I absolutely love Venice! I have now visited this beautiful city four times and wouldn’t hesitate to go back. But in September we explored Venice as a family. It is not a cheap city to visit by any means but there are plenty of things to do and just wandering around the city is one of the best and it’s free. Heres our experience of family travel in Venice.
Where to stay?
We found as a family staying in a city it is best to stay in an apartment. So we booked an apartment in a central location, where we could base ourselves on the trip. We stayed at Alloggi Alla Rivetta which is located not far from the Rialto bridge on the San Marco side of the Grand Canal. A sofa bed in the living area suited our three-year-old, there was a small kitchen area hidden away in a sort of wardrobe, a double bedroom area and a large bathroom. Everything we needed for our stay. We paid almost £400 for 3 nights, which is not cheap but a good price we found when staying in Venice.
It is an easy city to get around by both walking and water bus. So wherever you stay on the main island, you can get to the top sights easily. There was a supermarket around the corner where we picked up supplies for breakfast and sometimes dinner and drinks too. We found doing this keeps the costs down.
Walking is a great way to get around and we love to explore on foot. There are many little streets and canals that are only accessible by walking. We also used the Vaporetto which is the water bus service. We jumped on the water bus a few times, just to explore, to get to and from the train station and when our girl was a little tired of walking. It costs 7.50 euros per ticket per journey and children under 6 go free. But we opted for the three-day (72hr) pass which cost 40 euros and we could hop on and off unlimited journeys during this time.
What to do in Venice?
One of the best things you can do in Venice is just get lost in the maze of streets and canals. There are some impressive views around every corner! Visiting Rialto bridge and browsing the shops here is great with a little one as there are so many things to look at. Puppets and masks are displayed in the windows and the food markets are fun to browse too.
St Marks square is a great place for kids to run around, especially early in the morning before the tour groups arrive. Our girl ran around in her souvenir Venitian mask which was so much fun. But sometimes she got too much attention from other tourists and we had to stop people approaching her wanting to take photos. It shouldn’t have to be said – but don’t crowd a three-year-old when she is just running around having fun! Other than that we had a lovely time in the square.
We booked tickets in advance to climb the bell tower, St Mark’s Campanile. I’m glad we did as we skipped the long line and headed straight in and up in the lift at our allotted time. The views across the city are amazing even our girl loved spotting things from the top. The ticket price is 8 euros and you get a time slot to visit when you book in advance.
We also visited St Marks basilica, joining a last-minute guided tour. This meant we skipped the line again too. Inside the basilica is beautiful, the artwork and history are fantastic. Well worth a visit!
A family gondola ride
Before we visited, we decided that we wouldn’t take a gondola ride as it was too expensive. We had already done this on a previous visit as a couple and we enjoyed it. It is a bucket list item and we are very fortunate to have experienced this even once. But when we were there, we decided why not splurge and make the memory with our girl. So we paid 80 euros for the earlier ride through the city as a family. The price is fixed and it goes up to 120 euros after 7 pm. The good thing is it is strictly regulated, so as long as you go to the right docking places you will get a great service.
What to eat in Venice?
There are so many different places to eat in Venice and there’s a lot of delicious food to try. Although we didn’t eat out too often, when we did we enjoyed some amazing pasta dishes and pizza. Of course, we had to try the ice cream too! Prices vary drastically but you probably expect to pay around 10 euros for a dish. Alternatively a cheap lunch idea is to buy a pizza slice and sit on one of the benches by the canals or in one of the beautiful squares.
We totally recommend family travel in Venice
If you are thinking about visiting Venice as a family, it is a great choice. There are lots to see and learn about and it’s an amazing experience for children. If you plan ahead it won’t cost you a fortune either. Family travel in Venice is easy and laid back so I definitely recommend enjoying this city with your kids.