Our full family guide to Venice with kids with all you need to know to plan the perfect family stay in Venice, Italy!
Venice is a fantastic destination to visit as a family. 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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How to visit Venice with kids: 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.
Why visit Venice in winter
Venice in winter is cold and humid. The temperatures usually stay above zero but the high humidity in the air makes its streets often feel pretty chilly.
Grey sky is frequent and rain is frequent too: if visiting Venice in winter with kids in tow, make sure you wrap up well both yourself and them: warm jumpers, coat, scarf, hat and gloves are a must as well as umbrella and stroller waterproof cover.
An absolute must have for Venice in winter are warm walking shoes, ideally waterproof. Even if you don’t get to be in the city when the high water hits (acqua alta), you will do a lot of walking in Venice and your feet can get tired and cold fast, a sure way to ruin your day.
Despite the weather, winter can be a great time to visit Venice. We were there in January and enjoyed a city not too crowded and some cold yet clear days. Prices are often lower at this time of the year too, with the noticeable exception of Christmas weeks and the famous Venice carnival.
Venice in spring: why spring is the perfect time to visit Venezia
Spring is the best time to visit Venice as a family. Over the course of the spring months the temperatures rise steadily and you get increasingly dry and bright day, like in the rest of Italy.
At this time, you still get chilly evening so you want to dress in layers, but the kids will have time to run and play outside and you start having temperatures that are good enough to have lunch out and really enjoy the lagoon.
Spring in Venice is not yet hot enough to have you lounging on the beach but aside from that, it is pretty much the perfect time
Just be aware that during the Easter holidays Venice tends to get even more packed than other times of the year: avoid this time, if you can, or book accommodation well in advance to avoid lack of choice and exorbitant prices.
Venice in summer: humidity and mosquitoes
Summer in Venice is hot and humid. During the summer month Venice is not a great place to be with small kids: the temperatures are high and the humidity makes you feel sticky and hot all the time, which can be very unpleasant especially for little ones who spend a long time in the stroller or might not be allowed to play outside in the hottest time of the day.
If visiting Venice is summer, make sure you get a hotel with air conditioning and bring insect repellent: mosquitoes. here can be brutal!
Venice in autumn with children: what you need to know
Autumn is a very atmospheric time to visit Venice and a perfect one if you are looking for moody, foggy atmosphere and cozy interiors.
With kids, it is a mixed time to visit Venice. The good side of visiting Venice in autumn are the fewer crowds but if you have very small kids who need time running in the local playground and similar, you may find frequent showers and the possibility of the high water frustrating.
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.
However, we found that as little as 3 days was sufficient for us to enjoy Venice as a family and even see the island of 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 the 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 travelling 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: one is that the water is not appealing at all and the second is that the canals are vert much like streets, with motor boat and water buses criss crossing them. Basically, 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, well over 100!
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.
Where to stay in Venice with kids: 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 attentions 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 travellers 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 of our favourite things to do in Venice with kids here.
Best family tours in Venice
When we visited Venice with the kids we mixed some free time and organised tours.
Here are some of our favorite:
Wanderjack family tour of Venice
Wanderjack offers family friendly tours to discover the real Venice. Booking with them you get a private tour with a local guide who will craft and itinerary around the needs if your family and the age of your children. With them, you will follow a local guide with excellent English that will show you known and lesser known parts of Venice. Highly recommended! You can read our full review here
Macaco tour Venice treasure hunt for kids
This is a local company offering a treasure hunt for kids in a stunning corner of Venice. The activity is organised by a local guide with kids education background and is child centered but so informative adults will want to tag along. Available in several languages including English and Italian. Read our full review here.
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 (family friendly)
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:i find them 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 (shame, but if too many people do it, I can understand why the rule exists) but this doesn’t take away from the pleasurable taste of these bites. Just make sure you abide 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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