How to Visit Venice with Kids and Tips to Help You Enjoy the Experience
Venice is stunning and appropriately called “La Serenissima,” The Most Serene, or the City of Water. If you plan a family trip to Italy, I would add Venice to the itinerary. Because Venice is on the water, I advise you to have more caution, but there are many things to do in Venice with kids. We loved our time in Venice; it was probably one of my toddlers most favorite cities on our two-week trip to Northern Italy.
Is Venice for kids dangerous with the canals
The canals in Venice can pose a dangerous risk for kids and adults. If you are traveling with younger kids walking age, keep a closer eye on them. This should also be something to consider when visiting the higher trafficked areas, especially during the peak season.
Another thing to take note of, we weren’t provided with life jackets for either the Gondolas or the Vaporetto (taxi) boats. My husband and I were comfortable with this, but I do think it is important to consider.
When to visit Venice with kids
I touched on this in my post Tips for traveling in Italy with a toddler . We visited Venice at the beginning of April. The weather was beautiful. It was the start of peak season, and some areas were already bustling. I would avoid going during the summer months and plan for the spring and fall seasons. The canals and streets are narrow, and some areas we found congested.
Is Venice stroller friendly
Out of our two-week tour of northern Italy, I would say that Venice was the least stroller friendly. There are many canals, and almost all of them have stairs. A few bridges that were closer to the train station had ramps (this was our experience). I would also take note of the crowds, pending when you’re taking your family trip to Venice. If you decide on bringing a stroller, I would suggest a light, compact, but sturdy stroller. We did see some families with strollers, but not many.
I would encourage you to bring a carrier. We packed light for our trip and decided on the carrier over the stroller. Honestly, I would have struggled with the stroller in Venice.
I will say that once my husband was asked to take the carrier off his back when we were on the Vaporetto taxi boat, but the other times it wasn’t an issue.
Kid-friendly things to do in Venice
Ride a Gondola
This was the highlight for my-year-old; he loved the gondola ride! Of course, if you visit Venice, you must check it off the bucket list. The rides were not very long, maybe 30-45 minutes, and were around 80 Euro per trip, and we also tipped. We did it twice because our little one loved it so much. It’s a beautiful way to see the city, but rather costly.
You can also have the opportunity to see the Bridge of Sighs.
Ride a Vaporetto (water taxi) in the grand canal.
Our two year old was free, and I believe Children under six travel free. This is a less expensive alternative to the Gondolas. It offers a beautiful view of the city from the water. There are several stops, which can make it convenient to hop on. You can easily purchase the tickets right outside the docks at the kiosk. We took a long ride to let my toddler nap, which worked like a charm! We also could see a great view of the city- especially the Grand Canal.
Taking a boat ride in the evening can be stunning. If you can take a sunset ride, I would recommend it.
The Vaporetto can be an excellent means of transportation from the train station to your hotel or Airbnb. They have stops located right outside the train station.
Visit the Rialto market
The Venice Rialto (meaning exchange or marketplace) market offers various fish, fruits, vegetables, and yummy treats. It is right alongside the Grand Canal and can be easily accessible with a Vaporetto. It is the central market where many will grocery shop; I suggest visiting in the morning before it gets too crowded.
Enjoy the playgrounds and parks
I wasn’t aware of this before our trip, but Venice has some pretty parks. We accidentally discovered one while on the Vaporetto riding on the outskirts of the city, and immediately hopped off on the next exit. We spent several hours at the park, letting our little one play on the playground. It’s a great opportunity to get away from the crowds and tourists. It also allows the opportunity to see a bit of Venice you may not have thought existed. This is a great option if you want to sit and eat a snack and let your little ones play.
One of the biggest tips I can give parents taking little kids on a family trip to Italy is to spend time outside, in the parks and playgrounds. Adjust your expectations of site seeing. We had a far more enjoyable time when we prioritized our toddler and did things he enjoyed.
There are so many stores with Venetian dresses and masks! We saw a few shops that allowed for painting and decorating your own. This could be a great option if your kids are a little older!
Have a family photoshoot
We saw a few people having professional photos done. Some even wear Venetian clothing. It could be a great opportunity for a family photo. I love this idea!
Visit the Piazo San Marco Plaza
This huge public square is where you can find St Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace. We dedicated more time to the parks, so we didn’t have an opportunity to see the Basilica or the palace. The outside is beautiful, and the square is huge! It is a great location for your little one to chase pigeons if it isn’t too crowded.
Play in the Campi/ squares and Check out the churches
Although the Piazo San Marco Plaza was beautiful, we preferred the smaller Campi/ squares. They were often away from the water and were a great place for our toddler to run around. He loved chasing the pigeons. My husband and I preferred restaurants in these areas. Sitting outside allowed our toddler to run around while we could sit and watch. We also liked the quality and the prices of these restaurants over the ones sitting right on the water. Many of these squares had beautiful churches you can easily check out!
Explore the streets
No vehicles are on the streets, which is nice for kids! We loved walking through the city, exploring the shops and restaurants. We especially favored getting away from the crowds.
Visit an escape room
My husband and I couldn’t resist doing the escape room; it is one of our favorite hobbies and is usually set aside for date nights. Although not ideal for toddlers, they were great in letting us bring our son. It can be a nice break from the tours, and if you are an escape room fan, you may not want to pass up the opportunity!
Things we missed
Because we made Venice a bit more low-key, spending more time at the parks, we could not add these to the list of kid-friendly things to do in Venice. But I wanted to add these to my post because they were on my wishlist.
The photos looked beautiful, and it could be an excellent option if you travel to Venice in the summer months. To read more about Lido Beach, click here.
You can easily hop on a ferry boat. Murano is traditionally known for its glass-blowing. To read more on the transportation and attractions for Murano, click here.
The Burano neighborhood is supposed to be filled with beautiful bright colored homes and is known for lace making. To read more about Burano, the attractions, and the ferry transportation, click here.
The outside was gorgeous! I have heard wonderful things about the inside and would recommend you stop in.
Climbing up the tower and admiring the view from St Mark’s Basilica
If you’re not afraid of heights, climb the tower. It is supposed to offer a beautiful view!
Additional tips for traveling to Venice with kids
We had a difficult time finding public bathrooms. We would usually stop at a cafe or restaurant and purchase a snack or espresso to use their toilets.
We favored the restaurants tucked away and located on a larger, quiet plaza or square. The quality of the food was great and not as costly. Another bonus- it was a safe place for my toddler to run around and chase pigeons.
It is important to note restaurants in Italy don’t typically open for dinner until after 7:30.
Make plans with your toddler in mind
We lost a day exploring the city because we spent hours at the park. Honesty, it was worth it. Traveling with toddlers can be challenging, and it can be tough on them. Adjust your plans; we enjoyed our days more when prioritizing activities for our toddlers. Adjusting our expectations allowed us to find more enjoyment in our family trip to Italy. For more tips on how we enjoyed a trip to Italy: read here. Remember, you will be taking your toddler out of their normal routine. This can be extremely tough on them. Keep their perspective, and have grace and patience for you and your family.
For additional tips, check out my post: Traveling to Italy with a toddler
- We loved our family trip to Italy with our toddler and recommended visiting these cities! Milan had our favorite parks; there was so much to see and do in Verona; Rome is a must-see. Florence & Tuscany are beautiful. Pisa was just a quick detour off the train to see the tower. Genova is a lovely city on the water that has a beautiful aquarium!
Is Venice child friendly?
Yes, we had a great time! The locals were lovely to our toddler and often very accommodating. I do urge a sense of caution regarding safety with the water and canals.
How long do you need to be in Venice with the children?
If you plan on visiting the neighboring islands of Muran and Burano, I would suggest three days. This gives you plenty of time to see Venice, as well as its neighboring islands.
Is Venice small enough to walk around?
Venice is not a large city; you can easily walk around.
Is Venice worth visiting with children
Absolutely! Venice is beautiful and can easily be made with a short trip. Of the cities we visited on our family trip to Italy, it was probably one of the most enjoyable for our two- year old!
Have you taken little ones to Venice? Were there other sites that you would recommend for visiting Venice with kids? I love hearing back from you!