Venice, the city of canals, gondolas, and crowds. Yes, crowds. If you’re a budget-conscious parent traveling with your family, you know that Venice can be overwhelming, both for your senses and your wallet. There is a good reason that you will spot lots of graffiti telling tourists to go home, and that’s because there are loads and loads of them. With this 48-hour itinerary, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of Venice without breaking the bank or getting lost in the sea of tourists. Just make sure to bring your walking shoes, a map, and a sense of humour with a touch of patience – and you will be on your way! Here are a few reasons why you should consider visiting Venice with kids:
Find those hidden gems
First up, avoid the popular tourist traps and opt for off-the-beaten-path destinations or another approach is to wander the back alleys, normally something to avoid in big cities but in Venice, who knows what undiscovered treasures you will find.
And if all else fails, just embrace the chaos and enjoy the ride. After all, Venice wouldn’t be Venice without its crowds and charm!
Did someone say “free”?
Being long term travellers we aim to keep the costs down, so when we see the magical word ‘FREE’, you have our attention. The good news is there’s no shortage of free things to see and do in Venice. Here are a few ideas for things you can do in 48 hours in Venice with kids for free:
- Explore the canals on foot: Take a walk along the canals and explore the city’s charming neighborhoods. This is a great way to see the city and take in the sights and sounds of Venice without spending a lot of money.
- Visit St. Mark’s Square: This famous square is home to St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. While you’ll have to pay to enter the basilica, you can still admire its stunning architecture and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the square.
- Take a stroll through the Jewish Ghetto: Venice’s Jewish Ghetto is one of the oldest in the world and is a fascinating place to explore. Kids will love learning about the history of the ghetto and seeing the historic synagogues and buildings.
- Visit the Rialto Market: This bustling market is a great place to grab a snack and watch the local merchants as they go about their day. Kids will love trying the fresh seafood and seeing all the colorful stalls.
- Explore the Public Gardens: The public gardens in Venice are a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful greenery and the peaceful atmosphere.
- Visit the Murano Glass Factory: While you’ll have to pay to see a glassblowing demonstration, you can still visit the factory and admire the beautiful glass creations on display. Kids will love learning about the traditional art of glass-blowing and seeing the amazing works of art.
So full disclosure here…we absolutely love Italy, we have been to several different areas and fell a little more in love with Italy, but…Venice…we didn’t love. This likely has very little to do with Venice itself, it is a beautiful place, but navigating through the masses of tourists is a nightmare. Here are a few things to consider before you book your flight to Venice with kids but also ways to get off the beaten path and find your own quiet(er) corner of Venice.
Here are a few reasons why Venice may not be the best choice for families with children:
- Crowds and limited space: Venice can get very crowded, especially during peak tourist season. The narrow streets and cramped quarters can make it difficult for families to navigate. This is a place to keep hold of hands and bring the baby in the carrier. We travelled in September and it was sill crazy busy.
- Cost: Venice can be an expensive city to visit, especially when it comes to food and lodging. This may not be ideal for families who are on a tight budget. We were actually in the campervan for our trip and stayed in a great campsite on the outskirts of the city.
- Lack of green spaces: Venice has limited green spaces, making it difficult for families to find areas for kids to run and play.
- Potential for high water levels: Venice is prone to flooding, and high water levels can make it difficult to navigate the city and reach certain attractions.
- Limited activities for kids: While there are some activities in Venice that kids may enjoy, such as visiting the glass factories or taking a gondola ride, there may not be as many options for kids as there are in other destinations.
Looking for a way to beat the crowds? Here are some off-the-beaten-path activities you can consider for a trip to Venice:
- Visit the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Venice is surrounded by a number of smaller islands, each with its own unique character and charm. Consider visiting one or more of these islands for a change of pace from the busy city.
- Explore the backstreets and alleys: Venice is known for its busy canals and main streets, but there are also many quiet alleys and backstreets that are worth exploring. Take some time to wander these areas and discover the city’s hidden gems.
- Visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia: This museum is dedicated to Italian art from the 13th to the 18th century and features works by many famous artists. Although it can be busy, it is less crowded than other popular museums in Venice and is a great place to see some of the city’s art treasures.
- Visit the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore: This beautiful church is located on an island in the Venetian Lagoon and offers stunning views of the city. Take a gondola ride or a short ferry ride to reach the church and enjoy a peaceful escape from the busy streets of Venice.
- Explore the Castello Neighborhood: This historic neighborhood is located on the eastern side of Venice and is known for its peaceful canals and charming buildings. Take a walk through the neighborhood and discover some of the city’s hidden gems.
- Visit the Lido Beach: This sandy beach is located just a short ferry ride from Venice and offers a welcome escape from the busy city. Consider spending a day at the beach and soaking up the sun and the relaxed atmosphere.
Venice in a nutshell
Our family trip to Venice was an interesting experience that left us with mixed feelings. While there were certainly aspects of the city that we enjoyed, (it is Italy after all!) we also found some things to be a little disappointing. However, we recognize that everyone’s travel preferences and experiences are unique, and what may not have worked for us might be a perfect fit for someone else. Therefore, make your own decision about whether or not to visit Venice. Regardless of where you end up traveling, the most important thing is to approach the journey with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the unexpected.
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