How To Do Venice With Kids

taking kids to Venice

Venice does at first glance seem to be a city to visit without the kids, however that does mean you can’t bring them.  You would be surprised at just how easy it is to visit Venice with kids in tow.

Where To Stay With Kids

For a cheaper option for young families, consider a camping village on the coast near Venice.  We were camping in a small village, Ca’Savio, near the bottom of a peninsula to the North East of Venice.

The campsite was situated in a great place, a 2 minute walk from our tent to the beach.  Every morning, but one, was spent playing on the sand and in the sea. As the boys were up at 6am (as usual!) we were at the beach before the crowds and heat.  This also had the bonus of leaving when most people were arriving, so we had plenty of time to see some of the local sites.

Beach near Venice

Venice beach

Water Taxi Fun

Of course, one of the first trips we had to make was to Venice itself. We took a boat from Punta Sabionni, a small port town, to Venice. The boat we took was a tourist boat, that you had to return on at a set time, which was a little annoying. We realised on later trips that we should take the local water taxi, vaporetto, from the town of Treporti instead. You can buy an adult day ticket (under 6’s are free) for 20 Euros, which allows you unlimited use of most vaporetto routes (except the vaporetto to the airport) for 24 hours. It was a much better deal than the tickets we bought at Punta Sabionni.

Venice water taxi

Important Lessons In Venice

Venice tourists

Venice was very busy, little stalls everywhere selling tourist’y postcards, hats, selfie sticks and snacks. We walked over several bridges along the Grande Canal to San Marco to look at the Basillica and Doge’s Palace, which looked amazing, but we didn’t venture inside due to hot and grumpy children. O decided he was hungry every 20 minutes and we learnt our 2nd important lesson – bring lots of snacks! He didn’t want any of the snacks available on the stalls, so the following trips to Venice required many snacks that we knew he would eat.

First gelato

San Marco

Gondola Trips

In San Marco we bought a sandwich each to eat, the boys sat down for a while, until A got bored and started wandering around a little. We had a look at the shops around the piazza and found a little area at the back of the square where O had great fun watching gondola’s coming and going. This leads to another good tip for those taking smaller children to Venice.  The gondola’s and other boats are quite fascinating to watch and it’s easy to entertain the children for quite some time standing watching them. Whenever A decided he wanted to breast feed it was easiest to sit on the steps of a small bridge while eldest and daddy watched the boats pass by.  Then when O wanted to sit on the steps and eat another snack, littlest would wave at the gondola’s with one of us.

Venice sights

Venice traghetto

Our three year old was quite interested in the vaporetto’s and was happy enough getting different boats along the canal. We even took a traghetto (basically a less fancy gondola) across the Grand Canal, which he loved.  It was also a lot cheaper than an actual gondola trip (around 80 Euro’s for half an hour on a gondola, compared 2 euro’s each for the traghetto, 1-2 minutes). I didn’t think we would manage an entire trip on a gondola anyway, particularly as the one year old wasn’t a huge fan of sitting on boats!

Rialto Market

Rialto market

Rialto market

Rialto market

Rialto market was great to wander around. I loved looking at the fish market, so many different types of fish, octopus and squid.  If it wasn’t such a hot journey on the boat back to the camp site I would have bought some. Eldest was fascinated by the live snail’s in a crate, some were trying to escape and succeeded (freedom!).  But he didn’t want to eat those and chose some cherries and an apple from the fruit market to eat instead.  The cherries were delicious – I managed to eat most of them!

Peggy Guggenheim Art Gallery

Guggenheim museum

I really wanted to visit the Peggy Guggenheim whilst in Venice, an art gallery, located on the opposite side of the Grand Canal from San Marco. We made it there ok, but after an initial faff of being told we couldn’t go in with A in the Connecta carrier on my back, we were finally told it would be ok if he was on my front instead. Initially they were telling me that I couldn’t carry him in at all, which would have been awful, he would much more likely destroy something on the loose! Unfortunately littlest was just too loud inside the gallery itself and I only managed a quick look around, although I would have loved to spend longer looking at the Jackson Pollock’s.  At 3 years old our eldest was much better, he couldn’t look around lots of paintings at once, but he was happy to look at a few and telling us what he thought they were meant to be and which colours and shapes he could see.  Then he would go outside and play in the sculpture garden for a little while before going back in again to look at a few more paintings. I’m glad O got to see some of the abstract paintings, as I really wanted him to understand that art doesn’t have to be an exact replica of what you’re drawing, but you can draw an impression or even a feeling of whatever you want. He has been getting a bit upset recently and telling me he can’t draw as his drawings are still random scribbles, dots and lines, not anything like he wants it to be. Hopefully this will help him!

Belluno

Dolomites

Belluno mountains

Belluno

Aside Venice, we also went North to Belluno on the Autostrada (remember to bring change for the Autostrada, they have toll points as you enter and exit the road) to see the dolomites, but the day was so hazy we couldn’t see the mountains very well at all. The drive up to Belluno was pretty impressive, as you can see the mountains looming over you and the tree lined valleys are beautiful. There are a few areas around Vittoria Veneto where you can go cycling and walking with a view of the mountains without driving too much further North.

Sea Life Centre

If you’re travelling with young kids then I would also recommend visiting the Sea Life centre at Jesolo. Children under a certain height a free, so again we only had to pay for us adults. The talks and rock pool handling sessions are all spoken in Italian and English.

Gulliverlandia

Venice theme park

We went a little further afield to Gulliverlandia, in Lignano Sabbiadoro. This is a mini theme park, which was great, although extremely quiet. They have a small aquarium area, sea lions, a circus with clever Macaws, log flume, racing cras, cozy coupes, train rollercoaster, sack slide, merry-go-rounds, old fashioned train ‘tour’ and a dinosaur area. There was enough there to keep us occupied all day, although it would be better for kids 4 and up. Next door is Aquasplash, a water park and further along the road is Parco Junior, which may have been a better choice for younger children, but we didn’t know about it until we were leaving Gulliverlandia.

Lio Piccolo Cycle

cycling near Venice

There were many places where you could hire bikes in the area around our camp site. We hired some on the camp site with kids bike seats and went for a cycle west along Lio Piccolo to have a closer look at the lagoon marshland, wildlife and have a little picnic. So easy to cylce along the flat roads! Not like the hills we have in our home town!

Murano and Burano

glass island

Of course we also took a trip to the islands of Murano and Burano in the lagoon. Murano is home to Murano glass, beautiful colourful pieces of art, jewellery and functional bowls, glasses and vases. You can visit the furnaces (normally viewed through the shop area) and watch the artist blowing colourful glass in exceptional heat. I don’t know how they do it, it’s hot enough as it is without standing beside a furnace all day long! I would have loved to wander around a little more, but children were getting a little grumpy, so we just had a look at a little canal and bought some souvenirs to take home.

Burano houses

Burano was quite close to Treporti, where we left our car. We stopped there for a Gelato and a wander around the island. Again, we didn’t get far before Mr 3 year old decided he was hungry (you would think we didn’t feed him!). So along a little canal we bought him a biscuit to eat on the steps of a bridge whilst we took it in turns to have a little wander and look around a few shops. The canal was lined with colourful houses and looked quite beautiful, although the entire island was filled with tourists and a lot of selfie takers, who were quite amusing to watch.

Verdict

All in all we had a lovely holiday, the highlights for O seemed to be the beach, pool and gelato. Although I would love to visit Venice and the islands again. Either when the boys are old enough to appreciate it a bit more or when they have left home and Chris and I can go alone!

Babywearing abroad

One last tip, don’t take a buggy into Venice, there are so many bridges, you’ll find it quite difficult bumping it up and down steps the entire time. You can easily get around on the vaperetto’s if you have kids who are happy to stand and walk short distances from the boats or take a baby/toddler carrier with you. I carried littlest  (17 months old) the entire time on my back in a Connecta Solarweave, which was great and thin enough to keep him cool. Chris even carried our eldest (3.5 years) on his back for a short while on the way back to the vaporetto using a preschooler Rose and Rebellion carrier that we borrowed from a friend.

Have you plans to visit Venice with kids?

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Venice with kids

39 Comments

  1. June 22, 2015 / 9:24 am

    well, you did a lot of things!
    We are happy you had fun and enjoyed your holidays staying by us 🙂

  2. June 22, 2015 / 11:05 am

    I have REALLY enjoyed reading this! I have always wanted to go to Venice but stopped travelling abroad once we had my boy, as I’m a scaredy-cat 😛 You’re so brave travelling with 2 boys, and I am impressed you carried your boy on your back the whole time – you must be strong! Don’t understand what that museum’s problem was with it?! Still it looks like a brilliant experience, the photos are beautiful. You have definitely inspired me, but I think if we do go, I will leave my boy with my parents! Sabrina xx
    #mummymonday #mondayescapes

    • June 22, 2015 / 12:54 pm

      Thank you! Aww, would be easy with just one child! We found it great being by the sea so we could spending the morning there and then do other things in the afternoon. You should definitely go! Oh, and I’m not really strong :), I’ve just carried A since he was a baby and so haven’t noticed the gradual increase in weight over time, easy really! 😉 xx

  3. June 22, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    Thanks, it was great fun, wouldn’t have managed if we weren’t next to the beach so we could spend part of the day there too. It would be so easy with a baby in a sling, much easier than when they’re bigger! 🙂 xx

  4. June 22, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    What a fantastic read! It’s lovely to hear that you can still have magical holidays all over the world with the kiddies in tow. I love that “first gelato” shot too 😀 adorable. A little jealous now I must admit!

    • June 22, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      Thank you! It’s fab that we can still holiday with kids, shame that we wont be going on hols again anytime soon, we could only afford this due to some kindly given inheritance. Would love to travel the world with the boys in tow though, can dream! 🙂 xx

  5. June 22, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    OOh I’ve always wanted to go to Burano…I hadn’t realized it was so close to Venice! I’m going to Venice for Carnival in February so I guess I’ll definitely have to add it to my to do list! 🙂 #MondayEscapes

    • June 22, 2015 / 8:36 pm

      Burano is gorgeous! you should definitely go, just a 30 minute boat ride! Have fun there in february, I’m already missing Venice! 🙂 x

  6. June 22, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Looks like you had a fantastic trip! Some of it brought back memories of when I went to Venice a few years ago, but you seem to have packed in so much! #mummymonday

    Carolyn
    http://www.stylishmemories.com

    • June 22, 2015 / 9:45 pm

      It was amazing! I like to be busy and the kids need entertained a lot so we had to keep busy! Venice is fantastic! 🙂 x

  7. June 22, 2015 / 9:17 pm

    It sounds and looks like such a fun holiday. If I was brave enough to take my children abroad at toddlerhood I would love to have a holiday like this. I hope the sun stays out here for you after your fab holiday!

    • June 22, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      Thanks, we had so much fun and the sun has been out a bit, just a shame that the weather is quite cold! 🙂 x

  8. June 23, 2015 / 11:48 am

    Really interesting – I wondered how it would work to take a toddler to Venice with all the canals! it sounds like you managed to have a lot of fun though. #mondayescapes

    • June 23, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      It was great fun, not as easy as other holidays, but still great when we managed the other needs of a toddler! 🙂 x

  9. June 23, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    It looks AMAZING!!! I’d absolutely love to go to Venice. Italy is my husband’s favourite country and I’m *ashamed* to say that I’ve never been!!! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • June 24, 2015 / 6:37 am

      It’s definitely worth going, we had so much fun! 🙂 x

  10. June 24, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    so happy for you guys! this looks like it was an amazing trip. i hope to one day make it there with my hubby and little ones. linking up from #TwinklyTuesday

    • June 24, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      Thank you! Hope you manage to get there one day too, it was amazing! 🙂 x

  11. June 24, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Oh how I only wish that someday I will get to visit Venice…maybe when my kiddos are older. So many places to see. Great pictures and post!

    • June 25, 2015 / 2:55 pm

      I hope you get to visit too, it’s a wonderful place! 🙂 x

  12. June 25, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    So glad I found this post, I am dying to go to Venice, it looks amazing. You did so much. I will be saving this post and showing the husband later. Great posts. xx

    • June 25, 2015 / 7:29 pm

      Aww, thank you! Hope you get to go to Venice sometime soon too! xx

  13. June 25, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    I will admit, I am not a camping fan but having seen your post and all the amazing things you got up to, it’s definitely worth it as you’re not so stuck in one place – plus the prices in Italy are on the high side! I love Venice (having been twice), but have never really explored outside of it – we’d have love the cycling in Lio Piccolo! Fab post. Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • June 25, 2015 / 7:32 pm

      Where we were was a great place as a base for exploring our little area. Lots to do and the camping wasn’t bad as you have a fridge, hob and camp beds. The toilets were cleaned about 6 times a day too! I’d definitely recommend Ca’Savio if you want a kid-friendly campsite. 🙂 x

  14. June 29, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Looks like you really made the most of your trip! Love Venice…such a unique city!

    • June 29, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      We loved it too, an amazing place to visit! 🙂 x

  15. July 2, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    Hi – found your post through Monday Escapes – enjoyed reading it as my family and I went to Venice last year too. Nice to read someone else’s perspective. We enjoyed Murano too, and yes all the boat rides were thrilling for my two girls as well. We’re going back to Italy this summer, this time to Rome (and then Tuscany where we went after Venice). I have a few posts on Italy on my site if you’re interested. Thanks for sharing!

    • July 2, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      Thank for stopping by! I will have to pop over and check out your blog soon. I would love to see some more of Italy, but need to sort out finances first! 🙂 x

  16. February 3, 2017 / 7:54 am

    Saved this to have a proper read later as we are taking our boys this year. Is the 80euros per gondala? Hoping it’s not each. Think we will try the other type of boat!

    • February 3, 2017 / 8:26 am

      I think it was per person, but not 100% sure now. If you look around you might find it a bit cheaper? I doubt they would charge so much for children though? You’ll love Venice, it’s a gorgeous city! 🙂 xx

  17. February 7, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    Great to hear of so many interesting places to visit outside of Venice. And good idea to stay on a campsite and visit the beach. Will have to put that on my to do list!

  18. February 27, 2017 / 8:47 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to Venice but thought we’d have to leave Alfie at home or wait until he was older. However after reading this I’m seriously tempted to take him!

  19. April 18, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Fabulous. Just what I was looking for. We go on Friday for 3 nights. I went years ago with my parents and brother and now I am going with my husband and son. I am so excited. Your post has answered lots of questions for me thank you x

    • April 18, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      Enjoy! You will have a fab time! 🙂 x

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