Venice, the city of canals, is not just a romantic destination for couples. It’s also a magical place for families to explore. With its labyrinth of canals, historic palaces, and vibrant culture, Venice offers a unique and enriching experience for kids and adults alike. In this guide, we’ll explore why Venice is a fantastic family destination and how to plan your family trip to this enchanting city.
In this guide to visiting Venice with your family, you’ll discover:
- An introduction to Venice as a family-friendly destination and the importance of planning ahead.
- Why Venice is a unique and adventurous choice for a family vacation.
- Practical tips for preparing for a family vacation in Venice, including advice on where to stay with a family.
- A comprehensive list of top family-friendly activities in Venice, including Vaporetto rides, visiting Glass Island, eating at Gelateria Nico, and more.
- Must-visit attractions for kids in Venice, such as the Museo di Storia Naturale Giancarlo Ligabue, Fallani Venezia, and Isola Sant’Elena.
- How to explore Venice with different age groups, including toddlers and teenagers.
- A detailed guide on the best family tours in Venice, including the Procuratie Vecchie Interactive Exhibition, The Theft Outdoor Escape Game, Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, and more.
- Answers to frequently asked questions about visiting Venice with children, such as whether you should bring a stroller, where children can play in Venice, how long you need to stay in Venice with kids, and whether Rome or Venice is better for kids.
Venice as a Family Destination
Venice, known as “La Serenissima,” is a city that seems to float on water. It’s a place where roads are replaced by canals, cars by gondolas, and where every corner holds a piece of history. But is Venice a good destination for families? Absolutely! Venice is a city that can captivate the imagination of small children and adults alike. From the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square to the colorful houses on Burano Island, Venice is a living, breathing storybook.
Venice is also a city of art and culture. The Accademia Gallery houses masterpieces by Venetian painters, while the Rialto Market offers a taste of local life and Venetian cuisine. And let’s not forget the city’s many festivals, such as the world-famous Venice Carnival, which can be a thrilling experience for kids.
Importance of Planning a Family Trip to Venice
Planning a family trip to Venice is essential to make the most of what the city has to offer. Venice can be overwhelming with its multitude of attractions, so having a plan can help you navigate the city and ensure a stress-free vacation.
Firstly, consider the timing of your visit. The best time to visit Venice can depend on many factors, including weather, crowd levels, and local events. Researching these factors can help you choose the perfect time for your family trip.
Secondly, decide on the attractions you want to visit. Venice is full of hidden gems, so doing your homework can help you discover less crowded and more family-friendly spots. Also, consider the interests and ages of your children. Some attractions may be more suitable for older kids, while others are perfect for toddlers.
Lastly, don’t forget to plan some downtime. Venice is a city to be savored, not rushed. Whether it’s a leisurely gondola ride, a picnic in one of the city’s parks, or simply watching the world go by in a café, make sure to take some time to relax and soak in the atmosphere of this unique city.
Short on time, but still want to see Venice? We wrote a 24-hour Venice Itinerary to help you navigate the city in a short amount of time.
In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the family-friendly activities and attractions in Venice, providing you with a comprehensive guide to exploring Venice with kids.
Why Choose Venice for a Family Vacation?
Venice is not your typical family vacation destination. It’s a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and adventure, making it an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike. In this section, we’ll explore why Venice stands out as a family vacation destination.
What Makes Venice Good for Families and Young Kids
What sets Venice apart from other family vacation destinations? The answer lies in its unique charm and character. Unlike other cities, Venice is a car-free city, where streets are replaced by canals and boats are the primary mode of transportation. This alone can be a fascinating experience for small kids. Imagine their excitement as they hop on a gondola for the first time or watch the bustling traffic of boats on the Grand Canal!
Venice is also a city steeped in history and culture. From the Byzantine mosaics in St. Mark’s Basilica to the Renaissance masterpieces in the Accademia Gallery, Venice is like a living museum where every corner holds a piece of history. This rich cultural heritage offers a unique opportunity for kids to learn and explore.
Moreover, Venice is a city of festivals. Whether it’s the colorful Venice Carnival or the spectacular Festa del Redentore, these events offer a glimpse into the local culture and traditions, making your family vacation even more memorable.
The Adventurous Aspect of Venice
Venice is a city that invites exploration and adventure. With its labyrinth of narrow alleys, hidden courtyards, and winding canals, Venice is a place where getting lost can be part of the fun. Kids will love the sense of adventure as they navigate the city’s maze-like streets, discover hidden gems, and embark on a treasure hunt for the city’s famous winged lions.
Adventure also awaits on the waters of Venice. A vaporetto ride on the Grand Canal can be a thrilling experience as you glide past palaces and under historic bridges. For a more hands-on experience, why not try a rowing lesson in a traditional Venetian boat?
Beyond the city itself, the islands of the Venetian Lagoon offer their own adventures. From the colorful houses and lace-making tradition of Burano to the serene natural beauty of Torcello, these islands are a must-visit for any family vacation in Venice.
In the next section, we’ll delve into the practical aspects of planning your family trip to Venice, providing tips and advice to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation.
Preparing for Your Venice Family Vacation
Planning a family vacation to Venice can seem daunting, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth and enjoyable process. In this section, we’ll provide key tips for visiting Venice with young kids, and advice on where to stay in Venice with your family.
Key Tips for Visiting Venice with Kids
- Pack Wisely: Venice is a city of bridges and cobblestone streets, which can make it challenging to navigate with a stroller. Consider using a baby carrier for younger children. Also, pack comfortable shoes for everyone as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- Plan Your Itinerary: Venice is full of attractions, but trying to see everything can be overwhelming, especially for younger kids. Prioritize the attractions that are most interesting to your family and plan some downtime to relax and enjoy the city.
- Explore Beyond the Tourist Spots: While St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge are must-sees, don’t forget to explore the less crowded areas of Venice. The quieter neighborhoods of Cannaregio or Santa Croce can offer a more authentic Venetian experience.
- Try Local Foods: Venice offers a variety of kid-friendly foods. From gelato to pizza and pasta, trying local foods can be a fun and delicious part of your family vacation. Check out our guide to Venetian foods and drinks for more ideas, and visit the famous Rialto Market for fresh fish and produce.
- Be Prepared for the Weather: Venice can be hot and crowded in the summer, while winters can be cold and damp. Check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.
Where to Stay in Venice with Family
Choosing the right place to stay can make a big difference in your family vacation. When choosing a hotel or apartment, consider factors like location, family-friendly amenities, and price.
If you want to be in the heart of the action, staying near St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge can be a good option. However, these areas can be crowded and expensive. For a quieter and more authentic experience, consider staying in the neighborhoods of Cannaregio, Santa Croce, or Dorsoduro.
If you’re traveling with younger children, look for accommodations with family-friendly amenities like cribs, kitchenettes, and laundry facilities. Some hotels also offer babysitting services, which can be a lifesaver for parents.
For more detailed advice on where to stay in Venice with your family, check out our guide on where to stay in Venice.
In the next section, we’ll explore the top family-friendly activities in Venice, providing you with a comprehensive list of fun things to do with kids in this enchanting city.
Top Family-Friendly Activities in Venice
Venice offers a plethora of activities that are fun for the whole family. From exploring the city’s waterways to discovering its rich culture and history, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the top family-friendly activities in Venice.
Vaporetto Rides: Venice from the Water
One of the best ways to see Venice is from the water. A vaporetto, or water bus, ride along the Grand Canal offers stunning views of the city’s palaces and bridges. Kids will love the excitement of traveling by boat and spotting the city’s landmarks from a new perspective. For more information on vaporetto rides, check out our guide on Venice water taxis.
Exploring the Streets of Venice: A Family Adventure
Venice is a city made for exploring. Its maze of narrow streets and alleys are full of surprises, from hidden courtyards to charming shops and cafes. Turn your exploration into a treasure hunt by looking for the city’s famous winged lion symbols or trying to find the narrowest street in Venice. Don’t forget to check out our guide to Venice’s hidden gems for more ideas.
Visit to Murano: The Island of Glass
A short boat ride from Venice, the island of Murano is famous for its glassmaking tradition. Watch master glassblowers at work, creating everything from delicate figurines to colorful vases. Many studios offer demonstrations and workshops where kids can try their hand at this ancient craft. Learn more about Murano in our Murano Island guide.
Ca’Macana: The Magic of Venetian Masks
Venetian masks are a symbol of the city’s Carnival and a great souvenir. At Ca’Macana, one of the oldest mask-making workshops in Venice, families can learn about the history of mask-making and even create their own masks. It’s a fun and creative activity that kids will love.
Gelateria Nico: A Sweet Treat for the Family
No visit to Italy would be complete without trying gelato, and Gelateria Nico is one of the best in Venice. Located on the Zattere waterfront, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a sweet treat while taking in the views of the Giudecca Canal.
Grand Canal: The Heart of Venice
The Grand Canal is the main artery of Venice, lined with stunning palaces and crossed by iconic bridges. A gondola ride on the Grand Canal can be a magical experience, especially in the evening when the city is lit up. For a more budget-friendly option, consider a traghetto, a gondola ferry that crosses the canal at various points.
Visit Burano: A Colorful Playground
With its brightly colored houses and picturesque canals, Burano is a delight for the eyes and a great playground for kids. The island is also known for its lace-making tradition, and you can visit the Lace Museum to learn more about this delicate craft. Check out our guide to Burano Island for more information.
Visit Lido: Soak Up Some Sun and Play in the Sea
If you’re visiting Venice in the warmer months, a day trip to Lido is a must. This long, sandy island offers private beach clubs and beautiful public beaches where kids can play in the sand and swim in the Adriatic Sea. Lido is also home to the Venice Film Festival and offers a variety of restaurants and shops. For more details, check out our guide to Lido Island.
Looking for something to do on Lido Beach? We recommend taking a bike tour of the island.
In the next section, we’ll delve into the must-visit attractions for kids in Venice, providing you with a comprehensive list of places that will make your family vacation even more memorable.
Must-Visit Attractions for Kids in Venice
Venice is a city filled with attractions that can captivate the imagination of children. From museums that take you on a journey into the past to peaceful retreats in the city, here are some must-visit attractions for kids in Venice.
Museo di Storia Naturale Giancarlo Ligabue: A Journey into the Past
The Museo di Storia Naturale Giancarlo Ligabue, or the Natural History Museum, is a treasure trove for young explorers. Housed in a 13th-century palace, the museum takes visitors on a journey through time, from the age of dinosaurs to the present day.
Highlights include a dinosaur skeleton, a collection of fossils, and exhibits on the evolution of life on Earth. It’s a fascinating place that can inspire a love of science and nature in children.
Fallani Venezia: The Art of Screen Printing
At Fallani Venezia, families can discover the art of screen printing. This family-run workshop has been creating beautiful prints for over 50 years and offers workshops where kids can learn about the process and create their own prints. It’s a fun and creative activity that can be a great souvenir of your trip to Venice.
Vaporetto Rides on the Grand Canal
A vaporetto ride is a memorable adventure that is easy to do, affordable, and a unique experience. As the boat glides through the canals, you’ll view the city from a different perspective. Pass by gondolas, under famous bridges, and look at beautiful architecture along the way.
In the next section, we’ll delve into how to explore Venice with different age groups, providing tips and advice to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone.
How to Explore Venice with Different Age Groups
Venice is a city that all ages can enjoy, but it’s important to plan activities that are suitable for your children’s age group. In this section, we’ll provide tips on how to explore Venice with toddlers and teenagers.
Venice with Toddlers & Very Small Kids: Suitable Attractions and Tips
Exploring Venice with toddlers can be a magical experience. The city’s canals, boats, and pigeons are sure to captivate their imagination. Here are some suitable attractions and tips for visiting Venice with toddlers:
- Visit the Parks: Venice has several parks where toddlers can run and play. The Giardini Pubblici and Parco Savorgnan are both great options.
- Take a Vaporetto Ride: A vaporetto ride can be a fun and relaxing activity for toddlers. Consider taking a ride to the islands of Murano or Burano, which are less crowded than the city center.
- Explore the Piazzas: Venice’s piazzas are great for people-watching and pigeon-chasing. St. Mark’s Square is a must-visit, but don’t forget to explore smaller squares like Campo Santa Margherita.
- Plan for Naps: Toddlers can get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Venice. Plan for some quiet time during the day for naps or rest.
Venice with Teenagers: Engaging Activities and Tips
Venice can be a fascinating city for teenagers with its rich history, unique culture, and a myriad of activities. Here are some engaging activities and tips for visiting Venice with teenagers:
- Visit the Museums: Venice’s museums offer a wealth of knowledge and are a great way to engage teenagers. The Doge’s Palace and the Gallerie dell’Accademia are both worth a visit.
- Try a Rowing Lesson: For a unique and active experience, consider a rowing lesson in a traditional Venetian boat. It’s a fun way to see the city and learn a new skill.
- Explore the Islands: The islands of the Venetian Lagoon offer a break from the crowds of the city center. Consider a trip to Murano to see the glassblowing workshops or Burano to see the colorful houses.
- Encourage Photography: Venice is a photographer’s dream. Encourage your teenagers to capture their experiences through photography, which can help them engage with their surroundings. Be sure to head to Piazza San Marco to see Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the bell tower, and the Basilica.
Tours in Venice for Families
You can easily enjoy Venice on your own. However, if you are short on time or are looking for something different to do, there are several family-friendly museums and a bunch of family tours available. I recommend the following:
Procuratie Vecchie Interactive Exhibition
Immerse yourself in the rich history of Venice with a visit to the Procuratie Vecchie, a historic building on Venice’s Piazza San Marco that has been closed to the public for 500 years. Now home to The Human Safety Net foundation, this 12th-century site offers an incredible opportunity to explore the past and present of Venice.
The interactive “A World of Potential” exhibit within the building invites visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery, triggering curiosity, hope, and gratitude through reflective stories.
The Theft Outdoor Escape Game
Experience Venice in a unique and exciting way with The Theft Outdoor Escape Game. This phone exploration game turns you into a burglar on a mission, guiding you through St. Mark’s, the central neighborhood of Venice.
You’ll discover iconic locations like Ponte della Paglia, the Doge’s Palace, and St. Mark’s Clocktower as you solve clues and unlock stories.
The game is flexible, allowing you to pause and resume at your own pace, making it perfect for families who want to explore the city at their leisure. The game concludes at the stunning Palazzo Bellavite.
Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
Take your family on a journey through the life and work of one of the world’s greatest artists and inventors at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice. This family-friendly exhibition allows you to delve into Da Vinci’s work across four sections: earth, water, air, and fire.
Discover machines built according to Da Vinci’s original designs, learn about his major studies of human anatomy, and see high-resolution backlit replicas of his major paintings.
The museum offers descriptions in multiple languages and multimedia displays detailing his life and works, making it an educational and engaging experience for all ages.
The Ghost & Legends Walking Tour
For families who love a good scare, the Ghost & Legends Walking Tour is a must. Starting in Campo San Bartolomeo, this 1.5-hour walking tour takes you through the hidden corners of Venice, led by a qualified guide who will share tales of mystery, murder, and superstition.
Explore the Castello district, learn about Venetian doges and noblemen, hear about unrequited love and tragic deaths, and even encounter ghostly sounds outside the Malibran Theater.
The tour ends in the Cannaregio district, leaving you with a thrilling and unforgettable experience of Venice after dark.
Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour
Explore Venice at your own pace with the Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour. This interactive tour played on your phone, takes you to 10 of Venice’s most important attractions, where you’ll solve location-based riddles and unlock interesting facts and legends.
The tour includes stops at:
- Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
- Campo San Polo
- the Rialto Bridge
- Piazza San Marco
- San Marco Basilica
- Pallazo Ducale Palace
- San Zaccaria Church
- Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci
With the flexibility to start, pause, and resume the tour at any time, this scavenger hunt is a fun and flexible way for families to discover the city.
Recap of the Venice Family Vacation Experience
Venice is a city like no other, a place where history, culture, and adventure come together to create a unique family vacation experience. From the magic of a gondola ride on the Grand Canal to the thrill of exploring the city’s winding streets and hidden gems, Venice offers a wealth of experiences that can captivate the imagination of children and adults alike.
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Affordable Hostels with Hostelworld
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Hostelpass for Budget-Friendly Stays
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Plan Your Excursions with Get Your Guide
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Pocket-Sized Wisdom: Venice Travel Guide 2023 Book
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Sustainable Tourism: LifeStraw for Reusable Water Bottles
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Venice With Kids FAQs
Can You Take Children to Venice?
Yes, you can take children to Venice. The city is unique and magical, especially for children. There are many child-friendly activities to do in Venice, such as learning to blow glass in Murano or taking a ride in a real gondola. Venice is also car-free and has many areas where kids can roam freely.
Should You Bring a Stroller to Venice?
Yes, it is recommended to bring a stroller to Venice, especially if you have a toddler. However, keep in mind that Venice is full of canals and, therefore, bridges, and not all of them have ramps. A lightweight stroller that you can fold easily is recommended for navigating the bridges and small, cozy restaurants in Venice.
Can Babies Go on Gondolas?
Yes, babies can go on gondolas. However, it’s important to note that while taking a gondola ride can be fun, especially for older children who can appreciate the stories told by the gondoliers, it may get boring for younger children. In this case, a short ride on a ‘traghetto,’ a gondola that operates as a taxi across the canal, is recommended.
Where Do Children Play in Venice?
There are several parks and playgrounds in Venice where children can play. These include Parco Savorgnan in Cannaregio, Giardino Papadopoli in Santa Croce, Giardini Napoleonici, and Pineta di Sant’Elena in Castello.
How Long Do You Need in Venice with Kids?
The length of your stay in Venice with kids can depend on various factors, such as the age of your children, their interests, and your overall travel plans. However, the website does not provide a specific duration. It’s recommended to plan your visit wisely and not to over-schedule, especially with a toddler, as the crowds can be very tiring in Venice.
Is Rome or Venice Better for Kids?
Both cities have their unique attractions and experiences. Venice, with its canals and gondola rides, can be a magical experience for kids. Rome, on the other hand, is rich in history and has many iconic landmarks that can be educational and interesting for young kids and teens. The choice between the two would depend on the interests of your children and the kind of experiences you want them to have.
Final Thoughts and Encouragement for the Trip
Planning a family vacation to Venice may seem daunting, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth and enjoyable process. Remember to plan activities that cater to your children’s interests and ages, and most importantly, take the time to soak in the magic of this unique city. Whether it’s watching the world go by from a café in St. Mark’s Square, discovering the art of glassblowing on Murano, or simply getting lost in the city’s maze of streets, Venice is a city that invites exploration and leaves a lasting impression.
So pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories on your family vacation to Venice!