Venice is one of the cities I fell in love with, it’s probably my favorite Italian city. I was excited when hubby said that we’re gonna go back and this time with the kids! He planned to meet up his newly married friend and his wife and tagged us along to introduce us. But since it was decided on short notice, and the kids still have school, we left on Friday evening on a night train having wanted to try it at least once.
We did get some sleep considering how it’s a really bumpy ride. Our train arrived at Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia close to 7 in the morning (approximately 10 hours since we boarded). It looked so much better the last we went (2008). The train station has been renovated and improved. The station is not as grand as many cities would have their main train stations, but it’s more than enough to house ticketing facilities, shops, offices and luggage storage facilities along with the train platforms.
Busy Walkabout and Rivers
Venice in the morning is quite busy already. People abuzz – those coming in from somewhere and locals going to work. While Venice is best explored by walking, there are also different water transportations as options. Venice looks wonderful when seen from the water.
The vaporetto or water bus is the main public transport inside Venice. This is one of the reasons it’s given the nickname City of Water. It mainly goes underway the Grand Canal and brings people through 20 lines/stations and to the nearby enchanting islands. There’s also traghettos and water taxis around Venice servicing both locals and tourists.
Traghettos are bigger gondolas meant to transport people from one side of the canal to the other and costs circa 2€. Water taxis can cost more on particular circumstances like getting picked up from the hotel, taking your luggage, so you have to negotiate first.
You can also go around Venice with a bike, it is best to join a tour as your guide would probably know the hidden routes to go about the city.
Slushy on a Sunny But Cool Day
The weather in Venice is much more temperate than other Italian cities. We went in May, which was breezy at times (thus, the longsleeves and pullovers) but really nice enough to walk. You can have a slushy to cool a bit more while walking around on cobblestones.
Gondolas are Venice’s famous icon, along with the winged lion, bridges and water. Getting on one is a must. You might ask, why didn’t I? I wanted to take pictures of the kids on it and so I decided to stay behind and try next time.
A gondola ride costs 80€ for 40 minutes or so, depending on where you board. In busier areas, it could cost more, so look for an area where they take on tourists but doesn’t go on the touristy parts, as gondola traffic can make 40 minutes seem just 10!
No trip to any Italian city is complete without trying out their gelato. You can try different ones as you see a salon, you are anyway walking so you need the sugar energy! In this photo are the kids’ usual favorites: cookies and cream, lemon, and pistachio.
It is always good to have a map when visiting a city. A GPS as standalone gadget, or an app on your phone depends on battery, getting depleted of power means you’re well off by yourself. Getting lost on purpose by walking around means you may discover hidden spots and corner. Still, practice precaution and make sure you don’t go too far from where the crowds are.
Find the Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World
We’ve encountered a lot of cats through our travels, and we loved each and everyone of them. In Venice, we saw them through open windows, but the most beautiful bookshop in the world houses a few friendly ones. We actually walked a lot to find this bookshop, and we’re glad that it was dry season.
Best Shoes to Wear For Venice Walking
Comfortable shoes are the best to wear for walking in Venice. In summary:
- snug fit – ones that won’t slip off from your feet
- bouncy, soft insoles – foam ones are the best
- soft back heel – to prevent rubbing your heel’s skin that causes blisters
- great arch support – your foot shouldn’t be fighting against the structure of the shoe but rather take on the shape of the insole, memory foams are great for such function
- cushioning – is the shoes’ capacity to absorb the force of an impact, our body cushions impact with muscle contraction or when we change posture; in shoes, a thicker midsole will lessen strain on the body
Kids are most comfortable in rubber shoes/sneakers when walking for long hours. Plan your attire around pieces that goes well with sneakers.
Best Time to Visit Venice with Kids
The best time to visit Venice is when kids are on vacation! We only spent a weekend in the city and it wasn’t enough. April and May to early June seem to be dry but not too hot, but can be touristy. We find August alright, could be sunnier than usual but is also a good time to walk around, and since many are avoiding this month for being too hot (it wasn’t when we last went), there may be a few tourists than usual. September and October are also good months but it can get windy, the festivals begin in October so if you want to include them in your itinerary, plan your vacation by this month.
Where to stay in Venice with kids
Hotels in the island can be full if you don’t book early. As this what happened to us, so we booked Mestre Hotel Plaza just across the Mestre train station. It takes 11 minutes from the Mestre station to the Sta.Lucia train station and 20 minutes by bus, the bus station is just across the hotel too.
Venice has six districts (sestiere) named as follows: Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, San Polo, San Marco, Santa Croce, Castello. Ideally, San Polo and San Marco are the best areas to stay at as these are where most of the famous structures and things to see are located. If you can book early, look for hotels in these districts.
Where to Eat in Venice with Kids
Venice, as most of Italy, is a joy for eating out with kids! Which kids doesn’t like pizza and pasta? (There’s probably a handful, thank goodness our kids ain’t in that list.)
What to Pack on Your Trip to Venice
As in every city you visit, bring a raincoat/rain jacket which also functions as windbreaker to be on the safe side.
The kids packed books each to read when we sit or rest and before they went to sleep.