All you need to know to visit Venice with a baby of toddlers. Baby friendly Venice hotels, best things to do in Venice with toddlers, baby and toddlers travel tips for Venice, Italy
If you are reading this article about visiting Venice with a baby or toddler, chances are you have some concerns about how baby friendly Venice, this magical yet unusual city, may be.
Indeed, a city on water doesn’t strike as the most toddler friendly destination however, Venice is surprisingly family friendly and, with the right tips, you can have a wonderful stay here.
We have visited Venice with our children several times: these are our top tips for visiting Venice with a baby or toddlers.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Traveling to Italy with toddlers or young kids? Don’t forget to also check out our guide to planning your first family trip to Italy!
Is Venice baby friendly?
Venice is a lovely destination for a first vacation with a baby.
The city is beautiful, so you don’t have to go out of your way to plan activities to enjoy it (even just an afternoon walk will have you surrounded by beauty!), it is car free, it is well served and it is in Italy, a country famous for its family first attitude.
This however doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. When visiting Venice with a baby, we found there were to main things to take into account:
- Hotel accessibility.
Using a stroller in Venice
Venice is not a very stroller friendly city.
The town is mostly flat and car free, so in this sense it is ideas for buggies, strollers and pushchairs, however, it also has many bridges, some of them without accessibility ramps.
This is not a deal breaker and local and tourists alike negotiate bridges with strollers all the time, but but is something you need you be prepared for as you will be finding yourself lifting the stroller more than once.
My top tip for using a stroller in Venice is: do not overpack it!
Pushing a stroller up a bridge is ok if you inly push the baby but if you also have a full basket, a bag attached and all the ‘just in case’ necessities that often come with a baby, that can be tricky.
Pack your stroller thinking of the moment when a kind stranger may have to help you life the front wheels: anything that can roll out of it, must stay home!
Baby friendly hotels in Venice
The ither issue we found when visiting Venice with baby is hotels.
Most hotels in Venice are in ancient palazzi and while they are usually refurbshed and modernized to very high standards , they don’t always have a lift or large rooms.
Bathrooms especially tend to be on the smaller size: if you have a baby who likes their evening bath and need a bathtub for instance, make sure you ask as it may well not be standard
You can find a list of our favorite family friendly areas and hotels in Venice here and also a selection of our favorite baby friendly hotels in Venice at the end of this post.
Is Venice toddler friendly? Challenges when Visiting Venice with toddlers
I don’t want to say that Venice is toddler unfriendly however, Venice is not the easiest place for a toddler.
The city is built on canals and while accidents are a lot less common that you may think, canals do pose risks to toddlers, especially with fearless toddlers who may like to trot ahead of you!
Venice canals are not appealing. They are dirty and very much operate like roads, with boats going up and down, so toddlers are unlike to dive in voluntarily.
However, Venice canals are not fenced so it is paramount that your toddler is never left alone near them or left to run ahead of you towards water. I found toddler reins are exceptionally useful in Venice as they give your toddler some sense of freedom while keeping you in control.
The good thing is that Venice has many parts that are not on canals so while you need to pay attention, there are also good areas where toddlers cba tun around free.
Some toddler friendly areas in Venice we loved are Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Campo San Polo and the main area of Piazza San Marco, which is a wonderful place for them to run and go wild!
Where to buy diapers in Venice
In Venice you can buy diapers in supermarkets and pharmacies.
You can also buy baby food and weaning products in supermarkets and special children food in pharmacy shops, especially the bigger ones.
Baby medications are available in pharmacies only.
Please be advised that pharmacies operate on shifts late at night and at the weekends: make sure you don’t run out of supplies after hours and it can make finding a refill difficult.
Baby and toddler friendly hotels in Venice
Some great baby and toddler friendly hotels we love in Venice are:
Ca’ due Leoni , Cannaregio area, walking distance from Santa Lucia Venice train station. This is a lovely family run hotel with clean rooms, local feel and good prices. For babies and toddlers, we recommend the big room on the groundfloor which is large and easy to access.
Hotel dell’Orologio is a good family hotel in San Polo area, which is a lovely area with many restaurants and some canal-free squares that are great for toddlers to run around. It has some larger rooms and an annex for bigger families
Splendid Star Hotel Collezione is an excellent family hotels inn Venice city center that also offers the option to baby rental gear and strollers onsite.
You can find the list with our favorite family friendly hotels in Venice here.
How to get around Venice with a baby or toddler
In Venice, there are two main means of transport: feet and ferries!
You will visit mist of Venice on foot: the city is rather compact and walking around is the best way to see Venice main attracions and also some hidden gems and hidden corners.
With a baby, this usually means pushing a stroller or bringing a baby carrier.
You can find our recommendations for strollers at the following links:
- Our recommended travel strollers for Europe
- Our favorite double strollers for travel
- Best all terrain strollers for travel – perfect if you have more destinations planned for your Italy trip.
Ferries (called vaporino or vaporetto in Venice) are very handy for longer stretches. You can buy a single journey ticket just before boarding (kids go free) or get a Venezia card, if you are staying a little away from the center.
Getting on and off a ferry with a baby or toddler is not hard but, at busy times, you may find you have to close the stroller stroller.
Because of this, I recommend you also bring a baby carrier or sling, to make the process easier.
Gondola ride with a baby or toddler
Catching a gondola is one of the most saught after activities in Venice and you may wonder how baby friendly it is.
Personally, I believe taking a gondola with a toddler is not the best idea. Gondolas are safe as vessels and they are fun for kids of all ages and you sit very close to the water.
However, gondola tours require a lot of sitting and the proximity to the water is likely to want to get your toddler to get even closer to the canal, which can get really stressful over the half hour or longer of the tour!
If you don’t want to renounce the thrill of the gondola, I believe the best way is to catch the so called ‘traghetto’.
Traghetto is a gondola that operates as a shuttle between the two sides of the Grand Canal.
The ride only takes a couple of minutes a costs a little over one Euro: while it is nothing like a long romantic gondola ride at sunset, it can be an easy way to experience a gondola with a toddler with very little risk.
Things to do in Venice with a toddler
Our toddlers’ favorite things to do in Venice are:
Run in piazzas
Venice is full of wonderful piazzas or ‘campi’ as they are called here, many toddler friendly.
San Marco is the biggest and grandest and toddler usually love it because they can run free for ages and they can chase pigeons, who live here in great numbers.
Please note: it is against the la to feed pigeons, so make sure you do not come with bread or crumbs for them as you will be fined!
Get the vaporino
The Vaporino is the Venice water bus it can be great fun for kids.
Unlike gondolas, they are made in such a way that kids can stand up and more around and they are a fin way to see Vencie from the water.
Go to the playground: Venice playgrounds for toddlers
Venice has some nice playgrounds, but you need to know where they are as the city doesn’t immediately seem very green, if you don’t know where to go!
Good parks / playgrounds in Venice are:
- Parco Savorgnan – Cannaregio
- Giardino Papadopoli – Santa Croce
- Giardini Napoleonici- Castello
- Pineta di Sant’Elena – Castello
See Venice main attractions
Venice main attractions are of little interest to toddlers however, they can be easy to visit even with them. Some we recommend are:
San Marco Basilica and Doge’s Palace – this is easy to visit with kids and, worse case, you can take turns with one parent playing in the piazza while the other goes it.
Libreria Acqua Alta – this is a unique bookshop with books stored in containers of all sorts including bathtubs and gondolas!
This can be a really fun place for toddlers but do pay attention as part of of it opens on water
Chiesa de’ Frari – wonderful for parents who love art and overlooking a large square perfect for little kids
Burano – Burano is a wonderful little islands in the venice lagoon that you can easily reach by vaporino.
For parents, it is a lovely place to explore and toddlers will also like it.
The town has houses painted in bright colors that make it one of the most colorful towns in Italy and it is also home to a special type of biscuit, the ‘Buranelli’ biscuits.
They are simple and delicious egg, flour and butter biscuits and have a mild taste kids love.
Best rainy day activities for toddlers in Venice
Peggy Guggenheim Collection – a wonderful museum with a great family friendly atmosphere and kid friendly activity. Even if aimed at older kids, the space is great for a rainy afternoon in Venice.
Museo Storico Navale (Museum of Naval History), with very cools vessels
Museo di Soria Naturale (Natural History Museum), with dinosaurs!
What to pack for visiting Venice with a toddler
When packing for Venice, I recommend you bring:
Layers – venice is cold in winter and hot in summer but humidity plays tricks so having an extra layers comes in handy most times of the year. IN summer, make sure you have breathable clothing and check often your baby doesn’t overheat in the buggy – heat can be brutal here.
For winter, a rain layer and wellington boots for toddlers are a good idea
Stroller – if you can, opt for one you can fold easily for museums, ferry rides and dinners is the often crammed spaces of Venice restaurants. You can find out recommendations for the best travel strollers here
Carrier – A carrier or a sling. I particularly like semi structured ones as they are easier than fully frames ones when visiting museums etc
Highchair – handy for eating out, you can find my recommended high chairs for travel here.
Insect repellent – mosquitoes are brutal here in the hot season. Bring also a portable mosquito net if staying in the summer. You can find my recommended baby travel essentials here and toddler travel essentials here
Toy and snacks – always a must!
Eating out in Venice with a baby toddler
Venice is famous for delicious food and some of the Venice traditional dishes are kid-friendly.
Risi e Bisi (rice and peas) is a Venice specialty kids love and you can always find basic pasta dishes (pasta al sugo = pasta with tomato sauce or pasta al ragu= Bolognese).
Please take into account these two things:
- Restaurants tend to not have specific kids menus but they will accommodate your request for a basic pasta dish or a smaller portion of anything on the menu for your child
- Not all restaurants have high chairs
- If you have a baby, most restaurants and cafes are happy to heat up a bottle for you
You can find some kid-friendly Italian recipes here, including Risi e Bisi, if you want to start getting them used to new flavours at home.
This was one of our most successful ways to deal with our discerning eater on travels!
Breastfeeding in public in Venice
Breastfeeding is very common in Italy and you will have no issues feeding your baby in public places.
Diaper changing facilities in Venice
Diaper change time on the go is never easy and Venice is no exception. However, with the right tips things get easier!
You will find public toilets in several areas of Venice and some have baby changing facilities” you can find all the info and maps of baby changing facilities in Venice here.
It is also good to know that in Italy restaurants and cafes must offer toilet access.
Ordering coffee or making a small purchase is not compulsory but always appreciates. Standard of cleanliness and baby changing facilities vary, depending on the establishment.
Best time to visit Venice with toddlers and babies
Venice is in the North- East of Italy, perched amidst the waters of its lagoon, along the Veneto coast.
The city has a typical Italian weather, with hot summers, cold winters and mild fall and spring seasons.
However, due to its particular location and the remarkable amount of water in and around it, it also has some weather patterns that are unique to the city and that the visitor should be aware of.
The best time to visit Venice with a baby or toddler is the spring and the autumn.
Spring and autumn in Venice have mild temperatures and a reasonable amount of sunny days that make is possible for toddlers to play in the playgrounds and for you to take a stroll with your baby without having them getting too cold or hot in the process.
Spring tends to be more crowded than the fall, so this also should be taken into account when picking one over the other.
Summer is not a great time to be in Venice unless you stay in Lido, the area of Venice on the beach.
Summer in Venice is hot, humid and mosquito ridden so being in Lido is your best bet to have some ventilation and access to water.
Getting into the city from here for sightseeing is easy, so you don’t have to give up on that.
Winter is the best time to visit Venice with a baby if you are on a budget and you want to avoid the corwds, but it can be harder for toddlers to enjoy it as rain and cold can make time in the playground shorter.
If visitng Venice with a baby in winter, make sure you wrap them well: humidity can make it ery cold for them especially if they are pre-walkers and therefore spend long stretches of time in the buggy.
Find our full guide to the best time to visit Venice and what to expect in each season here.
I hope you enjoyed this practical guide to visit Venice with toddlers and babies and answered your questions.
Please remember that you can find more tips for traveling to Italy with kids joining my FREE Facebook Group: travel Italy with kids. I would love to see you there! You can also find additional tips for traveling Italy with a baby or toddler here.
Safe travel planning!