporetto costs €7.50. For the Tourist Travel Card it is:
Children under 6 are free. Children 6-29 can get a Rolling Venice Card, which you then purchase an additional 3 day ACTV (Venice Public Transportation Card) for €28 total. In addition to the transportation, they get into many museums for free or a discounted rate.
3 No Plan=No Stress
There are a million things to see in Venice, and it is very easy to get lost amidst the tall building with narrow, winding streets. So my advice is not to make plans, and just go exploring. See what you run into, take a vaporetto and hop off even when you don’t know where you are or what you’ll see. Let the kids lead the way and see what sparks their interests. Wander inside of small shops and along back alleys. Remember, there are no cars, so this is such a beautiful city to just wander about.
4 Avoid June, July & August If You Can
As you can imagine, Venice is crawling with people during these months. We felt fortunate in getting to travel in May, and it was ALREADY crowded. One of the more frustrating parts about the crowds is trying to take the vaporettos. You get pushed and crammed in, and people are trying to filter through at each stop to get on and off. It feels as though there is no good place to stand or sit, and everyone looks hot and bothered (and not in a good way). To get the best memory of Venice that will last forever in your mind, go when it is less crowded.
5 Bring A Stroller- Venice Is For Strolling
Most of Venice is wheelchair-accessible. Even the main bridges that have stairs now have installed ramps. Since you will be walking lots around Venice, bring a stroller for those tired kiddos.
6 Stop By The Rialto Market
It is one of the main stops on the Grand Canal when you’re on the Vaporetto. The Rialto Market is the oldest fish market in Venice and is still very authentic and beautiful. There are rows of vendors selling their fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a separate area selling all types of fresh fish, including snails. My girls thought this was the most interesting and wanted to liberate them.
7 Book A Place With A Playground And A Pool
We found our little gem just outside of Venice. Since we had the Venice Tourist Card, the busses were free, and we used them to the max. Since Venice is a town that is dedicated to walking and sight-seeing, its best to give the kids a break and treat them to some relaxation and fun that is more their style.
Happy kids=happy parents.
8 Find A Gorgeous Spot For A Picnic Lunch On The Grand Canal.
There are, of course, restaurants along the Grand Canal where one can eat, but we were so happy with our simple picnic lunch of wine, caprese sandwiches and fresh and dried fruit from the market. The views were stunning and the kids love to run around and chase the pigeons while we ate.
9 Take A Break To Play With The Pigeons
Surely you will make your way to St. Mark’s (and you should!). It is iconic and stunning, and you certainly don’t want to miss it. The kids may or may not be as enthralled by the gorgeous architecture, but you will surely want to sit and breathe it in. My advice it to take a seat on the steps on the opposite side of the plaza to take in the whole scene and let the kids go crazy doing what they love most…playing with pigeons.
10 Take Time To Dance- You’re In Venice Afterall!
There is live music in different areas of town. Find your inner child and let yourself dance. Your kids will also love dancing right along with you, and it just seals in those happy-sappy memories.
Check out our: International Packing List For Travel With Kids