Venice is one of those special destinations but is it really somewhere to take the kids? Venice is full of charm, beauty and uniqueness that can appeal to all, even kids.
We took our kids on a camp site holiday on the Adriatic coast and decided we had to bring the them to see the world heritage site, the city of Venice. Everyone was understandably excited. But I was a little worried that they would like it.
Here is some of our tips, antidotes and ideas we amassed while staying in the City of Bridges.
1. Plan You Trip
Although planning trips down to the finite detail is not always possible with kids as you need to be flexible, I would advise to do some basic planning before going to Venice as it is not a city like any other.
* Ways to get to the city e.g from airports etc
* Check out the ferry routes
* What do you want to see / experience in Venice?
* What would the kids like to see on the trip?
* Distance from ferry to accommodation etc
2. Consider Approaching the City via Boat
As we were already staying on the Adriatic coast, we got a ferry from a port called Punto Sabbioni to Venice and we approached the city from a really beautiful angle arriving at Riva Degli Schiavoni (close to St Marks Square) just before the entrance to the Grand Canal and passing by San Giorgio Maggiore. Everyone was enchanted by the view from the boat towards Venice, like entering a fairy tale or stepping back in time.
It is possible to get a waterbus from Marco Polo Airport and information can be obtained here on the airport website.
3. Don’t Take Too Much Luggage.
As Venice is made up many many little islands and each are linked with bridges that have steps up and down, its a good idea to pack lightly and not have too much luggage to lug around. If it is a warm time of the year with lots of tourists around, it can be a trying start to your visit if you are travelling with too many bags and kids to mind.
4. Buggies & Harnesses
Although Venice has lots of steps, the advantages of taking a light stroller ( remember the buggy may need lifting regularly and streets can be busy so smaller the better) will probably outweigh not having one especially if you little one tires out quick ( summer is hot), and/ or is inclined to run off ( streets are busy and canal edges are often not protected) then seriously consider it. Search holiday forums to see how other families deal with toddlers and older in Venice. If you feel you can do without the buggy, consider a harness.
Our kids are not at the harness stage but when they were toddlers and maybe even up to 3 1/2 we used animal backpack harness when travelling in busy cities (bought online). They loved their backpacks, they played with them on the plane on the way over, they got great entertainment out of them and when it came to wearing them and putting on the strap they had no objections which is often the reaction to a harness. Love them or hate harnesses, they really took any stress out of travelling in airports, busy cities etc. Kids like a bit of freedom to look around just like adults and our animal backpacks with harness strap just gave us that.
5. Find Playgrounds
Even as our kids are getting older, they still love to find a playground in a city. No matter how tired the legs are, when they see the playground they come to life again and then they are charged up for a bit more discovering the city. We found a playground at the public park at Via Guiseppe Garibaldi public gardens. We didn’t experience other playgrounds but its worth Googling in advance.
6. Consider Exploring off the Beaten Track
Although tourists are usually found the San Marco area its worth considering wandering away from tourist areas. If you are in Venice with kids you are probably no going join long queues at San Marco so a perfect way to soak up true Venetian life is to take a wander areas outside the San Marco area. We wandered around the Via Guiseppe Garibaldi area, the Arsenel and beyond to experience a slower yet equally as amazing side to the city.
When booking a hotel its important to consider a few things to ease stress when travelling with young kids because accessing your hotel might involve a walk with your luggage over a few bridges. Ferries only travel on larger canals and you could find you have to walk to find your hotel. Our hotel was on Riva Degli Schiavioni which was perfect as our ferry from Lido di Jeslo stopped at that street on the waters edge close to the hotel.
Here are a few points to consider when booking a hotel:
* How much luggage you have to take with your.
* How many kids and ability to talk as ferries only take you so far in Venice. The rest you may have to do on foot.
* Have you a child in a buggy as well as luggage and possibly other kids to mind.
* Will it be hot for walking long distances up and over bridges with kids, luggage etc
* Do you want Internet access? Can be useful for any last minute searches for things to do or if kids (or parents) want a break from all the hustle and bustle outside.
Venice is wonderful and we hope you and your family enjoy it too. If you want think of another tips or advice for travelling to Venice with Kids , please let us know below