Our full family guide to Venice with kids with all you need to know to plan the perfect family trip to Venice, Italy!
The unique architecture of the place, its canals and the whimsical reflections of the city lights in the lagoon water make it a magical destination for all ages and one that is bound to leave a lasting impression even on the youngest of visitors.
However, vising Venice with kids, especially very little ones, does pose some logistical challenges and does require some planning.
This is our guide on how to visit Venice with kids. I hope you enjoy it!
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Travel tips for visiting Venice with family
The best way to visit Venice with children is to plan carefully the logistics of your stay.
The best time for visiting Venice with kids
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.
Winter is the best time to visit Venice for families on a budget or with older kids who can enjoy indoor attractions such as museums and restaurants.
Spring is the best time to visit Venice for climate and the best time of the yeat to visit Venice as a family thanks to the mild temperatures that allow for long days outdoors
Summer is hot and humid in Venice and probably the worst time of the yeat to visit the city, especially with young children
Autumn is a good time to visit Venice for families who want to avoid crowds and do not mind the occasional rainy day.
Find our full guide to the best time to visit Venice and what to expect in each season here.
How many days to see Venice with children?
Depending on the age of your children and their interests in museums, you may find yourself able to spend a week in Venice without running out of things to do.
As an overview:
1 day in Venice will allow you to see San Marco and Venice highlights (excluding museums)
2 days in Venice will allow you to see Venice highlights and a museum or an island (Murano or Burano)
3 days in Venice will allow you to see Venice highlights, a museum and one of the islands (with kids, we loved Burano)
How to get around Venice with a kids?
In Venice there are two main means of transport: walking and boats.
Visiting Venice on foot – are Venice canals dangerous for small kids?
The best way to discover Venice is on foot.
You can get absolutely everywhere by walking and this is by far the best way to discover the best of Venice: its small streets, secluded campielli (small piazzas) and atmospheric bridges.
With children, you will find that streets are usually well kept and safe, many not immediately bordered by water, which means small kids can sometimes be left running freely without fear of an unexpected splash (definitely not something you want to happen in Venice canals!).
For the streets that are along canals, caution is recommended if you are traveling with toddlers or young kids.
The canals are usually not fenced so a curious tot could indeed just make a beeline for the water and fall in.
However, this happens a lot less than you may think and this is for a couple of reasons.
The water is not appealing at all as it is mostly dark and dirty.
The canals are very much like streets, with motor-boats and water buses criss-crossing them.
If you use the same precaution you would use on a pavement on a city road, they’ll be fine.
Venice with a stroller: what you need to know
If you are traveling with a stroller, your biggest enemy in Venice are the bridges and there is quite a number of them: in the hundreds!
Some are equipped with ramps for strollers and wheelchairs but many are not.
In that case, all you can do is count on the kindness of strangers or turn the stroller around and pull it up backwards.
It is not fun but the steps of Venice bridges are usually low in height, so while tiring, you will not find yourself stuck.
Venice by boat: when, why and how to use Venice water buses
For longer distances the best mean of transport is boats. Venice canals are served by regular water buses (vaporino or vaporetto) which operate exactly like the buses back home: with numbers and following specific routes.
They are used by tourists and locals alike and they are a good way to get places fast.
Some of the lines are more touristy than others and at times you will find yourself cram in, exactly like you would in a bus in let’s say Rome, but they are a good system and can be fun for the kids.
They can be boarded by strollers too, thanks to boarding ramps and kids under 6 go free.
In order to catch a vaporino you need to buy a ticket in advance.
Ticket stalls and machines are easy to find and you can choose between several type of tariffs including 24h / 48h /72h and one week tickets.
Depending on the size of your party and itinerary, you may consider getting the Venice card, valid on the city public transport network and giving you access to many of the city museums.
The best Venice family accommodation options
Venice offers an incredible amount of accommodation options, going from world-class luxury hotels, to smaller establishments and Airbnb options.
The budget required varies considerably but you don’t always need to break the bank to get a nice and welcoming room in Venice for you and your kids.
However, there are a couple of things you want to take into account when picking the place to stay in Venice with family:
- Not all hotels and apartments are equipped with a lift. Especially in the older buildings in the city and stairs can be steep. Pay extra attention to the description of the place if you have any mobility issue or you are carrying around a stroller
- Italy has strict occupancy rules in hotels and you can only fit a specific number of people in each room (this has to do with fire regulation). Always make sure you let the hotel know the exact number of travelers in your party, even if you are planning to have our baby co-sleep to avoid nasty surprises on arrival.
To help you choose the best place to stay in Venice with your kids, we have compiled this list of the best family hotels in the city of Venice.
What is there to do in Venice for kids?
Venice is surprisingly rich of things to do for children: some are as simple as chasing pigeons in Piazza San Marco, others as interesting and enriching as learning an ancient craft with a local artisan.
Among the free ones, I highly recommend visiting the High Tide bookshop and climbing Fondaco de’ Turchi – both are exceptional and quintessentially Venetian experiences excellent at all ages!
During our time in Venice with our children, we mixed a few different activities and now you can find our list of our favourite things to do in Venice with kids here.
If you prefer to take an organized family tour, then I recommend a company called Macaco Tour. Our kids adored their family treasure hunt and we highly recommend as an excellent provider of kids activieis in Venice.
.You can read our full review here. We found the tour most suited to kids age 6 and up.
Where to eat in Venice with kids
Venice is full of restaurants and, like in the rest of Italy, you will find kids are welcome in most of them, even if they don’t have kids menus as such.
The best places to eat in Venice with kids are:
Bacari – traditional Venice eatery
A bacaro is a traditional Venice eating venue, usually serving a wide variety of wines and bites.
The atmosphere in a bacaro is cozy and informal and the decor in the traditional ones is usually wood, which makes them very welcoming especially in winter.
The bacari are not places for kids as such, however kids are welcome and usually love them.
In a bacaro you find what Venetians call ‘cicchetti’ or small plates.
They are brilliant for adults and even better for kids since they can get a selection without running the risk of wasting much.
Cicchetti are meat, fish or vegetarian so there is something for everyone.
Restaurants, trattorie, pizzeria
Venice has of course many restaurants where you have a full sit down meal.
My favorite thing of all in Venice is the city street food and in particular the fresh fried fish you find in the area around Rialto.
I am obsessed with it and our kids loved it too as they hit the perfect balance between tasty snack and healthy meal.
Recent regulations in Venice mean you cannot any longer sit on a church step and eat like before but this doesn’t take away from the pleasurable taste of these bites.
Just make sure you abide by the signs defining what is and what isn’t allowed where.
Children books about Venice worth considering
I love getting travel books for my kids and I found on Amazon some good children books about Venice:
This is Venice, by the always reliable Lonely Planet kids
Marco Polo was here, a Kids guide to Venice
50 masks, coloring book for kids (Venice carnival)
For free and fun facts about Venice, you can also check our own selection of fun facts for kids about Venezia here
I hope you enjoyed this family guide to Venice and it helped you with resources to answer the question how to plan a family trip to Venice with children in tow?
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