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Unlock the Magic of Venice with Kids: A 2-Day Itinerary for Families

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Planning an international vacation with kids can be a bit overwhelming, but Venice, Italy, is the perfect destination to make those dreams come true. Imagine gliding through the canals on a gondola, exploring ancient palaces, and indulging in plenty of mouth-watering gelato – all while keeping the kids entertained and engaged.

venice italy with kids

As a parent who loves adventure and travel, I know how important it is to find activities that captivate both kids and adults. That’s why I’ve put together this detailed two-day itinerary for Venice, filled with insider tips and kid-friendly attractions that will ensure your family has an unforgettable experience. Our family has LOVED visiting Venice and with our tips and first-hand experience visiting there, this guide will make your trip even easier. From the bustling Rialto Market to the colorful island of Burano, this guide will help you navigate Venice with kids like a pro, making your trip both magical and less stressful. So, pack your bags and get ready to create lasting memories in this enchanting city!

venice italy with kids

We had a few days in Venice before our long awaited trip to the Italian Dolomites. If your family loves outdoor adventure, make sure to head there on your trip as well.
READ: Top Tips for Visiting The Dolomites with Kids

What Makes Venice A Great Italian City to Visit With Kids

Visiting cities with kids can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Between traffic, getting around, and crowds, it can get really stressful. But Venice is different. After visiting 40 countries with our kids, it’s one of the few cities where I actually relaxed on a trip with our kids. It’s MAGICAL!

venice italy with kids

The thing that we love about it the most is the car-free streets and small little walkways. This makes travel with kids so much less stressful because you don’t have to worry about them running into traffic or getting lost in a crowd. While the main plazas in Venice are crowded, once you get a few blocks away, you’ll find quiet lanes where you can just walk and explore for hours (perfect for letting the kids run off some energy).

venice italy with kids

The compact city layout of Venice means many attractions are within walking distance, making exploration easy and fun. You’ll definitely be getting your steps in during the day, but our kids never complained (thanks in large part to the frequent gelato stops). Children will love the interactive activities like glass-blowing demonstrations in Murano and mask-making workshops at Ca’ Macana, which offer hands-on experiences of Venetian traditions. The city’s rich history, iconic landmarks, and delicious Italian cuisine – think pizza, pasta, and gelato – add to its appeal, making it an easy Italian city to visit with kids.

It’s important to note that most of the streets in Venice are cobblestone, and very difficult to navigate with a stroller. Because of that, I recommend visiting with kids who are either old enough to walk around all day, or little enough to be in a child carrier. When we visited, our kid were 10, 7, 5, 3, and 5 months, and none of them had a problem with the walking and the baby was happy to be in the carrier all day.

venice italy with kids

Getting Around Venice with Kids

The easiest way to get around Venice is by walking. However, if you need a change of pace, taking a vaporetto is a great option. Vaporettos are water buses that go arind the main waterways, and are especially convenient for getting from one side of the island to the other. The cost is 7.50 Euro for a 75 minute ride and kids 6 and under ride for free.

The vaperettos can get really crowded in the morning and late afternoon when commuters are getting to and from work, but other than that, they’re a great way to get around a little quicker than walking Venice with kids.

venice italy with kids

Venice with Kids Itinerary Day 1: Iconic Sights and Hidden Gems

Morning: Exploring the Rialto Area

Start your day early at the Rialto Bridge, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks. The bridge offers stunning views of the Grand Canal and is a perfect spot for family photos. The kids will be captivated by the bustling activity below, with vaporettos, gondolas, and water taxis moving through the canal.

venice italy with kids

Just a short walk from the bridge is the Rialto Market. This market has been a staple of Venetian life for centuries and is a great place for kids to experience the local culture. The market is divided into two sections: the Erberia (fruit and vegetable market) and the Pescheria (fish market). Kids will love the vibrant colors and variety of produce, and the seafood section is particularly fascinating with its array of fresh fish, crabs, and shellfish. It’s an excellent opportunity to introduce them to different types of food and discuss the importance of fresh ingredients in Italian cuisine.

Insider Tip: Visit the market early in the morning (it opens around 7:00 AM) to experience it at its liveliest and avoid the late-morning tourist crowds.

Mid-Morning: Gondola Ride

After exploring the market, it’s time for a quintessential Venetian experience: a gondola ride. Gondola stations are plentiful around the Rialto Bridge. A gondola ride is magical for kids; it’s like stepping into a fairy tale. They’ll be fascinated by the gondolier’s skillful navigation through the narrow canals and under low bridges. The ride offers a unique perspective of Venice’s architecture and hidden corners that you can’t see from the streets.

venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: Gondola rides can be expensive, typically around €80 for a 30-minute ride. Some gondaliers are very strict and will only allow 4-5 people on a boat, but after asking around, we were able to not only find someone who would take our family of 7, but for a much more reasonable price than we were quoted in the popular tourist areas.

venice italy with kids

Late Morning: Ponte dell’Accademia & Dorsoduro Neighborhood

Next, head towards the Ponte dell’Accademia, another famous bridge that offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canal. This bridge connects the San Marco district to Dorsoduro, an artsy, less touristy neighborhood perfect for a family stroll. The Dorsoduro area is less crowded and filled with charming narrow streets, small art galleries, and local artisan shops.

venice italy with kids

Dorsoduro is also home to Campo Santa Margherita, a lively square where children can run around and play. The square is surrounded by cafes and gelato shops, making it a nice spot for parents to relax. Nearby, you can visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a modern art museum housed in a beautiful palazzo on the Grand Canal. The museum is compact and manageable for kids, and they often have family-friendly tours and activities.

Insider Tip: Check out the small art studios and craft shops in the area. Many artists and craftsmen are happy to explain their work to curious kids.

Lunch: Cicchetti and Gelato

For lunch, try some cicchetti, the Venetian version of tapas. There are many bacari (wine bars) in the Dorsoduro area that serve these delicious small dishes and they’re really affordable. Cicchetti includes a variety of options like meatballs, fried seafood, and crostini topped with different spreads. Kids will love the variety and the opportunity to try new foods, and you’ll love that they’re often only 2 Euro each. One of the best places for cicchetti is Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, known for its creative toppings and friendly atmosphere.

venice italy with kids

After lunch, indulge in some gelato at Gelateria Nico, famous for its rich flavors and family-friendly environment. It’s located along the Zattere promenade, where you can enjoy your gelato while watching boats pass by. Our kids were perfectly content to eat their gelato and wave at all of the passing boats for a solid hour!

Insider Tip: Try the gianduiotto at Gelateria Nico, a delicious combination of chocolate and hazelnut.

venice italy with kids

Early Afternoon: Libreria Acqua Alta

After lunch, head to the unique Libreria Acqua Alta. This quirky bookstore is a hidden gem and an absolute delight for kids, especially if they love to read. It’s filled with books stored in bathtubs, boats, and even a full-sized gondola to protect them from Venice’s frequent floods. The whimsical setup makes it feel like a magical wonderland. The kids will love exploring the narrow aisles and discovering hidden corners filled with books.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the staircase made of old books in the back – it’s a great spot for photos. The resident cats are also a hit with kids. The store can be crowded, so visit during mid-afternoon when it’s quieter.

Mid-Afternoon: Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs

Next, make your way to the Doge’s Palace. This historic palace offers a fascinating look into Venice’s past with its grand rooms, stunning artwork, and impressive architecture. The Bridge of Sighs connects the palace to the prison, and walking through it while learning about its history is an exciting experience for kids. The palace offers guided tours that are educational and engaging for children, providing insights into the history and culture of Venice.

venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: Purchase tickets in advance to skip the line. The Secret Itineraries Tour is particularly interesting for older kids, as it takes you through hidden passages and rooms like the torture chamber, and attic prison cells not open to the general public.

venice italy with kids

Late Afternoon: St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Basilica

After 4 PM, when the cruise crowds have lessened, head to St. Mark’s Square, also known as Piazza San Marco. This iconic square is home to St. Mark’s Basilica and the San Marco Campanile. Spend a little bit of time people watching and letting the kids chase some pigeons.

venice italy with kids

Start by climbing (or taking the elevator) up the campanile for breathtaking views of Venice. Then, visit the basilica, known for its stunning mosaics and ornate interior. The kids will be amazed by the beauty and grandeur of the church. The Bascilica does require tickets to enter, and the last entrance is at 4:45 with the church closing at 5:15pm.

venice italy with kids

While you’re there, make sure to climb up to the bell tower for some of the best views in all of Venice. Our kids loved that much more than the actual church!

venice italy with kids
venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: The basilica has a strict dress code, so dress modestly make sure shoulders and knees are covered. If you want to avoid waiting in line, consider booking a skip-the-line ticket or a guided tour. The evening light in St. Mark’s Square is perfect for photos and the atmosphere becomes more serene as the crowds thin out after the cruise ships head out around 4.

Dinner: Family-Friendly Restaurant

For dinner, find a family-friendly restaurant near St. Mark’s Square. Many restaurants offer delicious Italian dishes that kids will love, such as pasta, pizza, and risotto. One great option is Ristorante Antico Pignolo, which offers a lovely atmosphere and a variety of dishes suitable for the whole family.

venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: Make a reservation to ensure you get a table, especially during peak seasons. The waitstaff are usually very accommodating and can suggest dishes that are kid-friendly, but after a long day of walking, you don’t want to have to wait long for a table.

Venice with Kids Itinerary Day 2: Cultural Experiences and Hidden Gems

Morning: Food Tour

Start your second day in Venice with a food tour. Many family-friendly food tours in Venice offer a chance to try local specialties while learning about the city’s culinary history. These tours typically include stops at markets, bakeries, and cafes, and are a fun and delicious way to start the day. The kids will enjoy trying different foods and learning about Venetian culture.

Insider Tip: Look for a tour that includes a mix of sweet and savory stops to keep the kids engaged. Some tours even offer hands-on experiences, or if you really want a hands on experience, consider booking a cooking class instead.

Mid-Morning: Campo Santa Margherita and Ca’ Macana

After the food tour, head to Campo Santa Margherita. This lively square is a great place for kids to run around and play. It’s surrounded by cafes and shops, making it a nice spot for parents to relax. Nearby is Ca’ Macana, a famous mask-making workshop. Venice is known for its carnival masks, and at Ca’ Macana, you can learn about the history of these masks and even make your own. It’s a creative and hands-on activity that kids will love.

venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: Workshops at Ca’ Macana can fill up quickly, so it’s best to book in advance. The masks make wonderful souvenirs, and kids will be proud of their creations. The workshop instructors are very patient and experienced with children, making it a fun and educational activity.

Lunch: More Cicchetti and Gelato

For lunch, find another bacaro to enjoy more cicchetti. It’s a great way to try different dishes, and many places offer new varieties each day. After lunch, indulge in some more gelato – seriously, you can never go wrong with gelato and kids. Besides, with so many flavors to choose from, it’s always a hit with the kids. Try Gelateria il Doge in Campo Santa Margherita for some more incredible Venetian gelato.

venice italy with kids

Early Afternoon: Calle Varisco

Next, take a stroll down Calle Varisco, one of the narrowest streets in Venice. It’s a fun and quirky stop that kids will enjoy. The street is so narrow that you can touch both walls with your arms outstretched. It’s a short walk but makes for a memorable experience.

venice italy with kids

Insider Tip: Calle Varisco is located in the Cannaregio district, which is less touristy and offers a glimpse into everyday Venetian life. Take the time to explore this area, as it’s full of charming streets and hidden gems. The nearby Ghetto Nuovo is also worth a visit for its historical significance and peaceful atmosphere.

venice italy with kids

Mid-Afternoon: Mask-Making Workshop

If you didn’t do the mask-making workshop earlier, now is a good time to visit Ca’ Macana. The workshop lasts about an hour and is a great way for kids to learn about Venetian culture while having fun. They’ll get to paint and decorate their own mask, which they can take home as a souvenir.

Late Afternoon: Relax and Explore

Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Venice at a leisurely pace. Wander through the narrow streets, cross picturesque bridges, and discover hidden squares. Venice is a city best experienced by getting lost, and kids will love the sense of adventure. Look for small shops selling souvenirs, local crafts, and Venetian masks.

venice italy with kids

Dinner: Family-Friendly Restaurant

For dinner, choose another family-friendly restaurant. Venice has many excellent options that cater to families. One such restaurant is Osteria ai Assassini, known for its welcoming atmosphere and delicious food. They offer a variety of dishes that are sure to please both adults and kids.

Insider Tip: Many restaurants in Venice offer a “children’s menu” or smaller portions of their main dishes. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from the staff, who are usually very accommodating.

Optional Day Trip: Murano and Burano

The best day trips from Venice are to the small islands of Murano and Burano. They are both colorful, charming, and packed with history!

Murano

murano italy

If you have an extra day, consider taking a trip to the nearby island of Murano, famous for its glass-making. Take a vaporetto (water bus) to the island and visit one of the many glass factories to watch a glass-blowing demonstration. It’s fascinating to see the artisans at work, and kids will be amazed by the process. The Murano Glass Museum is also worth a visit, showcasing beautiful glass pieces from different eras. Don’t forget to pick up some glass souvenirs – there are many shops offering everything from delicate jewelry to intricate vases.

Insider Tip: Visit the Vetreria Murano Arte for a free glass-blowing demonstration. They are very welcoming to families and often give a small glass souvenir to children.

Burano

Burano Italy

From Murano, take another vaporetto to Burano, known for its colorful houses and lace-making. Walking through the vibrant streets is a delight, and it’s a great place for taking photos. Visit a lace-making workshop to see artisans creating intricate lace pieces. The island is also home to some excellent seafood restaurants, perfect for a lunch stop. Kids will love the bright, cheerful atmosphere and the chance to explore.

Insider Tip: For a delicious lunch, try Trattoria al Gatto Nero. They offer fresh seafood and homemade pasta, and the colorful setting is sure to be a hit with kids. The lace shops often have demonstrations, and some even offer small workshops where children can try their hand at lace-making.

Best Time to Visit Venice with Kids

The best time to visit Venice with kids is from April until early June. During this period, the weather is warm but not too hot, making it ideal for exploring the city. The crowds are also smaller compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more enjoyable experience. Springtime in Venice is beautiful, with blooming flowers and pleasant temperatures perfect for walking and sightseeing.

venice italy with kids

By following this detailed itinerary and insider tips, you can ensure a memorable and stress-free family vacation in Venice. Enjoy your adventure in this magical city!

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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